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How to Tailgate Like a Pro Thanks To Countless Recipes And Tips

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What is it that draws thousands of people to stand around on asphalt, sometimes in the bitter cold and rain? Is it the infectious enthusiasm of fans in team colors? The spectacle of hilarious costumes and outlandish vehicles? The warmth of a charcoal fire? The vast array of tables spread with every kind of food imaginable from the chilled to the grilled?

We’ve tailgated at college and pro football games, soccer matches, car races, and even in the parking lots of theme parks and ski resorts. You can tailgate anywhere you’re allowed to park your car, grill food, and enjoy a drink with friends. Tailgating means different things to different people. For some, it’s all about team spirit and getting amped up for the game. For others, it’s pure party time, a chance to eat, drink, and be merry. In the end, it just might be the collective experience of everyone doing it together that makes tailgating so special.

No matter what it means to you, tailgating can be as simple or as fancy as you want it to be. Some folks bring a cooler of prepared food, some drinks, and team colors and call it a day. Others plan for days or weeks ahead of time, drive huge RVs to the game, set up big tents, or drag giant trailer smokers to the parking lot to serve the rabid fans. No matter how it takes shape for you, tailgating is a fantastic American pastime. Here’s your ultimate guide to the gear, the recipes, and the planning tips that will make your next party in the parking lot the best ever.

tailgate array of food

Tailgating And Camping Checklist

By:

Meathead

Here's a handy checklist for your next tailgating, camping or other offsite, outdoor barbecue party.
race car converted into a smoker

Portable Grills For Camping And Tailgating, Reviewed And Rated

By:

Meathead

Find the perfect portable grill for your needs with our extensive reviews and ratings These cookers are perfect for balconies, tailgating, camping, and more.

Cool Tailgating Gear to Step Up Your Gametime Party

By:

Dave Joachim

Tailgating is kind of like car camping, but it's a party! Check out this list of cool tailgate gear you may not have thought of--beyond the grill and the food. Once you bring a wireless speaker to your tailgate party, you'll wonder how you ever got by without it!

Party Planning: How Much to Cook for a Crowd

By:

Meathead

So you're cooking for a crowd. How much food do you need? Here's how to plan for a party or special occasion, including some basic rules of thumb and tips on how to handle dietary restrictions, how to prep ahead, and how to calculate the right amount of food so no one goes hungry.
brat tub

This Brat Tub Beer Bath Will Elevate Your Sausage Grilling Game

By:

Meathead

Bratwurst are the signature food of Wisconsin and here's the recipe for creating perfect Touchdown Tailgate Brats simmered in beer and then grilled. The beauty of this recipe is that you can make the sauce at home, chill everything, and then finish the brats at the game during your next tailgating adventure.
armadillo eggs

Armadillo Eggs: Bacon, Sausage, And Cheese In One Perfect Bite

These cheese stuffed, bacon wrapped sausage appetizers are perfect for tailgating, backyard cookouts, and more.
Grilled Buffalo wings on a plate

No Mess Crispy Grilled Buffalo Wings

By:

Meathead

Grilling Buffalo wings may sound like blasphemy but the results from this non-deep fried twist are simply amazing. By cooking this All-American Classic on the grill, you avoid the deep frying mess while also adding a deep, smoky flavor. The Buffalo wings start with indirect smoke before being crisped over direct heat.
praline bacon in a mason jar

Grilled Pecan Praline Bacon: A Pork-tacular Appetizer Or Snack

By:

Clint Cantwell

There is something magical about the merger of sweet and salty in this recipe for pecan praline-crusted thick-cut bacon.
Smoked bacon wrapped meatballs

MOINK Balls, The Easiest Grilled Appetizer Ever

By:

Clint Cantwell

We'll bet you can't stop at just one of these tasty smoked bacon wrapped meatballs, a.k.a MOINK balls. This recipe is the perfect appetizer for any tailgating, couchgating, or backyard bash. The best part is that they are as easy to make as they are to eat!
Bacon wrapped wings

Super Easy Smoked Bacon Wrapped Wings Elevate Any Cookout

By:

Clint Cantwell

Appetizers don't get much simpler than this five-ingredient recipe for smoked bacon-wrapped wings with Sriracha ranch dipping sauce.
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Miso wings on a plate

Smoked Miso Wings Take Any Party Over The Top

By:

Clint Cantwell

Yes, Buffalo sauce tastes great on hot wings, but try some Asian flavors on your chicken wings with the deep, savory flavors of miso, sesame oil, and wood smoke. This recipe leans heavily on miso paste, a traditional Japanese ingredient rich in umami, the rich meaty savory flavor.
BBQ sauce drizzlied bacon wrapped sausage bites

Smoked Pig Balls: An Appetizer Recipe As Easy As It Is Delicious

By:

Clint Cantwell

As easy to make as they are delicious, these smoked bacon-wrapped kielbasa bites (a.k.a. pig balls) are the perfect appetizer for any event.
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Cocktail wienies with toothpicks

Sandra’s Four Ingredient Candied Cocktail Wienies Recipe

By:

Meathead

Cocktail Wienies are great fun for parties. Here's a classic Southern recipe that's quick and easy. Taught to Sandra Aylor by her mother, this recipe has been made by family members at countless parties or pot lucks. Serve them in the slow cooker so they stay warm and guests eat them with a toothpick.
Smoked Jalapeno Poppers

