Grilling Tips for your Next Tailgate Party

Traditional tailgate parties are common in the United States and slowly gaining more traction in other parts of the world. These outdoor social events are typically seen in the parking lots near a sporting event like football, baseball, basketball, hockey, racing, and so on. For decades, grilling has been an important part of the tailgate party experience.

In this guide, we will cover the essential tips you need to know so that your grilling experience for your next tailgate party will be fun and hassle-free. We’ll also cover a few fundamentals about tailgate parties along the way.


What is the Tradition of Tailgate Parties All About and When Did it Start?

Tailgate parties are outdoor social events that are typically held in the parking lot near a sporting event. One can think of it as a pre-game gathering as well as a post-game celebration. Many fans show up extra early to a tailgate party and enjoy a hearty grilled breakfast before the start of the game with other fans. It’s common to have fun activities like face-painting, beer games, dancing, and so on.

Then, after the game, fans gather once again for yet another round of delicious grilled food, refreshments, and socialization. On top of celebrating the spirit of camaraderie and discussing the juicy details of a good game, this practice is also great for avoiding the traffic jam when thousands of people leave the stadium and go home. More than just a well-loved sports tradition, tailgaters consider tailgate parties of equal importance to the game itself. Many would say that it’s a lifestyle.


How Do I Ensure the Best Grilling Experience for My Next Tailgate Party?

Good food is one of the most important aspects of a good tailgate party. The following tips will work for you whether you are having a tailgate party at home or near the sporting event itself.


1. Make Sure That Your Grill Suits Your Needs

One of the first things you need to consider is how many people will be there in your tailgate party and whether or not your grill/s will be able to handle it. Unlike most BBQ parties that have no time pressure, grilling for a tailgate party is subject to fixed timeframes - whether you’re watching a live game or out in the stadium parking lot.

If you are having an at-home tailgate party with a load of guests, you might want to consider firing up both your gas grill in the yard as well as your portable grill. If you’re heading to the stadium’s parking lot, you need to make sure that your portable grill will be able to handle the load. If not, then you can have a friend bring another portable grill along or you can consider upgrading yours.

If you’re looking for a portable grill upgrade, grills in the TravelQ™ Series and TravelQ™ Pro Series are sure to meet your needs. These grills have a surface area that can cook up to 19 burgers at a time and a generous vertical clearance on the lids. Due to their robustness and practical features, these grills are fantastic for both home-use or out on the road. You can also check out the compact kettle grills under Napoleon’s Charcoal Grill Series - these grills have all the features you need to make charcoal grilling extra easy, such as hinged cooking grids for the easy addition of fuel, rugged weather-proof wheels for good mobility, the Accu-Probe™ temperature gauge for easy monitoring, and more.



2. Have Enough Fuel For Your Grill

Running out of fuel can be a massive hassle - wherever your tailgate party may be. So if your grill runs on consumable fuel like propane, natural gas, or charcoal, you need to secure the right amount for the special day. Additionally, you would need to secure extra fuel if you will be grilling in cold temperatures because any type of fuel is consumed faster in such conditions. It would be wise to know the average fuel consumption rate of your grill and then add more to that. If you want to be absolutely sure you have enough, you can even double that average amount.

When it comes to electric grills for home-use, you won’t have a problem with fuel at all. However, electric portable grills are typically not a good choice if you will be heading to the stadium parking lot because it’s unlikely that you will be able to secure a safe and reliable power source.


3. Prepare Your Ingredients in Advance & Pack Them Neatly

As we mentioned earlier in the first tip, grilling during tailgate parties would inherently have a bit of time pressure because you are working around the schedule of the game. This is why it’s advisable to do all of the prep work in advance. Slice and dice the veggies you’ll need and prepare the mixtures you’ll need before the big day.

For sliced ingredients, you can place them in sealed bags or in plastic containers along with labels to avoid confusion. Mixtures and sauces can be handily kept in squeeze bottles. They're compact, prevent spills and leaks, and make it super easy to apply sauces while grilling.

Because time is of the essence for pre-game tailgating and you are probably itching to celebrate and eat post-game, well-labeled ingredients are vital. This will allow you to get your barbecued delights going faster and even allow you to delegate some tasks to friends so that you are free to relax and socialize too.



4. Make a Checklist of Grilling Tools You Will Need

This tip is especially important if you are heading away for your tailgate party because not having a particular grilling tool can impact your grilling experience greatly. It would be beneficial to make a checklist of the tools you’ll need and double-check before the big day. These can include:


5. Safety Always Comes First

In any grilling activity, make sure that you have a fire extinguisher nearby to control any fire-related accidents that occur. Using protective clothing like grill gloves and an apron is also highly recommended.



6. Choose Interesting Recipes

If you and your friends have been having tailgate parties for a while, the usual food may be losing its appeal. Of course, there’s always a charm in keeping tradition but adding a few culinary tweaks will definitely spice things up.

In our collection of free grilling recipes, you can find spruced-up traditional dishes along with new dishes to try. Whether you’re out to find easy but impactful recipes or challenge yourself with more intricate recipes, we’ve got plenty in store for you. So for your tailgate party, here are a few we recommend that you check out:


How was your tailgate party experience? Which of these tips helped you out the most? What was your tailgate party like? We’d love to hear all about it. Follow Napoleon on our Instagram or Facebook and share your stories and thoughts with our community!