Best Tailgating Cooks in Denver
At every tailgating event, you can find chefs from all different backgrounds whipping up their favorite recipes for the famished tailgating fans. Here’s the dish on the delicious grub grilling up, cooling down and getting passed around at every Broncos home game in Denver.
You will find this cook personality circling his grill and prep stations, peacefully tending the smoky grub. With fresh veggies and herbs chopped up on a cutting board and the marinated meat sizzling away on the grill, the specialist hums about his activity easing in and out of conversation. Carlos Guerrero, a tailgating chef for the past three years, calmly turns his marinated skirt steak, a recipe of fresh herbs, spicy peppers and of course, a secret ingredient he wouldn’t share. Carlos says he works with a special system when it comes to grilling, “It’s about the length of time. After marinating the meat overnight, I put it in a smoker for two hours, and then wrap it up for an hour and a half.” His must-have at tailgating events is hardwood charcoal, as it makes for more controlled cooking and adds flavor. Carlos celebrates his holiday season with bacon-wrapped turkey breast.
This cook is all about the mainstays – burgers, brats, wings, etc. You will find the traditionalist with a beer in hand, chatting up the crowd and flipping the grub for those perfect grill marks. This cook keeps the grill in order, using the racks to his cooking advantage. Jay “The HatMan” Hocking keeps a gas-powered blender on hand for every tailgating event and it looks like a fierce machine. With a lawn-mower-style pull cord, he rips the blender into a roaring frenzy, crushing and blending margaritas for the ladies at the party. As any traditionalist cook will tell you, the event is about friends, family and friendly strangers. You keep them happy with foods that will not fail and leave the rest to simply hanging out.
The Team Players
You won’t find this cook set flying solo as it takes a team effort to put on this kind of show. The Team Players are cooks that double up and knock out the grub tag-team style. You will find them grill to grill, flipping, turning and grinning. It’s the best buddy system around. Two chefs that get together to tackle the food every home game are Sonny and Joseph Juarez. They’ve been hitting the tailgate lots since 1977, grilling up family recipes for big crowds. These brothers get together for every home game, cooking and serving food to friends and family, saying, “We love to do it. We usually serve over 100 people. We just like to get together with family and friends.” Sonny boasts, “We changed our menu from hot dogs and hamburgers, and ever since we changed it to Mexican food, it’s been overwhelming.” Their friends and family line up cafeteria style while the brothers plate and smother their famous Mexican hamburgers. This family recipe draws in the crowds and Joseph boasts, “They don’t even have tickets to the game, they just show up for this,” holding up a plate with a tortilla-wrapped hamburger patty smothered in green chili and topped with cheddar cheese. It’s a good thing these boys work together, for this recipe truly does draw a crowd.
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Michelle Perez is a freelance writer covering all things Denver. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.