Tis the season for football and throughout the land there was much rejoicing. And... tailgating. Nothing gets people ready for the big game like a great tailgate party. With just a few tips and tricks, your tailgate will be the MVP of the lot.
What you’ll need
No one’s going to want to make a quick run to the store if you forget something, so make sure you’ve got all your supplies packed up and ready to go. Here are few things no tailgate should be without.
- Coolers - Depending on how many people will be joining you, you might need a few.
- Ice - Bring more than you think you’ll need.
- Grill - and the food you plan to put on it.
- Folding tables & chairs - Tell your friends to bring chairs too.
- Portable radio and/or TV
- Drinks - Beer, soda and water are all musts. If you have a classier crowd, a little wine is acceptable. But none of the good stuff!
- Plates, cups & utensils - Finger food is great, but let’s be serious, you need to have the whole set-up if you want your tailgate to convert on 4th down.
- Napkins & paper towels - Some need these more than others.
What to serve
Let’s face it. Food makes or breaks a tailgate. Spending a little prep-time will make your food the best tailgate food out there. A few tailgate classics include:
- Chicken - If you know someone who makes killer wings, ask them to whip up some for the party.
- Sausages - Brats and any kind of sausage are easy grilling and always a big hit.
- Burgers - No-brainer.
- Kebabs - You can even make a veggie version.
- Chili - If you have a big old crock-pot, a bowl of chili (prepared before) is a great pre-game meal.
- Chips & dips
How to set up
You’ll want to arrive about three to four hours before kick-off and plan to stay for a few after the game. If your team wins, there’s nothing like a little post-game celebration were you can relive each touchdown and fantastic catch.
The key to a great tailgate is to make your spot feel as much like a home as possible. If you have a team rug, put it down. If you don’t, pick up some AstroTurf from your local hardware store. If you have a few blow-up palm trees, blow ’em up. A life-size stand-up of Chewbacca? Put a jersey on him and bring him along. Also, don’t forget to hoist your team flag so your buddies can find you in the sea of cars.
- Make sure your food is cooked and served at least an hour before game time.
- Play nicely with your tailgate neighbors. Peace offerings are always welcome.
- If someone in your group has an artistic side, have them set up a face-painting station.
- And last but not least, don’t forget to clean up your area when you’re done.