Now that the days are getting brighter and the sunshine warmer, it can only mean one thing – it’s time to get everyone together for a tailgate. Because after hibernating all winter, what could be better than sipping your favorite cocktail in the sun, surrounded by friends and family, grill cranking AND slow food cooking, and with your favorite sport or music playing and kids entertaining themselves? Sounds pretty perfect to us!
To help make sure being the host is just as much fun as being a guest, we’ve complied our top tips for a winning tailgate:
Timing Is Everything
Mother nature tends to be less fickle during late spring to early summer making it an ideal time for a tailgate. The days are longer; the sporting calendar is active, and fresh produce is plentiful. But keep in mind that even the best-laid plans can turn upside down, so always make sure you have a wet weather plan – even if it’s just the living room!
Get Your DIY On
Take a look around the home and reinvent household items as functional entertainment equipment. For instance, clean up the spice rack or shoe rack to create a makeshift glassware and mixer stand. Grab the wheelbarrow for a fun change and pack it with ice for chilling drinks. It’s also a handy way to create more space for serving food and drinks as you can position it near your vehicle's tailgate giving everyone easy access for a beverage. Another handy idea is take along a few hay bales and drape them with throw rugs matching your favorite football team colors for a DIY seating option.
Provide Collapsible Seating
Guests tend to stand at tailgates, especially when their favorite team is on the screen, but after hours of eating and drinking, you can sure everyone, yourself included, will be glad to have seating on hand. Collapsible leather stools are popular amongst chic tailgaters – they fit into the trunk without needing to sacrifice much space and stow away easily in between tailgates.
Greet Your Guests With a Cocktail
Your guests will love you for greeting them with a refreshing cocktail (read our blog featuring a list of ‘’Game-Day Cocktails’ for inspiration and easy-to-follow recipes) such as Spiked Jalapeño Lemonade. You can remove the tequila for those who aren’t drinking. Iced water with some fresh lime is also thoughtful for elderly guests and children.
More Is More
An important part of hosting a tailgate is making sure there is more than enough food and drinks to go around. Always plan to over cater, and send guests home with leftovers or freeze what you can to avoid unnecessary waste. If guests are bringing children to the party, let them know what you’re planning to serve so that they can decide whether to bring extra snacks or ask about fussy eaters so that you can cater for them too.
Cooking On The Go
Plan your main dishes using your wonderbag for ease and convenience. This clever slow cooker is ideal for any kitchen setup and doesn’t require any electricity or power source. Taking the energy and heat from a pot of food boiled on the stove, the bag traps the heat and cooks your dish in its own juices, retaining all the nutrients and flavor. You can leave the bag cooking away for up to 12hours without any supervision. Your dish will never be ruined as the bag is not operating on an external heat source - it just tenderizes further and tastes better.
For your tailgate, it means simply spending 10-15mins prepping the dish at home such as pulled-pork, then taking the bag with you. When you arrive at the stadium, serve hot, delicious pork to your guests whenever you’re ready.
For ideas on creating the perfect tailgate menu, read our blog on “Recipes That Travel Well To A Tailgate.”
Upgrade Your Disposable Utensils
Forget about washing up piles of dishes or getting anything precious broken and opt for disposable bamboo serveware easily found at your local party supply or craft store. Aside from looking good, these bamboo pieces are also a sturdier option for tailgating and are eco-friendly, making your tailgate kinder to our planet.
In The Evening Time
Most tailgates continue on long after the final touchdown, so it’s a good idea to prep for the evening time. Keep your guests cozy by packing extra throws and jackets. You might also like to choose team colors keeping in theme with your tailgate.
As the party comes to a close, send your guests home with a tailgate survival kit packed with water, sunscreen, nuts, fresh fruit, and napkins. It also might just be the perfect pick-me-up after the game and before the post-game celebrations begin.
Don’t forget to have fun. Tailgating is all about gathering your favorite people, and enjoying their company with delicious food, great tasting drinks and hopefully your team winning on the day. Cheers!