These grilling essentials will transform your backyard into the perfect tailgating party

Tanya Edwards
·4 min read
A family grilling at home
While safety is a concern, there’s no reason your friends and family can’t enjoy tailgating, especially when you have the perfect grilling essentials. (Photo: Getty Images)

Grilling and toasting your favorite football team before and during the game is one of America’s favorite past times. But this year, we’re skipping the stadium parking lot and bringing the party home. While safety is a concern, there’s no reason your friends and family can’t enjoy tailgating. Just keep your face masks on when you’re mingling and be careful about your social distancing.

Luke Beardsley, executive chef of Landsdowne Street Restaurants in Boston, Mass., who oversees the tailgating menus at Lansdowne Pub, Loretta’s Last Call, Game On and Bleacher Bar offers some tips to elevate your homegate party no matter what team you’re rooting for — especially if you’re rooting for good food and good times!

It’s hard to imagine tailgating without a grill, and this wood pellet grill will help you feed a crowd with the convenience of gas and the flavor of real wood. With this grill you can get game day ready smoking, grilling, roasting and more. Beardsley suggests slow cooking some pork shank, saying “Cook them like you would a rib. You can end up with just a melt in your mouth, kind of like a “pork wing,” that eats like a chicken wing. Perfect sitting around the TV and watching a game, finger food kind of thing.”

Limited on space, but still looking for perfect wings? The Ninja Foodi uses a new technology to circulate 500 degree air around your food for a perfect high density grill. Bonus, it’s also an air-fryer, so you can cook everything from fresh-cut fries to mozzarella sticks.

Don’t want to hover over the grill all afternoon? Keep it simple with this tailgating party pack from celebrity chef Curtis Stone, which features four pounds of artisanal sausage spiced with an Italian herb blend. The pack comes with a chef created recipe card for inspiration, and comes out to about 20 to 22 sausages (five per pack) to feed a hungry crew.

Get the party started with everyone’s favorite treat, chips and dip, says Beardsley. “Making your own salsa is super easy to do. A combination of fresh tomatoes and maybe tomatoes that you oven roast for a few minutes. Or you can even just go straight, fresh tomatoes. Basically mix chopped tomatoes, lime juice, salt, pepper, cilantro, red onion, maybe a little garlic.” And what better way to share your snacks than these cute team stadium platters? Just add chips and veggies!

It’s not a tailgate party without a few beers and sodas, and this cooler cart can double as a simple bar for drink prep. With a lower shelf for your trusty red cups and other supplies, you won’t miss out on the action having to run inside to grab a cold one when this cooler is parked next to the action.

Skip running back and forth inside the house with this handy serving cart and storage station that makes grilling so much easier. Prep drinks or snacks on the 40 inches of counter space, and stash utensils and more in the cabinets below.

Make clean up and serving easy, plus keep your party cool (and distanced) with these football-themed serving sets. With drink, main course and side (or sweets) holders in one simple box, they’ll be hands free and happy to cheer for the big game.

Beat the chill in style with a team blanket that not only keeps you warm with a fleece interior, but will also keep you dry if the evening gets damp. No one will question your pride with two bold logos showing off your love for your team, and you’ll be sitting toasty on the patio or deck during the whole game.

Celebrate your team and good times with this convenient folding table that literally holds your beer (or sparkling water) in a built-in cup holder. Pick your favorite team and get the tailgating going every weekend! The table easily stashes in a closet, and can be popped in your trunk for a socially-distant event.

Truly, we love cup holders for a tailgating party, and these folding chairs have one in each arm rest, so you can sip a beer and hydrate at the same time. Easy to store, these team logo chairs are perfect to bust out when friends and family come over to share good times on the deck or in the yard.

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