Tips for Tailgating at Home

Bring Tailgating Home

Bradley Carlson, Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet | 09/17/2015 | Grilling

Football. Parking Lots. Grilled food. The three unmistakable signs that a new season is here – tailgate season.

But things are changing. More people are tailgating at home. Those changes are being driven by economics, a desire to be with more friends and wanting to extend the game day party.

Season ticket sales for professional sports have dropped more than 47 percent since 2005, according to a study from Tailgater Magazine. The research also found that in the last 10 years, the average ticket price for a professional football game has risen more than 50 percent and parking fees have doubled. 

“We’re seeing that homeowners want to bring everyone over for the game, rather than go anywhere,” said Matt Hillebrand, principal of Don’s Appliances in Pittsburgh. The backyard – or sometimes even the driveway – are the new parking lots and stadiums, he added.

It’s a trend that some are calling “homegating.”

To keep the party outdoors, comfortable and fun, a couple of changes need to be made from the traditional ‘grill-out-and-watch-the-game indoors’ tradition.

Kick off with the grill

Food makes or breaks a homegate. Get the grill off the sidelines. So many times the grill is in a corner, but that takes the host out of the game.

Our grillmaster Russ Faulk suggests keeping the grill close to the action. That way, the cook can talk with guests during the game.

As for the menu, Faulk recommends individual-sized appetizers – like sliders and mini-tacos.

And to make sure your grilling game is on point, we have a guide for grilling the perfect burger. Warm up your skills on our Kalamazoo Sliders recipe that includes pretzel buns and Cambozola cheese. 

Mix it up at halftime

“To take your homegating to the next level, you need more variety,” said Hillebrand.

Fire pits, smokers and pizza ovens make the party more interactive and provide more of a party experience for guests.

Pizza ovens get your guests involved in the cooking, Faulk said. “Letting them build their own pizzas and even help cook it are great ways to make your party the place to be on game day.”

When the weather gets cooler, fire pits offer a place to warm up while watching the game outdoors. They also create opportunities for more activities, like making s’mores.

Headed to overtime

Let’s not forget the reason for the homegate: the game.

TVs are now made specifically for the outdoors. These stand up to the weather and keep the gang outdoors, simulating the stadium experience.

For a more budget-friendly option, tune into the game through wireless Bluetooth speakers that extend the call of the game to all corners of the yard.

By making just a few of these updates to your outdoor space, your backyard will go from being just another place to hang out on Sunday afternoon to the best place to catch all the action every game day.


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