Tailgating 101

The more that TG researches this whole area of tailgating, I am finding that the most important thing you can do to be a successful tailgater is to develop a checklist with all the necessary items. It doesn’t do you any good to take the grill if you forget the meat! (We use one for catering as well as a different one for competitions.)

Here are a few thoughts taken with permission from HPBA’s “Tailgating 101”



The basics of a tailgate party prevail no matter where you tailgate — whether it’s a college, professional or entertainment event. And one of the most important must-haves at every tailgate is the grill, according to two-fifths of Americans surveyed in the 2006 Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) Tailgate Survey. In fact, nearly half of Americans agreed that forgetting to bring a grill or the food are the two biggest tailgate

blunders a host can make.

The Rookie

If you’ve never planned a tailgate before, keep things simple the first season with the basics:

• The Grill: Charcoal or propane – make sure it’s small and transportable

• Tools: Grilling accessories, propane, or charcoal and lighter fluid (if necessary)

• Set-Up: Table, chairs, cooler

• Food: Burgers, hot dogs, chicken, snacks, dips and dessert

• Drinks: Whatever quenches your thirst (don’t forget ice for the cooler)

• Other must-haves: plates, napkins, trash bags, cups and condiments

The Routine Rally

For fans who have tailgating down pat from seasons of practice, remember there is always room for improvement. Upgrade your tailgate spot with some new twists in addition to the tailgate basics!

• The Grill: Raise the stakes with a grill that has more room for more food.

• Set-Up: Bring a portable tent with your school colors and logo, or favorite NFL or other sport team paraphernalia.

• Entertainment: Get pumped up with your team’s fight song and/or alma mater.

• Real Time Sports: Invest in a generator to hook-up your TV and stay up-to-speed with rival teams and all the stats.

The Extreme Team

For serious tailgaters only! Being part of this team takes experience and a passion for tailgating and will keep your friends talking for years!

• The Grill: Upgrade from a stand alone grill and go all out with a tow-behind or attachable-to-vehicle grill.

• Vehicle upgrade: Rent a large van or RV, or bring multiple vehicles and claim two to three spots

• Bigger is better: Use large speakers and giant TV’s.

• Team spirit: Hang banners and team flags to show ultimate team spirit.

• Theme team: Give your weekly tailgate a theme.

For any tailgate

• Know all rules and regulations of the tailgate park.

• Make sure you have ample seating.

• Provide plenty of room around the grill for the chef.

• Get there early to set-up and get the grill going,

• Bring water along to extinguish the fire and make sure it is out before leaving the game.

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