10 Tailgating Essentials for Football Season
Words Emily Connelly
Preseason football is officially over, which means I’m counting down the days until the Super Bowl 50 rematch (yikes) that serves as this year’s season opener. Not only am I looking forward to busting out my jersey and engaging in some good old-fashioned water cooler smack talk, I’m also excited to show up to the stadium too early (and too hungry)—that’s right, I’m talking about tailgating.
Thankfully, tailgating has evolved past light lagers and pre-formed burger patties and has become somewhat of a full-fledged truck bed gourmet phenomenon. Whether you’re new to the scene or you deserve a six-year contract because of your tailgating professionalism, read on for the ultimate checklist before you hit the parking lot.
1. Meat and a Grill
Have you ever tried tailgating without grilling and beer? Didn’t think so. It’s an obvious one, sure, but we challenge you to think outside of the hot dog and burger box here. Try grilling brats or chicken, or if you really want to impress your friends, some ground bison burgers or shrimp kebabs.
Don’t be caught without the proper tools – your tongs and spatula will be clutch to protect you from the hot flames as your meat cooks to tender perfection.
Grilling chicken? Save yourself from dry chicken by basting the bird with barbecue sauce before you toss it on the grill.
This nifty press forms a dimple in your burger patty in order to preserve the meat’s natural juices, and allows for easy stuffing. (Read more burger tips here!)
Up your tailgate game with pulled pork sandwiches – the slow cooked meat will smell so good, even your opponents will become fans. These Meat Claws make it easier to shred juicy pork (or chicken). Here’s a pulled pork recipe we recommend.
Keep your meat, toppings, and sides separated by organizing everything you’re cooking in easily stacked containers – they’re also great for taking home leftovers.
7. Cooler and Beer
See above – break out of the weak light pilsner rut – try bringing a few craft brews.
Everyone loves a good can or twist-top bottle, but let’s be honest – you can’t open a real adult beverage the same way you can open a soda, so you’ll need to have one of these handy.
From cocktails to coolers, you never know what you’ll need to chill. Come prepared with trays of ice in your cooler just in case.
What’s game day without some guacamole? Make short work of the delicious dip by using our Slicer (which also removes the pit and serves as a scoop). Mash four avocados with the juice of one lime, a pinch of salt, and half a diced onion for an easy guac everyone will enjoy. (Tip 10.5: don’t forget the chips!)
What are your favorite tailgating traditions? Tell us in the comments!