1. Plan a menu around finger food – Having your guests juggle their drink with one hand and their food plate in the other gets tricky. In order to cut down on the hassle for your guests, plan to serve finger foods that don’t require a fork, spoon or knife.
2. Select menu items that are best at room temperature –Without bringing the fridge and stove, keeping your food the right temperature is not the easiest task. In order to keep the amount of things you bring on the road with you down, plan your menu around food items that are best at room temperature.
3. Plan a 25% increase in guests – At tailgates especially, your guests will probably find friends. Plan to make food for 25% more people than will already be attending your tailgate. If you end up making too much food, have some of your guests take some home with them after the game! Bringing re-sealable packages of snacks, like chips or nuts, is a great way to ensure you have enough food for everyone.
4. Organize everything the night before – Running out of the door and on your way to the game in a rush can often ensure that some necessary item will get left behind. Make sure you have everything the day of your party by organizing everything the night before. If you’re grilling kebabs, skewer them the night before. Are burgers on the menu? Cut up your tomatoes, onions, pickles and lettuce the night before too. Plan where everything will fit in your car before heading off to bed and you’ll be in great shape in the morning!
5. Time your arrival and party perfectly – Most people say that a four-hour tailgate party is the perfect amount of time to have fun before the game. Arrive early so you have time to set up and make sure you get a good parking space. Plan to eat at least two hours before the game starts and don’t forget to factor in time to break everything down before you go inside the stadium.
6. Consider wind direction when positioning your grill – If it’s a very windy day and you have a charcoal grill, be sure you bring extra charcoal because the wind can make it burn faster. Point the front leg of the grill into the wind to minimize it coming into the bottom vents. If you have a gas grill, turn the grill perpendicular towards the wind to minimize its effect on your food.
7. Freeze your water bottles – When you bring your water bottles frozen, they can keep things cool for a bit and then hydrate you after they melt.
8. Pack extra of the essentials – It’s always a good idea to have extra charcoal, ice or tongs in case something breaks or walks off with someone else.
9. Use stacked plastic drawers – To organize every item you’d possibly need throughout your tailgate party, bring one or two plastic stacked drawers. You can label the outside with tape so guests can easily locate silverware, cups, plates, tongs or anything else you might be bringing.
10. Mark your territory with something… else – Plan to bring your team flag and something a little quirkier so friends and family will be able to find you easier. This item should be easily recognized by guests as a marker of your territory.
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