COLUMBIA - While Marching Mizzou members were walking back to the Hearnes Center parking lot from playing at Tiger Walk, they couldn’t resist stopping to get free food from a gigantic tailgating spectacle: the Mrs. Baird’s Ultimate Grill, billed as the world’s largest. Students carried tubas and hot dogs as they trudged back to get in formation before the game.
Tyler Frazer and a few others arrived at 7:15 a.m. to fire up the 40 square feet of grilling surface, which runs on charcoal and wood, not propane. They have been traveling to games across the Big 12 Conference this season. Wearing a cowboy hat, denim jacket, jeans and a black apron and holding a spatula, Frazer kept his eyes on dozens of hot dogs stretching down the ten-foot long grill.
Frazer also drives the truck that hauls the 55-foot long grill and smoker unit. When it’s hooked up to the truck, the vehicle stretches 80 feet, 4 inches. Fully loaded, it weighs more than 71,000 pounds.
Frazer said the grill amazes everyone who either passes it on the road or sizes it up at a tailgate.
“They look at it, and they’re like, ‘That can’t be real.’” Frazer said.
Frazer’s conversations are predictable. “They always ask the same questions, ‘How much food can you cook?’” Frazer said.
He said the grill can handle 500 hamburgers, 1,000 hot dogs or 200 steaks at once, and they had planned for 4,000 hot dogs to hand out to hungry A&M and Missouri fans. The smoker can cook 2,500 pounds of meat at a time.
The grill is marketed as the world’s largest. The owners of the grill have contacted the Guinness Book of World Records to get their claim certified, according to Elizabeth Watters, spokeswoman for the grill’s functions across the country. No record exists since everyone doesn’t have the resources to build such a gigantic grill, she said.
“Anybody can grow a 19-inch fingernail,” Watters said. “There’s not a lot of competition for the world’s largest grill.”
But the claim stands up to scrutiny. David Klose is an expert about giant grills. He boasts the Guinness world record for the world’s tallest grill (23-feet high), which was featured on the Discovery Channel. He has built custom-made grills in Houston since the mid-1980’s. Contacted on his cell phone, Klose said that as far as he knows, Mrs. Baird’s Ultimate Grill is the largest grill in the world.
VICTORY TOAST: While many fans spent their Saturday morning guzzling beer and feasting on barbecue, a small group of friends at the Reactor Field parking lot tailgated in style.
Well, sort of.
The group, which includes several fifth-year seniors, decided to celebrate — or rather, to mourn — its last MU home game with five bottles of $4 André champagne.
“Our plan is to get drunk,” fifth-year senior Katie D’Alexander said. “Then we’re going to cry.”
At 10 in the morning, however, straight champagne goes down a little rough, D’Alexander said, so they decided to make Mimosas, a cocktail that consists of three parts champagne, two parts chilled orange juice and garnished with a strawberry.
“It’s classy,” said Brenna Blank, another tardy MU graduate.
The friends are ranking up the debt in college loans, but that hasn’t tainted their last few months of freedom.
“This is our victory lap,” said D’Alexander as she toasted her friends.
BLACK ATTACK: Just outside of Memorial Stadium the effort to effectively black out Faurot Field was taken on by devoted fans.
Members of the Tiger’s Lair congregated across the street from the Hearnes Center with paint and brushes to take part in the annual tradition. Twenty Tiger’s Lair participants were selected alphabetically by coordinator Chris Flanagan to don the black paint with a gold number to recognize a senior team member.
“It symbolizes that we are one of them,” Flanagan said. “We here for the seniors and it’s their last game, so we are here for them.”