Are You Ready For Some Tailgating Ideas and Recipes?

Happy days and tailgating times are here again!  The return of high school, college and NFL football is reason enough to shout “now I am just so happy.” Downton Abbey and American football know a thing or two about Masterpiece seasons and true fan followings.  A good show with an exciting plot and the chance of a surprise ending captivates viewers and keeps them wanting more. This exact rationale hooks the football loyal and keeps the home team crowd wanting for more season to season.  The football nation is gearing up for another season of Friday night lights, scoreboard Saturdays and NFL Sundays.


Welcome to another season of football and the tailgating reasons we love it so.  I reference the pride of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and our forever favorites, the LSU Tigers, in this post because it is the home state favorite.  I invite you to use the name of your favorite team(s) where applicable.


Cue the band for we are calling Baton Rouge! We’ve got the eye of the Tiger and the need for some pre-game tailgating.  Gathering with several thousand of your closest football fan friends to roast, toast, grill and gab before the game has become an event almost as exciting as the game itself.

Time-honored traditions are serious pre-game business, and the sight of LSU fans lining the streets in a sea of purple and gold to view, cheer and get the pre-game party roaring as The Golden Band from Tigerland marches down Victory Hill to Tiger Stadium feeds the soul and ups the Tiger tempo.


You didn’t hear this from me, but Dave the Builder has been known to partake in a little opposing team trash talk all in the name of good-natured football fan fun.


From a casual gathering round the grill to a pull out all the stops pre-game soiree, tailgating is a right of passage for students, alumni and devoted fans. Planning these ultimate fan meet and greets is part of the game day experience, a social event that counts as the prime occasion for decoristas to seize the design and decorating opportunity to show’em what cha got!  And you thought the only competition on game day was on the field.  Inspiration is everywhere, and I am certainly impressed and inspired by some of the tablescapes I see on any given home game day. These people bring their tablescape A-game, and the result is an absolute tailgating tablescape work of art.  My tailgating tablescape ideas and recipes have long been planned, and the grill is cleaned and ready to be fired up like a capacity crowd in Death Valley on a Saturday night.

LSU-stadiumElectrifying!  1130 The Tiger

It’s just not tailgating until the Geaux Tigers playlist is turned to roar!

You can’t go wrong with a tailgating tablescape decked out in team colors. Fabric remnants make great table runners, napkins and tablecloths. Selecting neutral colors for foundation pieces puts a tablescape color scheme under no go team colors obligation.  Football weather means fall, and decorating with pine cones, pumpkins, vines, branches, gourds and flowers indigenous to your conference zone makes things seasonally festive.

tailgating-centerpieceThe Grove at Ole Miss – Au Courant Floral Creation

How’s this for a fall tailgating centerpiece arrangement!


Floral rings wrapped in burlap or grosgrain ribbon, floral moss (giving a nod to the bayou) or team inspired duct tape make great custom candle rings. Bargain bins, dollar stores and end of season clearance sales can be tailgating tabletop treasure troves.  Give me a L!  Give me a S!  Give me a U!  What’s that spell? Festive centerpiece accent! Seasonal flowers, natural or spray painted branches and wreaths, magnolia leaves or seasonal stems make for affordable and impressive centerpieces. Give the attic or the old storage closet a once over for football themed oldies but goodies to put to decorating use.  This DIY wreath is an inexpensive idea for a game day decoration.

football-wreathTurnstyle Vogue

Paper lanterns and string lights bring lighted lagniappe to your tailgating space. Remember, easy is the first rule of tailgating transport and clean up. I love items with multi uses, and the 5 gallon team bucket from Home Depot qualifies as a tailgating must have.  This go team go handy dandy tailgating find makes the perfect tabletop and food wares tote, beverage tub, centerpiece container or trash receptacle.

Food, Glorious Tailgating Food!

This is how we tiger fan and fare at our Bayou Broil, Bake and Baste!

Photo Editor - Paden Reich, Art Director- Bob Perino, Prop Stylist- Buffy Hargett Miller, Food Stylist- Erin Merhar, Food Stylist Assistant Callie Aldridge.Slow Cooker Ribs

Crawfish-DipCrawfish Dip With Fried Bow Tie Pasta

andouille-hush-puppiesAndouille Hush Puppies

Kentucky-butter-cakeThe Kentucky Butter Cake I baked from this recipe is a crowd favorite!  

Who says a tailgate celebration can only be held at the stadium?  Tailgating knows no boundaries- it is a kick on the home sweet home field too!  The coffee table conference is game day buffet central enjoyed by many.  When you can’t be at the game live and in person you can still be in the game with an at home tailgating spread.  No lines, no crowds, no parking issues, no problem. Tailgating at home does have its advantages.


I hope these tailgating ideas and recipes come in handy for your tailgating good times.  Happy tailgating, may your team be the pride of their division, and Go Team Go aka Geaux Tigers!



Filed under Food, football, Louisiana, Recipes, tablescapes, tailgating