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How To Tailgate—Summer Tailgating Tips


Get ready for summer tailgating or any outdoor celebration with our How to Tailgate guide. Whether it’s tailgating before a game, concert or just having a picnic outside, these tailgating tips will help you prepare for an awesome time.

While it’s easy to throw some food together and eat outside, a good tailgate needs proper planning. 

Summer Tailgating Tips

Planning the Event

When you’ve got the urge to tailgate, give yourself enough time to think of everything you’ll need.

• Food. Make sure the food covers the needs of your guests. While many enjoy a great bratwurst, add some fruits and veggies to make sure everyone has something to eat. Grilling can be the main way to cook food at a tailgate, but foods prepped beforehand that can be served at room temperature can give you more time to kick back and relax. If you want to make sure there’s something for everyone (and so you don’t have to worry about feeding everybody yourself), encourage a potluck.

• Utensils. Bringing enough plates and cups is one thing, but make sure you have all the tools you need to prep and serve your food: knives, cutting boards, etc. You can even avoid the hassle of excess utensils by making sure all the food you prepare is easily portable.

• Furniture. Friends don’t let friends sit on coolers. Chairs and tables are a must. Portable tents are great for adding extra weather protection.


Gathering Your Materials

A great tailgate is self-sufficient. Be sure to bring all the materials you need for before, during and after the tailgate.

• Make it portable. Smart tailgaters pack items in containers like toolboxes or storage bins. Condiments and utensils can be stored in empty six pack containers. Coolers are important. Use at least two—one for food, one for drinks.

• Make it disposable. Use storage bags and aluminum pans whenever possible. Cleanup is easier when it’s disposable.

• Make it essential. Bring these items to every tailgate: first aid kit, water (for drinking and cleaning), box of trash bags, paper towels/napkins, bottle/can opener and a kitchen knife.


Handling Food and Drinks

Food safety is important, especially outside. 

• Keep it cold. Have a cold-food cooler. Use frozen water bottles instead of ice and have perfectly chilled drinks.

• Keep it hot. When food needs to be kept warm, turn a cooler into a hotbox. Warm a brick in the oven, wrap it in foil and place in cooler lined with wet towels. This will keep your food warm for 2-3 hours.

• Keep it short. Don’t let food sit out for more than 2 hours. If it’s really hot outside, (over 90 degrees) don’t let it sit out for more than an hour.


Cleaning Up

When it’s time to leave, complete cleanup is a must.

• Beat the heat. Before leaving the tailgate site, make sure all heat sources are off/extinguished. Use water to douse any hot coals and dispose.

• Take it all. Unless there are trash cans or other waste containers, plan to pack up all your stuff, including the trash. Leave your space looking better than when you arrived.

• Assemble the crew. Get help from guests to make cleanup go even faster. Better yet, turn it into a game if kids are involved. With the right motivation, cleanup can be a breeze!


To make your next tailgate even better, find some great Johnsonville tailgate recipes.

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