Theme Idea 3: Tailgate Shower
Tailgating is an art form, just ask any sports fan. Take the new dad or dad-to-be to a game and shower him with a tailgating party. Whether your team is nationally recognized or locally loved, a college alma mater or opening day on the high school football field, you can show the father-to-be how to party like a pro. This is more than just a few sandwiches in a cooler — this is a no-holds-barred grilling and eating extravaganza and then a ball game!
If the idea of a tailgating shower appeals to your sports-minded spirit, but you don’t have tickets to a stadium sport, stage your own game. Get friends together for a friendly afternoon of baseball that starts with a tailgate party and ends with a game. So pack up the grill, load up the SUV, and head for the ball park.
Menu Ideas and Options
If grilling is your style, consider these menu ideas that will definitely impress the guys.
Tailgate Shower Menu
- Baby Back Barbeque Short Ribs and Spicy Sauce
- Chuck-Wagon Kidney Beans
- Beefsteak Tomatoes and Onions in Italian Marinade
- Chuck-Wagon Cornbread
- Classic Creamy Cheesecake
Setting It Up
Tailgaters are serious fans — about their team and about their food. This is no time for planning on the fly; stocking up takes time and organization.
Most tailgaters arrive at the ballpark three to four hours early and stay for an hour or two after the game. Including game time, this event will cover an entire day and range of meals.
Plan menus and supply lists ahead. You will need food supplies, cooking equipment, and safe storage (sealed containers with lots of ice) for two to three meals. Make sure you prepare not only a grocery list but also a list of cooking essentials. Check off supplies as you load them into your vehicle. Assign items and groceries to other partygoers.
Prepare food items the night before. Some foods may require marinating, chopping, tenderizing, or baking ahead of time. Get everything ready and packed in disposable containers (except for perishables) the evening before the game.
Set the schedule for cooking and eating. Allow about one hour to set up grills and food-preparation areas. Food should be ready to eat about 90 minutes before the game starts. This will give everyone a chance to eat, clean up, and cool down the grill. Once the game is over, make sure your parking spot is spotless.
Get there early. Tailgating is not for the lazy or faint-of-heart. Get to the parking lot early to pick a prime spot (near grass or at the end of a row), get set up, and get cooking — especially if you are roasting a three-hour brisket!
Decorate the space. You are celebrating a friend and his team. Fly a flag so partygoers can find you in a sea of cars. Throw a team-logo’d tablecloth or blanket over the food table. Paper plates and napkins are available with lots of team insignias; pick up a package of napkins, matching plates and cups, and coordinating cutlery.
Dress like a team. Ask guests to show their true “colors” by wearing team gear, from jerseys to hats.
Never, never, never serve any food on a platter that has held raw meat until it has been thoroughly washed with hot, soapy water. Raw meat marinades should not be used as “gravy.” If you wish to serve the marinade, bring it to a boil and serve hot over the cooked food. Food handlers should wash hands after touching raw meat, but before touching any other food or serving pieces.
Gear You Will Need
If you’ve tailgated before, you may already have a well-stocked garage. If you are a tailgating novice, you can find lots of gear at your local camping store. The difference between tailgate cooking and campsite cooking is scale and equipment. Die-hard tailgaters have some serious equipment— fryers, supergrills, hammocks, tables, lounge chairs, even hot tubs. Check out this list of basic gear:
Propane grill. This is easier to cool down and eliminates the need to dispose of hot coals that can take days to fully cool.
Cooler. A must-have for tailgating. Stores meat and food perishables. Keeps beverages cool. Most tailgaters will need more than one.
Serving and seating. You will need a place to do some food preparation, serve the food, and sit down to eat.
Weather guards. Rain, sleet, snow, and heat are all potential factors in your tailgating enjoyment. Canopies (for sun and rain), umbrellas, rain gear, sun block, and blankets should have a place on your basic supply list.
In case of emergency. First-aid kit, jumper cables, toilet paper, antacid (nothing’s worse than a stomach full of barbeque and a long ride home!), a small generator, flashlight, and fully charged cell phone.
Gifts That Work with This Theme
Initiate the new baby into his or her proud papa’s sports interest with baby team gear and equipment.
Baby mitts. The adorable baseball mitts come in brown (original), pink, and blue.
Team blanket. Have the family name (or baby’s name, if it’s been decided) embroidered onto a fleecy team-style blanket.
Game cards. Sports-card manufacturers produce card sets each year. Give a complete set and watch who becomes famous and who bites the dust!
Collegiate gear. Bedeck baby in mom or dad’s alma mater layette wear.
If you are inclined to give the assembled guests a remembrance of the day, consider thermal drink sleeves in your team’s colors — you may even find them with the team’s logo on them. For the avid tailgater crowd, a special meat rub or barbeque sauce will also be a hit.