It's here, tailgating season. And to make your tailgating experience more enjoyable than a hassle, here are some useful links.
For a good rundown of tailgating 101, see www.tailgating.com . Their list includes the basics you will need and things not to forget (ex. extra ice and plastic garbage bags.) I would add to the list a battery powered stereo and fold-out tables and chairs. Of course, if you want to go all out, you might want to invest in a "Cruzin Cooler", a la Ellen. They come in all colors, and you could even personalize it with your home team's mascot.
Although it might be a little more expensive initially, if you are a long-time tailgater, you might want to invest in a set of unbreakable cups and plates featuring your teams colors. There is less waste, and they look a little better than plastic or paper. (If you are looking for tailgating accessories featuring your favorite NFL team, take a look at hhttp://store.bowlbound.com.)
|Courtesy of B. Nute Productions Party Place|
As for food, The Deen Brothers, have some great recipe ideas for tailgating (they ARE from the South, y'all.) Some of my favorites are Lime Marinated Chicken Wings with Avocado Dip , Kickoff Chili Cheese Dip, and Midwestern Style Beer Brats. Don't forget to check out Guy Fieri's Tailgate Menu on the Food Network web site. His Jambalaya Sandwich recipe looks delish! For dessert, you can't beat Paula Deen's Mama's Sweet Potato Custard Pie. It is sure to be a hit, and will help to soak up all that alcohol that might be consumed!
Although you might want to come up with your own signature tailgate cocktail (think mascot - ex. Tempting Tiger Bite, The Howling Wolf), here are some ideas for drinks that go beyond the standard keg of beer.
Sandra Lee's Cranberry Margarita has a touch of Fall flavor, and the Deen Brothers' Texas Margaritas would be a perfect compliment to fajitas and salsa. Of course you can't forget the old standby jello shots (see Michael Symon's Mojito Jello Shots with White Rum and Fresh Mint on Food & Wine's website). If the weather is a bit chilly, keep a themos or two of spiced cider, having a small bottle of whiskey on the side for those who prefer their cider a little "warmer".
Last of all, party favors. Yes, even though a tailgate isn't your traditional party, everyone enjoys a parting gift (outside of a hangover!) For a tailgate party, I think the ideal party favor would be something that would be useful for the upcoming game and is easily portable. One suggestion is pom-poms in the team's colors. Another might be plastic megaphones or can cozies. Party favors make sure that your tailgate is memorable, and is a nice way to say "thank you" for coming.
Oh, and don't forget to take pictures at your tailgate. GO TEAM!!