How to Tailgate Like a Pro

 

It’s Saturday.
It’s Fall.
It’s the south.

On those glorious fall Saturdays here in the south, when those three essential facts lineup, you might as well guarantee you’ll be in tailgatin’ heaven.

While the hype is all about the football, you have to admit, there is a little (okay, maybe more than a little), friendly competition that comes with a good ol’ tailgate set up.

As we head into tailgating season, here are a few ways you can take your Tailgate to the next level. (Or, just really enjoy your time surrounded by family, friends, food and football!)


1. Keep the essentials packed up, and ready to go for quick prep.

Ex. Spatulas, tongs, bottle & can openers, toothpicks, paper plates and plastic cutlery, trash bags, paper towels, sunscreen, bug spray, hand sanitizer, duct tape (nothing it can solve) and your favorite seasonings and condiments all waiting for use in a tailgate toolkit.


2. Prep the food the night before.

Everyone should be able to enjoy a tailgate, including the hosts! To cut down on work during the event, prep any meat the night before so all you have to do is put it on the grill. Don’t forget to cut up the tomatoes, lettuce and any other topping or side dish you’ll be serving and have it ready to go, as well.


3. It’s all about the cooler.

For some tailgaters, packing a cooler is really THE tailgate in and of itself. Make it classy by labeling on the outside what’s in the cooler. Use tricks, like frozen water bottles as the ice to save space and arrange the options so that no one has to dig to the bottom for their favorite drink.


4. Make yourself known.

For you, and guests alike – make sure those sacred square feet of claimed tailgating territory are proudly marked to easily be found and re-found. Tie a unique balloon that flies high above the crowd, have a large welcome sign, or have a unique tent color (or all of the above), to set yourself apart.


5. Make it unique.

Everyone knows the typical tailgating food and drinks, but what about when you serve something that is especially creative and different? Crowd pleasing is your answer. “Unique” doesn’t mean more work, or creative genius, only that it’s not the same ol’ same ol’. Try being creative in terms of personalizing the experience for you and your guests. Early game? Serve breakfast tacos and set up a bloody mary bar instead of burgers and beer! Create a “specialty cocktail” themed for the game, decorate and have game and music ideas on hand. Another easy way to mix up is to turn the entree into a bar of options. Chili? Just add a table of unique toppings and your guests will not forget.


6. Plan with all your guests in mind.

Aside from maybe, an amazing food and drink spread, nothing makes for a happier tailgate than activities for everyone. That may mean bubbles and kid-friendly snacks for the little ones, cornhole for the teens, and beers with a TV for the men. Simple planning makes for a happy party.


7. Don’t forget the neighbors!

Tailgating is all about community, so in the midst of taking out your perfectly prepped food to cook, and specialty cocktails, don’t forget to meet your neighbors! If you really want to go all out with neighborly love, put up a sign for people to stop and introduce themselves. The more the merrier!


8. Make clean up easy on yourself!

With a few simple items, clean up can be a breeze. For one, Bring disposable boxes for recycling and trash containers. Keeps the clutter down during the party, and with a single trip to the trash at the end, you’ve pitched it all – no actual trash cans needed. Another essential is a large plastic bin to place dirty dishes and utensils on. Throw that in the car and you don’t have to worry about it until later.

 

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