10 Great Tips for Your Next Tailgate Party

Take time out to tailgate with these fan-favorite tips and ideas.

Tailgate party with a table full of foodPhoto: Shutterstock / Sean Locke Photography

Is it up to you to tackle the task of cooking a meal that you can take to the big game? There’s no need to fumble around the kitchen if you turn to this menu! You’re guaranteed a successful tailgate party with these winning helpful hints:

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1. Keep the menu simple.

Guests aren’t expecting a seven-course meal at this kind of casual get-together. Three to four homemade dishes should be the maximum. Fill in with purchased items like chips and dip if necessary. Check out our best tailgate food ideas for inspiration.

2. Portable foods are best.

When selecting foods, look for ones that are easy to eat while standing up or sitting in a lawn chair. Also, dishes made without perishable ingredients (such as mayonnaise) travel best. Rely on foods that can be made ahead and brought to the event or that can be cooked there on the grill. When transporting, remember to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.

3. You’re not alone!

If you’re feeling ambitious, handle all the food yourself and divide the cost among the group. Or assign a food item to each person attending.

4. Plan ahead.

To get an early start in the morning, pack the car the night before with nonperishable food, chairs and tables. Don’t forget supplies like a blanket or tablecloth to spread over the tailgate and a variety of paper products (plates, napkins, utensils, paper towels, trash bags, resealable plastic bags, etc.).

5. Show your spirit.

True tailgaters proudly show their support of the team, so dress in team colors or jerseys!

6. Food safety is key.

Just before heading out, pack the food and beverage coolers. Covered plastic containers work great for all kinds of food because they prevent leaks and won’t break during transport. Here are 9 potentially dangerous grilling mistakes everyone makes.

7. Help your friends find you.

When you get to the parking lot, fly a team banner so other tailgaters in your group can find you. Or keep in contact with cell phones.

8. Be there for kickoff.

Plan on eating at least 45 minutes before the game starts. This gives you time to clean up and pack things away.

9. Don’t forget where you parked!

Before heading into the game, make note of your parking location so you’re not lost in a sea of cars afterward.

10. Plan for an after-party.

Instead of fighting traffic jams when the game is over, linger in the parking lot for an hour or so. Rehash the highlights of the game over a snack or dessert. These tailgater-approved desserts are the tops.

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Originally Published on Taste of Home