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Host an Epic Tailgate with These Tailgating Essentials + Checklist


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.​

Host an Epic Tailgate with These Tailgating Essentials + 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!

Are you planning an all-day experience? Serve up an epic meat experience and try one of our delicious smoked meat recipes.

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
  • Matches
  • Hot pads or grilling mitts
  • Tongs
  • Spatula
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife
  • Grill spray oil
  • Meat thermometer
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Apron
  • 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
  • Corkscrew
  • 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
  • Tablecloth
  • 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:

  • Cornhole
  • Ladder toss
  • Horseshoes
  • Football toss
  • Ring toss
  • Frisbee
  • Giant Jenga
  • Deck of cards
  • Football trivia game

Other Things to Consider Packing

  • Sunblock
  • Bug spray
  • Umbrella
  • Sunglasses
  • 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:


Host an Epic Tailgate with These Tailgating Essentials + Checklist

Gourmet Burgers

From classic, extra-juicy tastes to gourmet blends ground by real butchers and using aged-to-perfection Omaha Steaks beef. It’s everything you want in a burger with satisfaction 100% guaranteed.

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