Another football season is upon us.
And, more importantly, tailgate season.
Because with college games kicking off this weekend and NFL games not far behind, you will be inundated with opportunities to eat grilled meats in the morning and drink beers during the day.
It truly is the most magical time of year.
To commemorate the occasion, we've compiled this checklist of tailgating essentials, from food and drinks to items that help you make food and dispense drinks. Plus a football. Because you always need a football.
As promised. But this isn't just any old football, it's a fine leather football from Shinola that's handsome enough to pass down through the generations. Or at least to pass around while the meat's cooking.
All good tailgates have a cooler stocked with plenty to drink. But the best tailgates also have a mini keg for craft beers or cocktails—the kinds of things you're happy to share with friends, but not the stranger who wanders over from the next parking spot. This one-gallon SquareOne Mini Keg has you covered, and it sits flat for easy dispensing.
That cooler we mentioned? This is it. The Rollr 80 holds 80 quarts of goodies, which translates to 120 cans of beer and 20 pounds of ice. It also features a dry bin, where you can stock food and other items you don't want getting wet. And the all-terrain tires ensure you can drag this thing anywhere.
You can't forget the grill. You also can't be bothered lugging around your usual patio grill. But you can absolutely haul this 28-pound portable briefcase-size Nomad Grill & Smoker with you. It opens to reveal two grates totaling 425 square inches of cooking space, or enough room to hold about 30 burger patties. You can also use this contraption as a closed smoker for slow-cooking brisket and ribs.
Here's some inspiration for that grill: wagyu hot dogs from KC Cattle Co. These famous, all-beef beauties are exactly what you want to bite into on a warm afternoon. Or a chilly morning. They're not concerned with contrivances like weather and time. They're hot dogs.
More of a wings aficionado? We understand. To make sure you feel seen, here's a bunch of wings from the famed Anchor Bar in Buffalo. You can also buy a literal gallon of sauce.
Blue Apron's new Tailgating Boxes are primed for football season. The boxes include BBQ pulled pork tacos with mango salsa and guacamole, queso fundido with chorizo and fresh tomato salsa, and sweet and spicy chicken sandwiches with buttermilk dressing and carrot slaw. Yep, you'll eat those. And the boxes feed eight people, so you can even share with your friends.
You don't have to venture to D.C. to experience Ben's Chili Bowl, the famous shop that's been slinging half-smokes and chili since 1958. You just have to score some online, and wait for it to arrive. The Chili con Carne is available by the pint, so you can stock up and dole out individual pints of chili to your pals as they walk up. People love that.
Showing up to a tailgate with a whole cheesecake is a bold move. A bold, weird move. But showing up with a party pack containing 120 snack-size bites of Carnegie Deli's famous cheesecake covered in dark chocolate is just good manners.
You may require a bluetooth speaker for playing music or listening to pregame commentary. What you need: something small but powerful. The Sonos Roam is both those things, with rich, size-defying 360-degree sound. It's also drop-resistant and waterproof, which is helpful once the footballs and beers start flying.
If you really want to go for it this season, the Dometic MoBar is an outdoor mobile bar with a dual-zone refrigerator that holds 39 bottles of wine or liquor, dry storage, an ice bin, accessory trays and a work surface for prepping drinks. It also looks damn handsome. It's not cheap, but you can't put a price on tailgate dominance (well, they did, so we guess you can).
All you need now is a comfortable place to sit. Ideally a sturdy wood-and-canvas chair that folds up and fits into a carrying case, like this one from NatureHike. What's that? You want to know if it's easy to wash, just in case there's a wings-related incident? Why yes, yes it is.