As most of you know, West Virginia University students and fans proudly claim a reputation as a “party school.” I prefer to see this as a good thing, as good times are always had in Morgantown, or with WVU people in general.
To enhance the fun, this season, I would like to help you plan a tailgate menu based on the weekly opponent. I’ll try to give an entree, a side dish, a dessert and a party drink in each menu to make sure all your bases are covered. With this, you’ll never lose a tailgate.
Week 1 features the University of Missouri, which is located smack-dab in the middle of the state, between two distinct cuisine styles. Kansas City style is heavily dependent on barbecue, while St. Louis has a variety of unique dishes. Included in all this is the fact that Missouri is probably the very much like West Virginia culturally, with the Ozarks in the southern half of the state.
The other factor for this tailgate menu is that it’s a noon kickoff. This means breakfast food. With all these factors, here is my Smoking Musket Tailgate Week 1 Menu:
Sausage Breakfast Casserole
This combines two things that we in Appalachia will love: sausage and biscuits. Missourians are also lovers of sausage and biscuits, so let’s combine them into a casserole!
Pro tip: Make this ahead the day before, in a 9”x 13” aluminum baking pan so you can heat it up on the grill the day of.
Take a tin of biscuits, then cut each biscuit into 6 pieces, layer them on the bottom of the pan. Brown and crumble a pound of your favorite breakfast sausage and then layer it on top of the biscuits. Now, add a handful shredded cheese. Beat half a dozen eggs and some milk together, add a handful of cheese to that and pour to fill up the pan. Lastly, sprinkle cheese on top of all that.
This is actually delicious, having had this many times before. The biscuits provide a good base to hold everything and add sweetness to an otherwise rich dish.
Pro tips: Do not use sweet sausage and add dried herbs to your egg mixture.
This is a thing in St. Louis, to the point that it’s featured on many Food Network shows and is probably the first thing that comes up when you google, “St. Louis food” (it is, trust me). It’s as simple as it sounds: ravioli breaded and fried.
Take frozen ravioli, dunk it in egg, dredge it in flour, dunk it again in the egg and then coat in seasoned breadcrumbs. Fry them in a pot with a few cups of oil.
It should take about 30 minutes. You can make this either while your guests are eating the casserole or you can cook these on-site while the casserole is also heating up.
Pro tip: Use an outdoor fryer instead of a pot on the grill.
Gooey Butter Cake
The sweet treat of St. Louis, gooey butter cake tastes exactly how it sounds. It combines two types of butter and lots of sugar. Some, even Missourian, say it’s “too sweet,” but it’s definitely the dessert of the Show-Me State. Besides, every brunch needs a sweet dish!
Gooey butter cake is actually pretty easy to make. It has three layers: butter, cake batter, cream cheese and eggs.
Pro tip: Serve it warm and with fruit on top.
Budweiser is from St. Louis, brewed by Anheuser-Bush for 140 years. It’s synonymous with the city and even has its name above the stadium of the city’s beloved baseball team. Drink it up. Also, it’s a noon kickoff, so don’t get crazy with the drinks yet.
A noon kickoff is always tough to set up for, so make sure you do as much prep as you can the night before. I remember a few mornings before noon games where I showed up in the Blue Lot at 7 a.m. to claim my spot and set up.
Remember to carry on the tradition of WVU tailgating for our SEC friends as they come into town. Show them how we have a good time, no matter the reason.