Host an Epic Tailgate with These Tailgating Essentials + Checklist
- by Omaha Steaks
- Last updated Nov 20, 2023
Tailgating is one of our favorite fall activities. Tasty food, cold drinks, friends, and FOOTBALL – can it get any better than this? If you’ve tailgated before you know you always end up forgetting something that you need. That’s why we put together this handy tailgating checklist. So before we dive in, let’s talk about how tailgating became such an integral part of the football game experience.
What is the History of Tailgating?
Tailgating before football games is a uniquely American tradition with a long history. The first football tailgate was believed to have occurred at a Rutgers-Princeton college game in 1869. Fans wore their team colors and enjoyed beer, whiskey, and home-cooked food before the game.
Modern tailgating evolved as vehicles and portable grills became available, but the essential elements that bring people together are the same:
- A love for their favorite football team,
- A delicious spread of food and drink,
- Lively celebration.
Today tents pop up in every college and national football stadium parking lot on game days across the country with the distinct haze of charcoal smoke, sounds of laughter, and the incredible aroma of grilled foods. It’s an experience that every serious football fan doesn’t want to miss before the game.
Here’s a list of tailgating essentials you’ll need to partake in this American tradition. Download our tailgating checklist.
Food and Drink Essentials for Tailgating
Want your tailgate to be the most sought-after pre-game event of the season? Bring on the meat! Wow your guests with PureGround™ Burgers made from single-origin beef, including filet mignon, sirloin, delmonico, and NY strip burgers. It’s like steak on a bun. Or grill up our giant Gourmet Franks to satisfy even the largest appetites. Here are the food essentials you’ll need for the tastiest tailgate in the lot!
- Gourmet Burgers
- Franks, Brats, or Sausages
- Steaks (New York strips are great for grilling)
- Omaha Steaks Seasoning (perfect for both steak and burgers)
- Hamburger or hot dog buns
- Sliced cheese for cheeseburgers
- Pickles or Relish
- BBQ sauce
- Side dishes (chips, dip, mac ‘n cheese, potato salads, etc.)
- Cookies or other sweet treats
- Cooler (reuse your Omaha Steaks cooler!)
Grilling Essentials for Tailgating
What’s a tailgate without that undeniably delicious aroma of grilled meat? Ready to create a show before the big game at your tailgate – pack your grill! Here’s everything you’ll need to get your grill on before the big game.
- Portable grill
- Propane or charcoal
- Hot pads or grilling mitts
- Cutting board
- Sharp knife
- Grill spray oil
- Meat thermometer
- Fire extinguisher
- Timer (use the Omaha Steaks mobile app)
Want to up your grilling game? Check out our ultimate grilling guide to learn how to set up your grill and the basics for grilling meat. Or download the Omaha Steaks mobile app with grilling instructions and an easy-to-use cooking timer.
Serving Food Essentials
Have everything ready for your guests to enjoy the tailgating food and drink.
- Paper plates
- Disposable utensils
- Plastic cups
- Steak knives
- Bottle opener
- Can koozies
What You’ll Need for Tailgating Setup
Give your guests a comfortable tailgating environment that’s Instagram-worthy with a few essentials. Bonus if these are in your team colors!
- Tent or canopy
- Camping chairs
- Coolers (reuse Omaha Steaks coolers – they’re lightweight and come with every order)
- Folding table
- Bluetooth speakers
Don’t Forget the Clean-Up Essentials
Keep your favorite tailgating lot clean and free of clutter by cleaning up after yourself. Here’s what you’ll need for clean-up and keeping your cooking area clean and sanitary.
- Paper towels
- Hand sanitizer
- Trash bags
- Wet wipes
Outdoor Game Ideas for Tailgating
Guests may come for the food, but they’ll stay for the entertainment (and seconds if you’re serving Omaha Steaks). Add some games for the best tailgate on the block. Here are some fun ideas:
- Ladder toss
- Football toss
- Ring toss
- Giant Jenga
- Deck of cards
- Football trivia game
Other Things to Consider Packing
- Bug spray
- First Aid Kit
- Team gear
That’s it! Now you have the essentials to host an amazing tailgate to cheer on your favorite teams!
Are you watching from home? Check out our 10 amazing game day appetizers that are easy to prepare and perfect for a football-watching party.
Try some of our favorite tailgating recipes:
- Carolina-Style BBQ Ribs with Smoked Mac ‘n Cheese Bites
- Mexican Bratwurst Dog with BBQ Tostones
- Flat Iron Steak Fajitas with Tomato & Avocado Salsa
- Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings with Jalapeño Ranch Dressing