Tailgating involves hosting a gathering with friends or family from the back of a vehicle. This social gathering typically features an informal meal and refreshments. Tailgating usually occurs in the parking lot of a sports stadium, but it also is commonly seen preceding concerts or other large events.
Tailgating gets its name from the fact that people set up chairs around the rear of the vehicle, or actually sit on the tailgate itself. For many people, tailgating is a lifestyle, and they’ve honed their skills to deliver parking lot parties that are tough to rival.
With some advanced planning and know-how, anyone can throw a successful and memorable tailgate party. Follow these tips to get started.
• Create a mobile tailgating kit. Turn a toolbox into an essentials collection for tailgating. Fill a metal toolbox with necessary gear, such as barbecue basics, bottle openers, condiments, trash bags, zip-baggies, and paper towels. Then simply grab the toolbox and set out for the tailgate party location.
• Prep the night before. You’ll want to get the best spot in the lot, so do the bulk of the work the night before the event. Pre-chill beverages so they will stay at the right temperature in the cooler. Sort out recipe items and ensure that all the food staples are well secured and ready to put in the cooler. Pre-purchase ice so it’s ready to go.
• Pack smart. Store plates and silverware in a plastic bin with a lid. Dirty dishes and other soiled cooking tools can be kept securely inside and toted home for washing.
• Choose menu items wisely. Keep in mind that foods that are portable and eaten out of hand are best at tailgates. This limits the trash and how many utensils will need to be discarded or washed. Burgers, hot dogs, kabobs, sliders/sandwiches, and the like are ideal tailgate foods.
• Label coolers. Make sure guests know where to find the items they need. Label coolers to differentiate between beverages and other sup-plies. Freeze water bottles to use in place of ice in the coolers so that the cold water can be consumed as the bottles thaw.
• Create a warming oven. Coolers insulate warm or cold items. Grilled foods or foods cooked at home can be kept warm until eaten.
• Establish a washing station. A clean, rinsed out, spigot-style laundry detergent container can be transformed into a washing station.
The most important tip is to make sure others can find your location. Tie balloons to the car so that guests can spot it in the crowd. Then have fun before the game or concert.