Tailgating Tips & Tricks

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Tailgating is an art form; a delicate balance between fandom and celebration.  It’s a large part of American culture, and is enjoyed today more than ever. The food, the drink, the friends, this act of pre-celebration before the big game or concert has often become more important than the events themselves.

Everyone has their own version of a tailgate party, and nobody wants to be told what to do and how to do it. This article is prepared to help you enhance your next tailgate party with some tips and tricks from across the web, and the ones we picked up along the way.

We have tailgated across the country at well over 100 events from the Super Bowl to the Rose Bowl, NASCAR  and countless concerts and festivals.

Whether you are a die-hard experienced parking lot party-er or you are just getting started, check out our Tailgate Party Tips & Tricks, you might just get an idea for the next one.

 

- FANFOOD Tailgating Tips -

 

Know the Rules
Prepare for Success
Check the Weather
Pack the Standards
Wear Layers of Clothes – weather needs
Bring Sunglasses & Sunscreen
Go with a Theme
Create a Menu
Prepare a Checklist
Send out the Invites
Get Help
Make a Playlist
Put your Game Tickets in the Car the Night Before
Keep a Tailgating Toolbox in Your Car
Freeze Water Bottles or Balloons in Your Team Colors
Prep Food Before you Leave
Bring Enough to Share
Print a Plastic Tub for Dirty Dishes
Don’t Forget the Jumper Cables
Get There Early
Use a Balloon To Stand Out
Use Social Media
Set up a Car Bar
Consider Wind Direction
Know How to Light a Grill
Grill with Success
Set up a Hand Washing Station with Sanitizer
Watch TV in the Parking Lot
Make a Chip bag bowl
Turn a Case of Beer into a Disposable Cooler
Keep Organized
Eat With Your Hands
Keep Cool Foods Chilled
Class It Up
Cooler Packing 101 & Personalized Water Bottle Labels
Ice a Cake In Your Team’s Color
Play Games
Make Your Own Beer Pong Table
Learn how to Open a Beer Bottle with your Car Door
Drink in Moderation
Always have a Designated Driver
Enjoy the Game
The PostGate
Leave the Area Clean

 

 

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Know the Rules

Every venue has it’s own rules and you need to know them. If you are tailgating at a venue for the first time or just want a refresher course, find your venue website and read and understand the rules, this will go a long way in your planning and preparation.

 

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Prepare for Success

If you are a die hard tailgater, you already have all of your supplies together and ready to go. You don’t want to be running around the night before or the day off looking for all your supplies. Gather everything now and put them together in a room in your house or garage.

 

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Check the Weather

This is obvious. You need to follow the forecast in the days leading up to the big event.

When you wake up on GameDay, plan accordingly. Here is a link you can use.

Here is the Weather Section of FANFOOD Fantasy Football with some more links for you.

Click Here for Weather Underground Sports Forecasts

 

 

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Pack the Standards

You might be the lead tailgater or you might be joining a party. No matter what your role is this day, you need to have at least the basics packed and ready to go:

 

Game Tickets (pack them in the car you will be using the night before)
Cash
Water
Snack Food
Hand Sanitizer
Sun Glasses
Sunscreen
Garbage Bags

If you have all these items at minimum, you can enjoy going to the game and tailgating.

 

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Layers of Clothes – weather needs

No matter the weather, always dress in layers. Weather can change drastically during a long day of tailgating.

Better to have what you need then to need what you don’t have.

 

 

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Bring Sunglasses & Sunscreen

Be Sun Smart. You may have crisp weather at some of your tailgates, but don’t forget about protecting yourself from the sun. Bring sunglasses and sunscreen to prevent sunburns. You will know what to expect when you check the weather forecast, but as we just said, things can change.

 

 

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Go with a Theme

It might be a big rivalry, or it could be close to a holiday (i.e. Christmas) It is always fun to make your tailgate party theme related.

 

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Create a Menu

This depends on your theme, and even if you don’t have one, you should create a menu anyway (even if it is just for your own use)

This will help with your shopping, prep and help list. Print out the recipes you want to make and make sure to prepare everything you can in the days leading up to the event.

 

For Ideas and over 500 Recipes:

Recipes

Appetizers | Marinades | Rubs | Chili | Vegetables | Sandwiches

Pizza | Meats | Sauces | Breakfast | Desserts | Holiday | Drinks |

Equipment & Technique |

 

 

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Prepare a Checklist

No need to recreate the wheel here, the people over at Charbroil created one for you.

If you don’t want to use their’s create your own, print it out, and refer to it often.

 

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Send out the Invites

You may have the usual suspects attending, you may be a season ticket holder, you may tailgate in the same spot each game. Doesn’t matter, it’s always good to send out information to your guests. Especially if it the party is theme related. Use Social Media, you’ll see later how it will help.

