Tailgating is a time-honored tradition as American as apple picking, pumpkins on stoops, and Thanksgiving. (Can you tell we’re excited about fall?). While some may say tailgating is all about the food, the real key is the right tailgate prep. Don’t spend your pregame toiling behind a grill; with the right advance planning, you can sit back and enjoy the company of the people who’ve earned the right to be in your football family.
So don that awesomely worn-in jersey and check out these five tailgating tips that will take you from pregame fun to postgame satisfaction. No matter who wins or loses on the field, your tailgate will be a total victory.
- The best offense is a good defense – You’re going to be outside. You are going to use condiments like Sriracha and ketchup and drink dark liquids like wine and soda with the potential for fumbles. Your ultimate defense? Seltzer in bulk, which can help get out stains before they set. Bonus: It’s also soothing on your stomach when you’ve eaten one too many honey Sriracha wings, PLUS it makes a great mixer. Everybody wins. Need to call in the big guys? We have Tide-to-Go Pens and Pepto Bismol, too.
- Equipment matters. Aluminum foil can be the difference between an under-cooked, cold dog and a sizzling sausage. Use foil while grilling to separate out vegetarian options from meat, to keep perishable items at safe temperatures, and to store leftovers. Speaking of leftovers, keeping Ziploc bags and food storage containers on hand is another way to minimize waste and send fans home happy.
- Hydrate like an athlete. Day drinking and spending the day in the sun can lead to headaches and worse. If you’re feeling thirsty before the game, you’re likely already dehydrated. Do like the athletes do and drink plenty of water and hydrating fluids like Gatorade to ensure your tailgating memories don’t include pain.
- Prep before you park. Let’s just say it’s hard to wash your hands in a parking lot. Do prep work like chopping ahead of time if you can (check out these lightweight cutting boards) and don’t forget to bring the right utensils. Nobody wants to cut into steak with a plastic knife, but for snacks like pasta salad, casseroles, and potatoes, plastic cutlery can come in handy. For everything else, there’s always hand sanitizer.
- Defend your cup. When everyone’s drinking out of the same plastic cup, it can be hard to keep track of whose drink is whose. Stock up on Prince & Spring red plastic party cups and have everyone use Sharpies to write their name on their vessel to avoid sipping someone else’s gin and juice.
There you have it; five tailgating tips to take your pregame to the next level. Ready, set, grill.