|Photo by Elizabeth Rose|
|Walter Dozer tends his tailgating grill.|
Monday, Oct. 1, 2012
At the season opener at Cajun Field, the smokers were out in full force, the Webers were filled with charcoal and the black pots were aplenty. The rain did not deter the tailgating faithful, and many tried their hand at creating the best dishes at Cajun Field.
There was every type of sausage imaginable, a few cochons de lait cooked in Cajun microwaves and sauces simmering on outdoor kitchens. Many claimed to have the best, but one stood above the rest.
Walter Dozer, who goes by “Uncle Rat,” and the 705 Mens Club and Tailgaters from Delcambre had the most delicious ribs. They were everything a great rib should be — tender and falling off the bone, smothered in a homemade barbecue sauce Dozer calls his “T-Red special sauce.” He wouldn’t divulge his sauce secrets, but instructed imitators to cook the ribs halfway on the grill, then double wrap them in foil and smoke them for a couple more hours on the opposite side of the coals. While you’re waiting, drink a few beers.
But of course these men don’t subsist on ribs alone — other meats are smothered in the barbecue sauce and cooked on the grill, including chicken legs so juicy and saturated with flavor you wonder how you enjoyed chicken before that day. Sometimes, they boil chicken and serve turkey necks, pig feet and tripe, along with potatoes, corn and mushrooms for good measure.
Dozier and his crew have been tailgating since 1977 for Cajun games. But when Cajuns are away, the men still play: The 100-plus group tailgates at Nicholls when UL is on the road.
A few others deserve honorable mentions. Paul Broussard and his son, Paul Jr., cooked up drunken chickens with Natural Light for 4.5 hours, along with fresh cracklins that had the perfect combination of snap and chew. Broussard claims the rain aided his cooking — because it “steams” the chickens.
Louis Falgout, who says his ribs are UL President Joe Savoie’s favorite, had his monster smoker full of pork loin, sausage made with Steen’s syrup, chick thighs stuffed with cheese, pineapple or jalapeños and wrapped in bacon, and grillades from the same supplier as French Press.
UL Student Life and Conduct Dean Greg Zerangue put a half pig from Babineaux’s Slaughter House in the Cajun microwave at 10 a.m. and cooked it for almost six hours. The already-seasoned pig was covered in a spice rub and injected with more spicy goodness, and the TLC was palatable.
The Krewe de Chew easily had the most variety. A group of 28 cooks the food at home, instead of at tailgating, and posts the menu in advance on the krewe’s website, www.krewedechew.org. Five people do the main dishes for the 150 to 200 people in attendance; it’s been that way for 20 years. In true South Louisiana fashion, they host the opposing team’s tailgaters and treat them to a Krewe de Chew tradition: the rooster dance. — Elizabeth Rose
in case you missed it