 

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Get Help

This goes hand in hand with the invites. Don’t try to do everything yourself. Get help from your friends. Make sure to give out specific instructions so you don’t end up with 8 bowls of potato salad.

 

 

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Make a Playlist

Pick enough songs to last through the entire tailgate that everyone will listen to. Know your audience and stay away from offensive songs if there will be little ones there.

 

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Put Your Game Tickets in the Car the Night Before

You don’t want to forget the most important thing, the tickets. You could be rushed and running around packing the car the day of the event. It’s easy to overlook things like the tickets.

 

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Keep a Tailgating Toolbox in your car

For serious tailgaters only – Keep a fully stocked toolbox with supplies in your car.

 

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Freeze Water Bottles or Freeze Balloons in Your Team Colors

Freeze Water bottles and use them in your cooler. You can also make ice cubes with food coloring or skip the boring ice and go out and get black and gold balloons for your next STEELERS Tailgate (or the team colors of your choice). check this pinterest page for ideas

 

 

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Prep Food Before you leave

This is another obvious tip, but do EVERYTHING you can BEFORE you leave. Things like, marinating and skewering the meat, forming the burgers, making up the sandwich toppings tray, making your smoking pouches, etc. The least you have to prep in the parking lot the better.

 

 

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Bring Enough to Share

The Golden rule of Tailgating is to always bring enough to share with your parking lot neighbors. There is no room for being stuck up here, even if the poor slobs next to you are Ravens Fans.

 

 

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Print a Plastic Tub for Dirty Dishes

You are going to have dirty dishes, even if you plan on using disposable plates, etc. Do yourself a favor and bring a big plastic tub to put all the dirty stuff in, especially if you are using real plates, etc.

 

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Don’t Forget the Jumper Cables

These should be in your trunk anyway, but they are even more important in the parking lot, when you have been draining your car battery with music, TV, etc.

 

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Get There Early

This goes back to knowing the rules. When does the lot open? Do you have a favorite spot? What color is your parking pass? What is the weather supposed to be like? How much time do your guests want to spend outside? The answers to all these questions and more, will determine when you should get there.

Our advice, get there early and if there is a spot near a real bathroom, get it. Plan to arrive four hours before the game starts. Then eat two hours before the game so you have plenty of time to set up and clean up.

 

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Use a Balloon To Stand Out

Here is a cool trick for when you are meeting up with people. Bring a big Team balloon, or numbers of your favorite player like the # 7 above, ether will do. Fly it high so your guests can find you.

 

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Use Social Media

If there is ever a time to use facebook and it’s “check in” feature it is now. Once you have your spot and have your balloon flying, take a pic, check into your favorite social media sharred with your guests that are going to be joining your tailgate party. Nobody wants to be walking around on the phone during the tailgate party trying to find where Joey and the kids are. You got beers to drink, burgers to eat and footballs to toss.

 

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Set Up a CarBar

Convert the back of your car into a fully-stocked bar with a set of shelves.

 

 

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Consider Wind Direction

Now we are talking about the fun part, grilling in the parking lot. We have so many tips for you when it comes to this, but the first and foremost thing you need to consider is the wind direction, and where you are going to set up the cooker.

 

 

 

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Know How to Light a Grill

Remember FANFOOD RULES #2: Never Use Lighter Fluid.

There are so many ways to light your charcoal, why would anyone use lighter fluid? While you might think it is easier, you NEVER want use lighter fluid or any kind of charcoal that is self-lighting (ones that have an additive to make it start without lighter fluid). Lighter fluid and these additives can leave behind a bad taste that you don’t want.

Charcoal should be clean and produce virtually no smoke when fully lit.

There are simple ways to light a charcoal grill without lighter fluid, Click Here for ways that are good to best

 

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Grill with Success

You probably don’t need us to tell you how to grill, but have you mastered the reverse sear technique? Do you know that you never want to put a cold steak on a hot grill? These are just a couple of tips and techniques that we offer on this website.

Do You Have a Plan for Used Charcoal?  It might sound obvious, but if you cook with charcoal, you need to have a plan on what you are going to do after the cook. Properly disposing of used charcoal is more than simply sending it to the landfill. You can get much more use out of it and if you BBQ as much as I do, you can save money too.

We are talking about tailgate cooking here, so we don’t have the luxury of waiting 48 hours for the coals to completely cool, plus we are not going to be bringing them home with us.  So what do we do?

You have a couple of options.

Check if your Venue has a Hot Coals Container

Let your coals burn down as much as possible. Scoop out and place in a disposable fold pan with some holes poked in. Pour water over coals. once cooled put in trash bag.

Bring a Metal Bucket - for still-glowing coals to transport to the Hot Coals Container

Do not use Galvanized Metal – This will put of noxious fumes.

