Labor Day has come and gone, and summer is (almost) officially behind us. But that’s no reason not to keep grilling up your favorite Burgers! Fall means tailgate season is ready and waiting for you! But don’t head out to the stadium just yet. Unlike backyard barbecues, tailgates have their own rules and best practices.

To make sure you’re prepared, we put together a list of Burger grilling tips to kickoff tailgate season. Make sure to read through them all if you want to make your next tailgate one to remember.

Burger Grilling Tips To Kickoff Tailgate Season

  1. Bring The Right Grill. When it comes to tailgating, it’s all about the grill. Ensuring the you have proper grill for the space where you’ll be tailgating and the number of people you’ll be cooking for is key to the very best tailgate. In case you missed it, check out our article about How To Pick A Portable Grill.
  2. Keep It Simple. Everyone loves creative and inventive Burger builds. But when you’re tailgating, simplicity is paramount. Think about it: You’ll likely be serving ten, twenty, or more people and won’t have access to your home kitchen and pantry. Best to offer a few great options like two or three cheeses, only a handful of toppings, and three or four sauces. Think simple, classic, Americana: We’re talking American and cheddar cheese, pickles, onions, lettuce, tomato, ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce, and mayo. Of course, what you offer is up to you—just keep in mind you’ll have to haul it in coolers to your tailgate spot.
  3. Pack Right. In keeping with our “Keep It Simple” rule, make sure you are packing efficiently. Since you’re dealing with fresh ingredients, you’re going to need coolers and ice packs to keep things at the right temperature. Pack your Burgers and toppings separately—this helps with organization as well as acts as a safeguard against any leaks ruining all of your ingredients. Also, don’t forget to make sure you keep you Burgers under 40 degrees Fahrenheit until you’re ready to throw them on the grill to prevent spoiling.
  4. Organize Your Food Stations. One of the factors that makes any tailgate successful is the organization of your food stations. Just because you’re camped in a parking lot before the big game doesn’t mean things need to be cluttered and messy. Make sure you have your cooking ingredients (Burgers and cheese) beside the grill and your toppings spread out on adjacent tables. You’ll want to make a clear path from grill to table for your guests to optimize the Burger building (and eating) experience.
  5. Prepare Some Ingredients In Advance. For you more adventurous tailgaters out there who like to serve complex Burger builds no matter the setting, try prepping some of these ingredients in advance. For example, if you want to serve sauteed onions as a topping, cooking those at home on the stove-top so that all you have to do is heat them back up at your tailgate site. Same goes for any other toppings that need cooking or other prep work. Do as much as you can in advance to make sure your tailgate is seamless.
  6. Be Prepared. The old Boy Scout adage doesn’t just apply to hiking and camping. Consider your audience and their needs before you pack for your big tailgate. Are there dietary restrictions you need to consider? Does anyone have serious food allergies? Do you have ample paper towels and other cleaning supplies? Do you have enough food to accommodate all of the tailgaters you’ll serve? Do you have enough fuel (propane, charcoal, etc.) to run your grill for the duration of the tailgate? Make sure you consider these questions carefully and act appropriately.

With tailgate season finally open it’s time to put your grilling skills to the test and cook up some Burgers for the hungry sports fans in your life! Remember to keep our recommendations in mind and let us know how your tailgate goes. Were our tips helpful? What else would you recommend for the tailgaters out there? Let us know in the comments!

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