Millions of sports fan each year drive to stadium parking lots hours before the game starts and have a party. Tailgating is a popular activity across the country that usually takes place before a college or professional football game. Tailgating parties have a long history in the United States. In fact, the first known pre-game party took place in 1869 at the inaugural Princeton and Rutgers football game. Football was a different game back then and so was the party. When people think of tailgating party food today, they typically think of hot dogs, burgers and beer. There’s nothing wrong with that. But if you are looking for something to wow your friends, you have lots of choices.
What’s Better Than a Hot Dog?
There’s no question that grilled hot dogs and burgers taste great. But, you don’t have to limit yourself to the old standbys. A standout tailgating party can have appetizers, main dishes and desserts. How do some spicy deviled eggs sound? How about a beer-cheese spread? For dessert you could try a grilled banana boat with marshmallows.
Grilled food is obviously the way to go when you are tailgating. Beer can chicken on the grill is an easy way to make a moist and delicious whole chicken. Grilling pizza is a fun way to make a party favorite and gives it a whole new taste. A slightly messier, but equally enjoyable dish is grilled barbecued spaghetti. If you like the exotic, you could try teriyaki-glazed shrimp on a skewer. Another exotic option is fish tacos. For a variation on the standard hot dog, try a hot dog on a stick and serve with dipping sauce.
Regional Tailgating Party Favorites
Every region of the country seems to have its own favorite tailgating foods. Cincinnati is famous for it’s chili served over spaghetti. Options include adding onions, beans and cheddar cheese. A favorite in Buffalo is, you guessed it, buffalo wings. Football fans in Philadelphia are partial to the Philly Cheese Steak. New England Patriot football fans like clam chowder on game day. Barbecue anything is the choice of Kansas City partygoers. Louisiana fans celebrate with Cochon de Lait. Walking tacos are big in South Bend, Indiana.
Tips for Having a Great Tailgate Party
The key to having a great tailgating party is preparation. If you are hosting the party, you want time to enjoy your friends and not saddled with chores that could have been done before. Here are some tips to help you have a great tailgating party:
Prepare ready-to-serve dishes early in the morning or the day before.Pack non-food items and nonperishable items in your car the day before the party.Make sure everyone in your party has directions to the stadium.Respect your partying neighbors by keeping music and noise to a moderate level.Each facility has its own rules. Follow them.Clean up. Don’t leave anything behind.