Indy 500 Cigars

Indy 500 Cigars

Kick back and enjoy "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" with these Indy 500 cigar and appetizer suggestions from El Cigar Shop!

The Sunday of  Memorial Day weekend is considered one of the most important days on the motorsports calendar, as it is the day of the famous Indianapolis 500. The 500 mile, 200 lap race is called “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing”. For the 103rd Indy 500, I’m making some cigar suggestions for your smoking enjoyment.

Ladies and Gentlemen start your engines!


#1. Inspired by muscle cars of yesteryear, CAO Flathead V770 Big Block begins with a dark Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrapper filled with Nicaraguan and Dominican long-fillers bound by Connecticut Habano seed binder.  The full-bodied cigar is box pressed into this monstrous sized 7 x 70. Flathead is balanced with sweetness and spice. As CAO explains, Flathead is a “cigar that hits on all cylinders”. For those who prefer a smaller vitola, the CAO Flathead V554 Camshaft is the Robusto size of the Flathead cigar with the same full body and flavor.


#2. Made in America, Mr. Sam by La Palina is rolled at the famed El Titan de Bronze factory in Miami. A Rich Ecuadorian Habano wrapper leaf covers the binder and long-filler from the Jalapa and Estelí regions of Nicaragua. Mr. Sam cigars have a honey-type sweetness along with flavors of cedar and hints of coffee and subtle peppery spice.


#3. The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat has been a monster of muscle with a Supercharged 6.2L HEMI SRT V8 engine that delivers 717 horsepower. How about a cigar that has as much muscle? The Chupacabra Hellcat features a dark Mexican San Andres wrapper beautifully box pressed with a shaggy foot and pigtail head. Nicaraguan filler and binder provide a medium to full bodied smoke with notes of spice, wood, and pepper.  


#4. Sweet Jane is hand rolled exclusively for the Deadwood Tobacco Company by Drew Estate. Sweet Jane is a smooth, mellow cigar enjoyed by both rough cut biker types and lady cigar smokers. The wrapper is dark and supplies touches of earth and a hint of mocha. If you’ve ever thought of visiting Sturgis Bike Week in South Dakota, make sure to stop by Deadwood Tobacco Co & Cigar Bar.


#5. AJ Fernandez brings his masterful blending skills with Rabbit Hole Distilleries to create the Diesel Whiskey Row cigar. The Diesel Whiskey Row is aged in Rabbit Hole Bourbon Barrels for 5 to 8 years. The tobacco is built around a blend of Nicaraguan leaves from the Jalapa, Condega and Ometepe regions. The cigar sports a powerful San Andreas binder, and wrapped in a dark, slightly oily Ecuadorian Habano wrapper leaf also aged for 5 years in Rabbit Hole Bourbon casks. The smoke is driven with notes of leather, pepper, oak and a touch of cinnamon.


The Indy 500 is a long and grueling race and can take 3 to 5 hours. You’ll want plenty of food, drink, and cigars to endure the race. Here are 2 iconic recipes Hoosiers love to enjoy.


The most well-known restaurant in Indianapolis, St. Elmo Steak House, has been in business since 1902. Just about everyone who dines at the classic steakhouse orders the shrimp cocktail appetizer, which is served with their signature fiery cocktail sauce. You can order St. Elmo’s cocktail sauce online or try my spicy version.


Spicy Shrimp Cocktail

2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning

1 lemon, halved

1 clove garlic, finely minced

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

24 extra-large shell-on raw shrimp

Have a large bowl of ice water ready and set near the sink. To an 8-quart pot of water, add the Old Bay, lemon, granulated garlic, garlic, chili powder, and salt. Bring to a boil. Add the shrimp to the pot and when the water returns to a boil, the shrimp should be done! The shrimp should be bright pink. Immediately drain and place the shrimp into the ice bath to cool for 2 minutes. Peel the shrimp (leaving the tail-on.) Drain and serve with the cocktail sauce.


Cocktail sauce:

1 1/2 cup ketchup

1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning

1 tablespoon horseradish

1 dash Worcestershire sauce

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 teaspoon Tabasco

Mix all the cocktail sauce ingredients together in a medium bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.


If the Indiana had a state food, the Hoosier sandwich would be it. It is a state favorite in Indiana. It's filled with a breaded pork tenderloin and even though Indiana has no official state food, perhaps they should consider the Hoosier for state sandwich.


The Hoosier

1 pork tenderloin (about 1 1/4 pounds)

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika

1/4 teaspoon sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 large eggs, beaten

2 cups plain breadcrumbs

Vegetable oil, for frying

4 Kaiser or hamburger Rolls

Lettuce, tomato, pickles, mayonnaise, mustard

1. Cut the pork tenderloin crosswise into 4 even pieces. Cut each piece crosswise again, but do not go all the way through; you should be able to open it like a book. Pound each piece with a mallet until 1/4-inch thick and 6 to 8 inches across.

2. Whisk together the buttermilk, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a shallow dish. Add the pork cutlets. Make sure all the pieces are coated well with the buttermilk marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

3. Set up a breading station with 3 shallow dishes: the flour in the first dish, eggs in the second and breadcrumbs in the third. Sprinkle all 3 dishes with salt and pepper.

4. Fill a large, high-sided skillet with about 1/2-inch oil, attach a deep fat fry thermometer and heat to 350 degrees F.

5. Dredge each pork cutlet in the flour first, then in the egg and finally in the breadcrumbs. Gently place into the hot oil without overcrowding the skillet. You will need to fry the cutlets in batches. When the cutlets are golden brown on one side, about 2 minutes, carefully turn and cook for another 2 minutes. Drain well on a paper-towel-lined plate.

6. Build the sandwiches by putting the cutlets between the burger buns and garnishing with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, mayonnaise and mustard. The cutlet should hang generously over the bun.


Enjoy the Indy!


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  1. Joe OConnor Joe OConnor

    Great article and suggestions, as usual! I love the CAO Flathead line and have 2 V660's in the humidor right now that have been aging for a few months. Thanks, El Cigar Shop!

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