Ultimate Party Guide: How to Rock a Tailgate
Prepping for the Big Tailgate Party
Seasoned tailgaters always come prepared. Whether you’re prepping for your very first tailgate party or looking for tips on how to plan an awesome tailgate, this Ultimate Party Guide will show you how to rock a tailgate party in style! So let’s get the party started…
Three Weeks Before the Tailgate: Order Party Supplies
- Decorative Banners, Football Serving Tray & Football Cooler
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- Giant Foam Party Fingers & Tailgate Caution Tape
- Face Paint & Beaded Necklaces
- Temporary Tattoos
- Megaphone & Rooter Poms
- Football-themed Party Supplies & Confetti
- Team Shirts or Jerseys
Two Days Before the Tailgate: Shop for Food & Supplies
- Steaks, chicken, sausages, hot dogs, ground round, bacon slices, etc.
- Spices, seasonings, picnic-size salt & pepper, BBQ sauce
- Hamburger buns, hot dog buns, sourdough bread with butter and garlic
- The fixings: Tomato, lettuce, red onion, avocado, pickles, jalapenos, sliced cheese
- Condiments: mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, relish, hot sauce
- Appetizers: chips, dips, salsa, nuts, cheese, crackers, popcorn, etc.
- Salads: potato, macaroni, coleslaw
- Chili, baked beans, pork and beans, etc.
- Fruit: watermelon, grapes, strawberries
- Desserts: brownies, cupcakes, cookies, pie
- Beverages: beer, wine, Pepsi, Diet Coke, packets of hot chocolate, bottled water
- Top off your propane tank OR pick up two bags of mesquite charcoal
- Other supplies: plates, napkins, plastic silverware, tablecloths, Solo cups, styrofoam cups, Sharpie, toothpicks, paper towels, wooden skewers, jello-shot containers, Ziplocks, aluminum pans with lids, trash bags, plastic wrap, foil, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, hand soap, mosquito repellent, sunscreen, batteries
- Two large bags of ice
Day before the Tailgate Party
- Marinate steaks, chicken, ribs, and kebabs in gallon-size Ziplock bags.
- Shape burger patties and layer then in a plastic container between sheets of pop-up foil or deli wax paper sheets.
- Cook sliced bacon and store in a Ziplock
- Prepare chili or baked beans.
- Fill an industrial-size beverage container with water for hand washing.
- Prepare jello shots
- Pop popcorn
- Gather the tailgate supplies you purchased yesterday PLUS these items: BBQ tools, BBQ basting brush, serving tongs, cutting boards, large knives, serving spoons, serving fork, ladle, large cookie sheets, serving trays, tiered tray, mesh-screen food covers, serving bowl, pot holders, silverware holders, 3 bungee cords, first-aid kit, bottle opener, wine bottle opener, disposable tablecloths, masking tape, games (cards, dominos, etc.)
- Organize your tailgate supplies in a set of portable plastic drawers. This is also a great way to store your tailgate items between tailgate parties.
- Refrigerate as many beverages as possible.
Morning of the Tailgate Party
- Pick up breakfast burritos to go, or a dozen donuts
- Slice burger toppings (tomato, lettuce, red onion) and artfully pack them in a sealed container.
- Fill up a thermos with coffee or hot water for hot chocolate
- In one large ice chest: pack meat, salads, burger toppings, mayonnaise, fruit, etc.
- In one giant ice chest: ice down drinks three hours prior to arrival at the tailgate location.
- Load up the truck with tailgate necessities: BBQ, propane tank or charcoal, metal bucket to store red-hot charcoal, beer pong table, football, 12-volt TV or a regular TV with a power inverter, radio with batteries, tailgate playlist, large plastic tub to haul back dirty dishes, large round tub with handles for garbage, 2 pop-up tents, folding tables, folding chairs, ice chests, ice bucket with scoop, plastic drawers with supplies, jumper cables, battery-operated lanterns, a few old rags, and all other items.
- REMEMBER TO BRING YOUR TICKETS TO THE FOOTBALL GAME!
Take the Tailgate Party on the Road
Once you’re on the road, break out the breakfast burritos or donuts. Plan to arrive at the tailgate location about four hours prior to the start of the football game. If you’re meeting up with friends, make an effort to all arrive at the same time so you can find tailgate parking spots right next to one another. Be on the lookout for a prime tailgate location. If you can secure parking spaces next to a grassy area or a shady tree, your tailgate party will be better than ever!Ultimate Party Guide: How to Rock a #Tailgate! Click To Tweet
Set up Your Tailgate Party
Now comes the fun part – setting up your tailgate party! Position your grill directly behind your truck or SUV. Set up one pop-up tent next to your grill, and another over your folding tables and chairs. Pull one bungee cord and string it through the core of a roll of paper towels; hook the ends of the bungee cord onto the inside of the tent next to the BBQ. Now you have a convenient paper towel holder. Set up your tailgate decorations and the beer pong table. Turn on your TV. If you’d rather listen to some music or pre-game shows, pull out your radio. Heat up the BBQ. Arrange your special tailgate plates, utensils, napkins, cups and food trays on the serving table. Set up your yummy tailgate appetizers.
Be friendly and introduce yourself to your tailgate neighbors. Who knows, you might make some great new friends! Sit back, relax, drink, eat, chat, play games, and get ready to cheer on your football team. If you have tickets to the game, start to wrap up the tailgate party about an hour and a half before the game begins. Make sure you pick up all your trash. Store hot coals in a charcoal ash can with lid or a metal container. Store used serving trays, tongs, and other washable items in a bus box.
If you are the ticket holder for your tailgate group, make sure you don’t disappear visiting other tailgate parties and make your friends search you down. Likewise, if someone else is holding tickets for you, don’t make them waste time waiting around to meet up with you. Be a considerate member of your tailgate crew!
After the game is over, heat up the grill again, relax and continue your tailgate party while you wait out the heavy post-game traffic. As with all drinking situations, arrange for designated drivers for members of your tailgate crew. And don’t be surprised if you’re tapped again for organizing another rockin’ tailgate! Party planning is always easier the second time around…
Do you have an awesome tailgate tip to share? Help us make our next tailgate party rock! Leave a comment below, then pin your favorite image to Pinterest.