The Grillin Fools went down to the dome downtown St. Louis for the Mizzou/Illinois border war game on September 5th.  We hauled down four grills, 15 slabs of ribs, 20 pounds of chicken, five fatties, close to 300 bacon wrapped stuffed peppers, and enough ingredients for about 100 crostinis.  I realize that doesn’t really make us all that different than other tailgaters but what makes us fairly unique is that we gave it all away.

After a quick and very expensive trip to Sam’s we went to my folk’s place and started prepping the ribs.  Tom was skinning and slicing the slabs in half:


My dad was doing the rubbing:


Let’s get back to the skinning first.  Lots of people have a hard time with this.  It’s a little tough the first time you do it but in no time you will be a master like my cousin Tom.  Check this out:

We did the ribs with two different rubs.  The first was dad’s standard rub which can be found here and the other was a commercial rub called Bad Byron’s Butt Rub:



We made up about 300 bacon wrapped stuffed peppers more commonly referred to as Atomic Buffalo Turds (ABT’s) which filled six gallon ziplocks.  An ABT is simply a pepper sliced lengthwise in half, filled with cream cheese with a little smoky (cocktail weiner) placed on top, wrapped with a half slice of bacon and stabbed with a toothpick to keep them in place.  They take about 30-40 minutes indirect on a 250-275 degree grill.  Click here to see more detail on how to make ABT’s but check out below as we have added another step that was dynamite. Here is all the food other than the fatties in a gigantic cooler:


We took enough ingredients down to the tailgate to make about 100 crostinis but only made about half of that.  Making that many takes time and they can’t really be made ahead of time.  You can click here to see how to make crostinis. I apologize for the bad pics.  I will try to take some new pics of the process with the new cam and update the post.  I was so busy churning these things out that I had no time to take any pics down at the event of the crostinis themselves.  So just take my word for it!?!

We also served up close to 20 pounds of chicken breasts marinaded in  Tobago Keys Steakman Marinade.  I know it’s a steak marinade but it’s better on chicken.  We brushed on more marinade after they cooked for a little while to add to the flavor.  Here is the chicken cooking indirect with some ABT’s:


I didn’t get any shots of the fatties either.  But how I made them was I took 1 pound of breakfast maple sausage, added 1/3 of a gala apple minced, a couple thin slices of vidalia onion (also minced), two heaping teaspoons of minced garlic and a few turns of cracked black pepper in a bowl and mixed the ingredients all together.  Then I dusted the outside with a rub of granulated garlic, brown sugar, paprika, and black pepper.  They take just as long as ribs to cook indirect.  If you are going for a six hour smoke of ribs at 225 or a two hour smoke at 275 for the ribs it will take the fatty the same amount of time.  Here are a couple other Fatty Recipes:

Cheese stuffed and yellow pepper and corn stuffed

More fatties

So where did we tailgate?  We were in the Holiday Inn Select parking lot just west of the Dome and America’s Center on 9th.  The exact address is – 811 North 9th St. That lot has more than 300 spots in but thanks to a good buddy, Dan W., I have this little picture showing you exactly were we had our 10’X10′ awning, grills, and food set up:

Tailgate Location

That pic above was taken on a nice bright, sunny day.  That was not the case on the 5th.  We showed up at 8 a.m. and set up shop in this mess:


It rained nonstop for about four hours.  But that didn’t stop us from grillin, chillin and thrillin:

How about some ABT’s:


The above was the first batch as I wanted to try something new.  We had three different types of peppers, well two kinds, one of which was in two different stages of ripeness.  We had these monster green jalapenos (you can see one on the far right above with two pieces of bacon wrapped around it as we made them into double ABT’s that we sliced in half to serve), regular red jalapenos and baby bell peppers (look for the orange peppers above).

I was worried that the red jalpenos would be hotter than the rest so I decided to put a little brown sugar on the top to counter the spiciness of the pepper.  I got the idea from a coworker, Bryan, who wraps little smokies in bacon and covers in brown sugar for a side dish at office pot lucks.  Well, the peppers were not any hotter but the brown sugar was a real hit.  I wasn’t sure how to make these things better but brown sugar did the trick.  After we sampled these, time to go into mass production mode:


Now on to some ribs.  One hour in on a the old work horse Charbroil:


Skin browning up, blood oozing from the bones (sounds gross but it means they are cooking) and a nice temp of about 275.

