Tailgating touchdowns, with The Jets' Calvin Pace
Calvin Pace's profession is athletic. His hobby is culinary.
Football season starts Thursday, and even if you don’t know the difference between a quarterback and a running back, there’s a reason to get into pigskin: the food.Tailgating is a time-honored tradition, so we turned to the New York Jets’ No. 97, Calvin Pace, for tips. A self-described food aficionado, the linebacker knows his way around the kitchen. “I started cooking early, about 10 or 11 years old, coming home from school. And for some reason I always liked watching the Food Network,” Pace said. While his teammates tend to go for traditional food like Applebee’s and T.G.I. Friday’s when they’re out to eat, he’s always up for something a bit more adventurous. “I’ll try anything once,” he said. “When everyone’s getting California rolls, I’m getting sea urchin.” Whether you’re going the traditional route and cooking in a parking lot pre-game, or doing a tailgating-themed meal at home, you’ll want to heed Pace’s advice on pre-game grub.
Playing it safe
Pace suggests classic barbecue dishes such as ribs when tailgating. “I strongly recommend using charcoal if possible when grilling just so you get that good smoky flavor,” he said.
He suggested using a good dry rub or homemade sauce to give ribs a kick.
“In North Carolina, where I went to school, they make a vinegar-based barbecue sauce. That’s always good,” he said.
“My all-time favorite food is a good slab of ribs with a nice homemade sauce and a cold beer. Ribs kind of put me in the tailgating spirit,” Pace said.
“I really like the Cajun theme that people in Mississippi and Louisiana use because they do a lot with crab boil and incorporate seafood,” he said. “Even though BBQ is the norm for tailgating, a good crab boil is a good change of pace,” the Georgia native said, recommending blue crabs, corn and potatoes.
“More than anything it’s like if you get a group of people, you want something that brings them all together,” Pace said.
Football and food go hand-in-hand
Pace said both his profession and hobby require trial and error.
“When we practice during the week and when I cook for myself during the week it's the time when I try different things that I normally wouldn't try, and whatever works I continue to use and whatever doesn't work I throw out. Ultimately, when it's game time or time to make a great meal for other people, I have a plan in place,” he said.
RECIPE: Calvin Pace-approved spiced braised short ribs
1/6 cup peeled ginger
3 item cloves garlic
1 item bottle Guinness stout
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/3 tablespoon Hungarian paprika
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1/2 tablespoon dried ginger
1/2 tablespoon whole allspice ground
1/4 tablespoon black pepper ground
1/4 cup canola oil
1/8 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
1/2 item sprig rosemary leaves
2/3 tablespoon kosher salt
2 pound bone in beef short ribs
2 cup chicken broth
In a blender grind the ginger, garlic, and beer to a paste then add coriander, dried ginger, allspice. Heat the canola oil over medium heat and when the oil gets hot add paste, constantly stirring until the paste becomes thick (5-8 mins.). When the paste becomes thick remove from heat and let cool. With the cool paste add ketchup, maple syrup, thyme, rosemary, and salt and combine with ribs in a dish to let marinate for 1 day. After marinating, place short ribs in a crock pot for 4-6 hours. Serve with your favorite vegetables or side dish.