There’s no better time than football season in Texas, and every good football game starts with a good tailgate. Here’s some tailgating tips and tricks for all you rookie and veteran tailgaters!

ONE: Arrive early

Plan on arriving 4 hours prior to kick-off, giving you plenty of time to set up, cook, eat, and clean up. Early arrival ensures that you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy your party without having to stress out or rush to get to your seats.

TWO: Knock out as much food and beverage prep as possible before you arrive

Tailgating champs know that it makes your life much easier if you plan and shop for your menu and decorations a week or two before the big game. Also, don’t forget prep like marinating meat, shaping and seasoning hamburger patties, chopping up veggies, baking, and packaging up some of the non-food essentials.  

THREE: Trick out a tailgating toolbox

If you tailgate frequently, a permanently packed tailgate toolkit will save you tons of time when you’re getting ready for the next outing. Items you might include in your tailgate kit include:

  • Spatulas/Tongs/
  • Bottle Openers
  • Can Opener
  • Toothpicks/Wooden Skewers
  • Mini Flashlight/Batteries
  • Trash Bags/Paper Towels/Plastic Zip Bags
  • Wet Wipes/Hand Sanitizer
  • Sunscreen/Bug Spray
  • Poncho
  • Masking Tape/Permanent Marker

Here are a few more items you’ll want to have handy:  Fire extinguisher and extra fuel or charcoal, blankets, folding chairs, and plastic zip bags with slightly wet paper towels for cleaning. You might also pack some frozen water bottles—besides serving as coolants for food or people, they’ll provide chilled drinking water after they melt. 

FOUR: Use a six-pack holder for condiments.

Re-purpose a six-pack container as a storage area for all your condiments, salt, pepper, and marinade that’s ready for action at a moment’s notice. 

FIVE: Label your coolers and pack them properly

There IS a science to make the most of your cooler space and make sure everything stays cold. Don’t forget the drink coolers and label them to find everything easier!

SIX: Bring a big plastic tub to haul back your dirty dishes

Use a big tub to pack your tailgating essentials. When you’re ready to pack up, line the plastic tub with a trash bag, and put all your dirty dishes inside. Easy clean up and transportation back home!

SEVEN: Bring along a small set of shelves

Load them in the back of your truck or SUV to create more surface space for a hot dog/hamburger/baked potato condiment station or a Bloody Mary bar that makes it easy for guests to serve themselves.

EIGHT: Get creative

A tailgate party is the perfect opportunity to unleash your inner creative super star with over-the-top decorations and team-branded food and drink items. Need a few good ideas to get you started? Check out these Dallas Cowboys cupcake and cookie ideas on Pinterest, or these ideas for awesome tailgating setups, snacks, and drinks.

NINE: Be a good neighbor

Excessive rowdiness, too-loud music, and irresponsible drinking are not only the behaviors of unpopular tailgaters, but they can also get you booted off the property and permanently banned from future tailgate fun. Have a good time but keep it under control— and remember to share your extra mustard when the party next to you runs out. Be sure to check out AT&T Stadium’s tailgating policies.

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