There’s something special about football season. Is it the cooler temperatures, the sound of the fan base singing their favorite fight song after their team scores, or the magic of being together with friends and family rooting for the team? Time seems to stand still as the leaves change and stadiums fill up across the nation. All the while, the excitement of football season keeps anxious fans coming back for more weekend after weekend. Is there anything better than gathering with fellow fans before the big game at a tailgate?

Tailgating it a time-honored tradition that is taken seriously by football fans across America during the fall. Why? It combines everything they need to get prepared to cheer on their team regardless of where they are tailgating from! Amazing food, hanging out outdoors, and, best of all, good times with great people.

How Did Modern Tailgating Get Started?

Anthropologists argue that tailgating is a modern version of harvest celebrations, complete with games and feasts, that used to take place in the ancient world. The first modern tailgate was described as “both a fine game and a fine party” by those who attended. It was held at no place other than the first college football game: College Field in New Brunswick, New Jersey, at the Rutgers vs. Princeton game in 1869.

With the basic elements of gathering of friends and great food before the game, a tradition was born. What was the final score? Rutgers beat Princeton, 6-4, on November 6, 1869. Want to throw a tailgate? Here’s how.

What Kind of Food Should I Bring to a Tailgate?

No tailgate party is complete without delicious food for friends to enjoy together. What should be on the menu exactly? The options are limitless. Fire up the grill on-site or prepare food ahead of time.

Here are some ideas to get the party started:

Make ahead braised brisket would be a great addition to any tailgate gathering. Add in the fresh pico and some guacamole for extra pizzazz.

Get creative with your favorite marinade and dipping sauce combination. Host a wing bar where all guests bring a different wing flavor to gill at the tailgate.

Serve up the pimento cheese with soul. Pimento cheese comes in 4 varieties: original, jalapeno, bacon, and pepper jack. This is a simple and southern way to get the tailgating party started.

This chicken will not only serve up some delicious flavor but will also be a conversation piece for tailgate guests! People love beer can chicken on the grill. This crispy chicken can be used with BBQ sauce and sides or enjoyed by itself. It’s that good! Sub out a different spice mix to change up the flavors at different tailgates to keep guests guessing what’s coming next.

Food has a way of bringing people together at a tailgate gathering. Every dish should be casual, comforting, and approachable. Some tailgating areas do not permit guests to bring their own grills and smokers. Some stadiums don’t allow anything with an open flame, so that means no charcoal or wood chips. Knowing this information will help the decision process on whether the tailgate food needs to be prepared ahead of time or grilled on-site. While everyone loves the smell of grilled food, there are other ways to keep prepared food warm so guests can experience off-the-grill temperature and taste.

  • Car Food Warmer: this convenient warmer plugs into a car outlet and comes with a handy shoulder strap. Automatic temperature up to 90 ℃. Tailgate must be close to car.
  • Insulated Food Carrier: Keep tailgate food warm on the go with a food carrier. Sometimes there is a long walk to the tailgate from the car and this food carrier makes life simple by holding two baking dishes.

It is best to have every person attending the tailgate bring one dish so no one person is stuck doing all the preparation alone. Tailgating is a team activity, much like football.

How Do I Prepare for a Tailgate?

Preparing for a tailgate is more than grilling up great food. It requires seating, entertainment, and all the supplies needed for a complete pre-game experience for a crowd. Tailgating isn’t suited for people who don’t plan ahead.

Here are some tips to get ready for gameday:

  • Know the rules of the venue: different stadiums and parks have different rules and regulations to keep fans safe. Check out their policies on glass containers, food carriers, fuel for grilling, alcohol, etc.
  • Go to the venue early to claim the spot: Regardless of when the game is, prime tailgating spots go fast. To ensure you get a great location for your squad, be sure to arrive early.
  • Have collapsible seating available: while most people stand and talk with friends or walk around, it’s nice to have a seat to come back to, if needed.
  • Cornhole, anyone? Games are a great way to pass the time. Bring collapsible boards to keep the group active and engaged while you wait for the big game. This is especially great if kids are in the group.
  • Label menu items. Some people have food allergies, and this is a fool proof way to make sure they won’t get sick before kickoff.
  • Keep hot food hot and cold food cold. Purchasing cooler bags and insulated food carriers help do this all season long!
  • Have drink options available and plenty of water. This will make tailgate guests feel comfortable and not have to go on the search for water later on.
  • Don’t forget grill accessories or serving dishes! Make sure everything needed to prepare or serve tailgate food is packed. Skip anything breakable.
  • Paper products are a must. Solo cups in your team’s colors can easily be found at your local store. Be sure to pick up everything needed for dining as a group before the big game.
  • Consider setting up a tent if one isn’t provided at the venue. This provides shade for tailgate food and a focal point for the group to set up for the day.

With the right planning and preparation, tailgating can be an experience that many fans will cherish for a lifetime. There is no right way to go about it and every tailgate looks different at colleges and stadiums across the U.S. They share one thing in common: fans keep coming back for more season after season.

Win at Gridiron Grilling: Add Crockett Creek’s Spice Mix or Marinade to Your Tailgate

Where we come from, there’s spring, summer, football season, and winter. Football season in the South is a big deal. People plan their weddings around football schedules around here. So, you could say we’re tailgating food passionate at Crockett Creek. We love football and we love a great tailgate.

That’s why we created our Blazin’ Cajun Spice Mix and Original Marinade, so you can take the taste of Crockett Creek with you to your kitchen, to the tailgate grill, and beyond. We use our Original Marinade on all of our handcrafted jerky recipes, so you know it’s great. Our smoky, sweet, but salty marinade would be killer on some wings at your tailgate!

Our MSG-free Spice Mix is special blend of mild Cajun spices and seasonings that will add homestyle flavor to any dish. Everything tastes better with a little Blazin’ Cajun. Try a dash of Blazin’ Cajun Spice Mix in ranch dressing for Blazin’ Cajun Ranch. This would be a great addition to any tailgate vegetable tray dipping sauce or salad.

Let us know what recipes you create with our Blazin’ Cajun Spice Mix and Original Marinade! We may even feature them on social media. Did you know? We have wholesale opportunities available. Learn more about becoming a Crockett Creek partner here.