The Playbook: 25 Tailgating Tips


Having a successful tailgate is a lot like winning a game of football. It takes strategy, execution and a desire to win! We want your tailgate to be the best one at the stadium, so BBQGuys.com and Chef Tony have teamed up to give you our top 25 tailgating tips. Check them out below!

Hamburger Tips
1 To prevent hamburgers from swelling in the middle, place a dimple in the center, using your thumb, before placing them on the grill.
2 For a twist on the Hamburger, try stuffing it; make 2 thin patties, place stuffing (ie:cheese,jalapeno,bacon,etc) between, press edges and grill.
3 The best lean to fat ratio for hamburger is 80/20, steer clear of 90/10 or extra lean; these don't have enough fat to produce a moist burger.


4 To bake potatoes on the grill, cover with coarse salt, pierce several times with fork, wrap with foil; at med heat, potatoes will ready in about 1hr.


5 If you do not have a grill topper and you want to have grilled potatoes with your meal, use skewers. Cut potatoes in 1 1/2" squares, coat them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and any other herbs or spices of your liking. Place 5-8 potato cubes on each skewer and they are ready for the grill. Instead of tossing them around every 10-15 min in a grill topper, simply turn the skewers.


6 For a kicked up version of an old favorite, fire roast some tomatoes and garlic; and chop them up as part of your favorite salsa recipe.


7 Always set your grill up as level as possible. This is not only for the obvious safety resasons but to also get the most even flame and heat distribution across your grilling surface.

Appetizer Tips
8 The next time you are in the mood for guacamole and chips, halve several avocados, coat with olive oil, salt and pepper and place on the grill for 1-2 min per side.
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9 When grilling vegetables, leave the hood open to allow steam and moisture to escape; this will give them a sweet char and prevent sogginess.


10 If you need to smoke a large amount of ribs at one time, I highly recommend using a rib rack. They are inexpensive and hold your racks of ribs up on their sides while also holding them apart; allowing them to cook more evenly and at the same time allowing each rack to be surrounded by smoke.


11 A simple way to add great flavor to ribs; fill a spray bottle 50/50 with apple cider and cider vinegar. Spray ribs every 30 min during smoking.


12 When smoking ribs, remove the membrane from the meaty end. Score the bone side diagonally in both directions, about an inch apart.

Appetizer Tips
13 For the kids, try fruit kebabs. Some of the best fruit for the grill are: pineapple, mango, papaya, peaches, and most melons.


14 Looking for an interesting appetizer for a party or small get together, try seared watermelon wedges. When grilled, watermelon loses its sweetness slightly and its graininess. Top with a drizzle of honey and chopped mint and you will have everyone asking how you came up with this idea.


15 Looking to add a smokey aroma to your grilling experience, invest in a smoker box; they're inexpensive, easy to use, and get the job done.


16 Grilling steak: 115-120F = rare, 125-130F = med rare, 135-140F = medium; always remember to remove a little before desired temp and rest for 5-10 min.


17 For a great companion to sides or atop steak, prepare a compound butter; blend 2TBL (fine chopped) of your favorite herb and 1 stick of butter.


18 If you BBQ with charcoal and you haven't used natural lump, you owe it to yourself to experience its clean flavor and higher temperatures.


19 When grilling mixed cut-up pieces of chicken, if using a large pit with a 2 level fire, place the dark meat closer to the fire. Dark meat takes longer to cook than white meat, this type of placement will make for a more consistent cook time.

Skewer Tips
20 There is nothing wrong with an old fashioned hot dog, as long as its not a nitrate-sicle; choose all beef all natural varieties and enjoy!


21 The best way to warm hamburger buns is to place them on top of the hamburgers a few minutes before they are ready to come off of the grill.


22 For perfect grilled corn, soak corn in brine (water to cover corn, plus a few TBSP salt and a TBSP of sugar) for 1 hour before grilling.


23 To extend fuel for long smoking times, fill your fire box with un-lit charcoal, then fill a starter chimney with charcoal, light, and burn that charcoal until ready for the grill. Dump the burning coals on top of the un-lit coals, they will very slowly burn off the other coal; providing a lot longer fuel burning time.


24 When replacing your propane tank, always purge the system by opening the tank valve and turning your main burner to high for 15 seconds.


25 For a kicked up version of your favorite barbecue sauce, add a small jar of blueberry or raspberry jam per bottle of sauce; blend and enjoy!


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