Coming up with a few tailgate menu ideas might seem simple enough. Until you sit down to plan the logistics of what needs to be prepared, how youíll handle the power supply and oh yeah . . . clean up. For extra fun, you may have decided itís a good idea to provide a flexible tailgating menu that can accommodate vegan, vegetarian and carnivorous eating habits. Wondering what on Earth you could have been thinking? Try these tailgate menu ideas for flexibility as well as fabulous flavor.
TAILGATE MENU IDEAS FOR FLEXIBILITY AND FLAVOR
Kabobs on the Grill:
When it comes to accommodating a variety of different dining styles, itís pretty hard to top a tailgating menu of kabobs on the grill. Alternately thread a variety of vegetables such as peppers, onions and zucchini with fish, chicken, beef or mushrooms on individual skewers, and baste with your sauce of choice on a small portable charcoal grill. When preparing for a meal of kabobs on the grill, two things are critically important to making sure your chosen tailgate menu flows smoothly. Knowing the proper way to light a charcoal grill, and assembling the kabobs ahead of time for transport. If your crowd prefers a starchy side, bring along a small rice cooker to whip a batch of Basmati. If your vehicle doesnít have an electrical outlet in the back like some do these days, use a mobile power inverter to create one. By selecting a variety of kabob ingredients, itís easy to enjoy kabobs on the grill whether you have a mixed crowd of meat eaters and vegetarians, or a strictly vegan group of tailgaters.
Hot Dog Bar:
If youíre looking for one of those tailgate menu ideas you can pull off on the cheap and easy, then by all means host a hot dog bar. Pack a variety of beef and veggie dogs, along with a variety of easy toppings such as relish, mustard, canned squirt cheese and chopped onions. If you donít want to deal with transporting gas or charcoal, this tailgate menu can be accomplished using a small George Foreman Grill and a mobile power inverter as mentioned above. Pair with chilled hard lemonade and flavored potato chips.
Easy Salads and Grilled Sides:
Prepare a small section of easy salads ahead of time that are suitable for everyone. Three bean, potato with vinaigrette and Mediterranean-vegetable pasta are all easy salads suitable for vegans yet familiar enough for vegetarians and meat eaters to enjoy as well. Make these the main event of your tailgate menu, and use your grilled items as the sides. Obviously, youíll need a selection of items to grill to keep everyone happy. Veggie burgers, polenta squares and teriyaki chicken tenders would make a nice selection, and all are the proper size to not monopolize the dinner plates. Another grilling option here would be a portable gas grill. The key is obviously to keep it small just like you would do with the other portable grills mentioned above.
Pack a small variety of veggie and meat burgers along with several toppings like Swiss cheese, guacamole, barbecue sauce and sliced mushrooms. Whether you choose to use one grill for all of the burgers or fire up two small ones to keep the meat items separate, a burger buffet is a simple tailgate menu that can be paired with iced microbrews, a veggie platter and your dip of choice. Another tool that can help you keep the meat items separate from the veggie selections, especially when using one grill, is†Grill Charms. These work similarly to wine charms, only they are inserted into the items to be grilled so the cook can tell various orders apart.
These tailgating menu ideas should provide you with enough inspiration to confidently tackle a tailgating event for guests with a variety of different meat preferences. Since grilling is usually the name of the game when it comes to tailgating, if you or someone you know is looking to spend more time on the tailgate party circuit, you may want to share or consider this list of grilling gifts to make your events more fun and efficient.
Photo Credit: The Culinary Geek