Some of the best tailgaters among the 49ers Faithful faced off before last week’s win against Arizona for the right to be named “Tailgater of Year” presented by Jack Daniel’s.
After the trio of judges, former 49ers receiver Dwight Clark, Coco500 restaurant owner Loretta Keller and team chef Chad McWilliams, surveyed the nine finalists, Smokin J’s Tailgate won “Tailgater of the Year” honors. View a photo galley from the competition.
“It’s awesome, it’s crazy,” winner John Lessard said, fitted in an all-Niners apron and chef hat. “The energy is just crazy.”
Lessard and his friends caught the judges’ attention with their well-crafted menu, flavorful food and energy. Then there was the antique smoker, which was about five-feet tall, that they used to cook the meat to perfection.
“I think this was the secret weapon,” fellow tailgater John Cale said, pointing to the smoker.
According to Ryan Abel, the winning tailgate was serving smoked New York strip steak with pear wood in an old family barrel that was built about 50 years ago. It was that unique, smoky flavor which ultimately swayed Clark and the judges. Clark, who caught The Catch from Joe Montana more than 30 years ago, was a popular member among the tailgate finalists on Sunday.
“He was great,” Lessard said. “It looked like he was enjoying it and it was great to meet him. It was a good competition.”
Vice versa, the judges enjoyed their day roaming around the Candlestick Park parking lot getting free food and drinks from the nine “Tailgater of the Game” winners from the 2012 season.
“Eating free food that’s awesome,” Clark said. “And every little tent I go to, somebody’s handing me a drink. I’ve got a TV show to do!”
Ultimately, there was only one winner, but everyone in attendance was happy to take part in the world-class tailgating, sharing laughs and food with friends and making new ones.
“It’s great. Beautiful day,” said 49ers Corporate Sales Executive Tyson Lamp said. “There’s a lot of good shrimp, lot of good burgers, lot of great food to try.”
Posted in Announcements | 9 Comments »