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Buddies from Wisconsin score a Packers win on ‘NFL Tailgate Takedown’

Brat kebabs with green and gold peppers. Deep-fried cheese curds. Beer cheese dipping sauce. A maple bacon old-fashioned.

Chris Schemm of Lawrence and Tyler Foti of Oconomowoc brought out the big culinary guns to rep Wisconsin and the Green Bay Packers and win Wednesday night’s episode of “NFL Tailgate Takedown” on the Food Network.

“This is Wisconsin,” proclaimed celebrity judge Ali Khan, as he sampled from a platter that included all of the above in the final round of the cooking competition that pits two pairs of tailgaters from opposing NFL teams to see who can whip up the best eats representing their city while the clock runs.

“I’m going to tell ya, this is the best part of the platter, and I liked it all,” he said, holding up a glob of fried cheese curds. “You know what, I’ll say this. After having this cheese curd, I get it, Wisconsin, I get it.”

College buddies Schemm, a trauma nurse practitioner, and Foti, a government affairs associate, went up against the husband-and-wife duo of Brent and Caitlin Esposito representing the Buffalo Bills for an episode that was filmed outside Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York, before the Packers-Bills game on Oct. 30

“Most people tailgate in Wisconsin to get drunk. We bring the food,” Foti said during team introductions after running out of an inflatable tunnel in the parking lot.

There were championship belt moves and a “Go Pack Go,” too, and it didn’t take long for them to get to work with a cheese grater.

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Schemm and Foti promised the “big, bold flavors” for which their tailgates are known. Their breakfast egg rolls with Southern red-eye gravy (with sausage, milk, coffee and cracked black pepper) beat out the Espositos’ loganberry barbecue chicken lollipops in the bite-size snacks round.

They came out victorious in the best handheld tailgate dish, too, with a double patty melt with birria dipping sauce and homemade tortilla chips. To show off, they topped the outside of the bread with a crust of fried cheddar cheese and jalapenos.

“Cheese on the outside, cheese on the inside,” Schemm said.

They won all three timed rounds of the competition and were presented with the Yum-bardi Trophy by Bill’s Hall of Famer Thurman Thomas. They also got to watch the Packers-Bills “Sunday Night Football” game from the 50-yard line.

Schemm is known as @titletowngriller to the 14,000-plus followers of his Instagram feed, and Foti, who is @smokin_ty on Instagram, are both Big Green Egg influencers. They’re among the 37 members of the kamado grill company’s #BGETeamGreen.

Kendra Meinert is an entertainment and feature writer at the Green Bay Press-Gazette. Contact her at 920-431-8347 or kmeine[email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @KendraMeinert.

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