A successful tailgater is all about organization. Here’s how to keep the action lively and your stress to a minimum level.


Before you head to the stadium, check to see where tailgating is permitted and review any rules that may apply.

Find out when the gates open so you can set up, feed the team and properly pre-functione before kick-off.

Check for restrictions like no glass containers, no open flames, etc. These will factor into all the other aspects of your planning.


Take a few minutes to jot down an outline of your tailgater. Plan out the menu, drinks, cooking gear and clean up supplies you’ll need.

Prepare your supplies and do the shopping a few days before the game to minimize last minute side trips.

Pack a folding table to expand your serving and prep area onsite.

Load up a large box or plastic container with the basics – plates, cups, flatware, napkins, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, trash bags and paper towels. This makes set-up and clean up a snap.

Cook and prepare as much of your food prior to the game as you can.

Pack side dishes, salads and the like in resealable bowls that act as serving containers and go right from cooler to table.

Bring at least two coolers – one for food and one for drinks. Load up the drink cooler with ice and beverages the day so everything is icy cold at the stadium.


Make sure you have all the supplies to make your grill game ready. For gas grills, have a full tank. For charcoal grills, make sure you have plenty of charcoal and your favorite starting method ready.

Build a toolbox of grill necessities including tongs and spatulas. Throw in some aluminum foil for keeping things warm. Why is it the butane BBQ lighters always go missing? Pack several so you’re fire-ready when it’s time to start the grill.

Preheat your grill well in advance, especially if you’re using a charcoal grill. This let’s you start cooking as soon as guests arrive.



Impressive food is a must for an awesome tailgating experience. Here are simple ideas to streamline the sideline and kick your tailgater up a notch.

MAKE IT CUSTOMIZABLE - Let your guests build their own plates exactly the way they want them.

SMALL AND MIGHTY - Bite sized foods don’t require a fork and knife and are fun to eat. Serving large steaks or tri tip? Slice larger cuts into smaller sizes that are easier to handle.

HOT AND FAST - Burgers, dogs, small steaks are great choices that cook fast so grill time is kept short.

ON THE SIDE - Don’t apply sauces or condiments in advance. Let guests apply their favorite flavor as much or as little as they prefer.

DON'T FORGET THE KIDS - Prepare time-tested kid-friendly options. Hot dogs, cheese quesadillas and chips will make them feel welcome. Don’t forget the soft drinks!


Create a food bar for a crowd-pleasing spread. Guests prepare their own plates using a wide assortment of sauces and toppings. This lets folks customize the meal to their personal preference and makes life a lot easier for you!

The Slider Bar – Shape 3 oz. slider patties using Snake River Farms American Wagyu ground beef. These will cook fast on the grill and you can fire up a round of piping hot burgers in a few minutes. Have all the usual items – ketchup, mustard, mayo, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles. Offering a variety of buns is an unexpected way to add variety – Hawaiian rolls, pretzel buns and ciabatta are fun options. Check out our blog post abou more ways to build your burger bar.

Hot Dog Bar – Hot dogs are the unrivaled stadium food, but you can go above and beyond by serving Snake River Farms American Wagyu dogs. Choose toppings that are tasty and fun, but also can sit out without wilting, melting or getting out of control. Think relish, sauerkraut, pickles, chopped tomatoes, onions, hot peppers, blue cheese, grated cheddar and crispy bacon bits. Assemble a variety of buns – pretzel, poppy seed, crusty rolls and good ol’ fashioned hot dog buns, set out the dogs and let everyone go wild.

Baked Potato Bar – This is a trick we learned at our own tailgater. We wanted to do something different than our usual burgers, dogs and steaks and the baked potato bar was born. Choose medium sized Idaho bakers (we know from experience it is possible to have potatoes that are too big!) and bake them off the morning of the event. Wrap them in a towel and place them in an empty cooler.
Chili (made with SRF ground beef or tenderloin pieces) is a hearty and satisfying topping. You can also grill up kebabs of SRF tenderloin to use as a topping. Round things out with grated cheese, chopped green onion, diced onion, bacon bits, jalapenos, sour cream or anything else that strikes your fancy. This is a great bar for cooler weather.


Quick, Easy and Delicious

A Cut Above Your Neighbor’s Tailgate

GO DEEP - A Winning Tailgate Menu from Chef Eric Hellner of The Metropolitan Grill in Seattle, WA

A great tailgating experience calls for a solid menu with and an unexpected surprise or two. Here are simple ideas that are easy to make, but kick your tailgate up a notch.

The first surprise on my menu is Snake River Farms flank steak. It’s a flavorful cut that always wows people. Bring a basic grill and cook the steak onsite to get your guests salivating from the delicious aromas.

I like to have a cooler of beer handy, but my second surprise is a Pendleton Sagebrush cocktail to start things off on the right foot.

Here are three great things to ensure a memorable tailgater:

Great Beef:
Snake River Farms Flank Steak
This savory cut weighs in at 2 pounds or more and will impress the folks with its flavor and texture. To prepare, season generously with kosher salt and pepper. For a little more flavor, you can make a seasoning blend with red pepper, garlic salt, onion salt and paprika. Or you can use the SRF Steak Seasoning for an easy and savory way to add flavor.


Set up your grill in 2-zone mode with a hot side and a cool side. When the grill is hot, sear your flank steak 2 to 3 minutes per side to form a nice crust. If you don’t hear the beef sizzle on the grill, it’s not hot enough!

After you’ve seared your flank steak, move it to the cool side of the and let it cook until the internal temperature reaches 130 degrees. This takes about 12-15 minutes.

Remove the steak from the grill and let it rest for at least 5 minutes to let the juices come back up and the meat to set.

Be certain to cut it against the grain. I like to slice it thin, so it’s tender and easy to eat. Plate it up or leave it on a cutting board and let your guests dig in.

Great Sides:
Roasted Pepper Platter - Toss sweet onion wedges with sliced red, yellow and green peppers in olive oil and roast on the grill. Sprinkle kosher salt over the veggies. 
Corn with Chili-Lime Butter - Mix 1 stick butter with 2 teaspoons chili powder and the zest of 1 lime. Slather on hot corn on the cob.
Potato salad – Use red potatoes in your favorite recipe for a change of pace.

Great Cocktail:
Pendleton Sagebrush - A refreshing cocktail that compliments the menu. Created by Thomas Price, a Master Sommelier at the Met.
Muddle a fresh sage leaf and an orange slice in the bottom of a tall glass.
Fill the glass with ice and squeeze 1 lime wedge and 2 orange slices over the top.
Add 2 ounces Pendleton whiskey, ½ ounce triple sec and top with ginger ale.