Few things say “Fall” quite like a good tailgating extravaganza: here are some of my favorite tailgating recipes as well as some tailgating tips that will help you have an easy time preparing a fun party!
In addition to the kids heading back to school, one of the things I associate most with fall is tailgating. If you aren’t familiar with it, tailgating is essentially a party with food served out of cars in the parking lot before a sports event.
While I can’t say that I’m a huge sports fan or feel the need to go to many sporting events that my kids aren’t actually playing in, I do love eating and socializing. So for me, the highlight of attending football games is the tailgating that comes beforehand.
Over the years, I’ve gathered some tips to ensure a successful tailgate party. Whether you’re a fan of big games or big eating, theses tailgating tips and recipes can help make your pre-game fun a success!
Prepare your supplies
There’s a ton that can be done the night or morning before you tailgate so that once you get to your venue, you can focus on having a good time. This includes packing up all your essential supplies, like your grill (if you’re bringing one), charcoal or propane, cooking utensils, a small table, trash bags, paper goods, sunscreen etc.< If you’re an avid tailgater, store the smaller items in a labeled plastic tub or small plastic drawers so all you need to do is stow it in the car at game time.
Prep your food
It pays to do as much advanced food prep as possible so that once you arrive at your party spot, you can start eating and feeding the masses. Some things that you can accomplish in advance include marinating anything you will be grilling the next day, shaping and packing up burger patties, slicing burger or sandwich toppings like tomatoes, onions and cheese, and packing up condiments.
Fill your cooler(s)
Keeping your food fresh and your drinks cold is definitely a priority for a tailgate. Coleman, a company that is synonymous with outdoor fun, has a number of helpful tips for packing a cooler. These include using two coolers—one cooler for perishable foods like chicken and burgers, and one cooler for beverages that can be opened more often without the risk of spoilage. Check out a number of other helpful tips about the art of cooler-packing here.
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Take time to eat
There are definitely foods that lend themselves to tailgate parties. Not only are they crowd-pleasers, but also are things that can be made in advance and refrigerated, are portable and are easy to double or triple for a large crowd. No matter what dish you’re responsible for, be it a main dish, a side or a dessert, The Six O’Clock Scramble has you covered.
Check out some terrific tailgating recipe ideas below:
Recipe Ideas for Main Dishes
- Baked (or Grilled) Honey Wings
- Grilled Pork and Pineapple Kabobs
- Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches
- Grilled Baby Back Ribs with Pineapple Glaze*
- Chili Non Carne*
- Baked (or Grilled) Honey Wings*
- Grilled Salmon with Fresh Herb Pesto*
- Grilled Mexican Flank Steak*
- Taco Chili with Cilantro Sour Cream*
- Grilled Portobello Mushroom Fajitas*
Recipe Ideas for Snacks, Salads, and Sides
- Homemade Ranch Dressing with Carrots and Broccoli
- Quick Dill Pickles
- Sriracha Popcorn
- Cool Tortellini with Artichokes and Pepperoni*
- Orzo, Arugula, Olive and Walnut Salad*
- Broccoli and Chickpea Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette*
- Curried Chicken Salad with Grapes*
- Grilled Corn on the Cob*
- Carrot and Apple Salad with Pecans*
Recipe Ideas for Desserts and Refreshments
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Corn Muffins
- Cocoa-Nutty Granola
- Flavored Water
- Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies*
- Crispy Honey Peanut-Oat Bites*
- Fruit Kabobs*
* denotes recipes available to Six O’Clock Scramble members
Make clean up easy
Master tailgaters have all kinds of creative tricks that make clean up quick and easy. Some are common sense, like cleaning up as you go and bringing clean food storage containers for leftovers. Some others include lining a large plastic tub with a trash bag for easy pick up when the party is over and using a metal bucket with a lid to store still-glowing coals. See other ingenious tips here.
So whether you’re tailgating before an NFL game or your daughter’s soccer tournament, you are now officially “at the top of your game” when it comes to tailgating!
If you have tailgating tips or recipes to share, we’d love to hear them! Please share them below.