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Smoking Musket Tailgate Menu: Youngstown State, featuring food you probably know

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Last week, I introduced to you this series of articles to help you plan a tailgate menu based on West Virginia's upcoming opponent. This week, we face the Youngstown State Penguins.

Youngstown State is located in Youngstown, Ohio, which is literally right across the border from New Bedford, Pennsylvania. It's a part of that Northeast Ohio/Western Pennsylvania culture that has a lot of carbs and a lot of German food. Because of this, we'll be eating a lot of foods that seem familiar.

Polish Boy Sandwich

Basically, this is Cleveland's attempt at a Primanti Bros' sandwich, but a hot dog version of the tower of culinary power. There are a number of ways to top this Northeast Ohio delicacy, but the main components of the sandwich are polish sausage, coleslaw and fries.

The tricky part to this sandwich is that you can choose to buy your toppings from the store, or you can make your own. Personally, I would buy your own toppings. Cook your fries on the grill like you would in the oven while you're also grilling your sausage. Then, put the sausage in the bun and pile on the slaw and fries.

Pro tip: This is a messy sandwich, so make sure everyone has tons of napkins available.



Yes, we ALL think of these "potato and cheese pillows of happiness" as a Pittsburgh tradition, but they are a traditional Polish dish. Even still, we're using a Yinzer recipe. These are a hit at tailgates. I would know. Also, they're easy to make in mass quantities, which you need.

Here is the recipe my tailgate partner-in-crime, Mary (who provided the above description), uses:

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 24-36 potato and cheese pierogis (buy the big bag of Mrs. T's from Sam's or whatever your favorite wholesaler is)
  • 1-2 sweet yellow onions depending on size (you can't have too much caramelized onion)
  • Begin to melt butter in pan. Add pierogis and onions. Cook the pierogis in them until light brown.

"Cook them the night before, put in metal tins, wrap in saran wrap so the butter soaks in," says Mary, the Paula Deen of tailgating.

Pro tip: Heat the pierogis using chafing pans and Sterno. It works.

Mini Oreo Cheesecakes

I struggled to think of a dessert that would be a good representation of the Youngstown State Penguins, but I choose these for two reasons: 1) Oreos are black and white like penguins and 2) everyone loves Oreos.

The great thing about these is that you have pre-made portions. Also, it's easy to do in a muffin tin because you don't have to be super careful with it like you would with a normal cheesecake.

Pro tip: Use gold and blue muffin/cupcake liners.


Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale

Youngstown is in the same culture and geographic location as Cleveland, so I'll attribute all qualities of that city to Youngstown. Because of this, I'm suggesting this amazing brewery with a beer name that pokes fun at its own city.

Again, this menu features a couple items to make ahead. We have a 2 p.m. kickoff, so you'll have plenty of time to set up all your equipment and really get to cooking. Offer the visitors from Youngstown some food and go win your tailgate.