Tailgating prior to a football game is an established tradition throughout the country. I recently traveled back to Oxford, Mississippi, to get the lowdown on tailgating from a group of pros: the “Yoste Circle of Family and Friends.” I had the pleasure of joining this eclectic cluster of football fans for their tailgate party before the Texas A&M-Ole Miss game.
The robust Geoffrey Yoste and his lovely wife, Julie, welcomed my friends and me with open arms. The Yoste family has been gathering in the same tailgating spot in The Grove, the legendary tailgating area on the Ole Miss campus, for many years. With a core group of 50 family members, it is not surprising that at some of the games they have 200 guests throughout the day. It is the perfect place to watch fans of all ages—and both teams—come and go. It was a special treat to meet Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, who brought Texas Governor Rick Perry to the celebration. They had a grand time greeting the fans from both teams and it was great to see them relaxed before the big game.
Governor Bryant, Cindy Edwards, and Governor Perry.
Tailgating of this magnitude requires major organization. The entire Yoste family is very involved in keeping this tradition going. Everyone has a “specialty:” Colonel Florian Yoste and his sweet wife, Jesse, bring all of the paper products; cousin Jessica always brings her delicious pimento cheese sandwiches; and they can always count on Uncle Bill to pick up the fried chicken. Geoffrey Yoste used to do the setup, but now he hires a company to set-up and break down the tent.
Ole Miss tailgates are known for their beautiful tents, tablecloths and flower arrangements. Jesse Yoste always brings cute table accessories, and Julie Yoste supplies the floral arrangement. For this particular weekend, she created a beautiful arrangement of oak leaf hydrangeas that she gathered from her yard.
I enjoyed sampling all of the delicious food. My particular favorite was the “Yoste Roast.” It is a staple at Yoste tailgates, and unlike some cooks, Julie Yoste loves to share this recipe that she received from a dear friend many years ago. She calls it “comfort food with a kick.” It is delicious and super easy!
1 English roast (also called a chuck arm roast, cross rib roast or chuck eye roast)
1 package of dry Good Seasons Italian dressing
1 jar of pepperoncini peppers (with juice)
Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Serve on toasted French bread with provolone cheese.
Here are a few tips for creating the perfect tailgate
1.Organize your group and divide the responsibilities.
e. Paper products
2. Create a menu that is easy and will appeal to a crowd.
a. Fried chicken
d. Fruit and cheese
3. Prepare for inclement weather. Take a few extra towels and sets of rain gear.
4. Have fun!!
Traditions like tailgating keep us close to the ones that we love. As Julie Yoste says, “There are so many wonderful things to say about The Grove: family, tradition, memories, wins, losses, food, fellowship, cocktails, cheers and big family hugs!”
I would like to extend a special thanks to all of my new friends at Texas A&M and at Ole Miss. The hospitality was simply amazing!!
As always, thanks for reading.
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Join Paula and family for a Party at Sea aboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas to Labadee, Jamaica, and Cozumel (roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale) presented by Alice Travel. We will be having special, separate events for kids on this one with Jack Deen hosting the kids program! Click here for more information, and please note that the Paula Deen cruise is only available by booking directly with Alice Travel Book now before the prices start going up on the cruise and air!