What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when someone mentions game day? If you’re like most people, chances are you’re already planning the menu for your next tailgate. There’s something deeply refreshing about sharing a few drinks and bite-sized snacks before you head to cheer for your favorite team.
But a tailgate is much more than slapping a few beef patties onto your grill and fetching a cooler filled with beer. With the right planning, your tailgate could become the talk of the town. People will look forward to interacting with other supporters while munching on their favorite appetizers.
So, how do you host the ultimate tailgate party (with social distancing) that becomes a much-anticipated event during baseball season? In this blog, we’ve curated a list of recipes to help you design the perfect tailgate menu. But first, we’ll share a few tips you should keep in mind before hosting a tailgate.
Let’s get started.
Tips to Host an Outstanding Tailgate
First things first – a tailgate isn’t just about the food. It’s all about the experience you deliver using a combination of delectable snacks, refreshing beverages, and interesting combinations. That’s why the first rule of hosting a tailgate is to avoid going overboard with the menu.
Resist the temptation to flaunt your awesome culinary skills. Instead, choose quick and easy recipes that you know would be a hit among your guests. (Find more details about game day recipes later in this blog.)
Here are a few other things you should keep in mind while planning a tailgate:
1. Prepare the Right Quantity of Food
How much food do you need to prepare? That’s one question you’ve asked every time you decide to host a tailgate. As a ground rule, you should have enough food to serve 25% more guests than those who’ve confirmed. It’ll ensure that there’s plenty of food on the table while saving you the stress of dealing with leftovers.
2. Use Baskets and Boxes to Serve Food
No. A tailgate isn’t the right time to show off your prized heirloom crockery. The last thing you want is to damage a delicate porcelain tray that’s been passed down for generations within your family. Save your fancy crockery for house parties, and use sturdy woven baskets and cardboard boxes to serve food instead.
3. Incorporate Team Colors
This one’s kind of obvious. Apart from getting dainty team flags, there are plenty of other ways to incorporate team colors into the decor. Use blankets, rugs, paper napkins, and other supplies that match your team’s color. It’s a great way to show your support to your favorite team, and add a vibrant touch to your tailgate.
4. Use Seasonal Produce and Flavors
The overlap of baseball season and fall might be nothing more than a happy coincidence. But you can make the most of it by integrating quintessential fall flavors, such as cinnamon, maple, and ginger, into the menu. Also, use seasonal produce, including pumpkin and different types of squash, to delight your guests.
5. Keep All Your Supplies Handy
There’s nothing worse than running out of snacks or beverages in the middle of a full-fledged tailgate. The best way of avoiding such scenarios is to stock up on plenty of chips, trail mix, candy, soda, etc.
All you need to do is visit your nearest DK/ALON store and raid the aisles for your favorite munchies. Whether you want to indulge in decadent sugary treats or are looking for healthy snack options, we’ve got you covered.
Tailgate Recipes and Inspiration
By now, you must be eager to head to the kitchen and start prepping for the next tailgate. Here are a few recipe ideas that’ll become an instant hit among your guests:
Chicken wings are one of the first recipes that come to mind when you think about finger food. Instead of the usual buffalo or BBQ sauce, amp up your chicken wings with a spicy, tangy mango glaze. If mangoes aren’t in season, you could replace them with other fruits, such as pineapple. Or you could even try this super-simple lemon pepper baked wings recipe.
If you know your guests love gorging on spicy food, jalapeno poppers are a must-have appetizer for your tailgate. You can prep them well in advance, and deep fry them once your guests arrive. A healthier alternative is to bake the poppers or cook them in an air fryer.
Don’t hesitate to experiment with different types of fillings, such as cream cheese, potatoes, and minced meat. If you’re feeling extra, you can even wrap your jalapeno poppers in bacon before baking them.
If you’re looking for a quick, no-fuss appetizer that tastes as great as it looks, deviled eggs are the way to go. All you need is a few hard-boiled eggs (halved and yolks separated), along with some mayonnaise, mustard, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Mash the yolks with the condiments and seasonings. Scoop into the center of the halved egg whites and top with tiny bacon bits.
Crispy Shrimp Po’Boy
Ditch the traditional burgers and hot dogs, and make this drool-worthy Asian-inspired shrimp po’boy. The zing from the pickled veggies is nicely balanced by the juicy shrimp fried in a beer batter. Wash it down with some more beer or a refreshing cocktail, like a margarita.
This decadent dessert consists of a fudgy brownie topped with neat layers of caramel and chocolate ganache. It’s the perfect way of adding extra oomph to a batch of freshly baked brownies. You could even make dainty millionaire brownie jars that guests could grab and devour while watching the match.
When it comes to a game day tailgate, there’s no right or wrong way to host the party. Plan the menu in a way that gives you plenty of time to mingle with guests. Include a mix of appetizers, sandwiches, desserts, and drinks to cater to different taste buds.