Tailgate Party
24 Jan

How to Throw a Successful Tailgate Party

With victories by the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers in this year’s AFC and NFC Championship games, the matchup for Super Bowl XLVII is set. For football fans all over America, this means one thing: only one more opportunity for an over-the-top, raging tailgate party. Don’t let a mere technicality like being unable to drive to New Orleans stop you; by carefully considering a few key factors and fully committing, you can still have one more great tailgate before the long off-season begins. When planning one last blowout tailgate, consider:

Method: A grill is a must, of course, but gas or charcoal? Deep fryer? Smoker? The truly correct answer is “yes”, but if you must choose, pick carefully. With an earlier start time of 6:30 PM Eastern, a gas grill may be more convenient to keep your food rolling out on schedule. On the other hand, there’s a communal spirit to standing around a fire that charcoal provides and gas doesn’t.

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Recipes: The key to picking the right recipes is this—stick to what you’re comfortable with, and can realistically prepare for the size of your group. Well-made burgers and perfectly cooked brats are more than enough for medium and larger crowds. If you have a handful of friends, go a little more esoteric. You know your crowd, and what they’ll go for. Be careful not to overreach; no one wants to be cooking when they should be enjoying the game.

Accessories: Do you decorate? Provide chairs? If so; how many? Is it cold enough that a space heater is necessary? If there’s weather, do you have a canopy or patio umbrella ready? Boombox, mp3 player with speakers, or stereo broadcasting pre-game chatter?

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Vehicle: The big question: what vehicle for the party? Purists will tell you unless it has an actual tailgate, it doesn’t count for a tailgate party. Many opt for a van or wagon, which can work well; especially with the cargo capacity a van can provide. SUVs are practical and common – and in most garages these days. We like the flare and old school charm of an El Camino, but that’s just us.

What’s your tailgate vehicle of choice? Tell us in the comments along with your favorite recipes and tips for a Super Bowl-level tailgate party.

Photo credit: Getty Images

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