Honey Baked and Laura Rutledge have a plan for a winning tailgate, interview

HoneyBaked Tailgating options, photo provided by HoneyBaked
HoneyBaked Tailgating options, photo provided by HoneyBaked /

As football season kicks off, planning a winning tailgate is just as important as that lucky jersey. While ESPN host Laura Rutledge might be explaining all the game day strategies, she has found that Honey Baked Tailgating Packs are the easy food win for the big gathering.

Many football fans cannot wait for game day, the reality is that the pre-game, or the tailgate, is as important as to the overall experience as the outcome on the scoreboard. While some people might love a great dip, crave chicken wings, or even just opt to order pizza, the reality is that the menu needs to balance flavor, convenience, and being a crowd pleaser.

For those people who prefer to leave the grill at home, a party pack, like the new Honey Baked Ham Company Tailgate Packs can be the perfect solution. According to Tripp McLaughlin, CMO, The Honey Baked Ham Company, “Our research into sports fans’ preferences revealed that convenience, quality and taste are paramount for our target audience. Tailgating enthusiasts particularly prioritize taste (68 percent), ease of preparation (57 percent) and quality (47percent)–precisely what HoneyBaked offers its fans. In response to these demands, we have developed Tailgate Packs.”

Whether football fans order a Big Game Sandwich Pack or a Half Ham Playmaker Pack, the choices cover what people want most, flavorful convenience. Once the order is placed, everyone just has to pick it up, serve, and put the focus back on the most important part of the day, spending time with everyone at the tailgate.

During a recent conversation with Laura Rutledge, she shared her insight on what makes a great tailgate. While she has seen some of the biggest, best, and outrageous options through her tenure on ESPN, the broadcaster said that one aspect united all those celebrations, fellowship.

As Rutledge said, “while it is about the football, it’s mainly about the food and the gathering of people. While you might want the experience to be a little unexpected sometimes, you do want it to stay within the traditions that your family or fan base has.”

Speaking to the Honey Baked offerings, Rutledge appreciates the ease. The idea of placing an order, picking up, and serving is a must for the busy, working mom of two. Plus, the food items are popular no matter the age. From her younger daughter to a group of hungry college students, everyone will have an option on the table. And, if there happens to be a few bites left over, they can be great for leftovers on Monday.

Like Rutledge admitted, “standing in front of the stove with a baby on your hip is not easy. Any leftovers from that Honey Baked Ham Tailgating Pack will make my week a lot easier.” In many ways, that concept can get many other people on board. While the husband might want gameday to be his moment to escape, the better tailgating kit could give the rest of the family a break throughout the week.

Also, Rutledge believes that “people love ham because it tastes good. And, it seems to make people think that the event is a bigger deal.” It might be a subconscious reference to a favorite family gathering or a special occasion. No matter the reason, the ham gets people cheering.

Plus, Rutledge had some great ideas that showcase the versatility of using a ham. Although it was surprising that football fans craved that particular food on their tailgate, it does not necessarily have to be served in the same method as that holiday dinner. For example, why not take cube pieces, some cheese, and create an easy to eat kebob. Who doesn’t love meat and cheese on a stick?

HoneyBaked tailgating ideas
HoneyBaked Tailgating options, photo provided by HoneyBaked /

Although many people have their favorite team, some colleges have epic tailgates. Given Rutledge’s extensive knowledge, she offered a few of her recommendations. Even if people are not alumni, these college tailgates are ones that any football fan can appreciate.

Speaking to impressive college football tailgates, Rutledge said, “If you have not been to Oxford, Mississippi and The Grove for an Ole Miss game, you have to. I feel that if you are a college football fan, it is one to check off that bucket list. The décor is to the nines and the food is incredible. It is a total vibe.”

“Baton Rouge and LSU are unlike anything else that you are going to do. There are many times where I might not know what I have eaten, but it’s okay because it was delicious, and it had a lot of flavor.”

“For a third choice, I would say Texas A&M. When we have that 11 a.m. kickoff, the breakfast tacos were some of the best that I ever had. And, maybe this year, we can put some Honey Baked Ham in those breakfast tacos.”

Whether a popular SEC Team makes a run for the National Championship or a Cinderella story captivates the headlines, one thing is certain. Honey Baked Ham and its Tailgating Packs will be scoring major points with football fans this season. Hungry to place that order?

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The Honey Baked Ham Tailgating packs include: Half Ham Playmaker Pack, Pick2Slider Pack, Big Game Sandwich Pack, and Sandwich Playmaker Pack. Check with local stores for pricing and availability.

Laura Rutledge is the host ESPN’s NFL Live program and SEC Network analyst.