Top Tailgate Party Hacks

Ok, so you’ve just spent about $300 on a pair of tickets and parking…

So the last thing you want, or need to do, is spend another 200 bucks on a tailgate party.

“The average NFL fan spends $198 per game on tailgating ”
On the other hand, a hibachi, frozen beef patties, cheap booze, and a football to toss around just won’t cut it.

You want to make this fun & memorable - after all, isn’t that what game day is all about?

What you could use are some tailgating tips and tricks that will not only save you money, they…

  • Are relatively quick

  • Don’t require anything harder than some basic painting or sewing

  • Don’t need long-winded instructions

So here are some of…

The best tailgate party hacks (5 of them, anyway)

Not the best DIY tailgate party idea...
Ice Hawk 5005:
“only” $118
Quick chill.   There’s nothing worse than a tailgating party with warm beer, but that doesn’t mean you should spend $118 to keep your brew cold on something like this  →

Not when a plastic trash can do the job. That’s right - that, and some ice and water is all you need to “flash” chill your beverages in just minutes:

And then keep them cold for hours, because ice + water maintains a low temperature 4 hours longer than ice alone.

If you want something that takes up less space than a 10-gallon trash can and is more functional, for $54 you can get the Flip Box, a collapsible, lightweight (just 3 lbs.), insulated cooler which you can also use in conjunction with this.

Flip Box: DIY tailgate party ideas

Cost: $0
Save: $50-$100

Homemade hangover prevention.   Stop wasting money on store-bought hangover remedies. Drinking robs your body of electrolytes, and pickle juice is loaded with it. This may sound like the stuff of urban legends, but it actually works.

DIY Tailgate Party Ideas: Homemade Hangover Cure

It's also natural, free (any deli would gladly let you take it off their hands), and as an added benefit, it effectively eliminates that slightly nasty aftertaste that even the finest liquors tend to have. While I can only vouch for this as a hangover preventative, Dr. Oz recommends it as a cure.

Cost: $3 (for a jar of pickles)
Save: $25 (Never Too Hungover costs $28)

Turn your grill into a smoker.   Unless you've been living in a cave you probably realize that a tailgate party with just burgers & hot dogs is so yesterday. Smoking, baby, is where it's at - smoking meats, that is. They can be expensive, however… But tin pans and wood chips are not, and that's all you really need to turn your ordinary grill into a smoker. So who needs a $300 Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker anyway?

  • Soak the wood chips for several hours so that they don't burn. The chips should be the cooking type such as mesquite, oak, or hickory - not scented wood.

  • For kettle-style charcoal grills (this will only work with a cover), just add the chips to the charcoal prior to cooking. Add more as needed.

  • Divide into 2 sections: one for the coals & chips, one for meat & pans. Why? When slow cooking, the meat should always be placed away from the heat source, and the pans will catch the drippings and prevent flare ups.

  • Using the grill vents, keep the temperature between 280 & 320°F. You can direct the smoke towards the food by positioning the lid vent over it.

  • For gas grills, put the chips in a pan over the burner or just wrap them in foil (punch holes to vent).

Cost: $3 (for the pans)
Save: $7-$297 (a smoker box costs $10-$40)

Brew beer at home.   Homemade beer is cheaper, better tasting, & more rewarding. You will have to initially invest in some home brew equipment, but if used regularly, you will save in the long run. Of all the tailgate party ideas, this may be the one that is the most satisfying.

Cost: $5 per six pack, excluding equipment
Save: $4.99 per 6-pack (a 6-pack of Samuel Adams is $9.99)

DIY games.   Some of the best tailgating tips include do-it-yourself games, and building your own corn hole set is easier than you might think. In addition to scissors, glue, thread, needle, & wood cutting tools, you'll need a wood board, paint, fabric (duck-cloth), & dried corn feed.

This will take a bit of work and a few hours, but it's very doable, and you'll save a hundred bucks or more.

For an easy guide on how to make your own custom cornhole set, visit

For cornhole bags, a do it yourself bag kit for just $6.75 - all you have to do is sew. Pre-stitched bags are $8.50. These go for 20-30 bucks at Walmart or eBay.

You can even make your own moonlight corn hole board for tailgating after dark. It's a bit involved, but here are the instructions.

Cost: $50
Save: $100 (a typical corn hole set costs at least $150)

If that’s too much for you, there’s always “A Shot in the Dark” for just $24.

Do you think these tailgate party hacks are useful? Do you know of some that are better? Can you add to the list? Please comment below…

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