This post marks the first installment in a recurring Ben's Biz Beat Newsletter offseason series, detailing the concession highlights at each Minor League ballpark that I visited in 2022. At each stop of the way, I was joined in culinary solidarity by my Designated Eater, a local fan who consumes
This post marks the first installment in a recurring Ben's Biz Beat Newsletter offseason series, detailing the concession highlights at each Minor League ballpark that I visited in 2022. At each stop of the way, I was joined in culinary solidarity by my Designated Eater, a local fan who consumes the ballpark cuisine that my gluten-free diet prohibits. To subscribe to the Ben's Biz Beat Newsletter, click HERE.
We begin at the beginning, hearkening back to my first ballpark visit of the season: Constellation Field, home of the Sugar Land Space Cowboys (Triple-A affiliate of the nearby Houston Astros). My Designated Eater was Mike Lockridge, a computer network security professional attending his first Space Cowboys game. Mike, originally from Denver, explained that his line of work led to the oil and gas industry and that led, perhaps inevitably, to Houston. From there, Sugar Land is a proverbial hop, skip and a jump away.
Howdy, Mike, how about a Howdy Dog?
The Space Cowboys’ Howdy Dog, as described by executive chef Dave Browne, is a "100 percent brisket sausage dog that we go ahead and cook in a little Crawford Bock beer, finish it on our grill and top it with Dr Pepper barbecue sauce, fresh-made pico de gallo, crispy jalapeños and onion strings on a toasted potato roll. Finish it with a little cheddar cheese, because who doesn’t love cheese?”
“It’s great,” said Mike, after an appropriate interval of chewing, swallowing and contemplating. “I love the barbecue sauce and the pico de gallo, and the sweet, crunchy onions.”
After bidding a counterintuitive farewell to the Howdy Dog, it was time to say hello to the Brisket Nachos.
Brisket Nachos are, in two words, self-explanatory: tortilla chips, pico de gallo, house-made queso blanco, shredded cheddar, smoked brisket and, yet again, Dr Pepper barbecue sauce.
The Brisket Nachos sent Mike’s taste buds into the stratosphere.
“These are the best nachos I’ve ever had,” he said, salivating. “I’m not lying. I can’t give them enough praise.”
Mike also enjoyed a “solar-swirled” Space Cowboy Margarita as well as a roast turkey and cranberry sauce platter that was being served on the club level. These items gave way, inevitably, to dessert.
The Cosmic Sundae, well integrated into the Space Cowboys’ overall intergalactic aesthetic, is topped with the museum gift shop staple that is astronaut ice cream. I gave this one a try myself and was impressed. The freeze-dried crunch of the ice cream melded well with the creamy soft serve, resulting in a memorable, site-specific meal capper. I remember Mike enjoying it as well, but the page of my notebook in which quotes were written was smeared with Dr Pepper barbecue sauce and thus rendered unreadable.
Thank you, Mike Lockridge, for serving as a Designated Eater.
Mike isn’t the only person I have to thank, however. Adam Winkler, a sports and news anchor/reporter for Houston’s ABC 13, was intrigued by the Designated Eater concept and visited Constellation Field to do a story on it. So while I was documenting Mike, Adam was documenting the both of us. You can view Adam’s segment featuring the two of us HERE.
For more Minor League Baseball concessions coverage -- and much, much more -- subscribe to the Ben's Biz Beat Newsletter, click HERE.
Benjamin Hill is a reporter for MiLB.com and writes Ben's Biz Blog. Follow Ben on Twitter @bensbiz.