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Tailgate Party Ideas: 6 Tips for a Fun Game Day Party

Don't plan a tailgate party until you see these ideas!

Updated July 11, 2017

Cookbook

Prime Publishing LLC

Published by Prime Publishing LLC

Tailgate Party Ideas 6 Tips for a Fun Game Day Party

Are you ready to cheer on your favorite team? Whether you’re eager to watch a pro game with your favorite team or just want to make your child’s next soccer game a memorable event with a wide selection of game day recipes, these tailgate party ideas will make sure your event will score a touchdown with family and friends.

Planning the perfect tailgate party includes more than just finding the right recipes — although that is certainly a crucial step. From the basics of foods safety when cooking outdoors to hosting a successful party in the rain, there are plenty of things to keep in mind so that you can be ready for the next game. You'll even discover a few great tailgate party recipes that are easy to make and even easier to transport that the crowd will love. These Tailgate Party Ideas: 6 Tips for a Fun Game Day Party will make your next game day event a hit for everyone!

Tailgate Party Safety Tips You Need to Know

Planning to lug your favorite grill to the next home game of your favorite team? Don’t pack the trunk just yet. Many municipalities and sporting venues have restrictions regarding the use of grills, as well as the disposal of hot charcoals and other items. For example, fans attending an event at University of Southern California’s University Park Campus must ensure the coals from the grill are completely extinguished and cold, too. While you’re at it, make sure your grill and other cooking items are completely cool before transporting your gear either to the sports venue or to your home. You'll want to wash your hands before you start cooking, so making a hand washing station (or at least using soap and bottled water) will keep your food safe. Finally, check that your cooking apparatus is still allowed on the venue’s premises. Rules can change from season to season, and what was allowed last year may not be permitted.

Plan for the Weather at Your Next Tailgate Party

Don’t let a little, or even a lot of rain, for the next game dampen your spirits. Although preparing food in the midst of heavy rain, a snowstorm, or even blistering heat can be difficult, the weather doesn’t have to curb your plans. With a few modifications, you can still have a fun party. While you can’t cook under a tent — after all, no one wants to add a fire hazard to their plans — you could plan to keep things low key by sharing a spread of ready-to-eat lunch meats and condiments, including this recipe for the Hudson Valley Club Sandwich (below). This no-cook method is great for any games taking place during the hottest time of the year. Keep food covered when it is not being served, as you likely don’t want a pinch of rain or snow in your favorite potato salad.

Hudson Valley Club Sandwich

Do Your Prep Work at Home

Cooking for family and friends in the middle of a parking lot means you're preparing food without basic supplies or even running water. With a little bit of prep work at home, you can easily whip up a meal for a crowd. Before you leave for the game, slice and dice any fresh fruit or vegetables you wish to prepare, whip up your favorite seasoning recipe (including this one for Creole Seafood Seasoning, below), and perhaps even mix the ground beef for the burgers you plan to cook. Place your prepared ingredients in resealable containers, and you're ready to go. In addition, consider bringing extra spatulas, tongs, and other cooking gear. As you likely can't wash items like you can at home, bringing duplicates will help you prepare your favorite grilling recipes like a pro.

Creole Seafood Seasoning

Keep Food Poisoning off the Menu

It’s one thing to add special seasoning to your famous hamburgers or a few drops of hot sauce to a pot of chili, but it’s another to add food poisoning to the meal. Make sure all food items, including raw meats and salads with mayonnaise, are transported and stored safely. You also can’t rush the time it takes to cook burgers, ribs, and other types of meat, so plan to arrive at the tailgate location with plenty of time to set up your gear and cook everything thoroughly. You will also need to remember to remove any uneaten salads and dips, as they should not be left out in the sun for hours on end. For a quick look at safe internal temperatures, keep this guide from FoodSafety.gov in mind. 

Personalize Your Tailgate Party Gear

Sharing food with your fellow fans is a fun experience of any tailgate party. If you plan to take part in a potluck or will cook with other fans and want to come home with your bowls and plates for serving your favorite easy potato salad recipes and other picnic favorites, then you’ll want to personalize your gear. Although you can use nail polish, a marker, or paint to mark your initials, simply tying a piece of string around a spoon handle will work, too. You can also opt for using disposable cookware; just keep in mind it might not be as sturdy or as durable as the reusable counterparts.

Clean up after Your Game Day Party

Making an assortment of great tailgate party recipes is only part of the equation, as you will need to clean up before heading to the game. Dispose of any uneaten meat, dips, and salads, as those food items likely cannot be kept at a safe temperature inside your vehicle. While you likely can’t wash your serving items onsite, you can wipe them down for easy storage. The venue might have policies regarding how and where you can dispose of beverages, so consult any regulations before dumping your leftover iced tea. Wet wipes aren’t just for keeping your hands clean, as you can use them to wipe up any messes left on your table or chairs, too. 

Tailgate Party Recipes Everyone Will Love

Serving food that’s delicious and easy to make doesn’t have to be difficult. These easy tailgate party recipes will be a welcome addition to any tailgate party, and are easy to transport, too. You’ll definitely score a homerun with the crowd when you make these delicious game day recipes! 

1. Amazing Chili (pictured below): What's a tailgate party without a bowl of chili? This easy chili recipe brings the heat and packs a lot of flavor, too. When serving this chili recipe, set out bowls of grated cheese, sour cream, and even a few bottles of hot sauce.

2. BLT Ranch Burgers: You can never go wrong serving burgers at a tailgate party! These flavorful burgers combine the best of the best, with bacon and ranch dressing topped on beef patties. Get ready to dig in with this recipe.

3. ​Portable Nachos: Get the crowd on their feet when you serve this delicious take on nachos, which includes homemade salsa and cheese sauce. If you'd like to show off your team spirit in a big way, then consider purchasing tortilla chips in your team's colors. 

4. Guacamole Tacos: Don't forget to include a few vegetarian and vegan recipes in your tailgate party spread! These tacos are so easy to make, and everyone will be impressed with the homemade pickled red onions.

5. Miami Mango Salsa: Sweet with some spice, this mango salsa recipe will be the perfect addition to your game day party. You can also use it as a marinade for any grilled meats.

6. Oil and Vinegar Potato Salad: If you're looking for a potato salad without any mayonnaise, then this recipe is for you. You'll also love how easy it is to make this classic side dish.

7. Chocolate Brownies: This classic recipe for brownies is easy to make, and even easier to transport to your tailgate party. Just slice the brownies before you leave home, and these delicious desserts will be ready to serve the crowd.

Amazing Chili

What is your best tip for a great tailgate party?

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Hi everyone! My name is Megan Horst-Hatch, and I am the site editor of Cookstr.com. Let's get the conversation started! I think the best tailgate party tip I've ever heard was to bring more food than you think you'll need! It is always fun to share with other fans, and it can't hurt to come home with leftovers. What's your favorite tailgate tip? Let us know in the comments!

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