For some, football tailgating at Louisiana State University can feel like a second job. I have referred to myself in the past as a professional tailgater, and I wasn’t kidding. I would devote well over 40 hours a week to an event that culminates with Saturday night in Death Valley.
Each opponent presents a new menu item for the Tiger fans who take the challenge of cooking the other team’s mascot seriously. When LSU plays the University of Florida, for example, you’re likely to see alligators roasting on spits, and the campus turns into Swine Central during a University of Arkansas Razorbacks game. But even when the opponent’s mascot isn’t worth eating, the LSU tailgaters don’t hold back with their culinary creations. Louisiana shrimp are always present and cooked about as many ways as Bubba told Forrest Gump. Oysters on the half shell are shucked on site, and some parties turn their barbecue pit into a chargrilled oyster station. Crabs come straight from the Gulf and into bowls of marinated crab claws ready to be devoured. Jambalaya, pastalaya, gumbo, red beans and rice, and more can be found stewing in cast-iron pots that feed legions of purple and gold devotees. The smell of campus on a game day is the perfect mixture of sizzling Holy Trinity and smoking meats. It is a place where people gather with a common purpose. They seek to enjoy the company of others, eat remarkable food, and cheer the Tigers to victory.
- 2 pounds cooked crab claws
- 2 (.7-ounce) envelopes Italian dressing mix
- 1 cup olive oil
- ½ cup white wine vinegar
- 6 tablespoons soy sauce
- ¼ cup minced garlic
- Place crab in a large resealable plastic bag; add dressing, oil, vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight, turning occasionally. Remove from marinade and serve.