With the kickoff of football season comes a special holiday for us Hungry Fans: National Tailgating Day. Since 2016, this fan-friendly holiday has taken place annually on the first Saturday of September. (OK, so it's a fairly new "holiday," per se, but a time-honored tradition has to start somewhere, right?!)
For those of you who have been living under a very sizable rock—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 team, and get pumped up for the game ahead.
Although tailgating is often practiced during baseball season and ahead of NASCAR races (NASCAR tailgates last for days most notably in the infield), tailgating is most often associated with football—both college and pro.
While the word "tailgating" implies a situation located somewhere near the tailgate of a pickup truck, tailgaters can commonly be found assembling in an open parking lot 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 foster a sense of community.
Tailgaters are a hardy breed of parking-lot-pop-up 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.
SO, JUST HOW POPULAR IS TAILGATING?
According to a study conducted by Quicken Loans Racing and Beckon Media, 80% of Americans tailgate annually. No joke. A lot of interesting stats came to light as a result of said study, so we put together a nifty little infographic that might just blow your mind.
YOUR TOP TAILGATING QUESTIONS, ANSWERED
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 answers to the most common questions we've gotten.
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 blog on the mistakes most people make when grilling at a tailgate. If you avoid these mistakes, it's pretty likely 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. Check out our list of the best outdoor games for your tailgate. (Hint: These are also great to have on hand for any type of backyard party or homegate.)
3. Can you manage with a gas or charcoal grill, or will you need further energy options?
Either option works great!
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 drinks themselves and just have guests contribute a few bucks toward the total cost. That said, your safest option is always to bring beer, wine, or your favorite type of hard liquor. Ice is also a good idea! If your host does indeed ask for a dish, sandwiches are a great go-to. Check out our top 10 tailgating sandwiches.
5. What are the best grilling accessories?
We're partial to the GrillHogs line of products. Check out their awesome grillware products.
We love this handy 3-piece grill set. It's perfect for flipping, grabbing, and turning meats (or veggies!) at a tailgate.
GET TAILGATE READY
Food & Drink
We spend a lot of time creating tasty and delicious recipes that are made with tailgating in mind.
Check out our plethora of delicious free recipes.
Game Day Gear
With all these tips, you're bound to have a successful National Tailgating Day experience! Here's to a safe, fun, and yummy football season! May your teams be as successful as your tailgates.