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Part 1 – BBQ Tailgating Preparation

It’s the end of July and hotter than hell in most of the US. That only means one thing to the avid sport fan; college football is just around the corner! So it’s time to go through our preseason tailgating list. Just like your favorite college team has to prepare each Saturday, it’s crucial for us tailgaters to prepare as well! To get you prepared in time, here’s Part 1 in our three-part series on tailgating. Now, let’s get prepared!

  1. It’s time to pull out your tailgating list and begin going through all of your tailgating cooking  equipment to make sure everything is working and in proper form. And if you don’t have one you can always get started by using our tailgating checklist in order to create your own personalized list.
  2. Now we need to start planning your menu for the first game. You’ll want to keep in mind what time kick-off is while going over your tailgating menu. You’ll probably want to arrive 4-5 hours prior to the game to give you ample time to get everything prepared in time. Being a chef by trade, I can assure you that proper time management will be your friend come game day. With that in mind are you going to prepare breakfast, lunch, or dinner menu items? What appetizers are going to be involved? What types of beverages?

As I start building a tailgating menu, I build around the center of the plate which is the main course. When considering what to cook keep in mind these following three things.

  1. The capacity of your cooking equipment
  2. How many guests you’ll be cooking for
  3. Preparation and cooking times

Preparation or Prep Work

Having good preparation skills before the big day will help take a lot of pressure off of you come game day. In this section, I’ll outline some basic ideas for a cooking schedule.

Three Days Before Game Day.

  1. Take care of your grocery shopping
  2. Unpack all of the meat and poultry you’re going to need; trim, rinse and store in your refrigerator using Ziploc bags until ready to use.
  3. Wash and clean any vegetables you’re going to use and refrigerate.
  4. Do not wash clean or cut any fruit at this time, store as directed.

Two Days Before Game Day

  1. Begin cooking any hot and cold dishes that will save time on game day. This could include hot food such as stews, chilies, casseroles, soups, BBQ sauces, spaghetti,      lasagna, etc. Cold dishes could include potato salad, macaroni salad, etc and any vegetables that need to be blanched and shocked for trays or appetizers.

One Day Before Game Day

  1. Start prepping any fresh vegetables you need for veggie trays and salads.
  2. Prepare any marinades needed for main course or hot appetizers then fill Ziploc bags with the marinades and the appropriate meat and poultry for next day cooking.
  3. Double check your entire menu and prep list to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything that you needed to do for game day.

Special Notes

  1. Blanch and shocking vegetable is the process of partially cooking them for color and desired doneness then drained and put in an ice bath to stop the cooking.
  2. For ease of packing and cleanup, use Ziploc bags and disposable containers when possible.

Now that we’re heading into the 2013-14 tailgating season be sure to check back for Parts 2-3 in this series as well as more tailgating ideas here at BBQ Like A Pro! You’ll find new recipes to try out for game day along with product reviews and other tailgating surprises this season.

Happy Queing,

The Que Dude

Tailgaters Game Day Checklist

Planning your tailgate party can be an overwhelming challenge as you make sure that you have the necessities to ensure a successful tailgating party.You’re going to want to make sure you have enough food to feed you and your tailgate neighbors that decide to drop by when they find out you’re headed to the stadium on Game Day. Planning ahead for extra people can indeed be a challenge make sure you have plenty of liquid refreshments on hand to host a few of your fellow tailgaters.

Use the list below as a guideline to assist you in your tailgating preparations.  I’ve tried to divide everything in categories, providing most tailgaters with a basic checklist to follow, of course you’re going to adjust the list to your own personal tailgating needs.

