After nearly a month of competition and 64 dishes spread out over four regions of tailgating fare, we have reached the championship of the Ultimate Tailgating Bracket: the No. 1 seed of the Black Pot Region, Jambalaya, versus the No. 4 seed of the Barbecue & Grilling Region, Boudin.
I always suspected that jambalaya would be here. We never officially crowned anything the No. 1 overall seed, but it always made the most sense for that spot. I mean if you surveyed any of the dozens of black pot cookers on any given gameday at LSU, I'd be willing to bet at least half of them are cooking jambalaya. It's hard to screw up, simple enough to make that you can easily customize to your tastes, and as I've said several times, an economical way to feed a crowd. And feed them well. Plus, half of the fun is sitting around with your friends and family and having a beer while you tend to the pot.
But food items like boudin competes with andouille, petroleum, Tabasco, drive-thru daiquiris and Gulf seafood for Louisiana's finest export. It's your basic ground pork sausage, seasoned and mixed with rice. You can poach it, grill it, or use the stuffing itself in any number of dishes, including deep-frying it for its relative boudin balls, which fell to jambalaya in the semi-finals.
I don't know that either item had an easy road here. Yeah, jambalaya was a No. 1 seed, but had to get past a sauce piquante, roast-beef debris, cousin pastalaya and gumbo to come out of the Black Pot Region. Only gumbo came within 30 percentage points on the voting, however.
Boudin was the fourth seed behind the likes of pulled pork, brisket and ribs in the Barbecue & Grilling Region, but was an absolute juggernaut. It blew by the likes of drunk chicken, cochon de lait before a tough Savory Sixteen matchup with pulled pork. It took down the No. 1 seed by all of 11 votes, and then advanced to the Final Four over ribs by just 14. It was all but academic versus our only Cinderella item, sausage balls.
So how do you like it friends? Who will be crowned the Ultimate Tailgating champion? Should we make a belt?
Voting will last through the weekend.