Football playoff season is here. If you’ve been lucky enough to score tickets to a game, please realize that there will be traffic. Lots of it. Schedule accordingly, and plan a thorough tailgate so at least you can enjoy the time stuck in the parking lot.

There may be blood

For example, if the beers you bring are not twist off, you will need a bottle opener. This mistake was made quite recently by a Food Thinkers contributor, and the results were much bloodier than necessary.

Also, if beers are part of the equation, forks and knives can be really cumbersome. Ever see someone try to use a knife and fork to cut up a slab of meat while tailgating? Honestly, it’s painful to watch them attempt to balance a grease-soaked paper plate on their lap and use futile plastic forks and knives to pierce thick steaks, and it’s embarrassing that they don’t yet realize a much better alternative is available.

In November on the Tailgate Gourmet we profiled a great gourmet sandwich that makes eating at the game much easier. This month we’re giving you a regional treat that can be enjoyed either on sliced bread, in a hoagie, or Atkins-style on skewers [skewers are not a recommended source of fiber].

Behold the mighty skewer

Meats on sticks … now there’s a solution to the knife-and-fork dilemma.

Spiedies (pronounced speedies) are a New York tradition. Quite simply, they’re marinated meats grilled on skewers — without the alternating vegetables you might see on certain kabobs.  Spiedies are very simple to make: marinate, grill (outdoor or indoor grills, either works just as well), and enjoy!

Go Bearcats!

Simple Spiedies
While spiedies are popular throughout central New York state, the Greater Binghamton, New York area claims them as their own. This small city near the New York/Pennsylvania border is home to Binghamton University, a school which, though not known for football, does have a notable Division I basketball team.

Please note that this spiedies recipe is appropriate for football or basketball tailgating.

Make them at home? Or at the game?

Fortunately, either way. If you’re going to a game that won’t let you have an open-flame grill, spiedies are easily made at home and transported. In fact, it will just allow the marinade flavor to penetrate the meat some more.

This spiedies recipe will require you to marinate the meat overnight, so plan accordingly.

Simple Spiedies


  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ⅔ cup salad oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • ⅓ cup vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon parsley flakes
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • juice of 1 lime or lemon
  • 1½ pound cubed meat (beef, venison, lamb, chicken, your call)


  1. Mix ingredients and marinate meat overnight.
  2. Place 3 or 4 cubes on a skewer and cook on barbeque or indoor grill.
  3. Serve with slices of Italian bread, on a hoagie, or straight up.