Tennessee vs Ball St.

August 31, 2022

On Labor Day weekend, we kicked off the Crove Food Co. Tailgate Tour! Our first stop of 11 on the Tailgate Tour, was at UT Knoxville with the Tennessee Volunteers taking on Ball State in their season opener at Neyland Stadium. I could not have picked a better place to kick off the tour. UT Knoxville is a very special place to me and my wife. My wife is a UT Knoxville alumna, we got engaged in downtown Knoxville, and we are both huge Vols fans! We traveled to Knoxville the day before the game and scoped out where we wanted to set up the trailer the next morning. On game day we got up bright and early to go claim our spot and get groceries. We chose the perfect spot on the corner of Clinch and 14th St. This is where we also hope to be set up for the Tennessee vs. Florida game on September 24.

After we got the trailer unhitched and unloaded it was time to start cooking! We set up our spot with our Traeger, Big Green Egg, and Weber Kettle. Today’s recipe lineup includes Allegro Marinade Original Chicken Thighs and New York Strip, Smoked Spare Ribs, and Pig Shots.

The first thing we started prepping was the Allegro Marinade Original Chicken Thighs. We set those aside to marinate and kept them cold in our Orca Coolers. Next, we began working on the Smoked Spare Ribs. They take about 5.5 hours, so we had to get busy! We rubbed the ribs down with our Crove Pork Rub & Seasoning, and then get the smoker ready. We put the ribs on the Traeger and used Cowboy Charcoal Brand “Charcoal & Applewood” pellets to smoke them with.


Recipe for Smoked Spare Ribs



  1. Start by removing the membrane from the back of the ribs. Use a paper towel to help you do this. Use mustard or olive oil to act as a binder for the rub to stick to the meat. Liberally apply the pork rub to the meat and let it sit out at room temperature while you prepare your smoker to 250 degrees.
  2. Once the smoker is up to temperature, smoke the ribs for 3 hours over your preferred wood. Every 30 – 45 minutes, spray the ribs with apple juice or apple cider vinegar to keep them moist.
  3. After three hours, lay out two sheets of aluminum foil. Prepare a bed of butter, brown sugar, and honey on the bottom and lay your ribs over the bed. Add more honey, butter, and brown sugar to the top as well as a spray of apple juice.
  4. After 1.5-2 hours wrapped up, remove the ribs from the foil and place on the smoker. Reserve the liquid from the inside of the aluminum foil. Mix your favorite BBQ sauce with the juice from the aluminum foil to create a glaze and glaze the ribs. Let the glaze set on the ribs for 15-20 minutes and remove.
  5. Let the ribs rest for 10-15 minutes and enjoy!

Next up, we started working on the Pig Shots. These are great for a tailgate because they are a one bite treat and very easy to eat. We began slicing the sausage into bite sized coins and then wrapped the sausage in bacon and pinned it all together with a toothpick. The rim of the bacon allowed us to have a hole where we filled it with cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and our new Crove Fajita Rub & Seasoning.


Recipe for Pig Shots


  • 1 package Smoked Sausage
  • 1 package Bacon
  • 1, 8oz. block softened Cream Cheese
  • 1 cup Shredded Cheese
  • Crove Food Co. Fajita Rub & Seasoning
  • Maple Syrup
  • Other supplies: 1 large Ziplock baggie, toothpicks


  1. Preheat your smoker to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Remove your smoked sausage from the packaging and with a knife slice the smoked sausage into 1/2-inch round slices.
  3. Remove the bacon from packaging and with a knife slice the bacon in half lengthwise.
  4. Gather toothpicks, smoked sausage, and bacon. Using one piece of bacon and one piece of sausage, roll the bacon around the outside of the smoked sausage round. Use one toothpick to stick through the outside of the bacon all the way through the sausage and back out the other side. The rim of the bacon should stick up above the sausage creating a “bowl” for the cream cheese mixture to go in. Complete this step until all rounds of smoked sausage have been wrapped in bacon.
  5. In a medium sized bowl, mix one block of softened cream cheese, 1 cup of shredded cheese, and a few shakes of fajita rub. Mix all together with a spatula.
  6. Open a large Ziplock baggie. Using the spatula, scoop all the cream cheese mixture into the bottom of the baggie. Use your hands on the outside of the baggie to work all the mixture into one bottom corner of the baggie. Remove all the air and seal the baggie.
  7. Using scissors, cut one small corner of the baggie.
  8. Squeeze the cream cheese mixture into the top “bowls” of the bacon/sausage rounds.
  9. Place on smoker for around 50 minutes, or until the bacon is fully cooked.
  10. For the last 10 minutes of cooking, drizzle the tops of the Pig Shots with maple syrup.
  11. Serve and enjoy!

