Looking for ways to upgrade your average tailgate? This season, host your tailgate at home then take your get-together from standard to standout using these top tips. From serving food that’s out of the ordinary to arranging interactive activities, we’re sharing 5 of our favorite — and unexpected — ways to surprise guests at your next tailgate. Find out all five ways below, brought to you by Evite in partnership with Dietz & Watson™.
Unexpected Tailgate Set-Up
If you’re planning on hosting a traditional tailgate at the football stadium, plan to pack a toolbox filled with all the essentials you’ll need at the game and keep it in your trunk. Be sure to include things like spatulas, bottle openers, tongs, can openers, skewers, trash bags, paper towels, wipes, sunscreen, plastic bags, and more. If you’re hosting at home, set up a DIY toppings bar so guests can easily serve themselves and customize their BBQ favorites. Don’t forget things like ketchup, mustard, mayo, relish, pickled, cheese, onions, peppers and more.
Unexpected Tailgate Decor
Football may be the star of the show, but adding accents and unexpected tailgating touches will make your guests feel extra special. To make your tailgate feel festive, make your own football field table runner for the food and drinks table. Just lay a large piece of artificial turf (or green felt) over the table and add yard lines using white duct tape and felt numbers. Place snacks on tiered serving trays that mimic bleachers, then fill a napkin holder or pail with brightly colored paper napkins and affix a “Penalty Flags” label to the front to stand in as at-home referees. Upgrade simple serveware by placing utensils in a mason jar painted brown with white striped to resemble a football and laces.
Unexpected Tailgate Food
This year, trade in boring burgers and basic hot dogs for something special — and unexpected. Dress up everyday dogs by trying one of these twists. For the first dog, swap out traditional toppings like ketchup and mustard for homemade mac & cheese. Not convinced? Watch the video, then try it for yourself. For the second dog, substitute beef franks for chicken sausage (we recommend Dietz & Watson™ Jerk Chicken Sausage) then top it off with a watermelon relish featuring fresh mint and feta. For the final dog, replace your basic store-bought bun with a pretzel roll. Or, if you’re feeling extra ambitious, wrap your dog in pastry dough and bake it. Set up a toppings bar to one side of your entertaining area so guests can make their own custom creations.
Unexpected Tailgate Grilling Tips
Tailgating and grilling go hand-in-hand, so we’re here to share some of our favorite hacks for making grilling even easier. If you’re throwing a tailgate, your BBQ is bound to get dirty. But we have a quick and easy solution. Take half a peeled onion from your toppings bar and stick it on the end of a fork. When your grill is still hot, run the onion over the grates (cut side down) until it’s completely clean. Now you’re ready to get grilling. For guests who prefer their dogs extra crispy, cut the hot dog in a spiral pattern by pushing a wooden skewer through the center and making angled cuts all the way down the hot dog. Be sure to cut all the way through to the skewer, rotating the hot dog as you go. When you’re ready to fire up the grill, remove the wooden skewer and cook the hot dog as normal. The crevices created from the spiral cuts will not only make the center extra crispy, but will allow more condiments to soak through.
Unexpected Tailgate Activities
Instead of classic cornhole or beer pong, do something different this season. If you’re looking to switch things up and surprise partygoers, arrange for guests to play games between quarters. Play a round of touch football or try one of these other party games. Upgrade beer pong by planning an adults-only beer tasting. Pick four or five of your favorite craft beers for guests to taste, then set them out in a decorative drinks tub. Or, go all out and organize your very own half-time show by renting a karaoke machine. Further personalize your party by setting up a selfie station where guests can snap photos of themselves to commemorate the occasion, then take home as favors. All you need is a camera, phone or iPad and a blank wall where you can hang a piece of wrapping paper to add some color and texture. You can even download printable photo props online to make the photobooth extra fun. If you’re going for a vintage vibe, purchase a Polaroid camera that guests can use. If your guests are the kind that really get into the game, set up a face painting station so fans can decorate themselves in team colors to show some spirit.
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