Gridiron Gourmet: Top 5 Tailgating Picks from San Diego's Best Butchers

August 25, 2012

For rabid fans across San Diego County, the coming of September means one thing: football season - aka tailgate season! Back in the day, tailgate parties were simple affairs, but as years passed, menus and setups evolved. San Diego’s one-stop shop for all your culinary tailgate needs, Iowa Meat Farms & Siesel’s Meats, has dished out their top five picks for the gourmet griller - promising to make your tailgate spread the most talked about grub at the game!

Winners of “Best Meat Shop" from San Diego Magazine and the San Diego Reader, Siesel’s Old Fashioned Meats and Iowa Meat Farms have offered the utmost in quality meats, poultry, game and accompanying ingredients, condiments and beverages for a combined 73 years. Natives of Sioux City, Iowa, the Cohn family opened Iowa Meat Farms in 1982. Their objective was to offer San Diego the same quality meats they had known in their heartland home. Success was immediate as Midwesterners flocked to their Mission Gorge location.

Marv Siesel established Siesel’s Old-Fashioned Meats & Deli in Bay Park in 1968. Born and raised in the meat business in Ohio, Marv’s reputation for both quality and service was unsurpassed. Upon his retirement, the natural successor to his legacy was Iowa Meat Farms. Marv passed the baton to the Cohn family in 2003.

Check out the top recipes from San Diego's most well-renowned butchers:

1. Wings Gone Wild
Besides being the ultimate finger food, chicken wings are a staple for any self-respecting football spread. Iowa Meat Farms & Siesel’s have you covered with their abundance of flavor selections including Hot & Spicy, Sweet & Sour, Korean Style, Bourbon Dijon, and Black Pepper.  Pre-seasoned and ready to grill, pop these babies right on the BBQ for instant success!

INSIDER TIP! Be sure to turn the chicken wings every few minutes until the meat is not pink in the center.  This will usually take about 16 to 18 minutes total.  You’ll know the wings are close to being done when you see bubbles forming underneath the skin.

2. Pinwheels
Colorful & packed with flavor, these delicious easy-to-grill nuggets make for great shared appetizers and are guaranteed to be devoured by adults and children alike. Siesel’s carries a killer flank steak pinwheel rolled up with provolone cheese, prosciutto and spinach….are you hungry yet?

INSIDER TIP! Turn your sliced flank steak pinwheels after two to four minutes on med high heat for a med rare finish, but be careful not to dislodge the stuffing! For sliced pinwheels, you may want to use a spatula for turning.

3. Handcrafted Housemade Sausages & Brats
Nix the prepackaged weenies and grab a handful of IMF & Siesel’s authentic sausages and brats for the grill, made in house fresh by the meat masters themselves! Both stores make a mean mouthwatering Polish sausage, bratwurst, Italian sausages, bourbon sausage, chorizo, Cajun sausage, and the popular fan favorite, chicken and sun-dried tomato basil.

INSIDER TIP! Siesel's and Iowa Meat Farms recommends pairing brats and sausages with artisanal mustards to enhance the flavor.  Butcher’s picks? Champagne Garlic and Hong Kong Habanero mustards from Sono Trading company. Also available for sale at both store location.

4. Fresh Turducken
While raising eyebrows, the Turducken has begun to take the gourmet tailgating world by storm! In honor of legendary coach John Madden’s fixation with the de-boned chicken stuffed into a de-boned duck stuffed into a de-boned turkey, it's safe to say that the Turducken reigns as the king of all tailgating grub. Luckily for you, IMF & Siesel’s offers San Diego’s only fresh, farm-quality Turducken made exclusively behind the counter in their specialty meat locker.  IMF & Siesel’s can whip up one of their fresh Turduckens given four days notice, or you can easily pick up a frozen bird in-store on a whim!

Turducken Sizing:
Small Turducken –15lbs. (feeds approximately 16 people)
Large Turducken - 20lbs. (feeds up to 30 people)
Turducken Roll with white meat – 8 – 10lbs. (feeds approximately 10 people)

INSIDER TIP! Due to the length of time it take to fully cook the Turducken, IMF & Siesel’s meat masters suggest cooking the Turducken at home in the oven. To heat up at the game, set the Turducken on aluminum foil, so it does not stick to the grill; or set in an aluminum pan. Then, simply carve & enjoy!

5. Ribs, ribs, and more ribs
Cooking the most succulent, fall-off-the-bone ribs may require a few hours of preparation, but it's divine finish will surely make it all worth it! IMF & Siesel’s offer rib fanatics quite a selection with their top of the line Berkshire pork, baby back & spare ribs.

INSIDER TIP! Ribs need HEAT to be tender and juicy! As they cook, the meat starts to shrink away from the bones. When you see the tips of the bone begin to appear, they are ready.

To accurately reproduce these favorites, you should get the highest quality meats from Siesel's or Iowa Meat Farms.  Siesel’s Old Fashioned Meats’ 6,000 square foot retail space is located at 4131 Ashton Street. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. Iowa Meat Farms’ 6,400 square foot shop is located at 6041 Mission Gorge Road and hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. (They are open 9am until 7pm, Fridays and Saturdays from Memorial Day through Labor Day). Both locations are closed on Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

For more information, call Iowa Meat Farms at (619) 281-5766, Siesel’s Old Fashioned Meats at (619) 275-1234 or visit