The 12 Essential Components Of An Epic Southern Tailgate

No one throws a tailgate quite like a Southern college town. Sure, you've got your typical pre-football fare: burgers, wings, team jerseys and, of course, booze. But below the Mason-Dixon line, where football is religion and food is one of the preferred forms of worship, fans invariably step it up a notch.

So it’s no wonder that when it comes to throwing an epic party in a parking lot, the rest of the country looks to the Deep South for ideas — and with Rivalry Week upon us, we’ve partnered with Pillsbury Grands! Frozen Biscuits to bring that secret sauce to the masses. Follow these 12 steps to a tailgate worthy of any Southerner’s praise.

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  • A Grill

    Fire it up! It's not a real tailgate without a grill of some kind — maybe even two or three grills depending on how many people you plan to serve.

  • Gear

    This applies to everyone (yes, everyone) — and we're not just talking about jerseys, here. Think team-themed sunglass croakies, scarves, earrings for women, and onesies for babies. Pets should also show their affiliations.

  • Facepaint

    Lest you think wearing team colors from your hat down to your flip flops is enough to get yourself taken seriously as Southern superfan, take a look at the model citizens at left. A logo on your cheek will do just fine, but a full face of paint is a better bet if you actually want jumbotron coverage at the game.

  • Something Fried

    <a href="http://www.pillsbury.com/recipes/fried-panko-dipped-pickle-spears/722b6bdc-3a76-4ed4-bc48-8f69751ffc3e">Fried pickles</a> (like those pictured at left), fried chicken, fried fish... this is the South, after all. Just try not to go overboard on the breading or you'll be regretting it later on at the game.

  • A Tent

    In the South, tailgates go on whether there's rain or shine, and if it's the former, you're going to want a way to keep your food (and yourself) dry. If the latter, the tent can provide a much-needed respite from the sun on an extra-hot day.

  • Biscuits

    No major Southern event (or meal, for that matter) is complete without a side of biscuits. For tailgating purposes, <a href="http://www.pillsbury.com/recipes/beef-biscuit-sliders/b1e5d10d-74bf-4ee0-bab9-cc899a617234">substitute them for burger buns to make sliders</a>, stuff with ham and mustard, or serve with barbecue chicken wings to add some true Deep South flavor to the party. If you're using frozen biscuits, bake (only) as many as you need — with a few extras for seconds — and pop the rest back in the freezer for the next home game.

  • Beer Koozies Or Themed Drinks

    If you're sticking to beer, make sure that can is covered in a team-themed koozie. If juices or cocktails are more your style, start with your school's colors and go from there. For red, think grenadine or cranberry juice. For yellow, orange juice or lemons... and so on.

  • Well-Packed Coolers

    How to keep your beer colder than the tailgate next door? The secret's all in the packing. Start with a layer of ice lining the bottom, then, using beer that's already cold (it'll make your ice last longer), alternate layers of tightly-stacked beer and ice until the cooler is full. And don't forget a separate cooler for ice water. You've gotta stay hydrated if you're planning to last the whole day!

  • Folding Chairs

    Like any self-respecting fan knows, tailgates are an all-day affair. And since you're gonna be there a while, at some point, you're probably going to want to give your feet a break.

  • Deviled Eggs

    A Southern delicacy, deviled eggs are also extremely easy to customize to your team's colors by switching up a few of the toppings. Check out <a href="http://www.pillsbury.com/recipes/main-ingredient/eggs/deviled-eggs">these recipes</a> to get started.

  • The Trunk Of An SUV

    A trunk that opens out into your tailgating area will serve as an extra buffet table or serving station. Extra points if the car is decorated with team colors and slogans.

  • A Football

    Between the burgers, the biscuits and the beer, it's easy to forget that this is ultimately a celebration of football — not food. So it helps to actually bring, you know, a football. Throwing it around with friends is an easy way to stay active and ward off the temptation for a second — or third — helping.

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