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Score Great Grill Ideas and Party Food for Tailgating

Tailgaters will have a blast cooking up burgers, chicken, steaks and the best appetizers for game-day food that will feed a hungry crowd!

For some people, tailgating is a lifestyle. On game day, you can see anything from a simple set-up of lawn chairs, a mini grill and cooler to an elaborate tent with a bar and flat-screen TV. Whatever your style, prepare a pre-game feast that will sustain sports fans through an action-packed event. All it takes is a little planning and go-to resources to have tailgating success.

Angus beef frank on a bun with relish, peppers, onion and mustard, and dill pickle slices on the side of the plate.

Ten Tailgating Tips

Follow a few time-tested tips for tailgating to get your party off to a stellar start:

  1. Arrive up to four hours early. If you start eating approximately two hours before the game, then you will have enough time to pack and stow your gear before heading into the stadium.
  2. Create a box of tailgating essentials. There’s no driving back home for tongs, scissors and rain gear. Some must-haves include: bottle openers, can openers, basting brushes, tongs, meat thermometer, disposable plastic gloves for handling meat, trash bags, paper towels, chip clips, tape, markers, toothpicks, hand sanitizer, first aid supplies, and sunscreen.
  3. Pack a small cooler with multiple condiments.
  4. Marinate meat the night before and bring in a no-drip container.
  5. Prep burgers ahead and stack between pieces of waxed paper.
  6. Create a veggie condiment container with pre-sliced tomatoes, onions, cheese and lettuce.
  7. Label coolers so tailgaters know which one has water, soda or alcoholic beverages.
  8. If using dishes and cutlery (instead of disposable paper and plastic), bring a large plastic container with a lid to pack up dirty dishes.
  9. Let friends find your tailgating spot easily by floating a colorful balloon matching your tailgating theme.
  10. Be awesome and courteous to your tailgating neighbors!
variety of meats on a grill, including steak, chicken, hamburgers and hot dogs.

Select the Best Grilling Recipes

Almost anything you serve to hungry tailgaters will be a hit. To guarantee rave reviews for your party food, think about how you want to spend your time at the tailgating event. Do you want to join in the fun or are you okay with tending the grill for a while? Choose cuts of meat and plan out grill ideas that match up with your expectations.

Pre-made burgers, hot dogs, sausages and thin-cut steaks are grilling favorites because they’re a breeze to cook. For a crowd, some of the best party food can be found in special combo packs so everyone can find something they love to eat.

Change up grill ideas by bringing pork to grill, too. Pork chops provide a nice white meat alternative, and pre-made shredded barbecue pork is a super-easy party food. It’s a good idea to look up the best cooking temperature for the meat you are cooking while tailgating. There are many online cooking sites where you can find the best grilling recipes as well as cooking tips to use as reference when you plan your party food menu. Making notes about the desired meat temperatures will be especially helpful if you serve a variety of meats.

For even more party food ideas and grill ideas, check out these links for grilling perfect cheeseburgers and tips for grilling seafood to tailor your tailgating extravaganza to a variety of tastes. Go, team!

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