When it comes to planning and executing the perfect tailgate, planning and time management with regard to the menu is really important. I always strive to grill up as much as possible on site, but depending on equipment, what I want to cook, and how many people I have to feed, I also incorporate some items made ahead of time. The slow cooker, or crock pot, is a great tool for this. Utilizing a crock pot, I can load it up the night before, let it slow cook for 8-10 hours, then unplug and take the cooker with me tot he game where I can plug it into my generator or simple inverter hoked up to the car. Using the slow cooker, I have a great appetizer, side dish, or main dish hot and ready to go right from when I show up, leaving me more time and grill space for other dishes I want to serve.A quick note on slow cookers. I have one (actually a pair) of cookers made by Crock Pot. The one I have is actually wrapped in my team’s-the Jets-color and logo, take a look here. It is simple, has high/low/warm settings, a removable stoneware bowl, and latches to securely seal the pot for travel to your tailgate or party.
Today’s dish is a great example of something that works great as an appetizer, finger food, or main, kielbasa with brown sugar kraut. It only requires 4 ingredients, 4 of the staple men’s food groups (sausage, beer, kraut, brown sugar), next to no prep, and no real required cooking skills.
- Kielbasa, 2-3lbs. I used high quality fully cooked fresh made by Pulaski Meats in Linden NJ
- Beer, 1 can or bottle. I used Heineken, but feel free to experiment
- Sauerkraut, 1 pack (24-32 ounces) drained. In order of preference, refrigerated bag, glass jar, or canned
- Brown sugar, 1 cup
This is so simple, I am not going to spend a lot of time explaining,
- In a saucepan over medium heat dissolve brown sugar into beer and then put to the side.
- Cut kielbasa in chunks about 4 inches long, don’t stress the specifics here, and place into slow cooker.
- Dump kraut (you did drain it right dummy?) into cooker on top of sausage.
- Pour beer/sugar juice on top of your sausage/kraut mound of awesome.
- Cook on low for 8-10 hours.
There ya go, way to easy but way to delicious as well. once finished you can slice the kielbasa into smaller pieces and drop a box of toothpicks next to the crock pot for a self service appetizer. You could also leave a basket of small potato rolls next to the pot for sliders, or you could butterfly the links lengthwise and serve on hot dog buns.
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