Tried and True Tailgate Food
Expert Advice

When it comes to sports and entertainment, few traditions in America rival the excitement and camaraderie of tailgating. Whether you’re gearing up for a football game, a concert, or any other event that involves a parking lot gathering, there’s one element that’s as essential as the event itself: classic tailgating food. From hot dogs to burgers and everything in between, these iconic dishes have been satisfying hungry fans for generations.

The Classic Burger

No tailgate is complete without the quintessential burger. Prepare a selection of ground meats such as beef, turkey, or even plant-based options! Don’t be afraid to mix spices, onions, and cheese into the raw meat if you desire. Be sure to offer a variety of toppings like lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, and an array of condiments. Try toasting the buns on the grill too for an extra crispy touch!


Hot dogs and sausages are tailgating favorites due to their simplicity and versatility. You can opt for a classic dog, bratwurst, Italian sausages, chicken sausages, or chorizo. Grill them until they’re golden brown and serve them with a side of sautéed peppers and onions or just ketchup and mustard. They can be as elaborate or as effortless as you’d like and are a quick option to satisfy the masses.

BBQ Ribs

For a finger-licking treat, get creative with your dry rubs and generously coat some racks of ribs. Slow-cook them on a pellet grill for a couple of hours at about 275 degrees and then wrap them tightly in tin foil for the final hour. The result? Tender, smoky ribs that are sure to be a hit. Ribs are an easy-to-share tailgate food too as you can cut each rack to serve them in individual portions! Don’t forget – ribs can be messy if you grill them sauced! Make sure to have plenty of napkins and wet wipes on hand – or a hand towel clipped to your GRILLKILT grilling apron.


Don’t forget about your vegetarian and vegan friends! Grill portobello mushrooms, bell peppers, zucchini, and eggplant for a flavorful and colorful medley. Brush them with olive oil, sprinkle with seasoning, and grill until tender. You can serve them as is or share them with your other friends for sausage or burger toppings! Keep in mind – veggies need seasonings! Have some on hand when cooking or allow your guests to sprinkle on themselves.

Individual Nacho Packs

We’ve all had burgers and dogs at a cookout, but what about nachos? Create individual foil packets filled with nacho chips, shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, jalapenos, and black beans. Seal the packets and grill until the cheese is melted, then top with sour cream, guacamole, and fresh cilantro for a portable nacho extravaganza!


Skewers are perfect for tailgating as they’re easy to eat and can be customized with various meats and marinades. Marinate chunks of chicken, shrimp, or beef in different sauces (teriyaki, buffalo, or maybe some lemon herb) and thread them onto skewers. Want to baste them while they’re cooking? Make sure you have a sauce brush handy! The silicone bristles provide ample sauce coverage while also being easy to clean. Then grill until they’re cooked through and serve with a dipping sauce!

When it comes to tailgating, firing up the grill brings an extra layer of excitement and flavor to the festivities. From juicy burgers to sizzling sausages, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Next time you gather with friends and family for a tailgate, savor the flavors of these classic foods and make lasting memories as you cheer on your favorite team.