Jaguars vs. Houston Texans
Houston Texans Stadium
September 27, 2009
31 - 24 Loss
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Playing Surface: Natural Grass
Draft Beer: $8.75
Hot Dog: $5.00
Stadium Parking: $40.00
One Reliant Park
Houston, TX 77054
Stadium Review - Long Live the King
I’ve gone on record a number of times saying that as far as tailgate barbecue goes, in our great nation of blacktop culinarians, that nobody beats the Houston Texans fanbase. With their massive custom barbecue pits (many of these behemoths are so large, they have to be trailored in on game day), Texans fans put meat to flame like no other. Their variety of meats is unmatched; and you wanna talk about preparation? These folks smoke it, they grill it, they rotisserie roast it. With a meticulous precision, Texan fans apply dry rubs, custom sauces, and marinades to bring out a flavor that is uniquely Texan in their creations. And I’m happy to report, after my latest visit back to Stadium # 21, Reliant Stadium in Houston Texas, that the titleholders for Best Barbecue in the NFL, continue to wear the crown … but heavy lies the crown.
My visit to Reliant Stadium began at 7:30am, as the Quest Machine, hot off a 24-hour road trip from Detroit, Michigan, sat in line at the entrance to the orange gate. The parking lot gates don’t open until 8:00am CST in Houston, which affords tailgate aficionado's with a four hour window within which to congregate, down a few home town brews (St. Arnold’s is one of my favorites), and do what they do best, prepare some fine Texas Barbecue. We began the day with my boy Wayne Spake, master of the barbecue pit for Al’s Koholics Tailgaters. Wayne had prepared a Kegs and Eggs morning feast, as Tex-Mex breakfast burrito’s were served to begin the day. Accompanying me on my journey were Jeff Ross, we call him “The Shirt”, and my cousin Darlene and her husband John, who are Houston transplants and our hosts for the weekend. Jeff was my runnin’ partner co-piloting the Hummer H31 we drove from Detroit and he would also accompany me to Dallas for Monday Night Football the next day.
After hanging out with Wayne for a bit, we decided to take to the lot in order to discover what the other master blacktop culinarians were cookin’. Heading through the Platinum Lot, I happened across Raging Bull Tailgaters headquarters, helmed by my man “Sweet”. A massive flatbed trailor, with a full corrugated steel roof, housed preparatory surfaces, a cast iron smoker, a large conventional grilling area, and a deep fryer. Three 10’ x 10’ tents flanked the trailor including buffet tables, a full bar, and regulation-sized, corn hole contest playing fields. Sweet took us on tour of the rig and then invited us for a taste of some of the finest smoked chicken I’ve ever had. Kudos my friend, we shall return!
The weekend I chose to visit Reliant Stadium for a Houston Texans home game happened to be “Battle Red Day”. I’m still bummin’ that I never got the memo. Throughout the day, walking around in my navy blue Andre Johnson jersey, I felt like the outcast in junior high who wore the wrong color on spirit day, but I digress. Our next stop was to catch up with the Texans three Hall of Fame Fans, Joe Texan, Bronco Billy, and Leatherhead. I met these gentlemen in Canton, Ohio during the Hall of Fame ceremonies back in August and all three were kind enough to invite us down for some prime time Houston Texans Tailgating. Shots were exchanged, pictures were taken, and Leatherhead mysteriously disappeared (still not sure what happened to him). But the boys showed us an awesome time and vowed to provide me with the full Houston Texan Fan experience (more on that to come).
The award for best tailgating ritual has to go to TexanMojo.com for “Shotgun-30”, an experience I have yet to be on time for. Pat, Rich and the boys have established this time honored tradition around their tailgating cruiser, the Emergency Tailgating Vehicle, which is a fixture in the Yellow Lot. Every half hour, on the half hour, Texan fans shotgun a can of beer in unison at the sound of a massive air horn. For those of you unfamiliar with the term “shotgun” (what were you doing in high school?), it’s basically a beer swilling technique. Holding a beer on its side, a hole is poked in the side of the can near the bottom, this is the drink hole. At the sound of the horn, you hoist the beer can up to your mouth and open the top. This allows air to rush into the top of the can, propelling the beer down your throat. Definitely a fan favorite … I love Shotgun-30, someday I’ll make it there on time so I don’t have to stage one on my own.
Heading into the stadium with a full compliment of alcoholic beverages to fuel my support of the home franchise, we headed to our seats in section 610, but not before a few well choreographed photographic opportunities. It’s in my nature … must be a cultural thing.
