If it’s been a while since you’ve tailgated before a game or concert, I’ve got news for you: a small grill and a pack of hot dogs no longer cuts it.
At stadiums and arenas across the country people are bringing elaborate spreads, complete lawn furniture sets and even fully decked out buses, vans and fire engines (True story, you can get a used fire engine for $1500)!
Tailgating has become a way of life and almost as big of a deal as the event itself. It’s not uncommon to have 50,000+ people on any given Saturday or Sunday during football season and musicians like Jimmy Buffett and Dave Mathews have armies that follow them from city to city.
All this probably sounds pretty good to you but the million dollar question is who pays for all of this awesomeness? We told you a while back about losing $200 at a tailgate last year and that was just for a small get-together. This year we’re going to friend-fund our tailgates before the season starts so that doesn’t happen again. That way we can concentrate on having a good time instead of walking around hustling friends for money. Instead of an empty wallet and a mediocre event we’ll all pitch in so we can be the ones with the amazing feast. Who knows, maybe we can scrounge up enough to buy one of these?
Zokos has you covered on collecting money and organizing the party so why not get an early start on the season and create an event right now? If you’re looking for a few extra hints on preparation, check out 9 great suggestions below from our friends at Chow.com
1. Research the site: Are you even allowed to tailgate there? If you want to grill, can you use an open flame?
2. Check the time: When do the gates open, and when do you want to be in your seat watching the event? Don’t try to make a slow-cooked pork shoulder if you only have a few hours before the game. If you have a two-hour window of time, choose fast-grilling items like sausages, shish kebabs, or flank steak. Remember that you’ll also need to factor in time to heat up the grill, especially if you’re using charcoal.
3. Finger food always rules: It’s easy to eat standing up and leaves one hand free for fist-pumping. Plus you’ll have less trash if you’re only using napkins. Hot dogs, chips and dips, cut-up vegetables, quesadillas—anything that doesn’t have to go on a plate is fair game.
4. Don’t cheap out on coolers: You should have at least two—one for food and one for drinks, so people aren’t rummaging around the bloody bags of meat to get a beer.
5. Don’t be a moocher: Essentials that are often overlooked are plenty of napkins, extra fuel, lighters, bottle openers, sanitizing wipes for whoever is handling the meat, extra bags of ice, trash/recycling bags, extra clean bags for leftovers, and extra water for hand-washing. Don’t forget basic grilling tools, too: tongs, foil for keeping things warm (plus it doubles as a grill brush in a pinch if you wad it up and rub it on the grill with your tongs), and a spatula.
6. Prep at home: That means more time to apply that face paint. Marinate kebabs, cut up vegetables for dippin’, make your dips and sauces, form your burger patties, and soak your wooden skewers (so they don’t catch fire on the grill). If you’re serving cocktails, mix up batches in advance so you’ll just have to add ice and/or club soda on-site.
7. Pack smart: You don’t want to end up with watery wings and contaminated side dishes. Use resealable plastic bags for marinating meats, as well as for fruit, vegetables, frozen things, sausages, and hot dogs. Use resealable containers for anything crushable—dips, sauces, and salads. If your containers don’t seal tightly, wrap plastic wrap around them. Pack the food cooler right: Raw meat goes on the bottom, vegetables on top. Given that, try to pack things in the reverse order that you will be using them—i.e., snacks on top, side dishes below that—so you don’t have to dig around.
8. Don’t forget the most important thing: But if you do, here’s how to open a beer with (a) a pen; (b) a piece of paper; (c) your forearm; (d) a carabiner; or (e) another beer. And if you’re bringing a keg, here’s how to tap it.
9. The food’s also pretty important. Check out our full gallery of tailgating recipes with all the fuel you need for a good parking lot party. Some highlights: Ginger Mojitos for a Crowd, Grilled Maple-Mustard Chicken Wings, Grilled Steak Quesadillas, Grilled Shrimp-Boil Skewers, thePerfect Cheeseburger, Celery and Olive Orzo Salad, and S’more Bars.
About Zokos: Zokos helps you have better events more often by friend-funding. A host sets a goal amount and a maximum and how much they’d like their friends to chip-in. If the minimum is reached the party is on and money gets transferred directly to the host through PayPal or WePay. If not, the host is off the hook and avoids a bad party.