Are You the Queen and King of Tailgating?
16 Tips for A Great Party!
Tailgating is a uniquely American tradition but it’s a serious party when African Americans get together over a hot grill. The practice of drinking and eating before opposing teams can bring us together or divide us apart! There are some elements to tailgating that you must understand before you become the professional tailgater that you are. Tailgating requires planning and food safety for the person that is preparing and the host that is serving.
Forgetting a few items will give you the title of the poorest tailgater in the lot, so get a pen and jot a few notes down to prepare yourself to be the queen or king of BBQ.
Modern day tailgating has gotten pretty involved. It’s no longer bringing a sandwich and beer and sit on the back of someone’s pickup truck. Our kind of people, if you know what I mean, can throw elaborate parties and might even spend the whole game entertaining fellow fans from their parking space. To ensure you’re prepared for game day, read the tips and tricks to maximize your tailgating experience.
- Prepare as much as possible beforehand. Make a list of everything you need. Before coming out to the stadium check out the stadium website for rules and regulations on tailgating and take advantage of apps and web tips designed specifically for tailgating prep.
- Cook as much as you can before arriving. Have you ever been surrounded by 10 people and they are all waiting on you to finish the meal. Don’t fret. Prepare ahead as much as you can. This way you don’t spend the whole time behind a grill. If you are the host you want to enjoy the party as well.
- Pull Pork! Say What! Keep it warm but don’t dry it out. Pulled pork doesn’t taste that great cold so try the following tip to keep it warm. Instead of buying standing trays, use bricks to prop a pot or pan above a sterno can placed between the bricks to heat the pot or pan from beneath. Direct heat can dry the meat out, but a steady stream of warmth can keep your meat moist. Remember to put the sterno can on a heat resistant surface to prevent a fire or melt down.
- If you are the designated side chef, think about bringing foods that are least resistant to spoiling for instance, corn on the cob, rolls, and biscuits, too. You can bring that 5 day cooler, and turn it into a warming oven with bricks, wet towels, aluminum foil and a little help from your oven beforehand. Remember that 5 day cooler can keep food cold and it can keep food warm. I know you know better, but don’t combine hot and cold foods together. I’m just saying!
- If you have empty mayo jars and mason jars laying around don’t fill them up with liquor, but fill it up with your fav chili’s, slaws, and sauces. Plus, it’s cute when they are filled up with goodies that help accent your food.
- Don’t forget the foil. It serves as a barrier between the germs and the food. When in doubt about your food surface, pull out the foil. You know someone wants to take a plate home anyway and foil is the first thing they will ask for. If you have friends like mine, they sometimes bring their own foil for their take out plate! Ha ha! Please remind your friends to not leave food wrapped up in foil in a hot car unless they love having stomach upsets after the game. You may have a hard rock gut for eating, but a food bug can bring anyone to their knees when eating food that has gone out of temperature range. Remember hot food should remain hot, and cold should remain cold. Bring your own cooler to keep your personal to go foods at the proper temperature.
Your buddies need to find you in the parking lot. Don’t make them have to look for you. You may be the best chef and they are looking for the aroma but you can miss the party if they get lost. Make sure everyone knows which side you’re on. Go with your school colors and purchase some inflated balloons and attach them to the car so they can find you.
- Too much drinking can hurt you while you are tailgating. It’s an all-day event, and if you’re going to last, hydration is the name of the game. Frozen bottles of water can help you greatly if someone gets dehydrated quickly. Also it’s important to recognize when someone is dehydrated and not intoxicated. In fact you want to know the difference between the two. Frozen water bottles will help keep things in the cooler cold and you’ll have ice-cold water to drink when they start to melt.
- Don’t forget your favorite jams! Music is key, but respect your neighbor’s space for loud music. Be respectful. Old school music takes you back to that certain place or spot and a beautiful way to go down memory lane.
- Disinfectant wipes are a must. Keep your hands clean with these.
- Use large decorative disposable chargers as plates. They’re big enough to fit food and drinks all on one lap friendly eating surface. Clean up is key, purchase items that you don’t mind throwing away. After the tail-gaiting is over the host is often left with the mess to clean up.
- Keep your party organized by using cardboard six-pack containers to hold condiments and spices.
- Got flies and unwanted bugs hovering around for a nibble? Keep your drink bug and debris free by turning cupcake wrappers upside-down over the opening of your drink. Shove a straw through for easy access and you’ve got a lid that will cover almost any drinking vessel. Go to your local Home Goods and protect your food with picnic nest that can cover your food from the flies. Remember you didn’t invite them and germ carrying bugs can ruin the look of your party.
- No grill? No problem. Go to market and pick up a quick disposable grill. Make sure you have enough grill space to accommodate the ribs, hotdogs and chicken. Remember to cool the ashes before dumping the grill. Don’t forget the fire extinguisher, just in case your flames have suddenly gotten out of control!
- Bring a tool box from the garage and fill them with your grilling utensils, they are great for organizing and storing these items. Also, garbage bags make the clean-up easy, place them in the trunk for easy access.
- Lastly, don’t over eat or drink, pace your meals and keep all foods at the right temperature. Enjoy!