Tailgate Like a Pro
Whether this is your first attempt at a Tailgate Party or you’re a seasoned pro with a standing order for face paint in your team’s colors, a few simple tools can up your game and have you giving “110 percent”—just what you expect from your favorite players—in no time. What do you need to win the Tailgating Bowl?
Think of it this way: Your party is not just a gathering of friends; it’s a production. To pull it off with panache you’ll need:
- A grill and grilling supplies (see links later)
- Coolers (best if with wheels)
- Places for fans to sit
- Flags, banners, and other team affiliated materials like hats, foam fingers, and face paint.
- Radio, boom-box, or portable television (Rule the School and bring your Man Cave Flat Screen—but treat it like the treasure it is)
- Blankets, lighting, citronella, and so forth for night games
- Card tables and cloths (there are always people who prefer sitting to eat—go figure)
- Food and beverage (Duh, right? But you don’t want to forget it, so put it in the list!)
- Plates, napkins, silverware, cups, bottle opener, etc.
Creature comforts rule
Resist the urge to throw your basic folding chairs into the back of your truck. Instead, get a couple friends to load your couch and a few chairs into your truck. Include an area rug, a couple end tables, and voila!you’ve created an outdoor living room! For added fun, create a portable doorway for guests to enter your party. If you have a “Broncos (or Cowboys or Bengals, etc.) Fans Only” sign, put it up on the door.
Cover the furniture with team blankets or sheets in your team’s colors to protect the fabric. And if you have a life-sized cardboard replica of Peyton Manning (or your quarterback, I suppose) pack it and take it along—it will make things more festive and serve as a great photo opportunity for your friends.
Keep the natives entertained
While waiting for the game to start, don’t let the doldrums overtake your party. Consider these ways to create ongoing interest, fun, and hilarity:
- #1 Fan Contest: Be sure attendees know in advance that there will be prizes for the “best” fan wardrobe. Give away themed prizes such as team cups, bobble heads, caps, whatever you can get your hands on.
- Team spirit crafts: Take along an extra table and use it to group-create banners for the game. You’ll need a roll of white butcher paper and markers, paints, stickers, etc., in appropriate colors.
- Scavenger hunt: Make up a list of things people have to find or do before the game starts, issue digital disposable cameras to everyone, and send the teams off. Be creative in what they have to find or do.
Portable grill and accessories
Unless you’re planning to grill for the entire Fan Club for your team, you can probably get away with not taking your ginormous “Grill Master 10,000” and instead taking a portable grill, like the Picnic Time Vulcan Gas Grill and Cooler Travel Tote. This grill is an all-in-one picnic and tailgating grill and cooler. It’s also available in a charcoal grill version. Also consider:
- Burger Stomper Hamburger Press: This indispensable pre-tailgate tool shapes the perfect hamburgers and sliders, so that they’ll cook evenly, stay juicy, and fit on your buns.
- California Kitchen Chef’s Press: Press those burgers you created to ensure fast, even grilling and juicy meaty flavor with this grill press.
- CHEFS Nonstick Shaker Grill Basket: Grill your veggies without worry about skewering them or dropping them into the coals.
- LED Barbeque Grill Light: Tailgating for a night game? No sweat. This grill light keeps the food coming regardless.
- Charcoal Companion Nonstick Hamburger Grilling Basket: Effortlessly flip four burgers at once without the need of a spatula or the worry of dropping them between grill grates.
- Plan to arrive early—at least three hours before the game. Check the stadium’s tailgating policies beforehand.
- It’s a good idea to make a master list of everything you want to include for your tailgate party. That way you can pick items up in advance as you see them, rather than run around all over town the day before.
- Not going to the game? Some tailgaters prefer to watch on a portable TV and stay with the tailgate ambiance. Organize your space so the TV can be accessible to all.
- Tie a bottle opener to each cooler so they don’t get lost or misplaced.
- Clean up afterward. Don’t leave your mess for the grounds crew. Bring several large trash bags along—enough to share with your neighbors, if necessary.
- Have some food or munchies available after the game. People will be hungry and a shorter post game tailgate is a great way to relax and discuss the game while traffic clears out.
- If the weather discourages tailgating, just move the party to someone’s house. Prepare the usual tailgate fair but watch the game from the couch.
Are you ready for some—tailgating? Good food, good friends, good football—it’s a dynamite combination. See our blogs on tailgating, right here at CHEFS Mix.
Your turn: What tips do you have for a successful tailgate party? Share them here.