For something that often looks like an impromptu gathering of football fans, a successful tailgate party really does involve a lot of planning, prepping, and consideration. No matter what your tailgating style is, we all appreciate anything that’ll make the day go by without a hitch. From time-saving to earth saving, InTown Suites has gathered few helpful tips and tricks to make your gameday tailgate a touchdown:
Once you have your invite list and tailgate vehicle selected, the next step is planning your venue set-up. Got the long-range forecast? Plan for the weather and make sure you have shelters for rain or sun. Figure out what appliances you’ll be using and what kind of power source you need. Think about a layout that accommodates all your guests and your tailgating needs. Setting up stations for hot food, drinks, snack, and hand washing is an easy way to categorize what your need and divvy out tasks to all guests.
I think we can all agree that the great eats are one of the best parts of tailgating. But for the person behind the grill, it can be a long day. Make game-day more fun by meal-prepping beforehand. Choose two to three items to grill or cook on site, and pre-assemble items like this Charred Corn Guacamole, Sunny Broccoli Salad, and Caramel Snack Mix. Meats can be pre-marinated and skewered. Burgers can we pre-shaped and packed between layers of wax paper. Toppings, crudités, and cheeses can all be pre-cut, packed and ready to serve.
Hot dishes like this Warm Artichoke and Bacon Dip, Indian Summer Turkey Chili, and Hash Brown Casserole can be pre-made and heated in oven safe casseroles on the grill or kept warm in a crock pot.Or, throw away all the rules and prepare some breakfast burritos or these tasty Reuben Breakfast Sandwiches, throw some soups in thermoses and settle in for a laid-back morning tailgate experience.
There is such a thing as being too prepared—no matter what your mother has previously told you. When it comes to packing, start with the basics. Fill a toolbox with grilling basics (spatulas, basting brush, wooden skewers, tongs), camping essentials (lighters, toothpick, matches, bottle opener, can opener, flashlight, sunscreen, ponchos), and cleanup items (garbage bags, wet wipes, paper towels, plastic zip bags, hand sanitizer).
One place not to skimp on is the essentials. Bring a couple of bags of charcoal or propane. Pack a few sets of tongs and cutting boards for different meats. Make sure you have enough chairs, cutlery, and cups—it’ll go a long way to ensuring everyone enjoys themselves.
When it comes to other necessities, pair down condiments and spices by sticking them in a disposable six pack holder. Freeze water bottles to double as ice packs in the morning and refreshing cold drinks later in the day. Turn an empty beer box into a make shift cooler by lining it with a trash bag and filling with ice. Use these and other multi-purpose methods to bring the minimum with you while still maximizing your tailgating experience.
WASTE NOT, WANT NOT
The only one who really stands to lose this football season is Mother Nature. With the wide selection of disposable cutlery, cups, and dishes available today, it’s often the easy option for tailgating. But, all those items pile up, especially if there isn’t recycling available on site.
Save the environment and your hard earned money by planning ahead to cut back on waste. Like our beer case cooler idea above, there are plenty of life hacks that use reusable and recycled materials, even on the go. For a handwashing station, use a large empty laundry detergent dispenser with a spout filled with water, some soap, and a towel to tackle sticky fingers. Instead of disposable dishes, bring a large plastic tub and bring dirty dishes home to wash. Have everyone bring their own mug—that way each person can keep track of their drink and you won’t have to worry about bringing plastic cups.
One of the easiest ways to cut back on garbage is by preparing “hand foods.” Grill up veggie, meat, and fruit skewers for a garbage free option. Serve chili and fixings in a bag of Fritos for individual portions of Frito pie, or toss ground beef and toppings into a bag of Doritos for taco salad on the go. Get creative and serve chili in edible bread bowls, or dish out portable breakfasts by wrapping sausage and bacon in pancakes. Kids will love being able to eat with their hands and grownups will enjoy not having to balance a plate on their knee all day.
Need somewhere to stay for your next away game tailgate? InTown Suites Extended Stay Accommodations offers 189 locations in 22 states to help you cheer on your favorite team in comfort.