House Warming Party, Lifestyle Tips, Tips & Helpful Advice — October 14, 2015 at 7:20 pm

Tailgating Tips For Rookies


Remember hosting your first Thanksgiving? Well, planning your very first tailgating isn’t much different. Essentially, you’re displaying your team devotion while celebrating with your football family. OK, you’re pretty much having a party in a parking lot; emphasis on the party.

It may sound daunting, but follow these 10 tips, and you could end up as a tailgate legend.

1. Keep it simple. Reaching too high too soon is a recipe for disaster.

2. Give yourself plenty of time. Plan on leaving about four hours before kickoff so you have enough time to enjoy your efforts — and your friends — before the game.

3. Prep as much of the tailgate the night before. Once you hit the parking lot, you’ll have to set up, cook and entertain your guests before the game starts — it’s not the time to be chopping carrots for the veggie tray.

4. Plan your menu far enough ahead of time. It doesn’t matter if you’re offering burgers, brats or barbecued ribs, make sure you know what you’re preparing several days in advance so that you can bring the appropriate utensils and condiments. Seriously? No mustard for the hot dogs? Bummer.

5. If you’re casually grilling on site, and you don’t have a fancy schmancy unit, don’t sweat it. There are plenty of disposable grills that will do the trick. (Probably not a good idea for those ribs, though.)

6. Don’t forget to load up on aluminum trays and lots of plastic trash bags. And bring a package of plain, unscented wipes. These are useful for cleaning your hands as well as wiping down the table.

7. Leave the hard booze at home. Tailgates are an all-day affair, being plastered before kick-off makes you look like a real novice. Stick to light beer, and have plenty of bottled water and non-alcoholic drinks on hand.

8. Don’t drag a chintzy cooler to your tailgate. It’s easily among the most important pieces of equipment, so forget the Styrofoam box from the drugstore. Ideally, you should consider two durable rolling coolers. One large enough for your beverages and ice, and to be safe and sanitary, another for your food. Think about it. Do you really want all of those hands rummaging around for drinks to touch your food?

9. Fly a flag. Yes, a flag. It’s not entirely impossible that the vast parking lot is going to have lousy cell coverage. Let your friends know where to meet, if possible, and fly a flag they’ll recognize. Don’t make it a team flag or your friends might be wandering around for hours as if in a maze.

10: Don’t forget bug spray and sunscreen.