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How to Tailgate + 5 Game Day Recipes

Why is tailgating so popular? When is tailgating season? How do you prepare to tailgate? All your burning questions, answered.

By: Jamie Garcia, Editor, RecipeLion.com
How to Tailgate  5 Game Day Recipes

Let's talk tailgating.

Whether you look forward to tailgating every year or you're just getting into it, this guide will help you make the most of the party before the big game!

This article touches on everything from a brief history of tailgating to safety tips, prep, and even a few gourmet grilling recipes to try out at the first game of the year.

No matter which team you're rooting for, we can all agree that pre-gaming with food, drink, and good friends is an experience you won't want to miss!

You'll also learn about cooking foods to their most ideal temperatures so that no one gets sick at the tailgate.

Nothing will ruin your tailgate party like getting food poisoning and not even making it to the game, so avoid this mishap and learn about other general food safety tips that will make your tailgate the best it can be.

What is Tailgating?

How to Prep for a Tailgate Party

How to pack your cooler

Tips for Superior Tailgate Cooking

Tips for Superior Tailgate Cooking

Tailgating Safety Tips

5 Game Day Recipes for Your Tailgate Party

5 Game Day Recipes

Tips from a Seasoned Tailgater: David Dial

1.  Make a list (on paper or on your phone). Just like packing for vacation, you're bound to forget something if you don't have a list. How can you expect tailgating to go well without burger buns or your lucky jersey?

2. Cook as much as possible ahead of time. Grilled food will always test better fresh, so try to bring a small (or big) grill along with you. (I once saw an old SUV with a grill mounted on the back instead of the spare tire. That's serious tailgating!)  But if you can prep anything else ahead of time, do it. For instance, skewer the kebabs the night before. Also, make a plate with all of the "fixins" for whatever you plan on grilling.

If burgers are on the menu, slice up tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, onions, etc. and put them on a large plate. Wrap them in plastic and you're good to go. Also, spend a little extra money and grab the single-serve packs of mustard, ketchup, mayo, etc. It makes clean-up so much easier at the end of the day or night.

3. Your cooler is good for more than soda, beer, and water!  Seriously. Use a second cooler as a warming oven if you are bringing food that you want to keep hot. Just take a couple of standard bricks and wrap them in foil. Then put the bricks on the grill (at home) or oven until they're nice and hot. About 30-40 minutes at 400°F should do it. Then just lay a wet towel down at the bottom of the cooler.  Put the bricks on top (be careful, they're hot!) and then lay another wet towel on top of the bricks. Now you've got a warming oven that you can transport with you to the tailgate!

4. Don't forget to bring can openers and bottle openers!  When we used to tailgate every weekend, I'd have a little kit of kitchen utensils that I'd only use for tailgating. That way I always had everything I needed. 

5. Use frozen water bottles as ice packs. They'll keep everything cool, and then you can drink 'em later in the day to stay hydrated.

6. Finally, bring extra food for after the game.  Don't rush back to your car and then fight traffic all the way home.  Fire up the grill and have dinner with your friends and family! After an hour or so, the traffic will die down and your trip home will be much easier. You'd probably arrive at around the same time either way, so might as well sit back and have fun instead, right?  


- Tips from David Dial, of The Spiced Blog

What is your favorite thing about tailgating? Let us know in the comments below!

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These tips are so handy! I always seem to forget something when I'm packing things for a tailgating party (usually I forget trash bags...)

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