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Set up a Hand Washing Station with Santizer

Go to Costo and buy a big laundry soap dispenser. When you have used it all, Wash it out and fill it with hot water and bring it to your next tailgate party. Set it up like the picture above to be used as a hand washing station. Don’t forget the sanitizer.

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Watch TV on the Parking Lot

If you want to throw the best tailgate party in the lot, why not bring take TV with you? You have options to get the games.

Of course there is always over air broadcasting, but if you have the  DirecTV Sunday Ticket, it is easier than ever.

First, you will need to get a screen mirroring device for your TV. Here are some links for you to check out

Android

Apple

Display the games on your phone or tablet and mirror to your TV it’s that simple. No wires, no Tailgate Satellite Dish KitCheck out this one from Amazon.

You can also use a slingbox. plug it into a projector connect it to the internet, and display your home channels on a screen.

With all the advances in technology, and abundance of mobile apps out there, you should have no problem watching LIVE sports in the lot, you just need to power it up.

 

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Make a Chip Bag Bowl

No need to dump the chips into a bowl you will have to clean, or throw away. Use the bag that it comes in turn it into a bowl.

 

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Turn a Case of Beer into a Disposable Cooler

In lieu of a cooler, get a case of your favorite drinks, empty it and line it with two garbage bags (so it doesn’t leak), then put the drinks back in and add ice. Afterwards, put the whole thing in the trash. Double the bag so you don’t have any leaks

 

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Keep Organized

Here are some tips to keep you organized during your tailgate party. (1) Bring a pre-packed set of drawers so everything is handy and organized while you’re cooking. Designate and label drawers: One for napkins, plates and utensils; one for koozies and bottle openers and cups; one for SPF and insect repellant, etc. (2) A clear shoe organizer is great for storing napkins, cups, koozies and more to free up room on the table. Bonus points because it rolls up for easy storage after the game. (3) Hang a paper towel roll using a bungee cord from the tent struts.

 

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Eat with your Hands

Nature’s Utensils. Try preparing everything you can eat with your two hands, show off your hand washing station and keep it simple with finger foods. Cook and serve your whole lobsters another day. Serve breakfast you can eat with your hands, like sausage and bacon wrapped in pancakes.

 

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Keep Cool Food Chilled

If you can’t serve just finger food and you must serve sides and salads, keep them chilled. Bring some extra ice and turn the lid of the salad bowl upside down, fill with ice and put your salad on top. Consider using a large aluminum foil container filled with ice and placing all your sides on top of the ice.

 

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Class it Up

Using clear plastic plates and silver plasticware can class up the joint, Using a cupcake stand, decorative paper towel holder, and chalkboard make this look especially nice.

 

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Cooler Packing 101 & Personalized Water Bottles

You might think that simply dumping a case of cans in a cooler and topping it with ice it the way to go. Sure that is one way. Here is another.

 

 

If you want a little extra touch, print out your own labels for your water bottles with the date and matchup and the name of your Tailgate Party.

 

Here is a template you can use, Or a google search for more.

 

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Ice a Cake in your Team’s Color

Click it here, as southern living share their playbook for to-the-drop formulas to create your team colors with icing.

 

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Play Games

You got beer pong, megapong, basketpongwasher pit, bean bag toss, ladderball, KanJam, whatever. Bring your favorite, or atleast bring a football to toss around.

Dick’s Sporting Goods has a bunch of games to choose from, or Shop.Tailgatingideas.com

or…

 

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Make Your Own Beer Pong Table

 

directions here

 

 

 

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Learn how to Open a Beer Bottle with your Car Door

 

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Drink in Moderation

You will want to feel the need to drink heavily before going in the stadium, because you don’t want to pay the hefty price inside for adult beverages, but don’t do it. Drink in Moderation.

It is a long game, and long tailgate party, pace yourself and don’t be that person talked about all season long. Remember, tempers can get heated during and after a game, you’ll want to keep a level head.

 

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 DRIVER

 

Always have a Designated Driver

 

Do we really need to explain why this is important?

 

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Enjoy the Game

Win or Lose, enjoy yourself.

These tickets aren’t cheap and you need to make the best of it.

Have fun! Enjoy the game and your guests. It’s an experience and up to you to make it a good one or bad one.

 

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The PostGate

As Lee Brice says… “There’s ain’t no party like the after party!” So set up some chairs, take out some leftovers.

If you are using a gas grill, why not cook some fresh food? (don’t bother lighting new charcoal).

It’s going to take time for people to leave the parking lot and if Your Team wins youy gunna want to raise a toast.

You can either wait in traffic or eat some food, it’s up to you.

Make sure to use your DD for the trip home.

 

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Leave Your Area Clean

This is another obvious tip, but you HAVE to leave the parking lot the way you found it, It’s a parking lot, not a trash heap! Stay Classy!

Use your garbage bags, dispose of your hot coals the proper way and respect the venue.

Don’t be that group we have all seen leaving their trash all over the lot.

 

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