Now over to the brinkman:


Still pink and holding only at about 200.  Both grills got a chimney full of lit charcoal and a couple chunks of wood.  The charbroil held the heat better.  The lesson here is to not assume that two very similar grills with similar set ups will cook the same.  Don’t rely too much on temps and times.  Let the meat tell you how fast it is cooking and when it is done.

These were getting close to being done when some friends from Red Bud Illinois showed up to enjoy some tailgating:


Above we have from left to right Angie, Eric, Clinton, Mike and Krysta Kelley.  The food has to be good to get people to come down early in this weather.

Here we have Tom and Dad doing a little quality control before sending Mom out to deliver food to the masses – at this point not a whole lot of people were leaving the comfort of their tents and awnings:


You want an idea of how wet it was?  Look at Tom’s pant leg above.  It is soaked to just below the knee.

Funniest thing I saw all day, well other than the University of Illinois get housed, was this guy:


Did you check out that umbrella?


How about a closeup of that umbrella:


Yeap, that’s a pink Dora the Explorer umbrella that barely covers his head!!

The coolest thing I saw all day was this:


That thing was bad to the bone.  Another close up:


That meat wagon had a big smoker on one side, long gas grill on another, warming stations and the cab of a semi on the front with police sirens and insanely loud horns to let everyone know when the BBQ was ready to go.  Oh, and how about that huge built in awning!!  Yeah, the Grillin Fools had some serious grill envy.

Here are some pics of people who walked up to sample our wares and talk BBQ:


Ribs are done:


And here they come:


My best friend Chad, in the blue Illinois shirt in the middle below and my oh so mature father with the rabbit ears behind him.  The rest are a testament to what good BBQ can do.  It can unite those from both sides of any line:


A little washers going on:


I think this sums up how good the ribs were:


And this fine gentleman posing with his lovely wife posts on forums as rustymkl2.  He spent most of the day tailgating himself.  He was raving out the rib eye steak sammiches he made when he wandered over to chat with us.  For details on how to make the sammiches check in here:


And here we are the three grillin fools.  After a long wet day, the food is gone and we’re about ready to tear everything down and head over to the game.  Tom on the left in the white apron, Dad on the right in the black apron with the orange shirt, and me right next to him in my Mizzou jersey.  But most importantly is Mom in the middle with her arms crossed.  Special thanks to her for canvasing the lot handing out samples and business cards to the throngs there.  And doing so barefoot because her shoes were soaked:


Grilling is done and now it’s time to head to the game.  Here I am with my new hat (thanks Chad, did it have to be one with gray hair?) and of course my game face on:


Waiting in line to get into the dome.  Here are the things you can’t bring in:


Wait, what the hell was that?


Wait.  Wha?!?  This needs to be specifically spelled out?  How many missile toters get to this sign and turn around all dejected since their missiles are on the prohibited list?

In our seats:


That would be, from the left, myself, Chad, Art and Lauren.  Only myself and Lauren will be happy when the game is over.

Pictures of the field from our seats:


I think Illinois was about to turn it over in that pic.  But the Illinois Band was really good:


A little more revelry after the game:


You can follow our grillin revelry on our Facebook page or on Twitter

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas, the Original Grillin’ Fool, was sent off to college with a suitcase and a grill where he overcooked, undercooked and burned every piece of meat he could find. After thousands of failures, and quite a few successes, nearly two decades later he started a website to show step by step, picture by picture, foolproof instructions on how to make great things out of doors so that others don’t have to repeat the mistakes he’s made on the grill.
Scott Thomas

@GrillinFool - #GrillPorn abounds here. All meat, all the time!
My absolute favorite meat/cut is the lamb rack. This may be the prettiest I've ever seen! … - 6 hours ago
Scott Thomas

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Go Illini

Giving it away??? I remember my Mom giving the opposite advice to my sister.

Does this imply a catering business in the making???


Not sure if we are going to go the catering route. But it was a great time giving it away and meeting and greeting so many people!!

Where’d the video go? Says it’s removed. Love your guys posts. You inspired me to leave the gas grilling for speed situations only and move to cooking on a Weber charcoal grill. Am completely hooked now. Livin in AZ, I miss the great pork steaks from Schnucks we’d grill every summer. keep the great content coming.

Go M-I-Z-Z-O-U !!!!!!!!!!


Looked like good stuff Scotty. I got to say I thought my ribs looked good when they were ready to serve but I think you have me beat.


I love heat so I am going to have to try the ABT’s this weekend. Thanks for the tip on the brown shugah. 🙂

Nice work.


Great job guys !! Keep up the good work, you got my mouth watering and stomach growling already !!


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