Tailgating Tips and Recipes

Best Tailgating Recipes and Tips

Football season is here, which means it’s time to get serious about your tailgating game! From planning your feast to relaxing on the day, here are some tips and recipes to get you amped for the pre-game.

9 Tailgating Tips

1. Prep the Night Before

The more you can do ahead of time, the more you can relax and enjoy game day. Prep foods; pack what you can; put things aside for the cooler; make a list of tasks and items you need to deal with on game day.

2. Arrive Early

Beat the traffic and crowds and get there early. This will give you plenty of time to set up, let friends know where you are and enjoy the food and drink.

3. Be Safe

About that last part, if you end up enjoying the drink a little too much, don’t drive. You can plan ahead with park-and-ride options, carpool with a designated driver, or use a service like Uber or Lyft. (Z Trip is a favorite for games in Kansas City.)

4. Hydrate

Don’t stay thirsty, my friends. Make sure you get enough to drink. (No, we’re not just talking about alcohol.) Pack water and make sure you drink plenty.

Pro Tip: Freeze your water bottles and pack them in your cooler. They’ll stay nice and cold, and you won’t have to worry about stocking up on ice.

5. Curate a Great Playlist

Pack your Bluetooth speaker and make a playlist worthy of the pre-game excitement. Need some inspiration? Billboard has a list of Top 100 Jock Jams sure you get you in a fighting spirit. 

6. Stand Out

Don’t spend half the tailgate on your cell trying to describe to your friends where you’re parked. Get some colored balloons for your car to make you easy to spot in a crowd.

7. Gear Up

You can go hog wild with gear. From shelving units that serve as full bars to plastic drawers that keep everything organized, we’ve seen it all. But sometimes it’s the basic hacks that impress us the most (and are the most useful). Our top two picks: learn how to open a bottle of beer without a bottle-opener and hang a roll of paper towels from a bungee cord for easy cleanup.

8. Use Cast Iron

You can’t go wrong with cast iron at your tailgate. Not only does it conduct heat well, it’s sturdy enough for you to preheat or warm food up along with your grill. Another bonus is added flavor. With cast iron, you can cook your brats and burgers with onions, mushrooms and more for extra deliciousness.

9. Be Ready to Eat (and Share)

Last, but not least, is to come with an appetite and a feast fit for a fan. To help with this last tip, we’ve got some of our favorite recipes for tailgating below.

Best Tailgating Recipes

Give one (or all!) of these recipes a try and see if you don’t score a new favorite for your menu.

Breakfast Recipes

Don’t make the mistake of skipping breakfast. You’ll only get hangry before the main event. Prep a winning start to the day with Game Day Eggs in a Basket.

Finger Foods

Plan to snack. These bite-sized appetizers are a great kickoff.

For more ideas, Kansas Beef has a collection of finger food recipes just for tailgating.

Side Dishes

Let’s face it, you’ll probably slide a little on game day. Don’t worry too much about sticking to your diet. Believe it or not, there are some delicious healthy foods that aren’tcrudité. Try these healthy and tasty Sweet Potato Nachos.

And if you want to go all-out with something decadent, we won’t judge. This all-in-one Chili Cheese Dog Dip with Fritos is ah-mazing.

Main Course

It wouldn’t be a proper tailgate without pork. Give these Honey-Chipotle Pork Kabobs or Firecracker Pork Ribs a try for a lip-smacking meal.


We always love a little something sweet at the end of our meals and this easy-to-make-ahead snack serves it up without fuss!