The words “tailgating” and “foodie” may seem mutually exclusive. After all, a couple bags of potato chips and some supermarket burgers and dogs hardly qualify as gourmet game-day grub. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, it’s entirely possible to kick your tailgate up a notch — even if you’re partying in a parking lot. Read on for a roundup of four tasty tips aimed at helping you score a touchdown at your next tailgating party.
1. Start with the right tools.
A portable grill is the bare minimum when it comes to pulling off truly tony tailgating. Depending on what you’re serving up and how many guests you’re expecting, adding a camping oven, oven/grill combo, roomy coolers, and/or a portable fridge to your equipment arsenal can vastly enhance your cooking capabilities.
Adequate cooking utensils, including knives, spatulas, pots, and pans are equally important when it comes to pulling off the most delectable dishes.
Investing in a portable kitchen cart, meanwhile, is one of the easiest ways to stay organized throughout the day.
1. Go gourmet with your grub.
A successful game-day menu incorporates a broad range of offerings to satisfy a broad range of tastes. However, pulling it all together can be excessively time-consuming and stressful — a losing scenario for hosts looking to actually enjoy their own bashes. One solution? Gourmet mail order food.
Ordering up a delectable smorgasbord online doesn’t mean foregoing traditional tailgate specialties, but rather embracing upscale upgrades. Consider FoodyDirect’s unbeatable assortment of tailgating and homegating foods, including everything from Buffalo wings and meatball sandwiches to burgers and ribs. But that’s not all. Sausages, sliders, lobster rolls, Philly cheesesteaks, pizza, steaks and much more from the country’s finest restaurants, butchers, and artisans are literally at your fingertips and ready to be delivered straight to your door.
Hosts should also take into account how food will be eaten. If most of your guests will be standing instead of sitting (which makes for a more active, mingle-friendly environment), make sure you’ve got plenty of options which can be devoured while standing. Extra points for dishes which can be eaten without utensils and/or with one hand. Party-goers will appreciate having the other hand free for their drinks or for tossing a football around.
And while the taste of victory is sweet, your guests may be looking for a more tangible indulgence. From brownie buckets to Game Ball ice cream cakes, there are near-endless dessert options aimed at ensuring a happy ending — whether your team goes home champions or chumps.
The perfect finishing touch for your tailgate? A chalkboard menu revealing the fest fare.
2. Don’t underthink drinks.
Speaking of drinks, you wouldn’t pair gourmet food with cheap beer at a cocktail or dinner party, so why would you do the same at a tailgating event? Selecting artisan and small-batch beers and wines which complement your menu is an easy yet effective way to take your tailgating party to the next level.
We’re also a big fan of the “signature drink.” You don’t need your own personal mixologist to pull this off, either. Instead, select a recipe which can be prepared big batch-style earlier in the day then simply chilled and poured when it’s tailgating time. Extra points for themed libations. For example, Hurricanes and a New Orleans Saints game are a particularly festive duo.
3. Glam it up.
But tailgating isn’t just about the food. It’s also about the setting. And while basic suffices, why not go for sophisticated instead? By now we’ve all heard of “glamping,” AKA a trend that fuses conventional camping with a more glamorous approach. Why not apply the same approach to tailgating? Because while paper plates and plastic cups may seem like the easiest approach, they do nothing to enhance the ambiance of your fete. The good news? There’s entirely new breed of chic, lightweight, reusable, and shatterproof tableware out there. Many are even stackable — making them a savvy space-saving solution.
Accessories like lanterns, battery-powered twinkle lights, and colorful cloth linens, napkins, pillows and throw blankets also add to a tailgate’s festive feel.
4. Have a game plan.
As the host, you’re the tailgate party’s quarterback, and what’s a quarterback without a game plan? Writing down a schedule for the day covering all who’s, what’s, where’s, and when’s can ensure that everything goes off without a hitch. And don’t forget about Plan B. From tents for drizzly days to backup power options, the better prepared you are, the more seamless your soiree will be.
Are your tailgating techniques still operating at amateur levels? If so, these four tips can help you go pro. Stuck in pumpkin spice mode this fall, meanwhile? Make sure to check out our guide to 8 Fabulous Fall Flavors That aren’t Pumpkin Spice!, then start browsing FoodyDirect’s extensive inventory of foods, gifts, and much more today.