Tailgating with Joe Drozda: Preparing for the season

This spicy chicken salad recipe is a hit for everyone. (Submitted photo)

This spicy chicken salad recipe is a hit for everyone. (Submitted photo)

By Joe Drozda and Bob Bley

The summer season is waning and one can observe the fields getting ready for harvest even though the temperatures still soar. If you look at the twilight, you notice it arrives earlier than back in June. Here in August the almanac is already predicting a cold winter. All this means one important thing, summer is almost over and football season is approaching.

How long has it been since you thought of going to a football game? How long has it been since you looked at your tailgating equipment? Well, now it’s time to get ready.

Here are some ideas to get your thinking process started:

  • Get your equipment out of storage and make a checklist to evaluate it for sanitation and serviceability.
  • Is there something you need to replace or even eliminate?
  • Check for end of summer bargains. This time of year cookout and camping gear (tailgate equipment) generally goes on season-ending sales.

Buffalo Chicken Salad Sandwiches

You’ll have the approval from the under-40 crowd with this spicy chicken salad. Older folks can tone it down by topping the salad with ranch dressing or dip. It’s a big favorite for early-season lunch or dinner.


2 tablespoons cooking oil

1 ½ pounds cooked chicken, shredded or chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Sea Salt and ground black pepper

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon French’s Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot sauce

1 cup tomato sauce

1 cup chicken stock

8 buns

8 oz. pkg. Blue Cheese

Dill Pickle Slices


Heat a large skillet with oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and celery, onions and garlic, season with salt and black pepper, simmer for eight minutes. In a side bowl combine vinegar, sugar, Worcestershire, hot sauce, tomato sauce and stock. Pour into the pan and stir to combine. Simmer a few minutes more until the mixture is as thick as you like. Spoon this Buffalo Chicken Salad filling onto buns. Top with blue cheese and pickles if you like.

Joe Drozda is the author of “The Tailgater’s Handbook” (McGraw Hill) is considered as the “Father of American Tailgating.” His web site is www.tailgatershandbook.com. He is a resident of Hamilton County.