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09 Oct

Ace Your Next Tailgate

Created by: 
Cameron Watkins
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Historians date tailgating back to 1861—eight years before the first recorded football game. Southern civilians met at the first Battle of Bull Run; surrounded the battlefield with wagons loaded up with whiskey and wine; and had a picnic before, during, and after the battle.  

Obviously, tailgating trends have changed since Bull Run. But one thing’s remained the same: Food and fun are the name of the game. How can you take your tailgating operation to the next level? Here’s how to dominate the asphalt with some go-to tips and hacks.

Give Them Grub

If you ask BigWheel CEO, Parker Frost, there are a few things every tailgate needs, “People, good food, cold beer, and hopefully a winning team. [BigWheel] has it dialed in, and we’re known for having the best food.”

Let’s start with the food. If you want to dominate the tailgate and turn heads toward your tent, then there’s no better way than firing up the grill and letting the smoke from your best meat percolate through the parking lot.

Consider incorporating a theme with your menu. If Tennessee is playing the Gators, then fry up some alligator. Hot dogs and hamburgers can get boring, plus you can get that inside the stadium—so mix it up a little with brats and onions or smoked BBQ and sausage. BigWheel knows food; just ask Creative Director, Dan Alton, “Our menu really makes our tailgates stand out,” he says. “We’ve done everything from roasting an entire pig to grilling a full alligator.”

Keep the Environment Fun and the Booze Flowing

Decorations tailored toward the game can also separate your tailgate from the average Joe’s. Consider hanging pom poms or shakers throughout the tent, or using solo cups to create a design.  

You’ve got delicious food and great scenery, now all that’s left is the booze. What are your options? Beer is the obvious answer, so let me expand.

Depending on when the game or tailgate kicks off, a bloody mary and mimosa bar are great ways to get the party started. Other winning picks are Fireball, Jello shots, and an assortment of vodkas and bourbons (we tend to favor Jack Daniel's around these parts).

Don’t worry, we’re not forgetting about water. Hydration is also key for a tailgate, so pencil in water and other non-alcoholic drinks next to beer on the necessity list.

Get the Gear

If you’re stressing over the basics like your location, tent, tables, and chairs, All Occasions Party Rentals and Tailgate Tennessee have you covered.

All Occasions offers packages that can accommodate any size crowd. Their packages include a tent, tables and chairs, and an ice chest. They also offer upgradable features that include Satellite TV, catering from Knoxville favorites like Calhoun's and Dead End BBQ, and drinks via Cork’s Wine and Spirits.  

Tips for the Road

We’ve covered the basics, but here are couple of takeaways for your next tailgate!

Food

  • BBQ
  • Wings
  • Fried Chicken
  • Brats/Sausage
  • Chips/Dips

Beverages

  • Beer
  • Fireball
  • Jello Shots
  • Whiskeys and Vodkas
  • Water

Tips and Tricks

  • Hang shakers along the tent for decoration
  • Tie balloons to your tent to make it easier to find
  • Pack/Load the car the night before
  • Freeze water bottles to double as ice packs
  • Bring extra trash bags, they can double as a poncho