Tailgating season is upon us. Stay organized and on top of the game with these tips - Michelle Lara

Tailgating season is upon us. Stay organized and on top of the game with these tips – Michelle Lara

Football enthusiasts everywhere flock to the stadium not only to root for their favorite team and players but to tailgate. It’s a long-standing tradition that’s just as important as who scores the first touchdown. Here are a few tips to make you a tailgating MVP.

Super Bowl Worthy Supplies

  • Portable Grill (The Weber Smokey Joe is a perfect tailgating grill – affordable and easy to carry)
  • Chairs, portable tents and tables
  • Matches, lighters and charcoal
  • Cooking utensils
  • Coolers (keep one for meats, one for drinks and another for sides)
  • Napkins, paper towels and wet wipes (for all that finger licking BBQ sauce)
  • Disposable plates and utensils
  • Plenty of ice
  • Bottle opener
  • Bungee cords (useful for hanging paper towels above your tent – love this idea!)
  • Clean up – trash bags, antibacterial wipes,  an empty large storage bin is helpful to pack up dirty dishes

Prep & Pack

  • Marinate your meats the night before and pack them in large storage bags (tip: consider skewering your meat)
  • Label your coolers to make it easier for guests to find what they need (remember you want separate coolers for meats, sides and drinks!)
  • Pack your side dishes in ready to serve Tupperware with snap lock lids
  • Decide on one or two drinks you’d like to serve other than beer (speaking of beer check out this guide to Craft Beer Tailgating) and prepare a huge batch in a beverage jar (consider an acrylic one to avoid breaking)
  • Pre-packed set of plastic drawers labeled and ready to go. Store your cups, plates and utensils, cleaning supplies etc.
  • Chili is a must (consider hearty soups too) make them ahead of time and serve them in a crock pot so they can remain warm

Extra Touches

  • Personalize your space with fun table covers and banners (I love this idea of using burlap and bandanas!) Light up your tent with fun lighting like these red cup string lights.
  • Create DIY topping stations. Jazz up your burgers, dogs and sandwiches with amazing sauces, relishes and salsas.  Have different types of shredded cheese and toppings for your chili and soup.
  • Make a pizza station with some store-bought dough you can easily grill up some pizza. Check out these Grilled Pizza recipes.
  • Cocktail time! Don’t forget garnishes for your drinks. If serving Bloody Mary’s don’t forget the celery and hot sauce (sliced jalapenos for an extra kick). Make your Margaritas marvel with salted rims in your team color.
  • Consider serving a few seafood options. They cook up fast and will have your guests impressed.
  • Don’t forget dessert! Bake some up ahead or be a total pro and grill some dessert right there at the tailgate (everyone will be impressed!) Smores are always a crowd-pleaser and very easy to personalize. Instead of plain chocolate try your favorite candy bar – crushed up pieces of Twix or M&M’s, how about adding fresh fruit? The possibilities are endless!
  • If your out early enough think about serving brunch. Try this Grilled Coconut Rum French Toast or these Bacon Biscuits with Molasses
  • Bring out your inner grill master skills with these Tailgating Recipes!

Michelle Lara is the newest contributor to GrillGrrrl.com. She’s a curious-about-food-writer and has created the “GrillGrrrl Take Two” Series where she takes an original GrillGrrrl recipe and puts a new spin on it by turning it into something completely different. Read Michelle’s full bio on the contributor’s page.

You can follow Michelle on Facebook or at her blog Cupcakes, Cocktails and Kids