Tailgating season is here! As fall weather arrives, America starts going into football overdrive. Whether you’re rooting for your favorite pro, college or little league team, we have some great tips for your pre-game tailgating parties! Because, a girl’s gotta eat, right?
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Make a List
First, make sure you have all your essentials: portable grill, matches/lighter; charcoal, grilling utensils (tongs and spatulas), coolers, water, condiments, bottle openers, clean-up goods (paper towels, napkins and/or wet wipes), disposable plates, cups and cutlery; tent or pop-up canopy for shade, outdoor chairs and folding tables, stadium blankets, trash bags, hand sanitizer, umbrellas or ponchos (just in case!), sunscreen, toilet paper, jumper cables, sunglasses, bug spray, first aid kit and, of course, your tickets!
Prep as much as you can the night before, whether that’s slicing condiments for your burgers (patties already made, and separated by wax paper), or skewering meats for kebabs. Keep the menu simple and make sure everything is stored securely in disposable containers, packed in coolers and ready to go.
Have one cooler for food, and another for drinks. Try freezing water bottles to use in place of ice in coolers, so you have cold water to drink after they’ve melted. Grab a 6-pack holder and fill it with your favorite condiments for easy packing. Bring a larger plastic bin to haul back dirty dishes and utensils.
There are thousands of great tailgating recipes out there (Pinterest — need we say more?). You can’t go wrong with the classic hamburger and hot dog combo, cold salads, chips and dips, etc. (Perhaps these “Sweet Heat Hot Dogs” with “No-Mayo Pasta Salad.“) During colder months, bring soups in thermoses and serve in mugs.
Just for Fun
Decorate your tailgating site with your team’s colors. Fly a flag on a very high pole so friends can find you easily. Meet your neighbors and exchange recipes. Relax and have fun!
Plan to arrive several hours before the game starts to allow for cooking, eating and clean-up. Food should be served about 2 hours before the game. Be sure to leave your area clean, with no trash left behind. Enjoy the game!
The original version of this article appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of Sass Magazine.