Photo by: marta juez

What should you keep in mind in order to have the ultimate tailgating party? To follow are several tips to get you on your way to being known for the best ones ever:

The first one should actually go without saying but in the interest of clarity…you should always know exactly where you are going. This means having a map of the parking area, contacting the owner to see if there are any specific guidelines that you need to follow and be sure to get there early enough; before the gates so that you can stake out a great spot.

Your next tip is to not assume that since you have had that same spot for a number of years that you will naturally get the same one, especially if you do not show up early in order to claim it. After all, it is basically a “first come – first served” type of event.

You will need ice, lots of ice. You will need it to keep drinks cold and if you plan on having any cocktails you will need it for that as well. Ice will also help you keep any raw meat as close to 40 or below as you can to help ensure no one gets sick.

You should also have a good grill; charcoal is great for flavor if you have the time to get it up and going properly. However, gas is quicker and you plank cook or use wood chips to get that smoky flavor. You also want to bring one that is big enough to handle more than just a few burgers at a time. Along those same lines make sure that you have enough food to actually feed everyone; most grill masters agree that you should have at least 8oz. of meat for every person. Also, side dishes are good but you want to make sure it will be something that everyone will eat, there are many times that several tubs of unopened coleslaw or potato salad are thrown away.

If you are going to be making cocktails forget about the gas powered blenders all you really need are a few large shakers. You can whip out those margaritas on the rocks, mai tais and several others just by using a shaker. A personal favorite is ice, Grand Marnier, tequila, limeade and fresh limes in a well salted glass.

Of course seating is something to consider; bring some comfortable chairs, invest in a tailgate couch or find one of the inflatable couches (just be sure you have a way to fill it).

One last item, try to load as much as you can the night before so that you will be pretty much ready to go on game day and claim your title as “Tailgating King”.