7 Tailgating Tips (plus our favorite hot wing recipe!)

So football season is here, and that means that tailgating is back in action.

If you love the game, you might be one of those who always are throwing a pre-game party… from the back of your car.

Here are our top ten tips for making sure your tailgating party is the best it can possibly be.

Bring Enough Beer

Sounds obvious, right? Well, it isn’t always. Tally up the beer that you (and whoever is with you) will possibly drink. Then, bring about 10 more. There are loads of people wandering, neighboring tailgaters you might want to swap with, and some new friends you’ll want to make. Basically, have more than you need. And share.

Take Along Your Tickets

Yes, this sounds obvious, too, but with all the prep and planning for the pre-party, you might realize you left your tickets at home. Put them in the glove compartment the night before, and slide them in your wallet the second they are in your hands. Even better, do a pick up when you get there, so you know they are there waiting for you.

Remember Why You’re There

The pre-party is fun, but the game is even better. Dress accordingly, plan for a full day, and make sure you’re ready for the details you need during the game, such as downloading necessary(!) apps or taking along a roster.

Pack It Right

If you’re taking along a keg, a good solution to keeping it cold is to take a large trash bag, put your keg inside, and load it with ice and water. This will keep it cold for awhile, keep it leak proof (just be careful), and is a money-saving solution on what can be a money-draining day.

Make Yourself a Kit

If you tailgate frequently, consider putting together a supplies box that you’ll always take with you. A plastic tote that you can buy at the hardware store work great, because they’re heavy duty and easy to transport. Load it with items such as paper towels, plastic cutlery, disposable plates and cups, garbage bags, plastic bags, and anything else you regularly use. You might as well be safe and throw in a first aid kit, too.

Think of the Weather

Some games will be on a sunny September afternoon, hitting temperatures that require light layers, loads of sunscreen, and hats and sunglasses. Be sure to bring lots of water to hydrate yourself. For rainy days, have a few umbrellas, bags and plastic resealable bags for things you don’t want to get wet, and a tarp to bridge a gap between multiple tents. For cold days, bring loads of layers, gloves, a hat, and blankets. You can also use a grill as a fire or plug a heater into a generator. Load that thermos up with hot drinks, too!

Plan Your Day

It’s going to be a long day, so make sure you plan to arrive early, about 3 or 4 hours before the game. Plan also to stay about 2 hours after the game, for fun post-party celebration (or drowning your sorrows).

Our Favorite Hot Wings

For the Wings:

Peanut oil, for frying
1 1/2 cups flour
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons good chili powder, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
3 pounds split chicken wings
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, pureed
1 tablespoon spicy mustard
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup unsalted butter

Heat 2 inches of the peanut oil in a large pan with high sides until a thermometer registers 375 degrees F.

Mix together the flour, salt and pepper to taste, 1 tablespoon of the chili powder and the garlic powder in a bowl. Season the wings with salt and pepper. Toss with the flour mixture to lightly coat, tapping off excess. Add the wings to the oil in batches and fry until golden brown and cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate using a slotted spoon.

Put the vinegar, chipotles, the remaining  chili powder in a saute pan. Bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat. Whisk in the mustard, 1 teaspoon salt, maple syrup, and butter until smooth. Add the wings and toss to coat.


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