Football. Parking Lots. Grilled food. Three unmistakable signs that a new season is here – tailgate season. And what better way to tailgate than with these Kalamazoo Sliders? Who could ever say no to these babies?!
But things are changing. More people are tailgating at home. Those changes are being driven by economics, a desire to be with more friends and to extend the game day party.
Season ticket sales for professional sports have dropped more than 47 percent since 2005, according to a study from Tailgater Magazine. The research also found that in the last 10 years, the average ticket price for a professional football game has risen more than 50 percent and parking fees have doubled.
“We’re seeing that homeowners want to bring everyone over for the game, rather than go anywhere,” said Matt Hillebrand, principal of Don’s Appliances in Pittsburgh.
It’s a trend some are calling “homegating.”
Kick off with the grill
Food makes or breaks a homegate. Get the grill off the sidelines. So many times the grill is in a corner, but that takes the host out of the game.
“Keep the grill close to the action,” said Russ Faulk, grillmaster for Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet. “That way, the cook can talk with guests during the game.”
As for the menu, Faulk recommends individual-sized appetizers – like sliders and mini tacos.
Mix it up at halftime
Fire pits, smokers and pizza ovens make the party more interactive for guests, Hillebrand said.
Pizza ovens get your guests involved in the cooking, Faulk said. Some companies, such as Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet, offer countertop versions.
When the weather gets cooler, fire pits offer a place to warm up while watching the game outdoors. They also create opportunities for more activities, like making s’mores.
Headed to overtime
Let’s not forget the reason for the homegate: the game.
Specialized TVs are made to stand up to the weather and keep the gang outdoors, simulating the stadium experience.
For a more budget-friendly option, tune in through wireless Bluetooth speakers that extend the call of the game to all corners of the yard.
For more ways to enhance the homegating experience, visit kalamazoogourmet.com.