Howard Homecoming tailgating scene heats up

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Howard University’s homecoming game against Morgan State University on Saturday set the scene for many festivities. Among the thousands who thronged to the campus for the playing, as many attendants were there to partake of the music, fashion and social scene. One lesser known element of the afternoon is now garnering greater notice — the Howard Homecoming tailgating cook-out.

“Smoke was, without question, the primary ingredient at the Howard tailgate,” The Washington Post reports. “It hovered in the air, adding a distinct, woodsy aroma to all those cutting-edge fashions in the parking lot.”

Over 12 vendors paid $200 each to set up tents and serve up creative versions of traditional African-American southern dishes to an eager Howard Homecoming crowd. Grilling, deep frying, and of course smoking up a storm, D.C. area and regional cooks served up sumptuous delicacies to this stylish set.

“Hungry alumni, students or even curious passersby could sample widely from tables stacked with Louisiana gumbo, stuffed jalapenos wrapped in bacon, smoked porgy caught off the Massachusetts coast, fiery jerk chicken, slow-smoked bone-in pork shoulder, barbecued pork ribs rubbed with at least five seasonings, and, in apparent violation of the school’s tailgating rules prohibiting portable fryers, thin fillets of fried whiting and fried turkeys,” relates the Post.

Since launching its first tailgating extravaganza in 2008, Howard’s attraction has picked up steam significantly after an initially meager turnout. This annual event has since been recognized by Southern Living magazine as one of the 20 best pre-game tailgate parties in the country.

Couldn’t make it to D.C. last weekend? You can still enjoy some of the savory flavors shared on the asphalt by trying the unique recipes shared by soul food aficionados such as Keith Benn. This Howard alum’s seafood boil, descibed as “a pungent, Louisiana-style mixture of boiled red potatoes, corn on the cob, kielbasa, hard-cooked eggs and shrimp,” was just one of the interesting dishes on tap.

It’s creativity like Benn’s that has helped the Howard University tailgate gain recognition. “[I]t’s been growing every year,” Benn reflected.

Check out more great recipes for dishes from the Howard University tailgate on The Washington Post.

Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter at @lexisb.