Anyway, Reliant Stadium, one of the Jewels of the modern era of stadium builds, is really an exceptional facility. From the natural grass surface (situated in a dome stadium, mind you) that’s brought in on 8’ x 8’ pallets and assembled like a jigsaw puzzle on gameday, to the common areas that characterize these new super-stadiums, to the great concessions therein (I highly recommend the Chop Baker or the Big Baker, a massive baked potato topped either with chopped beef or cheese, butter, sour cream, bacon bits, and chives), Reliant Stadium creates a winning atmosphere for both the players and fans. What struck me as most impressive was the climate control inside the stadium. With the ninety-degree heat beating down on us outside, the A/C inside the stadium maintained a very temperate, seventy-five degree environment. I realized it most when we left after the game at 4 pm and I began sweltering the in the heat and humidity of that sunny September day.
halftime, with the Texans trailing 17-14, we stopped in on Joe Texan
at the Bull Pen Bar situated behind Section 117, to drown our
sorrows with another beer. It was another day at the office for Joe
Texan, as he and Bronco Billy looked to rally the Texans to a
comeback win in the second half. Joe even arranged for us to hang
out in his endzone section for the remainder of the game to provide
us with that true Houston Texan Fan Experience. Following Joe to his
seats, which were strategically located directly behind the goalpost
in the North endzone, “The Shirt” and I found ourselves amongst the
privileged few, poised in row two, Section 117. The action down on
the field was fast and furious as Matt Schaub attempted to lead the
Texans on a touchdown drive to knot the game at 31 … fitting
wouldn’t you say? It was awesome, Reliant Stadium was rockin’, the
crowd was uproarious, and the endzone section led by Joe Texan and
Bronco Billy led the war cry to rally the home team. An inopportune
“fumble” by Chris Brown at the one yard line spoiled our comeback
hopes however. I still maintain that the referees really screwed up
that call, as every replay I saw had Chris Brown down at the one.
Joe seemed to agree with my assessment, as he left in disgust when a
replay official upheld the call on the field, sealing the fate of
the hometown team. Final score, 31-24 Jags. Well that was it from
Houston. Be sure to check out my review from Dallas Texas, our next
stop on this weekend tour.
|City of Houston Local Information|
Top Tourist Attractions:
NASA Johnson Space Center Houston
St. Arnolds Brew Tour
BBQ, Tex-Mex, Cajun
What They're Drinkin':
St. Arnold's Shiner
Miller Lite Orange Lot - right behind the Astrodome
Miller Lite Yellow Lot - next to practice facility
Local Sports Media:
The Houston Chronicle
Sports Radio 610 - Listen LIVE!
Where To Stay:
Downtown Houston is the place to be. Take advantage of the excellent eateries, beautiful parks, live music and theaters all around you. I suggest staying at the Scottish Inn or the Houston Grand Plaza hotel.
Rice Village (Gingerman, Baker Street, Brian O'Neals, Big Easy,Woodrow's)
Washington Avenue ( Pearl Bar, Drinkery, Reign Lounge, Blue Label
Lounge, Citizen Lounge, The Lot, Taps)
Goode Company Barbecue (Texas Barbecue)
Any Pappa's Restaurants (Pappasitos, Pappa's BBQ, Pappadeux's)
Teotihucan Mexican Restaurant
Pocket Map of Houston
Stadium Parking Map
Getting to the Stadium:
Although it is possible to take the MetroRail to the Reliant Park Station to get to the stadium on game day, you're really missing out if you don't drive to Reliant Park for game day tailgating. Be sure to buy a parking pass in advance, as finding game day parking can be very difficult.
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|Stadium #21 - Reliant Stadium||The Quest Machine in Houston||Tailgating Ambassadors|
|Breakfast with The Shirt||Wayne's setup in the Orange Lot||Five Star Tailgaters smokin' some chicken|
|The Emergency Tailgating Vehicle||Renee and Rich Weck from TexanMojo.com||Myself and John at the Bull Pen Bar|
|The Hog from FeedYardSaloon.net||An Eclectic Arrangement||Great View from the 600 Level|
|Caesar, Eddie, and me||Bronco Billy with Myself and Joe Texan||Tough Loss but the Battle Red Prevails|
Please feel free to post any suggestions or comments you might have for my journey to Reliant Stadium, including the following:
- Local Hotspots (Bar Districts, Restaurants, Clubs)
- Local Foods (Traditional Cuisine, Micro Brews)
- Tailgating Traditions
- Your Experiences or Helpful Hints
- If you saw me let me know!
All commentary will be moderated. Your e-mail address will not be published.
From: Paulette Shaver the
Texans fan from Houston
Sent: Sunday, September 27, 2009 8:02 PM
Awesome to meet you today
at the Texans Mojo Tailgating Party. Everyone should have a quest! Hope
you enjoyed the Houston Texans' Hospitality.
Everyone SHOULD have a Quest shouldn't they!
From: Paul Stroud from
Sent: Wednesday, September 30, 2009 7:53 PM
|thanks for coming by our tailgating party at Houston the other day. Hope you enjoyed Battle Red day. Good luck hitting 31 this year!|