Must Haves

  • Game Tickets
  • Grill
  • Grill Scraper
  • Grill Spray or Oil
  • Burners
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Propane
  • Charcoal
  • Starter Fluid
  • Matches or Lighter
  • Extension Cords
  • Flags-Flag Poles
  • Tarps-Tents-Canopies
  • Bungee Cords-Tie Downs
  • Coolers
  • Ice
  • Pots-Pans
  • Basting Brush and Pan
  • Carving Knives
  • Spatulas
  • Tongs
  • Meat Thermometer
  • Lg Spoons for Cooking (Slotted and/or Solid)
  • Cutting Board
  • Bleach to Sanitize
  • Oven Mitts-Apron
  • Plastic Wrap-Foil
  • Trash Bags
  • Paper Towels
  • Napkins
  • Plastic Eating Utensils
  • Plates- paper or Plastic
  • Disposable Cups or Other
  • Table Cloth
  • Chairs
  • Folding Table
  • Cooking Water
  • Can Opener-Bottle Opener-Corkscrew (Wine)
  • Zip Loc Bags
  • Disposable Aluminum Pans
  • First aid Kit


  • Steaks
  • Chicken
  • Roast Beef
  • Turkey Breast
  • Hamburger
  • Hot Dogs
  • Sausages (Pork, Bratwurst, Italian)
  • Bacon
  • Ham
  • Deli Meat
  • Eggs
  • Vegies


  • Hot dog-Hamburger rolls
  • Bread-Sandwich Rolls
  • Ketchup-Barbecue Sauce-Mayonnaise-Mustard-Relish-Horseradish-Hot Sauce
  • Chili for Chili Dogs and burgers
  • Baked Beans
  • Lettuce-Cheese-Tomatoes-Onions-Pickles
  • Sweet Peppers-Hot Peppers
  • Butter
  • Salt and Pepper


  • Bottled Water
  • Adult Beverages of Choice (This Means Alcohol)
  • Margarita Mix
  • Bloody Mary Mix
  • Coffee-Creamers-Sugar
  • Iced Tea
  • Juice
  • Sodas


  • Potato
  • Coleslaw
  • Macaroni
  • Green and Dressing


  • Potato Chips and Dips
  • Tortilla Chips and Salsa-Nacho Cheese
  • Pretzels
  • Nuts
  • Popcorn
  • Beef Jerky
  • Cookies and Crackers
  • Serving Trays
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Skewers


  • Sun Glasses
  • Sun Block
  • Blankets
  • Cell Phone
  • Camera
  • Camcorder
  • Binoculars
  • Generator
  • Radio-TV
  • Rain Gear
  • Hat-Beanie
  • Sweatshirts-Coats
  • Gloves-Mittens
  • Umbrella
  • Heater
  • Football-Poker Cards-Frisbee
  • Antacid
  • Aspirin
  • Visine
  • Tissue
  • Toothpicks
  • Newspapers-Books-Magazines

Cobb Premier Ultimate Tailgate Combo

The Cobb Premier Combo is the ultimate tailgate cooking system! If you are looking for one of the most revolutionary designed barbecue grills ever created, you need not look any further!

Beer Can Chicken_2_230

I use my Cobb Premier for pretty much everything you can barbecue, grill, bake, smoke, boil or fry anything. My favorite thing to make is Beer Can Chicken without the can, it’s the best Beer Can Chicken I’ve ever had and easy to do. In the Cobb Premier has a molt, simply put beer in the molt put the grill plate on the smoker, place a whole seasoned chicken on the grill and about 11/2 hours later you’ve got the tastiest and moistest chicken you’ve ever torn into. This unique light-weight cooking system is simple to use and maintain. It is portable, it is versatile, it is durable, it is safe and it is healthy.

Time Magazine

Voted TIME magazine’s invention of the year recently, this Grill can be taken virtually anywhere for any occasion, tailgating, camping, picnicking, great for patio, not to mention natures emergencies. The Cobb Premier comes in its own convenient carry bag. It can cook just about anything. The high quality Stainless steel ensures it will be able to withstand any outdoor environment. Its design makes it safe for any situation. Its cooking system guarantees healthier tastier meals. In short, if you love to barbecue, you will love the Cobb Premier Grill.

Vesta Winner Charcoal

Only 8 briquettes to cook for 3 hours at up to 450 degrees, while the base stays completely cool to the touch!

If portability is part of your lifestyle then this all new fully stainless steel award winning Cobb Premier Combo Grill with the four main accessories and a number of extras. These include, but are not limited to, the Wok, Skillet/Pan, Roasting Rack, Griddle, a smoker pot. This is one of the best value-for-money bundles you can find. The Cobb Premier is an award winning item in its own right.