The 9 Essential Foods Every Epic Tailgate Party Needs
- Ribs: Tailgating begins and ends with ribs. Mix it up and bring a few different styles of ribs. You can buy pork spareribs (from the belly or side of the pig), pork baby back ribs (they have less meat and require more work but are the tastiest), country style ribs (there’s no bone in these), beef back ribs (much bigger than pork baby back ribs) or short ribs (your best bet with these is to smoke these or cook them slowly in a slow cooker).
- Burgers: If you don’t bring any other main dishes to your tailgate, be sure to bring burgers. Everyone will be happy with a burger (as long as you have veggie burgers for your vegetarian guests). Be sure to bring a whole slew of toppings like various cheeses, mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, relish, peppers and anything else that interests you.
- Grilled Chicken: Grilling is an art, but one of the easiest proteins to prepare is chicken. You might think you aren’t really upping the game by grilling chicken, but if you prepare your own marinade or make chicken skewers, you are.
- Sausage/Hot Dogs: Nothing says “tailgate” like a freshly grilled hot dog. Add relish, ketchup, mustard, chili and various other ingredients and your tailgate will be the place to be. Guests can add what they want and create their own culinary creation.
- Chips/Dip: Once you’ve arrived at the tailgate and set everything up, and way before you prepare grilled chicken, ribs, a burger or a hot dog, you and your guests will want something to munch on. You can go the basic route and serve corn chips and salsa or to really amp it up, make a pizza, buffalo chicken or artichoke dip.
- Chicken Wings: All you need to do is marinate the wings beforehand in whatever wing sauce you prefer and put them on the grill the same way you would a boneless chicken breast.
- Chili: There’s a reason chili is a game day staple. You can make it the night before and then bring it in a crock pot and, voila, instant, meaty deliciousness. Classic beef chili is enough to wow the crowd or you can go the white chili route with turkey or chicken.
- Pulled Pork: Just like chili, the best reason to serve pulled pork is because you can make it beforehand and throw some rolls, coleslaw and barbecue sauce on a table and you have the makings of a great day.
- Cold Salads: This is the unsung hero of the tailgate. No tailgate is complete without a great pasta salad or potato salad.
Written by: Christopher Osburn