For the second straight week Ohio State will square off against a team from the state immediately adjacent to the left—well, as one looks at a map of the USA, anyway. After scoring buckets of points against Indiana, and subsequently watching the Hoosiers carve up a thin, flat, broken, and foot-off-the-gas-pedal defense, the Buckeyes welcome the Boilermakers of Purdue to the old gray lady on the banks of the mighty Olentangy. For those keeping score, this is Revenge Game III. The Buckeyes have already avenged 2011 zombie season losses to Michigan State and Nebraska, and now the crosshairs fall on Purdue, which somehow survived a would-be winning touchdown a year ago when Ohio State DERPed away the winning extra point. I shouldn’t still be bitter about anything from the debacle that was last season, but…well, I can’t help it. It’s my nature. Anyway, it’s a chance to improve to 8-0, and this is what we’ll be serving up for Purdue and Revenge Game III.
After last season’s 6-7 zombie season of 2011, it’s pretty sweet to already have more wins with five games remaining. Urban Meyer, Tom Herman and Braxton Miller have electrified Buckeye Nation this season, overshadowing a problematic and injury-plagued defense that looks like nothing I’ve seen in my lifetime. It’s a lot sweeter winning close games than losing them, anyway, and that sweetness is the theme to this week’s “starters” section. One curious thing I’ve always found was the way sweet foods interact with taste of beer. This week we’re suggesting you go heavy on the sugar and damn the consequences, man. Purdue isn’t a cupcake, especially on the road, but go ahead and grab yourself a boat load of them for this week’s pre-game starters. What was the trendiest trend in the world of food a few years ago has somehow managed to generate some staying power. Even my own teenager works in a gourmet cupcake shop. The woman who started the company where my daughter works managed to win Food Network’s Cupcake Wars program twice. This has nothing to do with your tailgate, but is pretty cool, nonetheless. These shops can be found in virtually any town now and offer a variety of outstanding flavors to choose from. Mix and match your dozen(s) and pay attention to the way the flavors interact with your pre-game beverages. The result isn’t always great, but it’s a fun exercise in culinary science. Note, your local supermarket is fine as an alternative if you live in a cupcake-ally challenged location.
Last week we told you all about the warm bundle of awesomeness known as the breaded pork tenderloin sandwich. As we’re playing another team from Indiana this week—only this time welcoming them into our house—we’re going with a variation on a theme for our tailgate star in week eight. A slight variation on the breaded pork tenderloin sandwich is the Jackson County veal sandwich. Jackson County is in the southern part of the Buckeye state, and right in the middle (east to west). Named after War of 1812 hero and former U.S. president Andrew Jackson, this unassuming part of the state came up with a delectable veal sandwich that follows the same basic recipe as Indiana’s famous breaded pork tenderloin. You know the drill: pound out some veal cutlets, dredge in flour, an egg wash or buttermilk bath, and into your breading mixture. Jackson County veal often uses crushed crackers as its breading and smashed up Ritz crackers fit the bill nicely here. When tenderizing the veal, it’s ok if you pound it out into a very wide cutlet. The usual idea with this sandwich is that it overhangs the bun, often by a good margin. Toppings are your choice or as last week. If using your grill at an outdoor tailgate, well, the breading thing generally doesn’t work for grilling. You could easily use a skillet of oil atop your grill to fry the cutlets, but be sure to dispose of your used grease responsibly.
There isn’t really a good low-cost or fast food version of veal. Well, not one worth eating, anyway. So we’ll go with adult veal this week (a.k.a. beef). The economically and/or chronologically challenged will need something fast and/or cheap to fuel their body for the very, very hard tailgating they’re about to do. My recommendation for this is the Angus Bacon and Cheese burger at McDonald’s. I know, I know. McDonald’s is pretty much gut garbage, however I find that the chain’s line of Angus burgers are several notches above the rest of its menu, both in quality of ingredients and in taste. Sure, they’re still loaded with way too much salt, but this line of 1/3-pound burgers made with 100% Angus beef are easily the best thing I’ve ever had from the world’s most popular burger chain. The Angus Bacon and Cheese has a default topping list of American cheese, bacon, red onion, pickles, ketchup and mustard. I give credit to McDonald’s for the red onion, which has never been anything less than crisp and fresh when I’ve ordered it. Also, the sesame seed buns they use for these sandwiches have always been bakery fresh. I have yet to get a hard, stale bun.
There are two other varieties of Angus burgers if you prefer: the Angus Deluxe (lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, pickles and mayo), and the Angus Mushroom and Swiss (sautéed mushrooms, swiss cheese and mayo). These burgers cost a little more than the standard McDonald’s hamburgers, but the quality is so far above the usual Big Mac or Quarter Pounder with Cheese, that it’s easily worth it. Don’t get me wrong; these burgers will not make you forget all about the Thurman Café or anything. They are good for fast food burgers not made at In-n-Out. Here’s a pretty reliable critique of the entire Angus line.
Last week we lamented the lack of a good nationally available Indiana-brewed beer. Reader “Vinny” was kind enough to suggest the Sunlight Cream Ale from Sun King Brewing in Indianapolis, but I don’t believe that one is available far and wide. For what it’s worth, Sun King describes the Sunlight Cream Ale as “our most approachable beer,” which intrigues me to no end. Still, I can’t get that here so what to do, what to do. I suppose we could just get around that whole “picking a beer thing” this week because we’ll be doing something a little abnormal with our beer. In a move that should surprise no one at all, we’re making boilermakers.
A boilermaker, aside from an annoying engineering student from the barren wastelands of Tippecanoe County, Indiana, is also a shot of whisky and a beer. I don’t consider a boilermaker a single drink if you use the beer to chase the whisky. I believe a real boilermaker comes to fruition when you drop the whisky into the beer. Sometimes this is also known as a Depth Charge. The concept here is so simple that it won’t even require any links. Buy the whisky and beer of your choice. Pour a beer and a shot of whisky. Drop the whisky into the beer and drink that bad boy. It’s just that simple. I don’t normally lobby against chugging where boilermakers are concerned, however, we want you to survive the tailgate and enjoy Ohio State’s rise to 8-0. And, you know, to simply survive. Ramzy actually calls this drink the obvious #SituationalBourbon for this week. It really is the most no-brainer of all time.
If you leave Purdue University in West Lafayette and cross the Wabash River into Lafayette, you’ll find the birthplace of one William Bruce Rose, Jr. That’s right: the metropolitan statistical area of Lafayette, Indiana gave us some jerk named Axl Rose. I don’t know the man personally, just the douchey, prima donna reputation, which may or may not be intentional and/or manufactured. However, I do know that he had a history of being arrested more than 20 times in Lafayette, which was at least partly responsible for his relocation to Los Angeles in 1982. I also know that his band Guns N Roses—which also featured fellow Lafayette native Jeffrey Dean Isbell (a.k.a. Izzy Stradlin)—put out a tour de force debut album in 1987, called Appetite for Destruction.
Appetite went platinum an incredible 18 times over and perched firmly at the top of the Billboard 200 album charts in 1988 and 1989. The album spawned four hit songs, including No. 1 single “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” written about Rose’s then-girlfriend, and the sporting event staple, “Welcome to the Jungle.” The latter track gets me “so hype” as the kids say today. However, the album also contains one of the most overrated songs in the history of rock and/or roll music, “Paradise City.” Honestly, just the repetitive chorus of that song could drive a man to a tri-state killing spree. Still, in a tailgating environment where you’re more interested in volume and vibe than intent listening, you’ll probably be OK. Enjoy the game, and enjoy the video for “Welcome to the Jungle,” below.