Watching a football game is nothing short of a rite of passage in the USA. But the badge of honor doesn’t simply come from knowing when your team scores a touchdown or stupidly punts on the fourth down. It’s about more: the perfect pregame chili, the ultimate Bloody Mary, the color-coordinated desserts, decorations and dedication.
If you’ve been to a tailgate before, maybe you have an idea about what I’m talking about. Maybe you know about the size and scale of tailgates and just how fantastic and labor-intensive they can be. No matter where you stand in the tailgating range, from gung ho to no-go, we’ve got what you need to take your tailgate to the next level.
Where exactly are you going to spend the time before and after the game? That might seem like an obvious question, but these plots can sell out long before the season starts. If you're tailgating IRL, I cannot advise you enough: Reserve your territory. Although, if you're tailgating from your couch, you’re in good shape.
Just like with camping in below-freezing temps, you never want to show up to your tailgate unprepared. This is a crucial step.
Knowing the climate of your tailgating region is a must. Will you need sun cover? Wind protection? A heater? These are all things to take into consideration before you pack your car and head to the game.
If you want to look like you know what you’re doing, team-colored everything is a must.
Decor and setup go hand in hand. Don’t buy a white tent if down the road you’re going to want team colors. Just sit yourself down and admit that you don’t want to be the one weirdo who didn’t invest heavily in color-coordination, and put those team-themed plates, silverware, cups, tablecloths and chocolate-covered candies on the credit card.
It never hurts to add in festive banners, coolers and even trashcans (get the collapsible kind for space-saving at home). These items can complete your game-day setup.
Some decor, however, is strictly utilitarian. Be sure to invest in a way to keep your food warm, like a chafing dish or a few brilliant chili thermoses.
Every tailgate has its go-to food, but my tent was loaded with three kinds of chili, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. As with any successful chili party, you’ll need a toppings bar, but the real secret to success is keeping the chili warm (see chili thermos above).
Start by making your chili ahead of time. (I suggestion a chicken chili, a beef chili and something unique, like a venison chili.) If you make it a week or more ahead of time, you can freeze it, then reheat it for the big game, giving yourself plenty of time to get everything else in order.
Big games require snacks because you’ll need fuel for the whole day. Make your favorite dip, pack veggies and stock up on chips. Game-day snacks don’t need to be elaborate — just plentiful.
Desserts are just snacks for the sugar-inclined tailgaters, making a serious dessert spread a must.
You can get elaborate with decorated sugar cookies. Or you can go simple with chocolate pretzels topped with team colors (be sure to order the candies ahead of time, as certain team colors need to be special-ordered).
And if you’re not sure which team you’re rooting for, chocolate chip cookies are always a big hit.
Link to original article: https://www.food.com/how-to/tailgating-tips-and-tricks-283