Keep Your Tailgating Food Safe
Whether you're a tailgating rookie or a seasoned pro, our guide will prepare you for the ultimate game-day experience.
Once you've decided on your tailgating menu, use our Game-Day Checklist to ensure you have everything you need. If you're a season-ticket holder and tailgate constantly, keep your supplies gathered, packed, and ready to load up for the next weekend.
First Thing's First
Because tailgate parties are usually all-day food fests and grilling extravaganzas, they're also a time of increased risk of food poisoning. Before you pack your cooler and head off to the game, remember the following food safety tips.
Say No to Leftovers
Take foods in the smallest quantity needed. Pack only the amount of food you think you'll use.
Keep Easy Snacks
Consider taking along non-perishable foods and snacks that don't need to be refrigerated.
Cook in Shifts
Remove from the cooler only the amount of raw meat, fish, or poultry that will fit on the grill at one time.
Keep Them Separate
Keep raw foods separate from already prepared foods.
Check Your Temps
Cook your favorite foods to the right temperature by using a meat thermometer; hamburger to at least 160º F and chicken breasts to at least 160º F.
Keep it Cool
Pack your food in a well-insulated cooler with plenty of ice or icepacks to keep the temperature below 40º F. Transport the cooler in the back seat of an air-conditioned car (instead of a hot trunk), and keep the cooler closed tight.
Keep hot food hot and keep cold food cold. Don't let food sit out for more than two hours. On a hot day (90º F or higher), reduce this time to one hour.
Bring moist towelettes or soap and water to clean your hands and surfaces often. When the tailgate is over, discard all perishable foods if there is no longer sufficient ice in the cooler or if gel packs are no longer frozen.