Tailgating season is in full swing but just because you can't make it to each and every one of your team's home games doesn't mean that you can't still enjoy the tailgating experience.
Dubbed "homegating," football fans across the country are increasingly hosting their own pre-game bashes from the comfort of their driveway or backyard according to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA).
“The homegating trend gives football fans the best of both worlds. Fans can fire up their grill and cheer on their favorite team without even having to leave their home,” said Audrey Caldwell, director of communications, HPBA. “Homegating also opens up endless options for grill owners as they’re no longer confined to stadium or venue tailgating restrictions and they don’t have to choose which grilling accessories to bring along and which to leave at home.”
To get your homegating bash started out on the right foot, the HPBA has developed the following tips:
1. Draft a strong safety: You can’t win without a solid defense. Tackle common grilling errors and avoid a homegating penalty by brushing up on your barbecuing safety tips in your pre-game warmup.
2. Equipment check: Don’t drop the ball on making sure your equipment is working properly before the party kicks off. Fuel up with charcoal, wood chips or a propane tank and brushing up on the safety guidelines for your grill.
3. Pre-game prep: Prep and marinate meat before the crowd arrives. Mix dips, cut up fruit and chop veggies so everything is grill-ready for game time.
4. Go the extra yard: Score big by offering to bring an extra grill to the party. There are plenty of easy portable options like a tailgate grill that attaches to your vehicle, a portable grill with a push-button ignitor, or a small smoker. You can even make pizzas on-the-go with an oven tailgater.
5. Be a team player: Smoked or grilled meat may be the MVP at your homegate party, but to really win big, grill up sides, desserts or veggie kabobs using a grill stone to keep sauces and marinades from slipping through the grates, or use a pizza oven to whip up a few pies for an appetizer that everyone will love.
6. Rally the team: Before the pros kick-off, rally your teammates for some backyard competition. Toss around a football or play a game of Cornhole – just make sure all activates take place a safe distance away from the grilling area.
7. Complete the two-point conversion: Score the extra point for your party with the ultimate homegating patio accessories. Fire up the patio heater to keep your guests around post-game, or huddle around a fire pit to celebrate a big win with a cold beverage from your bar caddy.
8. Trade in your quarterback: Just as every team relies on its quarterback, every homegate needs a solid grill. Consider upgrading to a new model or adding a new flame to the team with a smoker or charcoal grill.
Party on Garth!