Fall is the time of year for cooler temperatures, warm sweaters, and yes, lots of great sporting events. Before you load up the cooler for your next tailgating feast, check to make sure you’re planning a smart party. Here are some quick ways to keep your tailgating fun, safe and memorable.
- Keep Meat from Spoiling the Party
You’ll want to make sure your uncooked meat stays cold enough to prevent the growth of bacteria like salmonella. While you’re transporting burgers, brats or chicken, make sure to maintain temperatures of 40F or below in your cooler. (You can use a thermometer to check the temperature of not only your cooler, but also cooked food before you take it off the grill.) Wrap your meat separately and prevent juices from contaminating other food while it’s stored or being prepared.
- Wash Those Hands Frequently
Porta-potties, hot dogs and big, open bowls of chips don’t really inspire the most hygienic of party locations. Instead of risking catching (or spreading) something super not fun like salmonella or a norovirus, keep soap and water handy for a quick hand washing station. In a pinch, you can also use hand wipes or hand sanitizer, but soap and water are your best bets for the ultimate clean.
- Watch the Open Fires
From grills to citronella candles, open flames can be a help or a danger at tailgates. Be careful to always turn the grill off when you’re heading in for the game, and let gas grills or hot charcoal cool down completely before storing it in your vehicle. (And dump your coals safely, not in plastic trash cans or at the base of trees.) Same goes for candles that can heat up their containers or spill fluids that can burn your skin or catch fire.
- Stick to a Designated Driver Plan
If you’re drinking at a tailgate, make sure that you not only have a designated driver sorted out ahead of time, but that you drink responsibly as well. Alcohol poisoning is no joke, and binge drinking can be deadly. Keep tabs on your tailgate friends, avoid leaving your alcohol where underage drinkers could take it and make sure you lock everything up when you head in to the game.
- Watch for Changing Weather Conditions
You’re going to be outside for a quality tailgate, so that means you could battle sun, wind, rain or even a little snow. You like acting tough, but not being prepared for the change in weather can mean trouble. Pack sunscreen, shade tents and plenty of bug spray for the warmer tailgates, and layers, blankets and rain protection for the colder and wetter games. And that pop-up tent? Make sure you have enough weights on each corner so it doesn’t become airborne in a strong gust of wind.