Tailgating Essentials

By Jon DeMeo

Choosing the Right grill

Depending on how serious about your food and how much space you have to transport your grill, selecting the right one can be an arduous task. What I look for in a grill is quality and simplicity of use and cleans up easily. Some tailgaters go the extra mile and use charcoal while some just use a propane tank. By using propane, you have an easy clean up process and obtaining and transporting the propane is very easy as well.

Gas Grill vs. Charcoal

The debate on what is better has been going on for quite a while and it comes down to personal preference. If you are looking for ease of cleanup and temperature control, you can’t go wrong with using a gas grill. Some grilling fanatics say the taste is different depending on what you use and by using a charcoal grille you can utilize the smoke and flavor from the charcoal to infuse your food with! Serious Eats did an article on this you can read more about the “great debate”!

Other elements that determine pricing:

  1. Size of the grill (how many burners it has)
  2. Portability
  3. Temperature/Flame control
  4. Material (How it is built)

A few retailers where you can purchase a grill:

  1. Dick’s Sporting Goods
  2. Academy Sports
  3. REI

So you want to play music? Here are some options!

To set the atmosphere, you can bring along a portable Bluetooth speaker to play music that easily hooks up to your phone and some can even charge your phone! When choosing one, consider features like water resistance, built in chargers, battery life, and overall sound quality.

Here are some great options:

1) Bose SoundLink Mini

2) Braven BRV-X Portable Wireless Speaker

3) Jawbone BIG Jambox

Keep the food simple and store it in your cooler.

When you are preparing for a day tailgating, you have many different food options and food storage options but my rule of thumb is to keep it simple. Don’t let the actual cooking stress you out and make it so you can’t enjoy the day! Hotdogs, hamburgers and chips make for a great meal and will make everyone happy. When choosing a cooler there is a wide range of products to choose from and they all range in price. You can buy a Yeti Cooler that will keep your food cold for days but will cost you at least $250, or you can go with the time tested Coleman that can run you as low as $25!

Bring your TV for added fun!

Just because you are tailgating it doesn’t mean you have to miss other important game day matchups! Two items that you will need to make it a success is:

  1. A source of power. This can either be plugged in if near an outlet or run through you car’s cigarette lighter. By using a converter, you can plug your television into your own car!
  1. The right antenna. I highly suggest buying an antenna well before you need it so that you can try it out and be sure it works for your needs. These range in price but you can find a good option for under $100. Lifehacker did a great article on how to choose and some options to choose from here.

Final Tips

One of the best pieces of advice for tailgating is to prepare the day before. Buy all the food you will need and prepare everything the night before. If you are cooking hamburgers have the patties ready the night before and store them in a Tupperware container. Place your condiments in small containers and have everything pre-cut so that you can focus on eating and fun the day of! This will cut down on stress and also be sure that nothing is forgotten on game day.

If you plan well, keep it simple and invite your friends and family to go tailgating, you are sure to have a fun time and make some great memories together!

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ABOUT JON: Originally from the great state of Pennsylvania I now currently reside in Lakeland, FL working for Southeastern University. I have a love for the outdoors including camping, hiking and fishing. Some of my other passions include, staying up to date on the latest technology, traveling, biking with my family, photography, graphic design and video work. I love helping individuals and organization tell a compelling story and see it from start to finish. My family has a passion for serving people and trying to show hope in areas that need it most! I am married to my best friend Elaine and have one son.
Web: jondemeo.com • Twitter: @jon_demeo • Instagram: JonDeMeo