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As heard on radio: HPBA dishes tips to help fans gear up for the ultimate tailgating season.






Tailgate 2009

Like a football coach, every tailgater needs a solid game plan. Whether it's your first or fiftieth tailgate, the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association wants to be sure all fans are game-ready when it comes to tailgating and cooking out at the big event. With so much to remember for a tailgate, HPBA has all of the tips and tidbits to help the rookie-to-veteran tailgater. Below is your do-it-yourself (DIY) guide to Tailgate 2009.

Tailgate Tidbit

Savory smells from the grill are perhaps the biggest draw for tailgaters. With hundreds of hungry fans, grilling is no doubt the way to feed family and friends.

In fact, more than one-fourth (28 percent) of Americans say they would invite themselves to a complete stranger’s tailgate simply because they are serving great grilled food!

Ignite your tailgate this season with these tips from HPBA:

  • 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 gameday. 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 drinks and water, so 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!
  • Equipment Check: You can't play the game without the ball and you can't grill without charcoal 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 to ensure freshness. Arrive early to start up the grill so that it's fired-up by the time other tailgaters arrive.
  • 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, coals are cooled and disposed and you've cleaned up your tailgating area. Bring extra trash bags along so you won't have to search for a garbage can.
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