Football season is right on our tails, and with it the time honored tradition that is the Wisconsin Tailgate. Here are some tricks of the trade to make this year’s tailgates easy, fun, and memorable.
1. Pack the perfect cooler:
Pro tip: Use frozen water bottles instead of ice in coolers. That way you have ice cold water when they melt, and you don’t have to get frostbite wading through melty ice for drinks! (Click the photo to print or save it for later!)
2. Prepare meat the night before
Shape and pack up burger patties between wax paper, and make sure kabobs are skewered and marinated before you head to the game. You won’t need as much space, and quicker preparation and cleanup will leave you more time to enjoy the festivities.
3. Hang paper towels from a bungee cord
Tailgating means lots of finger foods – and not particularly tidy ones. Hanging your paper towels insures they’ll be readily available for every sticky situation. Additionally, people tend to pull fewer sheets from a hanging roll of paper towels than a free standing one, so you can save the planet and your game day clothes at the same time!
4. Set up a Bloody Mary bar
We all know the most important part of a Bloody Mary is having the perfect garnish, but no two people have ever agreed on exactly what that is. The solution? Show off your signature Bloody Mary recipe and let people tailor their drinks however they’d like!
5. Serve portable breakfast options
Breakfast tailgates take the sting out of those painfully early kickoffs, but you shouldn’t have to sacrifice valuable corn hole and mingling time because your pancakes are a two-handed job. Try bacon-pancake tacos or French toast and sausage patty sandwiches for a deliciously portable breakfast option!
6. Serve chili in bread bowls
To cut down on waste and cleanup, bring dinner rolls with a tough outer crust and hollow out the middle for a completely edible –not to mention delicious – bowl of chili. (Sheboygan hard rolls work great!)
7. In case of emergency: learn some alternative ways to open a bottle of beer
8. Use empty six pack holders as condiment caddies
We’ve all experienced the dismay of grilling the perfect burger, placing the sizzling patty on a golden bun, and heading excitedly over to the condiment table to find… no ketchup! Having a place for each condiment deters people from walking away with them or leaving them on other surfaces, so there won’t be a bare burger in sight!
9. Portable Packers Jell-O shots
Make Lemon and Lime Jell-O shots in ramekins with lids for easy transportation!
10. Repurpose a toolbox with your tailgating essentials
Use the top drawer for wet wipes, matches, and other small materials, the larger middle drawer for tools and utensils like spatulas and skewers, and the flat bottom drawer for condiments and spices. Carrying everything in one condensed, and very portable place makes it easier to remember the essentials when it’s game time!
Finally, print off our Tailgating Essentials Checklist to make sure you have everything you need for the perfect tailgating experience!
Have a favorite tailgating tradition or recipe? Share it in the comments below!
Mara Benowitz is a member of the Discover Wisconsin crew. She’s originally from Uptown Minneapolis and just got back from a semester in France. She’s excited to be back exploring Wisconsin in her senior year at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
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