How to Host a Killer Tailgate
From the parking to the playlist and of course the eats
From the LifeMinute.TV Team
September 2, 2023
National Tailgating Day is September 2. Here are 8 tips to ensure yours is a winner.
Get Your Eats Organized
Know how many people are coming by getting a head count. Prepare as much ahead as possible. Defrost all meats the night before; consider marinating red meats or chicken overnight for optimum flavor and tenderness. Get travel size disposable condiment packets that you don’t need to keep cold: ketchup, mustard, salt and pepper etc.. individual bags of chips to avoid hands grabbing.
Check the Weather
Pack blankets if the forecast calls for colder temps or a portable fan if it’s a warm game day. If rain or snow are predicted, a good defense is a pop-up tent or canopy. Portable versions shouldn’t take up much space in your trunk, and finding a shade in your team colors is a festive touch. Have people bring their own chairs.
Pack in Advance
Pull out all foldable chairs and tables, the tent, blankets, grills, charcoal, BBQ tools, food thermometer, and coolers the night before so they are ready to go. Keep a working fire extinguisher on hand, along with a basic first aid kit.
The bigger your party, the earlier you should arrive to scope out a spot, set up, and get settled. If the stadium allows it, plan to arrive at least four hours before kickoff. Bring an identifiable flag to fly at your site so guests can find your party easily.
Fire up the grill when you get there. You want to start eating at least 1.5-2 hours before the game to ensure plenty of time to eat and clean up without missing the game. Food should not be left out of the cooler or off the grill for more than 2 hours (1 hour when the outside temperature is above 90 °F). Try to cook only the amount of food that will be eaten. This avoids the challenge of keeping leftovers at a safe temp.
Mind the Cocktails
Keep a selection of beers, sodas, and water chilled in a cooler. If you’re making a signature cocktail, consider a large batch pitcher cocktail (like a Bloody Mary or Beer Margarita) since they only require a few ingredients and can be made beforehand. For a spirited nod, serve canned or bottled drinks within insulated holders with your team’s logo.
Bring a rechargeable Bluetooth speaker and a smartphone for your music. Bluetooth speakers tend to have long-lasting batteries. Create a playlist in advance using a streaming service like Apple Music or Spotify, or on your phone or laptop.
Consider investing in a collapsible wagon for carrying items back to your car faster. In addition to garbage bags and wet wipes, bring aluminum foil, food wrap, and containers to store leftovers in the cooler. Label each container using a permanent marker and tape. Any leftovers after the game that are not ice-cold (40 °F or below) should be tossed.