After we cooked the Pig Shots, we started marinating the New York Strip steaks in Allegro Marinade Original. We only wanted them to marinate for about an hour. We put the steaks back in the Orca Cooler to keep them cold while they marinated. While the steaks were marinating, we grilled the Allegro Marinade Original Chicken Thighs over GrillGrates on our Weber Kettle. The GrillGrates custom fit to our Weber Kettle. GrillGrates are perfect for cooking any meat on. They provide a more direct, high heat cook, give the meat beautiful grill marks, and make your meat so juicy! We had the Cowboy Charcoal Briquettes blazing hot and we got perfect grill marks on the chicken thighs from the GrillGrates. These are a cheap and delicious way to feed a bunch of people.


Recipe for Allegro Marinade Original Chicken Thighs



  1. In a Ziplock bag, marinate the chicken thighs in Allegro Original Marinade for 2-12 hours in a refrigerator or cooler.
  2. Remove the steaks from the marinade and season with the poultry rub 30 minutes prior to grilling.
  3. Light your charcoal chimney with Cowboy Charcoal briquettes and prepare the grill for very hot, direct grilling. Place your GrillGrates over the center of the grill.
  4. Once the grill is hot, place the chicken thighs on the GrillGrates. Cook for about 5-6 minutes per side turning the chicken thighs 90 degrees when you flip them.
  5. Cook until the chicken thighs reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit internal temperature.
  6. Remove the chicken thighs and enjoy!

The last thing for us to cook is our Allegro Marinade Original New York Strips. They were marinated in Allegro Original for about 45-60 minutes, seasoned with the Crove Beef Rub & Seasoning and grilled over GrillGrates on the Weber Kettle.


Recipe for Allegro Marinade Original New York Strip


@crovefoodco We grilled some New York Strip over @grillgrate ♬ Love You So – The King Khan & BBQ Show


  1. In a Ziplock bag, marinate the steaks in the Allegro Original Marinade for 1-2 hours.
  2. Remove the steaks from the marinade and season with the beef rub 30 minutes prior to grilling.
  3. In a bowl, melt the butter and add 1 tablespoon Crove Food Co Beef Rub & Seasoning. Using butchers’ twine, tie the rosemary sprigs together to create a basting brush.
  4. Light your charcoal chimney with Cowboy Charcoal briquettes and prepare the grill for very. Hot, direct grilling. Place your GrillGrates over the center of the grill.
  5. Once the grill is hot, place the steaks on the GrillGrates. Cook for about 90 seconds and turn 90 degrees.
  6. Cook for about 90 more seconds and flip the steaks over.
  7. Begin basting the steak with the rosemary and butter while it cooks for about 90 more seconds.
  8. Turn the steak 90 degrees once more and cook until it reaches your preferred doneness.
  9. Remove the steaks, brush with the rosemary butter, and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing.


Before we knew it, it was game time! The day flew by. Everyone loved the food, and we enjoyed getting to hand out FREE samples to friends, family, and strangers who stopped by to visit. We stopped people’s cars to offer food and brought plates of food onto a crowded porch to share with some hungry college guys.

We had so much fun with the people around us and we polled people on how to properly pronounce “Worcestershire Sauce.” We loved getting to show off the products that we used for this stop: GrillGrates for our Weber Kettle, ORCA Cooler Hard side to keep all our food cold, Cowboy Charcoal and Applewood Pellets, Allegro Marinade Original flavor for a delicious flavor on our meats and playing cornhole on the Tennessee River Jam boards! We also got to showcase and cook with our new line of Crove Rubs & Seasonings which include Beef, Fajita, Poultry, and Pork and are finally available to order online! Shop at crovefood.com

We hope to see you at our next stop this weekend, September 17th at Arkansas as the Arkansas Razorbacks take on the Missouri State Bears. Make sure you are following along on our social media platforms where we will announce exactly where we are set up on Saturday morning. Stop by to tailgate with us and try out samples, play games, and hang out with our team!

– Crove Food Co.

Follow along with all this tasty Tailgate Tour has to offer by following @CroveFoodCo on TikTok