The Art of the Tailgate: Things That make Autumn into Fall

At my wedding, the preacher man said all a married couple really needs is a table, two chairs, and a bed. The answer is yes, I absolutely made a face when he said it. Veil, borrowed blue, hairpiece, and all. I don’t know if that sermon was in the regular repertoire, but that phrase seemed too practiced for improvisation. Consequently, same beloved preacher man: same sermon at my sister’s wedding. I guess it takes something once, maybe thrice to truly take on!


But preacherman was not wrong. And I must admit the same can be said of tailgating. Simplicity serves best. Things that come in threes, perhaps?  All you really need to enjoin in the greater community of tailgaters is a tent, some camp chairs, and a folding table. That’s just good fairy tale symmetry.

Now, I have been to my fair share of tailgates, but probably less than I would really like to admit. I am a novice by state school standards to be sure. Gratefully, our network of Hedgewood Builders’ friends and faithful had similar tailgating experiences. We were the blind leading the blind—what a sight to the seasoned ticket holder we must have been!


I feel like our Hedgewood MTSU tailgate experiment started like that anyway; a tent, some camp chairs, and our proverbial folding table. But it took on this greater thrust of circus mentality with delicious Slick Pig wings and beans and potato salad and coolers that boast refrigerant qualities for days rather than hours (shout out to our friends at Quality Furniture and their outstanding YETI collection). Beer that was reserved for twenty something memories resurfacing and troubling my micro brewed spoiled gut.


But that was not all, oh no that was not all. There were football themed cupcakes that stained my children’s faces True Blue Raider Blue. Bounce houses with waiver forms so easily signed that I wondered who was protected under these ironclad legal clauses, not to mention our banner so kindly quickly rushed (thank you Erin at the Very Idea, with all alacrity and speed!). And then the trucks, you have never seen such a sea of trucks. Massive F-250s amassed on the KOM-Peck Hall lawn like a Southern armada of mobile grilling apparatus.


Let’s talk smoked meats (as though I have any clue because I haven’t a one). In truth, some of the best parts of tailgating are the smells of the smoked meats and smoldering coals.  My husband is well versed in the creation and care of these delicacies. Life in Memphis honed these skills. Plus, I think Mike was born under a rare/medium rare star. That’s what his dad would say anyway. Take a gander at the recipe below for a Memphis-style dry rub that will knock your ribs, steaks, even chicken wings into competition grade grilling levels:



Now while we at Hedgewood have moved away from our furniture making roots to focus the incredible talents of our crew on truly custom homes and design, I have to brag on Dayton for a minute per the grill. The grill table that he created for auction at this year’s Secret Garden Party benefitting the Discovery Center was the envy of every Tom, Dick, and Harry who ever deigned to pick up a meat thermometer. It was by far the highest grossing item of the evening, but it had grill-masters and woodworkers alike swooning. Note the smooth deep timbre of the weather resistant cypress wood Dayton chose to feature in this piece. See the seamless joinery, and the hand cut concrete top that is built to lovingly swaddle a large big green egg. This particular piece has made its home at the Holloway residence on Riverview Dr., but how amazing would this be on the back of a Hedgewood built porch and pergola?






So this Autumn, whatever creates that dizzying state fair atmosphere for you, be it the sights, sounds, and smells of a good tailgate or a grill ramping up its burn or even a quiet night on the patio or covered porch tasting the cool night as it settles in, enjoy it. For that essence is all that transforms September–resplendent in its Indian summer heat–into Fall Y’all!


Stephanie Roach is our administrative director/writer/His Girl Friday for Hedgewood Builders.  She works her magic behind the scenes and makes sure every i is dotted and t is crossed.  Her love for home design, creative marketing, and knack for making things happen makes her an invaluable asset to the Hedgewood team





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