The Only Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers Recipe You’ll Ever Need

By:

Clint Cantwell

If you're searching for the perfect appetizer then you're sure to love this tested recipe for grilled bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers. Known in certain BBQ circles as ABTs, these cheese stuffed, bacon wrapped jalapenos are certain to disappear as soon as you serve them.
Grilled guacamole and tortilla chips

Hitting The Grill Takes Guacamole To Epic New Heights

By:

Clint Cantwell

Add a delicious smokiness to your favorite party dip with this recipe for grilled guacamole. Grilled avocados, limes, and onion are the key.
salsa verde

This Salsa Verde Recipe Beats the Jarred and Canned Stuff Hands Down

By:

Dave Joachim

Grill roast some peppers, puree them with aromatics, and boom! You have salsa verde, a.k.a. green enchilada sauce. This staple of Mexican cuisine is simple to make and extremely versatile. Make this recipe, then use it on enchiladas, carne asada tacos, or with your morning eggs.
Smokey Salsa Verder

Smokey Salsa Verde Takes Your Tacos to 10

By:

Big Jim Maivald

This smokey salsa verde recipe puts the boring store bought stuff to shame thanks to the depth of flavor created by charring the ingredients.
grilled salsa

Grilled Salsa Is Your New Go-To Condiment

By:

Meathead

Skip the store bought salsa and opt for these two flavorful home made Mexican salsas: Pico de Gallo and a Grilled Salsa Roja. Known in the US as tomato salsa, salsa roja is an important building block in Mexican cuisine. Fresh quality ingredients are essential, especially fresh tomatoes, when making salsa at home.
candied bacon

Candied Bacon: The Greatest Sweet And Salty Combination Ever

By:

Meathead

The saltiness of bacon is a perfect foil and contrast to sweetness. Here are a variety of methods for creating mouthwatering candied bacon, including brown sugar bacon, toffee bacon, and chocolate bacon. There are several ways to put the concept to work, and of course it is best with homemade bacon.
Bacon wrapped hot dogs on a platter

Cheese Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs Will Be Your New Best Friend

By:

Clint Cantwell

Stuffed with cheese then wrapped in bacon, this grilled hot dog recipe is a sure fire hit at any backyard bash. Inspired by Chicago's famed francheesie, our recipe skips the traditional deep frying in favor of the grill for a crisp bacon shell and deep smoky flavor.
Jalapeno bacon cheeseburger plated

Sweet and Spicy Jalapeño Bacon Cheddar Burger Brings The Heat

By:

Clint Cantwell

Experience a flavor explosion with this recipe for a sweet and spicy jalapeno bacon cheeseburger. A perfectly grilled burger patty is topped with sharp cheddar cheese, pickled jalapenos, crispy fried onions, thick cut bacon, and homemade balsamic ketchup. Layer it all on a pillowy pretzel bun for pure burger nirvana.
Chicago Italian beef sandwich

Classic Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich Recipe Done At Home

By:

Meathead

Classic Italian Beef Sandwiches are a popular regional specialty in Chicago and here is the recipe to make easy authentic Italian beef sandwiches at home featuring slow smoked beef, drippings, and peppers.
BBQ bloody Mary in glass with celery stalk

Smoked Bloody Mary, The Ultimate BBQ Eyeopener

By:

Meathead

The classic Bloody Mary is taken to new smoky height thanks to a BBQ twist. Smoked ice, BBQ sauce, dry rub seasoning, and bacon are the cornerstone of this smoked Bloody Mary recipe. You'll never see this classic Sunday brunch cocktail the same way again once you take the first sip.
Grilled lime margarita in salt rimmed glass

Grilled Limes Take Margaritas To An Epic Level Of Flavor

By:

Clint Cantwell

Grilling and chilling is the secret to the most delicious margarita you've ever tasted! The classic frozen margarita gets a smoky blast in this recipe for Grilled Lime Margaritas featuring limes that have been charred on the grill. Juice the limes and combine with tequila, triple sec, sugar, and ice then blend well.

Hot Dog Recipes

By:

Meathead

Hot dogs are a type of sausage, which includes a wide range of foods. But hot dogs are specifically ground meat mixed with spices and seasonings stuffed into a casing shaped like a cylinder. From classic New York dogs to Chicago dogs to Cincinnati dogs and more, try our best hot dog recipes!

Burger, Sloppy Joe, Salisbury Steak Recipes

By:

Meathead

Our growing section of burger recipes will help you understand all the angles in making big fat juicy steakburgers or thin crispy diner burgers, and the techniques are very different! We'll take you on a tour of the regional styles of hamburgers, and even give you the secret sauce recipe. Plus sloppy joes, Salisbury steaks, and more!

Homemade Sausage Recipes And More From AmazingRibs.com

By:

Meathead

We need to change the way we think of sausages. Yes, most are tubes of seasoned and flavored ground meats and veggies in a casing, but many are patties. So if you broaden your horizons, this section gives you a lot of freedom. Take these recipes and have fun.

Smoked And Grilled Dessert Recipes From AmazingRibs.com

By:

Meathead

Nothing brings the kids running faster than the aroma of brownies or a fruit-filled pie baking. Dessert maybe the last course but it's the one course that everyone looks forward to. How do you make dessert on a grill? We've got just the right recipes to put a crown on a great meal.

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Published On: 5/9/2019 Last Modified: 9/15/2022

 

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