Helpful Tips for a Kick-Ass Tailgate Party

When most people think about tailgate parties, they think about football games. While it’s true that it’s a long-standing tradition to have tailgate parties before and even during a pigskin game, anything can warrant a reason to tailgate!

Whatever the reason, whether it’s a sporting event, concert, or little sister’s high school graduation, being prepared is key to throwing the perfect tailgate party. Check of this list to ensure everyone gets properly intoxicated and has a (safe of course) good time.


What to Bring:

Okay, we’ll assume that you know to bring a vehicle with a tailgate such as an SUV, a pickup truck, or a van. We can also assume that you’ll bring friends because it wouldn’t be a party without them. It would just be pathetic. That’s a great start, but what else do you need to bring? To start, make sure you have the following items.

– Grill(s)
– Grilling utensils
– Grill wire brush
– Charcoal
– Light fluid
– Grill lighter
– Lanterns (in case you decide to carry your party past sundown)
– Folding chairs
– Folding Table(s)
– Table cloth(s)
– Paper towels
– Disposable cups
– Disposable plates
– Disposable eating utensils
– Toothpicks
– Storage bags (for leftovers)
– Trash bags (at least two)
– Moist wipes
– Cooler(s)
– Portable radio or television (to catch the status of another ongoing game or to listen to the game if you’ve chosen to have your tailgate party throughout the game)


How to Prepare:

Before you even get to the stadium, racetrack, or arena, it’s important to make sure that you plan ahead to make the party go smoother and so you can have more fun. Here are some things you can do to prepare.

– Get to the parking lot where the tailgate party is occurring early and have your friends get there early too. This way you can all park next to each other.
– Decorate your vehicle to honor your team by writing on the windows or attaching streamers in your team’s colors. You can use anything you can think of, but be creative.
– Dress in your team’s colors. If you have clothing with you team’s logo on it, wear it. Wear as many things as you can. If this is a football game, you may even want to paint your face. There’s no such thing as overkill when showing team spirit at a tailgate party.
– Start you grill(s) as soon as you get there so that the coals can have time to heat up. Then you can set everything else up.



The right kind of food can make or break a great tailgate party. First, let’s talk about what’s not appropriate. Don’t bring a veggie platter or a salad. This is not an event for vegetarians. The only vegetables that are acceptable are the tomatoes in the ketchup; onions, mushrooms, relish and pickles for burgers; potatoes in the potato salad, and vegetable on kabobs. The kabobs must also have meat! This is not a time to eat healthy foods. It’s a time to have fun. Here are some foods that are not only acceptable, but are encouraged.

Main Entrées

Burgers: Make the patties up ahead of time.
Chicken: This is best if it’s barbecued. Do yourself a favor and boil or oven bake it the night before so that it’s already cooked. Then, when you’re ready to stick it on the grill, you can add the barbecue sauce, heat it up, and get that grill flavor. Doing it this way will ensure that the chicken is cooked all the way through and it will also take less time to cook on the grill.
Sausages: Sweet and/or Italian sausages work well. You can even get kielbasa or polish sausage, which work well with kabobs.
Brat Worst: Brats are great if you precook them at home the night before in a frying pan with beer.
Chicken Wings: Of course, these will have to be done ahead of time. If you choose to do wings, heat them up right before you leave your house. Also, remember to take blue cheese and/or ranch dressing.
Steak: You can marinade these the night before.
Ribs: The country style ribs are best because there’s more meat on them and less bone. For more tender meat and a quicker result on the grill, boil them at home ahead of time for about an hour.
Shrimp: Shrimp is great for kabobs, but it’s also great all by itself.

Side Dishes and Other Foods

– Nachos: You’ll need cheese and salsa. You also may want to bring chili and sour cream.
– Potato Salad
– Macaroni Salad
– Cole Slaw
– Chips

Condiments and Other Essentials

– Hot dog and hamburger buns
– Salt and pepper
– Cheese (for burgers)
– Mustard
– Mayonnaise
– Ketchup
– Barbecue sauce
– Onions
– Mushrooms
– Pickles
– Relish


– Soft drinks
– Water
– Beer (and plenty of it)


Packing Up:

There are a few important things that are essential when getting ready to end your party.

– Make sure that the coals are completely cooled off before emptying them from the grill.
– Put all of your trash in trash bags.
– Check to make sure you haven’t left anything behind.
– Plan ahead and make sure that there are designated drivers.

The most important thing to remember is to have a great time. Even if your team looses big time, you can still have a blast with the right food and people. Food, friends, sports, and beer is what it’s all about. Enjoy!

Leave a Comment

  1. Thanks alot for the recommendations!

  2. Thanks for this list!

  3. lisa says:

    seriously! wat are you thinking. you cannot tailgate without JELLO SHOTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!