How to Host a Football Tailgate at Home This Fall
Tailgating is going to look and feel a little different in 2020, but that doesn’t mean the party’s over. There are plenty of reasons to host your football tailgate at home this season, whether you’re looking to stay safe and healthy away from crowds or keep your budget low and the fun high. Whatever your reasons, we’re going to give you some tips to make your at-home tailgate equally as fun — if not even more fun — than going to campus or to the stadium.
Benefits of a Football Tailgate at Home Stay safe and healthy amid COVID-19 concerns
- Keep your tailgating expenses lower
- Eliminate sitting in traffic or walking miles to the stadium
- Minimize tantrums from a long day without a nap (and we’re not just talking about the kids)
- Worry less about the weather and avoid sunburn or frostbite
- Access food and amenities with ease (bathrooms!)
- Enjoy close-ups, commentary, and replays during the game
- Wake up at your leisure— no need to be up at 3 AM to get to the stadium in time for early tailgates
A football tailgate at home means you control how you enjoy the game with your friends and family, and of course your food and drink!
Home Tailgate Party Ideas
1. Keep Décor Simple
The décor of your tailgate doesn’t have to be fancy. Make the event feel like a real football tailgate— only in your backyard or living room. Plastic tablecloths and disposable plates, silverware, and napkins (with your team’s colors) make it easy to clean up at the end of the day. If you want to go big, you can even make signs or balloon banners to cheer on your team. Even the smallest details, like team-colored cardboard cut into confetti, can make your tailgate décor pop.
You may also want to purchase an outdoor tent so you can bring the party near the grill. Plus, this keeps guests in an open-air space to help keep everyone safe and healthy. Don’t forget to put out some comfortable chairs, blankets if it’s cold, and tables where people can put down their drinks and food, play games, and chat.
Check out these DIY tailgate tablescape decorations for some inspiration.
2. Home Tailgate Food is the Life of the Party
This is everyone’s favorite part of the tailgate, right? We can’t get enough of home tailgate food. We recommend making everything as buffet-style as possible, so you can set it up, throw it on the grill, and let people grab things as they want.
Grilling is our absolute favorite way to prepare home tailgate foods. There’s nothing quite as delicious and reminiscent of the big game as charcoal smoke filling the air. Even thinking about it is getting us excited for the fall!
Here are some of our favorite home tailgate foods. Light the grill with an easy-to-use grill torch, and let’s get cooking!Appetizers/Snacks
- Bacon and blue cheese pigs in a blanket (the caramelized brown sugar makes these dogs really stand out for tailgaters)
- Bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers (because you can’t get enough bacon, right?)
- Turkey pepper jack rolls up
- Beef nacho casserole (this is a home tailgate must-have, trust us)
- Potato chip cups
- Grilled mango-corn salsa
Oh man, did you overcook something? Find out how to fix overcooked meat here.Main Course
- Burgers (this is the easiest home tailgate food because you just have to cook the burgers the right way, set out some buns and toppings, and let people make their own)
- Pulled pork sandwiches (learn how to grill pork perfectly here)
- Grill grilled cheese
- Grilled brats with siracha mayo
- Hawaiian chicken (put grilled chicken bites on skewers with grilled pineapple for the ultimate crowd pleaser)
- Lots of serve-yourself sides like grilled eggplant, fruit, onion (for burgers), corn on the cob, and easy salads; find easy BBQ side dish recipes here
- Don’t forget some kid-friendly foods too!
- Caramel S’mores (on the grill!)
- Grilled summer fruit skewers (grilled fruit is sweet, healthy, and unexpectedly delicious)
- Football whoppie pies
- Cookie dough football dip
Pro-Tip: Use toothpicks with tiny paper cut-outs to label menu items. This can help people figure out what they’re eating, and they can be aware of any food allergies or sensitivities as well. Plus, it’s an easy detail that will really wow your guests!
Social Distancing Tip: Want to keep everyone healthy and safe? Create a buffet-style setup with pre-packed meals for your home tailgate food. For example, throw chili in some mason jars with a lid that people can grab and eat from. Or, package whoopie pies individually for a grab-and-go dessert that minimizes touching shared food utensils.
3. Drinks, Drinks, Drinks
Alright, we’ll cut to the chase: for a lot of us tailgaters, the drinks are almost as important as the food! For a tailgate at home, we recommend setting up a drink cart for mixed beverages and separate coolers for each alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink. Put beer in one, hard seltzer in another, water in a separate one, and soda in the fourth, for example. Label the coolers so it’s easy for guests to find what they’re looking for (and minimize the times the cooler is opened, because every time it opens it loses its chill by a few degrees).
We also love the idea of turning a wheelbarrow into a mobile cooler. Just throw some ice in, and you’re ready to go!
You can also offer a drink cart with make-your-own cocktails, like a mimosa bar or a Bloody Mary bar. You may also want to throw a Keurig and some K-cups on there for coffee lovers, especially for early games. Don’t forget the Bailey’s or Kahlua to jazz up the coffee!
Psst… Learn how to pair drinks and meat here!
4. Get Spirited
Throw on your favorite player’s jersey and get dressed up for the game like you normally would! If you’re hosting the party, you may also want to offer spirited items up-for-grabs like stickers, tattoos, team flags, foam fingers, and other little accessories. The more spirit, the better the party!
One of our favorite home tailgate party ideas is to create a “grab bag” of spirited goods… Whenever someone wins a tailgate game, let them pick a surprise gift as a prize!
5. Game Front and Center
Every TV in the house is playing the game, right? If not, turn ‘em on! You may also want to bring the game outside if you’re playing games and grilling in the yard. Thankfully, at home, you can still easily connect to your cable or WiFi outdoors. You’ll just need to create a good outdoor electronics setup. We recommend purchasing an outdoor television (which is more durable and weather-resistant), an extension cord or power cable, and a portable electronics cart.
Check out these 8 tech gadgets you’ll want to use at your next tailgate.
6. Music in the Air
Fill your tailgate’s air with grill smoke and music. It doesn’t matter what you put on, as long as it’s upbeat and fun. We recommend purchasing waterproof outdoor speakers you can use to bump your tunes and connect to your TV to blast the game after kickoff.
7. Start a Little Competition
Get in the spirit of the game with some competitive activities. Some of our favorite home tailgating games include:
- Cornhole toss
- Giant Jenga
- Lawn bowling
- Bucket ball
- Quarterback challenge
- Beer pong (or water pong)
- Game day bingo
- Lawn darts
You can even get some little prizes, like a team hat or jersey, to give out for winners. A prize or two makes games extra competitive and fun.
Your Home Football Tailgate Awaits
Hosting a football tailgate at home doesn’t have to be hard. You can keep it simple or make it extravagant— however the wind blows you! Make sure you’ve got the home tailgate food, drinks, spirit, and game-day adventure, and you’re bound to make incredible memories this tailgating season!
Of course, you can’t forget your Kick Ash products. Our baskets, cans, and other goodies (like heat-resistant gloves) make cleaning your grill so simple, easy, and safe that you can keep on cooking throughout the tailgate— while having a blast at the same time!
Shake that ash and light that fire— it’s time to get out there and enjoy the game!
Remember to enter your name in our free GIVEAWAY, complete with Grilla Grill all-terrain Kamado Kart, Kick Ash Basket, Kick Ash Can, and Kick Ash Gift Pack. Just sign up with your email for a chance to win!
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