Top Tips for Summer Tailgating

Grilling Brats over Portable Charcoal Grill

Whether you're tailgating before a game, at the beach or just having fun with friends at the park, these grilling tips for the summer will help you prepare for a great time.

Planning Your Cookout

If tailgating is part of your summer plans, you'll want to give yourself enough time to plan out everything you'll need for your cookout. Here are just a few of the top-of-mind items that will guarantee a successful event.

1. Food and Drinks

Having enough food to feed your guests is what can make or break a tailgate. Even when you've got the burgers and brats covered, having a selection of fruits and veggies will ensure that everyone has something to eat. Prepping your foods beforehand, especially those that can be served at room temperature, can give you more time to kick back and relax so you're not on grill duty the entire time. And if you're worried about making sure that there's something for everyone (and to give yourself a helping hand), encourage a potluck.

Bring a cooler packed with your favorite beverages on ice. Bring koozies, a bottle opener and corkscrew as well to be prepared. If you also plan on enjoying food that needs to be kept cold, like your burgers or brats or other tailgating fare, pack an additional cooler for these items. And most importantly, don't forget to bring water.

2. The Grill

What you grill on is just about as important as what you're grilling for your tailgate. The Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill is the perfect setup for your tailgating needs. The Portable Charcoal Grill provides the unmatched flavor of charcoal with the ease of a gas grill on the go. Forget manually adjusting the coals to get your grill to the right temperature - easily adjust the SteadyTemp™ dial to maintain desired temperature for up to 4 hours. This grill also includes a removable QuickCollapse™ cart to make folding quick and easy. Plus, with two side shelves, you will have extra preparation space along with beverage holders for convenience.

Portable Charcoal Grill with Cart

3. Supplies

Having your plates and cups is one thing, but make sure you have everything you need to prep and serve: knives, cutting boards, etc. Avoid the hassle of extra utensils by making sure all the food you prepare is easily portable, such as buns, packaged meats and cheeses, fruit plates, etc.

4. Seating

Friends don't let friends sit on the ground. Camping chairs can help keep your guests comfortable, while a folding table can serve as your serving hub with all the fixings placed on top. Portable canopies are great for adding extra sun and weather protection as well.

5. Entertainment

Bring along some games that are fun for all ages. Games like spikeball, bocce, or cornhole are excellent and portable additions to any tailgate. Or, keep it classic with a football, frisbee or baseball and mitt. Keep the party going with a wireless speaker to play some tunes without blasting your car stereo (and possibly killing your car battery).

Gathering Your Belongings

Be sure to bring all the materials you need for before, during and after the tailgate to make it a smooth process to unpack and repack.

1. Go Portable

Pack items in containers like reusable bags or storage bins. Condiments and utensils can be stored in empty six pack holders. Coolers are important: use at least two (one for food, one for drinks).

2. Easy and Disposable

Use plastic or paper bags and aluminum pans when possible. Cleanup is easier when it's disposable.

3. Don't Forget the Rest

The following items are smart to bring to any tailgate: a first aid kit, water jugs, a box of plastic trash bags, paper towels/napkins, a bottle/can opener and your cooking utensils.

Cleaning Up

When it's time to leave, a complete cleanup of your tailgating site is a must.

1. Extinguish Your Coals

Before leaving your tailgate site, make sure all heat sources are off/extinguished. Use water to douse any hot coals from your Portable Charcoal Grill and dispose of properly.

2. Take Everything with You

If there are no trash cans or other waste containers around, plan to pack up all your stuff, including the trash. Don't leave your space dirty for the next group to use the site.

3. A Team Effort

Get help from your friends to make cleanup a breeze. Better yet, get the kids involved by making it a game!

With these tips in mind, you'll have an amazing tailgate time and time again over the summer. For more great grilling inspiration, both on the go and at home, check out our blog.