With the kickoff of the 2019 football season comes a special holiday for us fans: National Tailgate Day. Since 2016, this fan-friendly holiday has taken place annually on the first Saturday of September. (Ok, so it's only 3 years old but a time-honored tradition has to start somewhere, right?!)
For those of you who have either been living under a very sizable rock—or for those of you who maybe randomly landed here after (perhaps) a wayward click on social media—tailgating is a very American tradition in which sports fans gather outside their favorite sports venue before a game to hang out, socialize, drink, eat, celebrate their favorite team and get pumped up for the game ahead.
While tailgating is often practiced during baseball season and ahead of NASCAR races (NASCAR tailgates last for days most notably in the infield), it's most often associated with the festivities ahead of a football game—both college and professional.
While the word tailgating implies a situation located somewhere near the tailgate of a pickup truck, often tailgaters can be found assembling in an open parking lot clearing, often under a canopy or tent, and almost always near a grill.
Food and drink are bountiful at tailgates. As are high spirits and a sense of competitiveness. But most importantly, tailgates are meant to be fun. They bring people together, propagate team spirit, and engender a sense of community. Tailgaters are a hardy breed of parking lot pop-up village dwellers with immense pride in the home team. No matter the weather or the team's record (win or lose), great tailgaters always show up and always have a great time.
AS IT TURNS OUT, TAILGATING IS VERY POPULAR IN THE UNITED STATES.
According to a study conducted by Quicken Loans Racing and Beckon Media, 80% of Americans tailgate annually. No joke. A lot of interesting statistics actually arose as a result of said study so we put together a nifty little infographic that might just blow your mind.
ANSWERING POPULAR TAILGATING-RELATED QUESTIONS
Whether you're new-ish to tailgating or are simply curious and contemplating getting in on the tradition this season, there's certainly a lot to think about. We compiled some of the more popular questions we've gotten and have found floating around the worldwide web.
1. What tips can you give a rookie tailgater for grilling in a parking lot?
The easiest way to answer this question is to share our recent blog on the mistakes most people make when grilling at a tailgate. If you avoid these mistakes, it's pretty likely that you'll do just fine on your maiden grilling voyage.
2. What are the best tailgate games?
There are a slew of fun games to play at a tailgate. Of all of them, these are the three we see the most frequently:
3. Can you manage with the gas or charcoal grill or will you need further energy options?
Either one of these options works well.
The Weber Q1000 is probably the most popular tailgating grill, chosen for its portability, size and effectiveness.
4. What should I bring to a tailgate party?
Your best bet is always to ask your host. Some tailgate hosts prefer to make all the food and drink themselves and just have guests contribute to the till. (Apps like Venmo and Zelle are great for this). That said, your safest option is always to bring beer, booze, or wine. If your host does indeed ask for a dish, however, here is our library of free recipes that are all tailgate-approved.
5. What are the best grilling accessories?
We are partial to the products made by the good folks at GrillHogs. We like them so much, we are now able to offer them in our own Shop!
The Cedar Wood Grill Scraper
This is our latest favorite toy. It looks cool and works really well.
GET TAILGATE READY
Food & Drink
We spend a lot of time creating tasty and delicious recipes that are made with tailgating in mind.
We welcome you to peruse our free recipes or purchase a copy of our cookbook, which includes 165 game day recipes, including 40 collected from professional athletes and Olympians including folks like LeBron James, Michael Jordan and Boomer Esiason.
Game Day Gear
We've also compiled some kick-ass game day gear reviews! Be sure to head on over and check out our team's favorite tail-gate friendly items. We're always adding new reviews to help ensure you're as ready for that tailgate as humanly possible.
Here's wishing everyone a safe, fun and yummy football season! May your teams be as successful as your tailgates!