Some people just can't get enough of the great outdoors. They enjoy eating outside, no matter what the season. They find ways to overcome the cold, the wind and other atmospheric disturbances. In fact, they like it so much that they bring equipment worthy of a home or patio kitchen on their outings. Of course, what I'm describing is a tailgating party.
Sporting events, college or professional, are the siren call for this group, but musical concerts are also a big lure. Tailgating is, in itself, a competitive, public spectacle. Serious tailgaters work to establish the most elaborate setting for their party. Tables, chairs, carpets and grills - all the comforts of home - are taken along for the party. Tailgaters are very serious about their food, often preparing days before the event.
The next time you plan to tailgate, here are some tips for you to remember:
- Select food that can either be cooked ahead and transported to the event, or cooked there on a grill.
- Follow food safety precautions when it comes to transporting food. Keep cold food cold (40 degrees or lower) and hot food hot (140 degrees and above) to avoid food poisoning.
- If you plan to bring alcoholic beverages, check with the stadium first to make sure it's permitted.
- Don't forget to bring bottle openers and corkscrews, if necessary.
- At the very minimum you'll need a large, heavy cloth on which to spread out the food. All the better if you can bring a table to go under the cloth.
- Pack disposable plates and cups. Who wants to do the dishes after having so much fun?
- Be prepared to clean up after yourself. That includes putting any leftovers you plan to keep in cold storage, throwing away your trash in available trash cans or bags that you've brought along, and safely dispose of any hot coals from your grill. Don't leave a hot grill unattended if you're heading in to the event.
- Bring paper towels or wet wipes to help with clean-up before, during and after your tailgate.
Nacho Layer Dip - This recipe from the Food Network is a snap to prepare. Prepare it at home and transport it in an insulated food carrier.
Grilled Bratwursts - Some people swear it's not a tailgate without these on the menu.
Posole - This hearty, Mexican soup should warm you up on a chilly afternoon.
Picnic Potato and Egg Soup - This recipe goes well with anything you grill.
Orange Shortbread Cookies - Cookies are the perfect tailgate dessert because they pack so easily.
Assorted beverages including beer, wine, and soft drinks.