Tailgating Like a Pro

Posted by Annette Bellisari on

Football season is finally here! While I love the sport, being a fan, and cheering for my favorite teams, my secret (or maybe not so secret!) favorite part of this time of year are the tailgate parties before the games. Tailgate parties are essential to the game day experience. They give fans the opportunity to eat, socialize and energize before they head into the stadium to watch their team play. Whether before a high school, college, or pro game, Bellisari’s Gourmet Sauces and Spreads and these tips will help you host the hottest tailgate in town!

Basic equipment -- If you’re hosting a tailgate, it’s important to bring napkins, plates, and utensils, or your guests will be eating everything with their hands. Also, don’t forget to bring trash bags to clean up afterwards. Some items you could probably live without but might be nice if you include are a bottle opener, paper towels, wet wipes, plastic zip bags, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, bug spray, flashlight, Solo cups, and a Sharpie marker to write names on the cups. Other essentials you'll need are a folding table, chairs, cooler, ice, beverages (including water), grill, charcoal, matches, tongs, serving spoons, any extra food items (chips, cookies).

Food -- Keep in mind that you're cooking for people who are going to be mingling and playing games. So, cook things that don't need to be eaten sitting down or with utensils: ribs, chicken wings, kebabs, hotdogs, etc. Burgers and chili are easy and go well with frosty beverages. Making the menu simpler makes the whole process of setup and teardown quicker and more painless. You must have good food for a good tailgate. However, it can be simple, basic chow all the way to high end cuisine. Feed the people well and they will enjoy. The key is to bring good food and plenty of it -- appetizers, entrees, desserts, and beer and booze.

Entertainment -- Remember to tote along some distractions to keep your tailgating friends busy while you're cooking. Games like cornhole, ladder golf, and giant Jenga are go-tos for tailgating.

Make it Festive -- Make sure everyone knows which side you’re on. Freeze colored water balloons in team colors as a spirited replacement for ice cubes. Flags, banners, and team spirit wear help to keep school spirit in the celebration. Placing these things on your vehicle or around your tailgating not only make you easy to find but also helps fire up the fans for the actual game!

Modern tailgating has gotten pretty involved. It’s no longer bringing a sandwich and a six-pack and sitting on the back of someone’s pickup truck. Now, people throw elaborate parties and might even spend the whole game entertaining fellow fans from their parking space. Tailgating is a fun way to showcase your team spirit — just remember to play nice and be responsible when it comes to consuming cocktails and handling any hot grills. Visit for great recipes for any event!

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