With temperatures rising once again here in Tosa, thoughts naturally return to the glory of eating outside. Beyond our backyard BBQs there is the local tradition of tailgating to look forward to now. Brewers’ games, music festivals, and just gathering with friends and family in Hart or Hoyt Park all make great reasons to pack up the grill and bring out your best.

Here are some super simple tips to make your Tosa tailgate season a rousing success this year.


Plan Ahead

This is particularly important if you are going to a game. Know when the game starts, what time you want to eat, and leave some time for clean-up. Give yourself plenty of time to set up and enjoy but be super early – like 3 hours or so – so you have time to enjoy yourself and still make your seats by the first pitch. Start the grill immediately when you arrive – it takes coal a little time to reach proper cooking temps. Have a cornhole board and beanbags ready for some fun, or maybe a frisbee or a football to toss around. Know the open flame and open container rules of your venue so that your plans aren’t thwarted by restrictions.



Plan to have your guests each bring a side dish or something specific, so you don’t end up doing everything yourself or having nothing but chips and desserts. Let them be creative, but organizing the effort can diversify the menu without making it a chore. Your menu can be as wide ranging as you’d like, but keep in mind the benefit of finger foods, dips, and salads. Have a large Tupperware tub ready to catch the remains of the day and to keep greasy, dirty dishes from sliding around in the car when you’re done. Bring at least two differently colored garbage bags (large ones) – one for recycling, one for regular trash. Label coolers for guests to find things easily. Separate raw meats from drinks and other chilled items to prevent cross-contamination.



You don’t want to spend the entire tailgate party cooking and serving food; you want to enjoy fun times with your friends and family. Preparing some of the food early will help you to free up time when the party is in full swing, happening. Look at menu items that only need a reheat or warm-up to be ready to go, as well as some cold salads. Skewer and marinate meats and other kebabs the night before your event for a delicious treat that’s well prepared. Freeze water bottles so they serve as ice blocks until they can be drunk. Always have lots of napkins and paper towels, of course. Bring a skillet to put on the grill to increase your range of simple menu options, like preparing scrambled eggs or stir-fried meats.

watch the weather

Watch the Weather

Severely windy days can change the feel of a tailgate party for sure. If you are bringing a tent, make sure to have anchors or weights to keep it secure. Bring extra coal, as windy days can make the coal burn faster than you think. Bring blankets and jackets/sweaters to ward off the chill. Position your grill so the wind does not have much of an impact.



Did you ever try to open a wine bottle with your teeth? A checklist makes sure you have every detail covered no matter how seemingly small. Napkins, wine tool, plastic cups, metal bucket for hot coals, tongs, hot sauce, water bottles, ice, hand sanitizer, utensils…check!


At most tailgate events, there will be drinking, sometimes quite a bit of it might happen. To keep things safe, have the driver(s) identified and make sure there are plenty of nonalcoholic drink options to enjoy. You also can’t have too much water: you want to encourage a lot of hydrating to keep your partying guests feeling good while they imbibe. As mentioned, freezing a few water bottles and putting them in every drink cooler is a smart and simple way to chill your beverages and later enjoy some ice cold water.