When you have a day full of rooting for your team, working in front of a grill, and knocking back some cold ones, you've got to start off with the right food. For Robinson, the traditional breakfast always features spicy bloody marys, thought to bring good luck.
McPhail always packs the cooler the night before, with plenty of ice. "Cold beer can never be cold enough, so give it time to chill. Re-ice it in the morning and head out. And always bring more beer than you can possibly drink," he adds. "Stadiums stop selling beer after the third quarter and you'll be ready for a cold one after the game."
As for liquor, McPhail will freeze each bottle in an oyster bucket so that a huge block of ice forms around each bottle. They won’t crash and slide around, plus they stay cold and don’t leak. "Instead of a bag of ice, just chip big pieces of ice off the blocks and plop it in your drink." It doesn't melt as fast, and it just looks really cool.
You might be cooking on the grass or the tailgate of a truck, but these are civilized affairs. McPhail always packs a stash of three or more six-foot folding tables.
On game day, with food coming off the grill at all times of the day, and unexpected visitors popping by, you can never have too many paper plates, napkins, and utensils.
Game day might start off with a roast pig or BBQ ribs, like Robinson cooks, but when the party continues after the game is over, you're going to want to fire the grill up again for wings, burgers, and sausages to satiate hungry fans — should you run out of wood chips, charcoal, or propane, they won't be happy.
When you're grazing all day, you don't want to grill up all the ribs and sausage at once. "Opt for better quality and smaller options rather than just the normal fare," recommends McPhail. He'll simmer brats in beer leftover from the prior night's keg party, grilling a couple at a time, then slicing each into bite-sized pieces. "Remember that it doesn’t matter how great a recipe is — if grilled food is on the table for two hours, it’s not going to taste its best," adds McPhail.
Whether you've brought in the sound system, or are relying on an iPod, "you've got to rock it all night right up until the game," says Robinson. If it’s not fun and lively, it’s not a tailgate.
No matter who wins, you're there to have fun. That means doing as much as you can the night before, packing a game to pass time, and not forgetting the tickets.