Tailgating before a game is a great way to bond with your friends and elevate the gaming experience. Luckily tailgating is fairly simple, but there are always ways of making it better. Follow these tips to throw the best pre-game tailgate in town!
You will want a good mix of meats, breads, and snacks to enjoy throughout the party. Some good snacks include potato chips, beef jerky, and maybe even grilled corn. While salty chips and hot dogs may not be the healthiest, they are ideal for tailgating due to tradition, their ability to absorb alcohol, and most importantly of all, their taste! Your group wants to enjoy themselves, so don’t worry about health and instead aim for optimal taste!
For drinks, you should have a nice combination of water, alcohol, and maybe some sports drinks for the designated drivers and anyone underage. Buy a few jugs of water and some small cups to keep people refreshed, and bring a 12-pack of Gatorade as well. For beers, you ideally want cans, so that you won’t have broken glass stuck in your tires. Plus, cans are likely to stay colder throughout the day! Bring some red plastic cups as well, because some local laws require it, and it makes your tailgate that much classier.
You should also bring these simple yet essential items with you:
- One cooler for drinks and another cooler for meats
- Paper plates
- Plastic cups
- Plastic utensils
- Paper towels or napkins
- Lawn chairs
- A portable grill
- Plus a football or soccer ball to play with
You want to ensure that all of your meats stay fresh and are cooked fully to prevent people from getting sick. Make sure to keep the meat frozen up until the big day, and wrap it in foil when transporting it in a cooler to the game. Keep the meat in a separate cooler to avoid mixing raw meat with anything else including soda cans. Touching or consuming raw meat blood or the invisible particles can be dangerous, and you want to ensure that nothing is contaminated.
When cooking, wear gloves or have a strong hand sanitizer nearby so that you can clean yourself up before serving and eating. Before serving, cut the meats to ensure there are no undercooked parts. You want to cook thoroughly at a tailgate; save the rare steaks for a fancy restaurant. If you want to be extra cautious, you can also use a meat-thermometer to ensure perfection.
After grilling, allow your grill to cool down so that you can safely pack it up later. If you used charcoal, make sure that the coals are entirely cool before throwing them away or leaving them (depending on the venue and regulations.)
Beer and spirits are a staple of tailgating; however, it’s crucial that you stay responsible with alcohol. Make sure to have a designated driver so people can enjoy themselves, and go to great lengths to discourage others from driving under the influence. Your party will end on a happier note when everyone gets home safely!
Another way to practice smart drinking is by providing water for everyone. Especially during a hot day, it’s all too easy to become dehydrated from alcohol leading to headaches, upset stomachs, and in some cases, severe dizziness and fainting. Have individual water bottles available or a water jug with cups so that everyone stays hydrated and fresh. If someone is has had too much to drink, you should have them to sit down and rehydrate before it gets worse. By following these tips, you and your friends are guaranteed to have a memorable tailgating experience!