4 Tips for Hosting the Perfect Tailgate
Tailgating is an American tradition that is as patriotic as apple pie. Everyone enters the world of the tailgate equal, but the true tailgater separates themselves from the pack through superior snacks, a well-stocked selection of frosty beverages and genuinely comfortable accommodations.
Hosting a tailgate might seem simple, but maximizing everyone’s enjoyment takes skill. That is where this guide comes in. Follow these suggestions and you will be well on your way to a relaxing, enjoyable and maybe even exciting tailgating experience.
1. Bring extra chairs
While it is easy to be misled by the name of this sport, enjoying the festivities of a tailgate from the bed of a pickup is not the most comfortable solution. Wouldn’t you rather kick back in a a padded folding chair — perhaps one that features cupholders? We figured the answer was yes. These chairs cost so little and offer such comfort, it is a mystery why more people don’t just use them to replace all the furniture in their homes. Make sure to have a few extra on hand.
There is always someone, be it an old friend or new, who needs a place to sit. Having extra chairs makes the entire experience better, and when used effectively, it could open the door to additional snacks and beverages.
2. Make food, don’t buy it
It is fine to complement your handcrafted tailgate delicacies with a few bags of salty snacks, but the Bugles and Cheez-Its should not be the main course. You are better than that. Tailgating food has developed into a completely unique echelon of the foodie universe. The stuff is so good there are even restaurants that specialize in serving tailgate-style food. Thankfully, it is not difficult to make. Spend a few minutes preparing enough to share, since your neighbors will be hungry too.
What sort of food should you make? The list could span entire parking lots, but we recommend starting with some homemade cheeseburger sliders. They are a simple recipe you can make with just a few ingredients, always a plus when you have limited space to work with. You can also try bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers, a tailgating classic that never gets old. Grill them to your desired level of hotness. A nice pot of tailgate chili never goes unappreciated, either. Don’t forget the homemade artichoke dip, salsa or guacamole, which will pair nicely with those salty bits we mentioned earlier.
3. Prep your serving containers for game time
Don’t bring fragile dishes like glass bowls or ceramic trays to a tailgate party. Things are liable to get rowdy, and you don’t want to go home with one less chafing dish, let alone create a hazard for your friends to step on. Choose durable plastic or woven serving equipment. If it has a top, even better. For drinks, consider plastic pint glasses or even adult sippy cups, which you might also call tumblers or ramblers.
4. Bring on the games
Even though you are waiting for the big game to start, you can still enjoy plenty of your own fun beforehand. There are lots of great activities that can be transported in the back of your truck, set up and broken down in time for the real contest.
Consider crafting a homemade bag toss game, featuring the colors of your cherished home team. It only requires a few sheets of plywood and makes a great conversation starter with your neighbors if you haven’t got enough people with you to play. KanJam is another fun game to bring along that you can make at home and customize with your team’s colors. All you need is a set of two cylindrical garbage cans and two flying discs. Cut disc-sized slots about three-quarters of the way up the cylinders. Players take turns throwing the Frisbee back and forth and can score by hitting the slot or jamming the disc into one of the cans. Feel free to offer extra points for style — just don’t let anyone get hurt tomahawking a flying disc before it is game time.
Share the fun
Like we mentioned before, this is a group exercise — so don’t be shy. Bring enough stuff to share the fun, because you might just come away with some great new friends. Have a blast and be safe out there.