Chris Shepherd sees tailgating as a way of life. As a committed Houston Texans fan, the chef tries to tailgate for every home game. “If you walk by, I’ll offer you food, drink, and ask you to stop and hang out.”
You’re going to want to take him up on that offer, but if it’s your own tailgating that beckons, take advice from this pro:
- Don’t start drinking at 8 am unless you can pace yourself. If you can, go for it. If you can’t, you’ll realize that when you don’t make it to the game.
- On that note, offer a good bar. You want a solid selection of booze. We often have someone who brings a pony keg, then I offer a good bottle of rum, a good bottle of bourbon, etc. Don’t skimp on quality.
- Cook an iconic dish of the city you’re playing, or when feasible, cook the mascot. One time when we played Buffalo, I smoked a buffalo. I’m fortunate to have access to stuff that like, and it was fun to put it on.
- You gotta have tunes. It doesn’t matter what, just get music going.
- Set up a hand washing station. Bring hand sanitizer and a 3-gallon water bottle, then a bucket or bus tub. I’m serious. People are eating, meeting each other, hanging out. You have to stay clean.
- Trash and recycling. You need a spot for both. Keep your area neat.
- Find a location and stick with it. Tailgating is a mobile neighborhood, and you will be an amazed by the sense of community.
- Be social. Invite people to join you, even people from the other team. Hey, they’re probably feeling left out and hungry, so wave ’em over.