Nothing signals the start of tailgating season quite like the sounds and smells of something cooking low and slow on the smoker. With many of us itching to get back to cheering on our home teams, we’re thinking of a few ways to make this tailgate season the best one yet. How are we going to make that happen? By leveling up our game day spread with some truly phenomenal barbecue.
Carey Bringle, the owner and pitmaster behind Nashville’s Peg Leg Porker, has been cooking barbecue and entertaining the masses for over 25 years. He’s been featured on Southern Living’s “Great American BBQ Bucket List” and wrote an in-depth book on how to master fire and smoke called BBQ for Dummies. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a first timer, this tailgate season let Bringle and his award-winning expertise be your guide. Here, some pro tips that all tailgaters should keep in mind:
Bringle’s 10 Tailgating Tips:
- Make your list and check it twice: from food to beverages and trash bags to ice, make a list of everything you need.
- Bring the essentials: charcoal, tongs, grill gloves and a chimney starter.
- Invest in your own comfort: quality folding chairs and large coolers are essential! I’m a big fan of everything Yeti makes.
- Go big or go home: build your menu around a large hunk of meat, such as pork shoulder or brisket. Smoke it at home and then gently reheat it when you get to your tailgate party.
- Don’t forget the finger foods: I like to make something for everyone to snack on while the larger piece of meat is cooking or reheating. Some favorites are chicken wings, jalapeño poppers, sliders, kebabs and nachos (check out our epic recipe below!)
- Early bird gets the worm: Get to your location early so you can find a good spot, set up and get your playlist going. Drop a pin and let the team find you!
- Stay hydrated: I pack my cooler with a lot of beer and water, along with some Bloody Mary mix and vodka for anyone interested in a cocktail.
- Make your clean up simple: pack up your BBQ ingredients in large, disposable foil pans for easy transport. I also make sure to have lots of paper napkins and plates to go around since tailgating is all about sharing!
- Fire safety is important: leave ample time for all fires to extinguish and cool before you start packing up.
- Do it again: Make plans for your next tailgate before everyone leaves!