Football and Onions — the perfect pairing.

Idaho potatoes?  No question.
Idaho dry peas and lentils?  Sure.
Idaho trout?  Of course.

Idaho onions?  You better believe it!

Idaho and eastern Oregon is the United States’ top growing region for onions, producing 1,470 million pounds annually. And we’ve found a tasty way to celebrate this culinary staple.

Beginning with the Boise State game against the University of Tennessee-Martin on September 7, these flavorful bulbs will take center stage on the grilling scene during the USA Onion Grill Off held before each of Boise State’s home games.  Onion samples for everyone!

1-grilled Onion with SalsaThe Sept. 7 event begins at 11:00 am at the Ford Fan Zone in front of the Alan Noble Hall of Fame, and features two teams in a grilling throwdown.  Each team will grill up original recipes that include onions, flank steak and other basket items.  The competitors will grill and present their creations to three pre-selected judges.  A winner will be chosen before the kick-off.

Grillmasters for the first grill off are two venerated onionmen:  Kent Sutherland of JC Watson Produce of Parma who brings four generations of onion knowledge to the grill for Idaho, and Bob Komoto of Ontario Produce, a man with a rich and varied produce background at the controls for team Oregon.  These men are the first of a number of high-profile participants who will step up to the grill before each of the six home games.

Each competition will have a theme:BSUField with Sky photo

  • For the Boise State versus Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks game on Sept. 7, the match up will be between Idaho and Oregon onion growers.
  • On Sept. 13, the contest prior to the Air Force Falcons game will pay tribute to our Armed Forces with the “Salute to the All-American Burger”.  Mountain Home Air Force Base will go head to head with members of the Boise State University ROTC.
  • Before the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles -vs- Boise State game on Sept. 28, Idaho Governor C.L. Butch Otter and First Lady Lori Otter will team up against Boise State University President Dr. Bob Kustra and his wife, Kathy, to prepare grilled surf and turf.
  • The homecoming game on October 19th against the Nevada Wolfpack will feature tough competition between BSU’s Executive Chef and Professional Chef and Culinary Educator, Nick Duncan.  Former BSU Football Players will judge this lamb-focused grill off.
  • Firemen and policemen will grill it out before the Nov. 16 game against the Wyoming Cowboys. Weber’s Official Grill Master will travel from Chicago to coach the grill competitors, share grilling tips and answer questions from the crowd.
  • The final grill off features elk  and takes place on Nov. 30 before the Broncos face the New Mexico Lobos in their last home game.

If you can’t make it to the grill off, you can still find ideas and recipes for grilling your own onions on the Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee website:  Onions are a great way to add flavor to a meal and support local growers.

If your travel takes you to other parts of Idaho, be sure to check out the university football pride and great tailgate action in other college towns.

Moscow, Idaho – home of the University of Idaho Vandals
Pocatello, Idaho – home of the Idaho State Bengals