Game Day BBQ Grilling Ideas for Your Next Tailgate
Football season is in full swing and grillers nationwide are looking for the best tailgate food recipes for their friends and family. Whether you are serving five or 50 people at your weekend tailgate, you need the tailgate grilling inspiration that will keep your party fresh.
With the help of the right equipment, and some brand-new tailgating cooking ideas, you and your fellow fans can experience the best football season yet. Kick off the year with the culinary delights that will fuel you through all four quarters.
Conference-customized tailgate food recipes
Each national college football conference has its own feel and character. Why not think about regional dishes that could celebrate your local heritage during your tailgate? When it comes to game day BBQ, for instance, your approach may differ dramatically if you live in Texas, Kansas City or South Carolina.
In addition, many fans create team-specific treats for their tailgate food recipes. Before you spend hours shouting, “Roll Tide,” fuel your bellies with steak pinwheel “rolls.” The sky is the limit when it comes to grilling up themed dishes for your college team tailgate.
Show your conference pride by considering tailgate grilling options such as:
- American Conference — Memphis game day BBQ
- ACC — Grilled oysters with herbed butter
- Big 12 — Ribeye steaks
- Big Ten — Beer-marinated brats
- Conference USA — Fresh Florida grouper
- Mountain West — Buffalo burgers
- Pac-12 — California tri-tip
- SEC — Braised brisket nachos
Finding the right fit in a fun, regional dish can make a big difference at your next tailgating event.
Tailgating food for warmer weather
The beginning of the football season begs for refreshing, cooler options in for your tailgating party. In addition to chilled, icy beverages, make sure that you have lighter options available during the early fall months. Of course, the grilled meats and veggies make up the cornerstone of your tailgate party, but smart tailgaters also plan for cold dishes such as:
- Coleslaw and potato salad
- Cheese balls
- Fruit salsa with blueberries, mangoes and strawberries
- Nacho bar with guacamole
- Lemonade with chilled fruits or herbal accompaniments
- Grilled fruits with ice cream for dessert
As with all outdoor cooking activities, make sure that you are following food safety guidelines, particularly for dishes with mayonnaise. A thoroughly equipped tailgating setup includes a large cooler to keep raw meat at a safe temperature before it is ready for tailgate grilling. In warmer weather, you may need more ice or a more robust cooler to keep your food cold.
Tailgate ideas for colder weather
As the football season progresses, your tailgate site may need to transition for cooler temperatures. Any chilly fall game day is complemented by tailgate food recipes, but your beverages play an important role in warming your party guests.
Hot chocolate is a standard go-to for tailgates, but grown-up versions of traditional hot drinks can delight your fellow tailgaters. Consider bringing thermoses with Irish coffee or hot chocolate spiked with peppermint schnapps, port or cinnamon liqueur. Those cold-weather cocktails are sure to keep your fellow fans warm throughout even the snowiest tailgate.
Consider boosting the spice level of your tailgate food during colder months — any deeply warming dish is certain to be welcome. Consider whipping up a pot of chili, soup or stew on a grill’s side burner or camp stove while you complete your traditional tailgate grilling tasks.
Do not forget your tailgate grilling equipment
Finally, before you head out for your tailgate, make sure that you have assembled all the essential items for your pre-game party. Your game day BBQ would not be complete without:
- Chairs for every tailgater
- Condiments for burgers and meat dishes
- Utensils for cooking
- Cleanup materials, including cleaning solutions and tubs
- Coolers and ice
- Hand sanitizer
Many fans use toolboxes to arrange all their tailgate essentials, including cooking utensils, trash bags, permanent markers, sunscreen, napkins and other tailgate materials. A large plastic tub can be useful for hauling back dirty dishes if you choose not to use disposable items.
Create a checklist before your big day, and you will be sure to score a touchdown with your tailgating guests. The keys to a great pre-game experience include the right equipment, recipes and people. Kick off the season right for another great year behind the grill.
Use your FireDisc Cooker and be prepared with your game day bbq grilling ideas for the next big game!