Safe Tailgating Tips: Make Every Tailgate Party a Touchdown
Whether it’s gameday or just a weekend in the park, tailgate parties are always great time, and you can have one practically anywhere that you can park a car. But there are some inherent dangers that you might not be thinking about while you’re busy grilling with your friends and rooting for your team.
Here are some safe tailgating tips to make sure that everyone has a good time. After all, what fun is a tailgate party if you end up at the hospital instead of the game?
Keep It on Ice: Brews and Brats
For many tailgate parties, chilled beer is a vital component to let the good times roll, so have plenty of ice on-hand to keep those brews ice cold. Aside from the cooler filled with drinks, there should also be ample ice for the meat cooler. Meats can easily spoil if stored above 40°F, and a single spoiled hamburger could ruin the whole day, so those meats should stay cool right up until they’re ready to face the fire. In fact, bringing an additional cooler, just for extra ice, will ensure that you don’t run out.
You might be feeding a hungry crowd demanding brats, burgers and steaks, but you can’t let that stop you from cooking the meat properly. Internal temperatures should reach at least 145°F for steaks, 160°F for chops and ground meats, and 180°F for poultry; use a meat thermometer to be certain instead of just guessing. Later, any uneaten food should be put back on ice after no more than hour.
Pro tailgating tips: While a little alcohol loosens you up, a lot can set inhibitions free, and the end result can often be dangerous. Be a good friend, look out for those around you and know when to say enough is enough.
Protect the Grill Master and the Grill
What heats up must be cooled down, from the grill to the grill master, so make sure you can put out the fire if necessary. It doesn’t matter if you’re cooking on a gas or charcoal grill, it’s crucial to keep all flammable items away from the heat, such as your belongings, paper plates or starter fluid. Always have a fire extinguisher close by, just in case. After cooking, it’s essential verify the grill is completely cooled before you pack it up. Charcoal grills need special care, and remaining coals should be dowsed with water to extinguish them.
Even though it’s tailgating season, and it’s getting cooler out, you’ll still be outside enjoying the fall weather. Party on, but make sure you’ve got protection covered. Sun exposure and alcohol consumption, especially for the grill master, can lead to dehydration and even heat stroke. Drink lots of water (beer is not a substitute) and have sunblock on hand, that way the party can rock on for hours.
Pro tailgating tips: Before the tailgate starts, assign at least one designated driver per vehicle. Alcohol can be a fun part of the tailgate party, but can easily lead to big problems when vehicles are involved. This rule should be a non-negotiable for you and your crew, and if anyone doesn’t like it, you can tell them they are welcome to find someone else’s brats to eat and beer to drink.
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Photo courtesty of Foter