Tailgating Tips and Tricks
With football season right around the corner, many fans are starting to dust off their tailgating equipment in anticipation of the upcoming season. Tailgating encompasses more than just a grill and cooler of beer. For some, tailgating has actually become a lifestyle that is planned for the entire year. Whether you have a pimped out school bus in team colors or you just use tables and your car, the tailgate experience all starts with planning. Here are some tips and tricks to enhance your next tailgate experience.
Check Tailgating Rules
If this is your first time tailgating or your first at a new stadium, be sure to check the team’s website so you are aware which lot (or lots) are designated for tailgating. Learn about items that may be prohibited (i.e. glass) or how they handle disposal of coals, etc. It will also be important to see if there are restrooms (or portable restrooms) onsite or where the nearest restroom may be. If permits are required, you may want to work on purchasing one, to save you a headache on game day.
Ensure You Have All of the Essentials
Be sure that you have your essential items ready and in stock. Without charcoal, propane, or ice; your tailgate will not get very far! You can also freeze water bottles and use them as ice to serve as a cooling mechanism at the start of the tailgate and when they melt, water for after the game. A generator, extension cords, and power strips would also be considered essential if you are planning to use a slow cooker or hot plate as well.
Store Necessary Tailgating Tools in a Plastic Bin or Tool/Tackle Box
Although you may be able to make due without some essential tools, your tailgate will go much smoother if you have them. Depending on your food plan, you may need a variety of different tools and spices to make it come to fruition. Consider making a bin with the following to leave in your tailgate vehicle to ensure that you are never without:
- Cooking Tools: Spatula, bottle opener, tongs, can opener, skewers, toothpicks, and basting brush.
- Clean Up/Set Up: Trash bags, paper towels, wet wipes, masking tape, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, can cozies, cups, plates, utensils, and plastic bags. You can also enhance your area by adding team tablecloths and coordinating drink ware and utensils (or jello shots for that matter) in team colors.
- Condiments/Spices: Anything you can pack that is non-perishable and will not freeze (if residing in a cold climate area). Try to stay one step ahead!
Pack the Night Before
Would you rather spend your game day morning scrambling to pack and get out the door or just leave? The extra time taken in prep the night before will help ensure that you have packed all items that you need and everything is ready to go.
Marinate your kebobs or shape your burger patties. Be sure to place wax paper between the patties to make it easier on you the next day. Grab these from the fridge and place into the top of cooler right before you go.
I found a great graphic on Pinterest on how to pack a cooler:
Pack up All of Your Tailgate Games in the Night Before
Tailgating games are a great way to meet new people that are tailgating around you. Whether you play flip-cup, ladder golf, or cards; all of those options add to the social aspects of tailgating. It’s an easy way to get to know your “neighbors”! Don’t forget to bring along a football to play catch as well!
SET UP/TAKE DOWN
Consider the Wind Direction When Positioning Your Grill
Nothing is worse than having everything set up, the grill hot, and the smoke getting blown into your tent or eating area.
If you are meeting people have a balloon or flag to fly so it is easier for your party to find your site. We use a team flag to fly above our site. You can find portable flag poles that work really slick.
Watch Your Time
Ensure that you arrive at least a few hours before the game starts. Try to eat a couple of hours before game time to ensure you have enough time for clean up and take down
The internet and Pinterest are great resources for finding tailgate recipes, games, and general ideas to enhance your tailgate party. The most important part is to have fun and create memories surrounding the game and your love of sports!
My Favorite Tailgate Location
My favorite tailgate location is Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. The experience there is great. The people were nice to us even though we were there to cheer on the road team (Vikings). I cannot guarantee the same results if you are there to cheer on the Raiders! The fans at Arrowhead know how it’s done, with some bringing their smoker and smoking their meat to enjoy after the game is done. No one is in a rush, but everyone is there to have a good time! The overall game day experience at Arrowhead is second to none!