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Football season is just around the corner and tailgating is an essential part of the game day experience.  Like any party, a good tailgate requires some planning.  Here are some tips make the process easier:

  • Enlist the help of friends.  Delegate a beer guy, a meat guy, and so on so that everyone contributes.  Planning and preparing for a tailgate alone isn’t just stressful- it’s expensive too.  Kindly ask everyone who comes to contribute something, even if it’s just a couple bags of potato chips.
  • Get there early.  College students won’t wake up at 7:00 on a Tuesday for an 8:00 class, but they won’t think twice about getting up at 6:00 on a Saturday to start partying.  You can’t show up at 10 AM and expect a good location- especially if it’s an early game.
  • Assume things will get broken, lost, or stolen.  Tailgates are a mess of enthusiastic (and sometimes sloppy) drunks.  There will be stolen beer.  You won’t bring home everything you came with.  If it’s irreplaceable, leave it at home.

Since remembering the essentials can make or break a tailgate, here’s a handy checklist of everything you need (although you’ll probably want to bring more):

  • Beer- a selection is usually appreciated
  • Coolers (at least 2- one for keeping drinks cold, another for ice to put in drinks)
  • A grill
  • Grill set (tongs, spatula, fork, etc)
  • Water – because it’s going to be a long day
  • A tent or canopy
  • Chairs
  • Games- Whether it’s corn hole or just a football to throw around, you’ve gotta give people something to do
  • Meat – prepared ahead of time and ready to throw on the grill
  • The fixin’s – everything that goes with the meat, like buns and condiments
  • Cups, plates, napkins, and silverware
  • Trash bags
  • Sides – because meat is good, but it’s not a meal
  • Tables – because a tailgate without a table is a picnic
  • Music – it gets the party going
  • Team gear


Want to up the ante?  Try these amazing tailgating recipes:

Fully Loaded Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dogs

Bacon Cheese Dip

Beer-Cheese spread

Make traditional party food more finger-friendly by putting it on a stick!

Italian Skewers

Cake Pops (customize them to show your team spirit!)

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