A Tailgate Thanksgiving

A helpful guide to hosting Thanksgiving at a football tailgate

One of the biggest Thanksgiving traditions is sitting around the television, watching football. But some families take it one step futher, and head to stadiums to tailgate and cheer on their favorite football team in person. But if you have tickets to a game, does that mean you have to forfeit celebrating Thanksgiving altogether? We say no — just relocate your Thanksgiving feast to the football stadium parking lot.

Of course, there will need to be a few tweaks in order to pull off a tailgate Thanksgiving. Bringing all 15 sides and 10 desserts to the parking lot isn't practical, so limit the menu to the most important and satisfying dishes. Or, take the traditional Thanksgiving dishes and rework them by making turkey burgers, turkey chili, or a garlic smoked turkey instead of the traditional turkey. The most important thing is to plan ahead and be organized.

Here is a menu to consider:


It wouldn’t be a morning tailgate without a bloody mary, so keep the standard tailgating drinks. But also include more festive drink options such as Thanksgiving-inspired cocktails or a special beer


A cheese platter
Guacamole or your favorite type of dip and chips
Stuffed mushrooms


Although it is Thanksgiving, you’re at a football game, so pull out the classic tailgating entrées. Serve burgers and pulled pork with some Thanksgiving-inspired sauces such as cranberry-BBQ sauce. Make sure to incorporate turkey into the meal in some way, forget about a full roasted turkey. That’s difficult, time-consuming and most likely will just be a huge pain to transfer.


Keep to the classic Thanksgiving side dishes, but forget the ones that are just there for looks, such as that green bean casserole
Stuffing is a must!
Grilled potatoes or really potatoes in any form


Sweet Potato Cupcakes
Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Frosting
Pecan Pie

Make sure that all the vessels you use to cook and transport these recipes can go on the grill so that you can easily re-heat them while tailgating.


Tailgating on Thanksgiving doesn't mean you need to forgo a festive meal — bring Thanksgiving to the stadium with a few key ingredients and dishes that will remind you of countless holidays spent at home with your family and enjoy cheering on your team in person!