Quick Tips for Terrific Tailgates
They’re not just for football anymore. But whether you’re hauling the grill and the coolers to a concert, a stock car race, your kid’s soccer game or a niece’s graduation, make like a Boy Scout and be prepared. And, yeah, it’s all about the food. Hey, you’ve come to the right place.
Top Ten Tailgate Must Haves
- Jumper cables
- Toilet paper
- Plastic trash bags for cleanup
- Extra ice
- First aid kit
- Sun block
- Comfy shoes
- Rain gear
Terrific Tailgate Tips
How may people do you expect? What’s on the menu? Does the stadium (or track or concert venue) have any rules to keep in mind?
Making a list (checking it twice).
Write down all the stuff you’ll need, including your game tickets. And don’t forget chairs and water—typical rookie blunders.
Cooler packing 101.
Put each food in its own airtight bag or container and keep everything in the fridge until you’re ready to start packing. Line the bottom of the cooler with ice packs and put colder stuff in first. Fill the cooler to the brim—if you don’t have enough food, fill the empty spaces with water bottles—you’ll keep the temperature lower for longer.
So what’s the Weather Channel say?
Will your paper cups take off in a 30 mph wind? Will your cheese plate liquefy in the 95° heat? Check the weather and plan—and dress—accordingly.
The early bird gets an awesome tailgating spot.
You’ll want to arrive 3-4 hours early. Parking at the end of a row gives you more room to party.
Lost Socks Memorial Day, May 9.
Build a theme around a holiday. Or base your food and decoration on the opponent. Example. Your guys are playing the Eagles. Check out Heinz 57 Ways 34.
The cardinal rule of tailgating.
Don’t run out of food. There’s nothing worse—okay, maybe running out of cold beverages.
Change things up.
Are you serving the same basic burger every tailgate? Try Heinz 57 Ways 54. Or bake ribs the night before (225° for 6-8 hours, tightly covered with aluminum foil) and finish them off on the grill. Check out Heinz 57 Ways 19.
Keep food covered. Keep hot dishes hot and cold dishes cold. Throw away any food that’s been sitting out for more than 3 hours.
Be Smokey’s BFF.
Make sure that you have some way of extinguishing and throwing away your hot coals. Some stadiums have a designated place for hot ashes, but do not dump them in the grass or in trash bins.