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10 Things You Need for the Perfect Tailgate

September 9, 2019
6 min. read

Brat Tub Brats

With Labor Day behind us, it’s officially fall tailgating season! That means fun times spent with friends, grilling up delicious food and cheering on our favorite teams in the parking lot of our local sports stadiums. Whether you’re supporting your alma mater or rooting for your favorite professional team, tailgating is a great way to fuel up for the game and enhance the experience. Read on for a list of helpful tips, supplies, and recipe ideas to keep in mind for your next big game.

1.     A vehicle with a tailgate

This one may seem obvious, but you or a member of your tailgating party will want to make sure to have a vehicle able to transport your various supplies (like chairs, coolers, and a grill). A vehicle, like a truck, with a hinged back door and/or open bed is convenient for setting up food and supplies, or for additional seating if space is limited.

2.     A great parking spot

Get to the game early to guarantee a prime location—near the stadium entrance, picnic tables, or restroom facilities. It’s also much less stressful when you can beat the pre-game rush; so why not make a full day out of it?

Note: The parking situation at venues may vary. Some stadiums may not allow parking until a certain time prior to the game, or may direct you to park in a specific location. Be sure to research the parking of your specific venue prior to arriving to be sure you are aware of the rules.

3.     Portable grill

Bring along your small, portable grill (along with extra gas or charcoal) to grill up some burgers, hot dogs, chicken, veggies, and whatever else you’re likely to cook up. Make sure to pack any essential supplies you will need like spatulas, tongs, oven mitts, and an apron.

Tip #1: If you are a frequent tailgater, keep a set of tailgating supplies in a clear plastic tote so that you always have these items on hand when headed to your next game.

Tip #2: Not ready for the game to end just yet? Fire up your grill after the game and enjoy a second dinner rather than fighting everyone trying to exit the parking lot. Once the path has cleared, you can make your way out painlessly.

4.     Disposable aluminum foil pans

Large aluminum trays are useful for a wide variety of things. Not only are they are great for cooking a lot of food at one time, but they also help to keep prepared food warm until everyone is ready to start eating. Not only that, but they make cleanup effortless!

We’ve found these trays to be perfect for preparing a large quantity of sliders. Try them out with these 60 Tailgating Slider Recipes!

You can also use covered trays to separate and store condiments like pre-sliced lettuce, tomatoes, and onions, or to marinate meat before grilling.

Check out two more featured recipes using aluminum pans at the bottom of this post!

Brat Tub Brats

5.     Pressure cooker or slow cooker

A pressure cooker (or multi cooker with this setting) is a great tool to use for preparing tailgating food. It allows food to cook much more quickly, giving you time to relax before the game.

If you don’t own a pressure cooker, you can also use a slow cooker. Just keep in mind the food will take much longer to cook, so you might want to do most of the cooking ahead of time and plug it back in at your destination to keep the food warm until ready to serve.

Both devices are great for cooking meatballs, chili, dips, and braised or roasted meat. Try our 10 Slow Cooker Recipes Perfect for Tailgating.

Tip: Make sure to bring a car adapter, if necessary, to plug in your device while in the stadium parking lot.

6.     Games or other activities

Pack a few fun group activities to kill time after you’re finished eating and waiting for the game to start. Toss a football around or play corn hole or ladder ball. Or…maybe you just prefer good ol’ fashioned conversation.

7.     A Cooler (or two)

Make sure to pack a cooler with ice and your favorite refreshments like soda, water, iced tea, or lemonade. You’ll also need extra space for any chilled food and condiments, like raw vegetables, cheese, pre-cooked meats, etc.

Did you know you can also use a cooler to keep food warm? Because of the insulated walls you can store cooked food in a cooler to keep warm until ready to serve. Check out this fun hack for cooking corn on the cobb using a cooler!

8.     Compact table and chairs

A folding table is great for buffet-style dining or setting up a topping/condiments bar. Try it out with our Build Your Own Burger Bar and Hot Dog Toppings Bar!

Collapsible chairs (like you would take camping) make great tailgating seats and are easy to pack in your vehicle. Look for the ones with built-in cup holders, arm rests, or pillows for added comfort and convenience.

9.     Team Spirit

What’s a tailgating party without some team spirit and cheer?! Bring along some fun “spirited” items like foam fingers, noise makers, team jerseys, and party décor sporting your team’s colors. Check out our Ultimate Football Party Planning Guide for more tailgating party inspiration.

Bonus: Next week (September 16) we will be hosting a #WinItWeek giveaway on our Facebook page (/MartinsPotatoRolls) where fans will have the opportunity to win a Martin’s-themed seat cushion. Be sure to check it out for your chance to win!

10.    Martin’s Sandwich and Long Rolls

Don’t forget to bring along Martin’s premium hamburger and hot dog buns to use for all your grilling needs. They’re great for burgers, hot dogs, bratwurst, grilled or fried chicken sandwiches, sloppy joes, pulled pork, meatballs, and so much more!

Note: Check your local grocery store to see when these products go on sale! OR—sign up for our email newsletter to receive monthly coupons!

Find delicious tailgating recipes using Martin’s Potato Rolls below!


Featured Tailgating Recipes

“Brat Tub” Brats

Brat Tub Brats

Here’s a special tailgating “hack” using disposable aluminum foil pans (mentioned in #4 above): grill up some bratwursts to your liking, then drop them in a “bath” of apple cider—or broth or beer or soda, whatever you prefer—and let them soak for 20-30 minutes, covered, over a warm grill. This method helps the brats stay juicy and flavorful, and keeps them warm until you’re ready to enjoy. Serve them up on Martin’s Long Potato Rolls with some braised onions and your favorite condiments.


Brat Tub Brats

Brat Tub Brats

Brat Tub Brats

Brat Tub Brats


Beef and Cheddar Melt

Beef and Cheddar Melt


Use a pressure cooker to prep tender and juicy braised beef in just over an hour—giving you plenty of time to set up for your tailgating party. When it’s finished cooking, transfer the cooked, shredded beef to Martin’s Sandwich Potato Rolls, top with sliced cheddar cheese, and stack the sandwiches inside a covered aluminum tray to keep warm and melty.


Beef and Cheddar Melt

Beef and Cheddar Melt

Beef and Cheddar Melt


More Tailgating Recipes


Bonus: For even more Tailgating content, head over to

Brat Tub Brats

Beef and Cheddar Melt

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