Time Saving Tailgate Playbook

by Mike Moore, Tastemaker in Residence

When I think of Tailgating for the big game, I automatically think, how do I pull off the best party, and not miss the fun? Answer? I begin with my themes, menu and cooking conditions, without forgetting dietary goals that include plenty of proteins. Whether your prefer burgers, barbecue, brats or bison, you should start with the meats and build from there. Delegating tasks and tailgating are a winning twosome that allows me to enjoy the experience to the max; don’t try to do it alone! 


Generally, I know the culinary strengths and weaknesses of my tailgating counterparts and I "assign accordingly," at least two weeks in advance. Let's just say I encourage many people to bring the right beer and wines. They know the deal and I always play to their "strengths." Your tailgate table will certainly be a reflection of your geographic location. I am "lucky" enough to live in Minnesota and always accept the challenge to initiate creative menus that can co-exist with every possible outdoor element. Sometimes, you just need to roll with a good old fashion crockpot fest and call it a day. The great thing is that most people are pretty much crockpot friendly and have their favorite showcase crockpot recipe. Most vehicles have the ability to convert the lighter into an electrical outlet so all you need is an extension cord and power strip to power your party. People love to grab crockpot recipes from the internet to "try something new" they found on Pinterest or other social media. When it comes to the tailgate table, I say GO BIG and stand out from your competition. Yes, the tailgate arena is judged by fellow tailgaters, so you should make the extra effort. I like my food and spirits to become part of the "tablescape". So when I am grilling brats you can be sure I will have some mini Spaten kegs and homemade pretzels on my table.

To summarize, start with knowing your audience, knowing your conditions and know what experience you want to have. People are going to remember the "experience" so you can keep it simple and make it special with a good playbook for pre-planning in place. Like a good coach, you should know the strengths of your tailgate team and plan accordingly. Encourage your friends to go for the extra point and you will tackle the Tailgate together.