Essential Tailgate Party Checklist

There’s nothing worse than showing up to a tailgate party only to realize that you’ve forgotten something. Make sure you’re prepared for the big game with this checklist of essential tailgating supplies.
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Top Items for a Tailgate Party

There are some things that no tailgate can go without. Make sure you’re prepared:

Tailgating Supplies

  • Bug spray
  • Sun screen
  • First aid (including antacids and pain relievers)
  • Grill
  • Spatula
  • Tongs
  • Thermometers
  • Serving utensils
  • Charcoal or Propane
  • Ponchos
  • Lawn chairs
  • Folding tables
  • Paper towels
  • Napkins
  • Toilet paper
  • Paper plates
  • Plastic silverware
  • Cups
  • Disposable tablecloths
  • Garbage bags
  • Ziploc bags
  • Aluminum foil and plastic wrap
  • Coolers
  • Tupperware and storage containers
  • Ice

Tailgate Food Menu

  • Hamburgers
  • Hotdogs
  • Buns
  • Chips and dip
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Bottled water
  • Soda
  • MORE ICE! (You can never have too much)
  • _______________ (Fill in your own)
  • _______________ (Fill in your own)
  • _______________ (Fill in your own)
  • _______________ (Fill in your own)

Nice-To-Have Tailgate Supplies & Accessories

  • Stereo and speakers
  • Music (CDs, iPod, etc)
  • Frisbee
  • Football
  • Games (Cornhole, Ladder golf, etc)
  • Tent
  • Beer
  • Blender
  • Mixed drink supplies

Tailgating Food Safety Tips

Nothing puts a damper on a tailgate quite like salmonella. Have a food thermometer handy to temp your meats when they come off the grill. Be sure your burgers get heated to at least 160 degrees and your chicken reaches 165.

Learn how to properly cook chicken and safely handle raw beef.

Stock up on hand wipes, hand sanitizer, counter cleaner, serving utensils, gloves and separate cutting boards for meat, bread and raw produce. Always remember to:

  • Wash hands (with hot water and soap) when handling food or serving utensils
  • Sanitize table tops, cutting surfaces and utensils, including knives
  • Rinse fruits and vegetables under cold running water before you cut them for display
  • No double-dipping! Provide tongs for removing food from a cooler.
  • Use single-use eating and serving utensils for larger gatherings

How to Pack a Cooler

Store your beverages in a different cooler than the meats, dairy product and other perishables. The constant opening and closing of the cooler to get drinks allows warm air to enter and spoil food. Here are a few more tips:

  • Pack your meats into the cooler while they’re still frozen to extend the length of time they can be kept cold.
  • Try to completely fill the cooler and use ice or ice packs to fill any open spaces.
  • Store items that you’re going to use the most on top.
  • Cold air travels downward; put a layer of ice or cold packs on top of your food and drinks.
  • Place a thermometer in each cooler to make sure they stay below 40 degrees F.
  • Keep your coolers in the shade.