Few things are as exciting as fall in the south, but not for the reasons you might assume because while everyone else is prepping for fall foliage, leaf-peeping, and cooler temperatures - the SEC is prepping for tailgate season.
And while truthfully, sporting events aren’t the only ones with tailgates, there are few events more culturally important than a tailgate when your Alma Mater is playing their local rival. See the section of southern cookbooks that focus on tailgate recipes if you don’t believe me. But with a truck, a beer, and a group of friends - you can any event into a tailgate. Especially with the right items, the right food, and the right drinks.
Why limit yourself when there are endless options for organizing a great tailgate party? I took the liberty of rounding up some of these options for you in lieu of gameday coming this weekend and a handful of country concerts dotting my calendar.
It sounds like a given, to pack properly, but if you aren’t experienced you might not know what that looks like. Remember when your family would head to the beach during the summer, and your father would have to schlep everything from the car to the “spot”? Right. That’s a generous example of what we won’t be doing while packing properly for tailgating.
On your packing list should be a cooler that’s large enough to fit food if necessary but ultimately, it’s there for your drinks. You’ll get bonus points if the cooler is a color related to your school-of-choice uniform. Don’t hesitate to bring and use paper products like paper plates, plastic solo cups, and recyclable utensils. A few extra trash bags will help differentiate recycling and trash - being thrifty while you’re helping to save the planet during your next tailgate. If you’re trying to be really thrifty, why not repurpose an old toolbox with all of your tailgate needs for ease of portability?
Be mindful of what you need to cook or grill the morning of the tailgate or at the game. You do this by having enough of those aluminum trays on hand. There are a few really popular tailgate foods that you can probably cook beforehand like baked mac and cheese or pulled pork. Grilled chicken and hamburgers, on the other hand, will require some prep. Portable casserole dishes with heat-protecting carriers are a must-have, too. Leave it to Southern Living to have a perfect list of recipes for tailgating on hand as we head into fall.
When it comes time to tailgate, it might seem like a given that your entertainment is the upcoming game or event. Wrong!
Planning a tailgate includes planning entertainment - whether that means you’re preparing to set up a large screen TV outdoors or you’re just setting up old card tables for popular tailgating games like flip cup, and beer pong. Entertainment isn’t limited to those two games though; lots of people bring cornhole boards, ring toss equipment, and other popular backyard games. Whether you win or lose (drink or play sober), much like the football game you’re waiting for, it’s still a lot of fun to play the games.
Speaking of drinks, they’re another entertainment essential. Seasoned game-goers will know the alcohol situation is an important one, especially if kick-off is at 12:00 PM. There are no shortage of fun ways to drink at the tailgate. One way to make sure everyone has a tasty drink to sip on is to create a bloody mary bar. Others host mimosa bars, but the concept is the same. Build yourself a bar and the booze becomes interactive. Don’t forget to consider those who might not be drinking alcohol, too. You can always create a fun, virgin drink for gameday.
In case you haven’t noticed, there are a variety of reasons one might want to tailgate. This guide will help you host the best tailgate of your season.