tailgating in the backyard on bigscreen

Tips for Tailgating from Home

Last Updated on February 19, 2021

The game may not be the same—that doesn’t mean your party has to be tame. Football isn’t the same this year—whether it’s zero to limited fans in the stands or a seemingly ever-shifting game schedule (Tuesday Night Football?!?). Because of this, pre-game tailgating cannot happen in the traditional manner either. That doesn’t mean tailgating this year is a hopeless endeavor. On the contrary, we’ve drummed up some clever ideas for you to enjoy the tailgating experience safely at home.

How to Set Up a Tailgate At Home

You can still tailgate from your car, and you don’t even have to move it! Park in the driveway, with the back of your car facing your home or backyard. You can set up chairs either on your driveway or in your backyard near the car. (Bold tailgate mavens may even want to drive into their backyard. Quick tip if you are one of these backyard heroes: Lay down some plywood to protect the grass.)

Don’t have a car?

No problem, you can still have a tailgate-themed party in your backyard. Set up a table for your food and place chairs around the yard.

Don’t have a backyard?

We can solve that, too. You can “tailgate” on your porch, on your roof deck, or in a nearby public park.

Have a projector?

Try live-streaming the game or pre-game show while you eat!

Only got a radio?

Go old school and listen to the game or pre-game show on the radio. You can also listen to this “Jock Jams”-inspired tailgate playlist. (You’re welcome.)

Menu Ideas

The key to making good tailgate food is to ensure that every item is easy to grab and eat. While you can make something in a crockpot, that requires even more serving ware. Be judicious with your choices, and have fun with it.

chili at a tailgate
Chef Yankel and Chef Emilie prepping some tailgate chili.

Here are some wonderful ideas from the ButcherBox archives:

Grilled Pizza Recipes with Homemade and Pre-Made Dough

Everything You Need for the Perfect Big Game Party

8 Tasty Chicken Wing Recipes

Other fun ideas:

  • Boil bratwurst sausages in beer, butter, and onions, then place sausages on the grill to give them grill marks. Save that liquid—you can dip the grilled brats back into the mixture before placing them in a bun with sauerkraut and mustard.
  • Bake brownies, cupcakes, or cookies that are easy to take and eat. Honestly, the Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownies in the box are my favorite. No one needs to know the brownies aren’t entirely homemade.

Kristina DeMichele is the Digital Content Strategist at Harvard Magazine. She is also a freelance copyeditor who has worked for America's Test Kitchen as the Senior Content Editor of Cook's Illustrated Magazine.