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The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) has everything you need to help you bring your A-game and kick-off the tailgating season in winning style:

Your Game Day Grilling Guide from the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association


The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) has everything you need to help you bring your A-game and kick-off the tailgating season in winning style: 

  • Rally the Team: Don't assume people who don't follow the sport don't want to tailgate! An HPBA survey revealed that the real appeal of tailgating for 49 percent of Americans is the feeling of a neighborhood party - so be sure to invite all your friends and not just the sports fans! 
  • Get in the Zone: Know the tailgating rules for the stadium you're heading to before game day. Are grills, smokers and fryers allowed? How early are you able to park your car in the lot? What time do the gates open? And be sure to test out your grilling 'equipment' before leaving home.
  • Run the Plays: Score big with your friends by bringing a variety of food to throw on the grill, smoker or fryer, and drink and water. You want to make sure that there's something for everyone, including kids, vegetarians and those who may just want a snack. In addition to the burgers and dogs, think about grilled pizza or fruit. And the more food the merrier, 28 percent of Americans report they would crash a complete stranger's tailgate party solely to eat great grilled food!
  • Uniform Up: In the tailgate zone, anything goes! In fact, one in five adults said they would crash a tailgate party purely to meet members of the opposite sex. So be sure to sport your best game-day attire and have delicious aromas coming from the grill, fryer or smoker! 
  • Equipment Check: You can't play the game without the ball and you can't grill without charcoal, chimney coal starter, or propane. Remember the necessities to have your grill, smoker or fryer work properly. You'll also want to bring your favorite grilling accessories like tongs and plenty of paper goods for serving. 
  • Pre-Game Prep: Prep and marinate meat ahead of time and keep on ice during transportation for food safety and freshness. Arrive early to start up the grill so that it's fired-up by the time others tailgaters arrive.
  • Defensive Line: Stay safe by positioning the grill in an open area away from vehicles and children. Use common sense when lighting the grill, smoker or fryer. If using a charcoal grill, use a chimney starter for safe lighting. 
  • Put Me in Coach!: Designate one person to be in charge of the grill, smoker or fryer, or take shifts. That way, the grill is always attended to by a responsible adult and there's always hot food ready to devour. 
  • Touch Down: You've got the grill and the food down pat, but don't forget about tailgating entertainment, like a battery-operated stereo for parking lot music, generator to power a TV for pre-game coverage, or even a football, frisbee or cornhole set to play before the game starts.
  • Point After Touch Down: Before heading into the stadium, make sure the grill is completely extinguished, the coals are disposed of properly and you've cleaned up your tailgating area. Bring extra trash bags along so you won't have to search for a garbage can.

For a tailgate at the stadium or at home, check out HPBA's winning recipes here!



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