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How to Tailgate: Fall Tailgating Tips

Get ready for fall tailgating or any outdoor celebration with our How to Tailgate Guide. No matter the occasion, fall offers many opportunities to enjoy great food and friends in some perfect fall weather.

Whatever’s on the menu, your tailgate food needs to be prepped and protected to ensure a delicious outdoor feast. Learning how to tailgate will help make outdoor cooking safer, easier and more enjoyable by hosts and guests. While it’s probably not the most glamorous part of the tailgate, learning how to pack your food properly is the key to any tailgate success.

How to Tailgate: Packing Your Cooler

The path to maximum cooler efficiency is more than just cramming all your food in and covering it with ice. Plan accordingly to optimize space.

Take Two? If you’ve got the space, consider having a separate cooler for drinks. A separate cooler protects perishable food items. To go even further, use a smaller cooler for raw meat to reduce cross-contamination.

Go Solo. If you only have one cooler, pack in this order: beverages at the bottom, meats/tailgating food, snacks/fragile items, and another layer of easy-access chilled drinks. Having drinks at the bottom helps to make a good foundation for packing.

Successful Prep. Before you pack, make sure the cooler has been washed and dried. Pre-chill your cooler with bags of ice to get it ready for food items. Food should be prepped and chilled or frozen before going into the cooler.

Building Blocks. Ice blocks melt slower than cubes. You can make your own ice blocks by filling empty milk containers and soda bottles with water. If you’re packing water or juice, consider freezing those to use as ice blocks.

Plastic Protection. Pack food in leak-proof plastic bags or containers. That makes them easier to arrange in your cooler and helps reduce any mess.

Layer Levels. When you pack, add ice to the bottom of the cooler and alternate between food items and ice until you reach the top. Pack foods that need to stay colder at the bottom of your cooler, like fresh meat. Just remember that the first items to go into the cooler are usually the last ones to go out.

For some extra ideas to enjoy the great outdoors, find some great recipe inspirations from our Johnsonville food gurus.

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