Tailgating season is here! It’s considered the ultimate outdoor party, and for some sports fans, is what they look forward to all year long. Yet, what began as a budget-friendly alternative to expensive concession stand food and drinks has itself turned into a wallet-draining activity that one person could easily spend thousands of dollars on annually. But can it be done on the cheap? You betcha.
We’ll start with the basics: a tailgate isn’t a tailgate without good food and drink. But one need not spend hundreds on an instant marinator, motorized cooler on wheels, or buy a new truck with a tailgate television to guarantee fun and ensure that your party is more memorable than your neighbors'. Make the food and drink the focus of your gathering and recruit friends to lend a hand by making one of their game day specialties. But this is no traditional potluck — just as rival teams are pitted against each other on the field, we're talking dueling chefs. Pit dip against dip, and meat against meat, in a true tailgate taste-off with awards for the best dishes and drinks.
Crushed because you can’t make it down to the big game down South this year? Tailgates don’t only have to happen outside the stadium. Do as any serious tailgater does and host one at home. While they do it as a dry-run to ensure their timing is right for game day, tailgating at home is a good alternative to get neighbors or the whole block involved. You can do it in the front yard, or out back. Plus, there is no need to pay for gas or your tailgating lot.
Just because some tailgates have a reputation of being a booze-fueled grill fest doesn’t mean you can’t add a little style to your tailgate party, if you shop wisely. Nor does a memorable tailgate have to happen when the weather is warm and sunny, either. Just think of those bitter cold Thanksgiving Day games with the wind blowing 10 degrees and snowflakes coming down. You’ve got the music blasting, kids throwing snowballs, and a roaring fire going. All you need are a couple of air pots (and your insulated team mugs, of course) for boozy hot chocolate and a foil-wrapped brick for cheesy sandwiches on the grill, and you’re already halfway to a delicious albeit unusual tailgate feast.