The leaves are changing color, there's a chill in the air, no mistaking it: it's football season and that means bring on the tailgate parties.
There's not a whole lot better than getting together with friends on a Sunday before the game to grill and have a few beers before you head into the stadium. But given the surroundings there are some things you need to be careful about.
This time we aren't talking about drinking and driving; we're assuming you know that's never a good combination. These safety tips are about concerns that come up during the party.
Bring cans, not bottles. Most tailgates include beer and other drinks but we recommend you stay away from anything glass. Standing in a parking lot with many other people and perhaps a few footballs flying, there's a good chance someone will drop their drink. If it's glass that's going to do more than make a splatter. You don't want your guests missing the game because they need stitches so stick to cans and plastic cups.
Don't forget the ice. It's great to have cold drinks but if you're grilling it's vital to have cold meat in the cooler. When you're cooking without a fridge nearby food safety becomes a serious issue. Keep food out of the danger zone (above 41 - 135 degrees Fahrenheit) by storing it in a cooler with ice until you're ready to cook it and make sure to cook it through all the way. Throw out any meaty leftovers after the game since they've likely been too long out of the fridge. It sounds wasteful but food poisoning is not worth it.
Bring the fire extinguisher. If you bring a grill to the party it's a good idea to also have a way to put the fire out. Gas and coals get very hot and add to that burgers or sausages that drip fat onto the flames, you have a high potential for a grease fire. Even if you don't use lighter fluid and keep the fire small there's a chance the wind could take a small blaze and turn it into an out of control mess. Be ready with an extinguisher so you don't have to cancel the party.