For folks in Alabama and across the Southeast, college football is more than just a game. It’s an experience—one that begins and ends with tailgating.
For three or four hours before all the big games, stadium parking lots are transformed into giant party scenes, as family, friends and acquaintances gather around tailgates, car trunks and RVs to get into the spirit with fine food, drink and fellowship. And after the games, most reunite at their respective tailgate scenes to nibble on munchies as they celebrate a victory—or rehash what went wrong.
For faithful game-goers, tailgating is an essential part of college football Saturdays. As they see it, if you aren’t going to tailgate, then you might as well stay home and watch the game on television.
A great tailgate party doesn’t just happen. It takes a good bit of planning. You need to have an idea of who’s going to show up, who needs to bring what, even who’s going to be in charge of staking the claim on your favorite tailgate spot.
Of course, the most important part of the planning is the food, which can be as simple or as extravagant as you want it to be. For the “main course,” you can grill on site or bring it already prepared from home. Either way, you’ll also want a variety of appetizers, an assortment of side dishes and a smorgasbord of desserts to delight your tailgating crowd.
For a few new recipes that will spark up your party and win rave reviews from your fellow tailgaters, check out this fantastic selection, brought to you courtesy of Alabama Farmers Federation members.
One friendly reminder: In the midst of the fun and frivolities, don’t forget those basic food safety rules. Keep your hot foods hot and your cold foods cold; don’t leave foods sitting out more than two hours; and, if grilling, cook meat thoroughly and avoid using the same utensils and trays for cooked meat that you used for raw.