confession is easy - I don’t love football but I do love a good tailgate
the South, football tailgates are part of the rhythm of autumn. From the
formal events at Ole Miss, where you’d better be sure hubby has a
necktie, to the grilled pizza feasts like I attended at Florida State. They are all a ball!
is fun when someone has organized for the event. It’s not so fun if the
beverages are warm, and you’ve found yourself sitting on a hot concrete curb
with a soggy paper plate and no fork.
If you are
in charge of organizing a tailgate event, don’t stress out. It can be a lot
of fun and it doesn’t have to be a lot of work. Many tailgate picnics
are held as potlucks. Others have a theme, such as the gourmet pizza one
I, personally, munched my way through.
headcount of how many people will need to be fed.
the food. Will it be a potluck, barbecue, take-out, or a combination of
all of these?
mind outdoor kettles allow you to prepare gumbos, stews, and soup for
those cold games.
what main meal you plan, tailgaters, expect part of the fun to be plenty
of traditional snacks from chips and dips to platters of brownies. So
plan on snack foods.
and assign food, beverages, ice, and paper products among your guests.
must-bring packing list and pass that to your guests too. They will be
much happier having a chair and other things they may need.
team spirit by working the team colors into your paper goods. Bring
anything you can, such as a flag or sign for the team, which shows how
fan-tastic you are.
Plan the Timing:
the football game starts. Plan to allow enough time to cook, eat, and
clean up in a relaxed fashion before kick-off. If you are preparing more
than one dish, make a list of what time the grill needs to heat or the
dish needs to begin cooking.
Prep Ahead -
Mise en Place:
Mise en Place - Begin Cooking with Mise en Place.
there to have fun with your friends and family. Don’t leave the prep
work until game day. The day before your tailgate party, dice and cut-up ingredients and
store them in plastic bags or containers.
You can even prepare the whole
dish, like a pot of chili, at home. Then bring it cold to the game and
simmer it there.
As part of
your planning, figure out how people will handle the food. If you can,
bring lap trays or purchase really sturdy disposable platters.
before, pack the car with everything except the cooler. Leave a spot for
it which is easily assessable. You’ll enjoy your day off when you only
need to load the cold things and head out.
Checklist of Tailgating Essentials
some items you might want to remember for your tailgate party. Once you’ve
gone once, you can create your own master list on the computer and just
print it out for each tailgate party.
Grill or other
(like tongs or spatula)
Hot pads to
protect your hands
Sharp knife and
small cutting board
tablecloths ( this mean you won't have to load a yucky table back
in your car)
Trays or basket
for food and chips
for beverages and one for food)
Aluminum foil and plastic bags (for packaging
leftovers back into the cooler)
Jug of water
(for rinsing or washing)
Paper towels or
(football, cards, bean bag toss, etc.)
Box or laundry
basket lined with a trash bag (for carting home dirty dishes
music and other items)
flashlights (if it will get dark before you are finished)
First aid kit
portable heater in cold weather
weather/rain gear from hats to gloves, ponchos, hand/food
Shade tent in