For some, tailgating is more important than the game itself. It’s the smell of burgers on a grill, the chill of an ice-cold beer, face paint and community gathered together to cheer on the… whatever your mascot of choice is. Sometimes it’s an early morning game though, and a burger just doesn’t sound delicious. Or maybe you are just looking to spice things up! Whether it’s the booze or the food that keeps the parking lot party going for you, there are a few simple things you can do to make your next tailgate a real hit.
First, the menu. It doesn’t always have to be burgers and hot dogs! Mexican, Italian, even bacon and pancakes are all great ideas to change it up. Think outside the bun and get creative with your menu.
Second, the equipment. Whatever you are using to cook your tailgate foods now will work for other menus too. You may just need to think about it a little differently. We use water baths, or bain maries if you are fancy, to heat up foods that are awkward or have already been cooked. All you need are two disposable aluminum pans like this. One that is deep to hold the water, and another that is shallower to hold the food. Fill the deeper pan with about 2 inches of water and use the fire from your grill to heat it up. The steam from the hot water will heat the shallow pan on top and provide a non-direct heat source for your lasagna, quesadillas or scrambled eggs. Best part, when you are done, everything can be recycled, or even reused!
If you are a purist, and want to cook all your food on-site, think about packing a griddle or skillet. For foods that don’t grill well, like bacon, pancakes, pasta sauce… you get the idea, your flame from the grill will act like a gas stove and you can cook just like you do at home. Don’t forget about a good-old-fashioned Crock Pot. Cook your dish at home and pack it up. You don’t even need electricity. Those things will hold heat for hours!
Third, the CHEER! Tailgating is supposed to be fun, not fussy. So above all else, relax and have a good time. If you are happy, your guests will be too! Just don’t forget the ice. No one like a warm beer at a tailgate.