Shhh… If you listen closely, you can almost hear it. The distant sound of drums and trumpets, the crash of helmets and pads, and of course, the echoing play-by-play commentary pumped over a large PA system or your car radio. It’s football season, and time for dedicated fans to show their team spirit — through age-old cheers, applications of body paint, and pregame tailgating celebrations in stadium parking lots.

Want to take your grilling on the road? The thought of throwing a tailgate might seem simple enough — move your patio cookout to the local sports complex, and POOF! You have a tailgate! While the classic tailgate party bears some resemblance to other outdoor eating experiences, stadium-side feasts have their own set of rules — what to eat, where to set up, and how to deal with challenges specific to game-day dining. To coach you to pregame victory, Blossman Gas has put together play-by-play Tailgating Tips that will make your next tailgate party a hit.

Plan Tailgating Ahead and Prep in Advance

To avoid last minute scrambling or forgetting essentials, make a checklist of all the food, drink, and equipment you plan to bring. Do as much prep work as possible the night before. For example, if you plan to make omelets for breakfast, break and mix the eggs, add the herbs and whatever else is going in, pour them into a jar, and then all you need to do is pour them into the hot pan with butter. For your grilling: chop, season, marinate, and stow in the fridge the night before so you have more time to throw the football.

Know the Rules

Most stadiums have strict guidelines regarding when, where, and how people can tailgate. Save yourself some serious hassle by checking your athletic department or stadium website for tailgating rules and guidelines.

Meet the Neighbors

If it is your first season on the tailgate circuit, be respectful of established “party lines.” At many campuses and stadiums, tribes of tailgaters have been setting up in the same place for decades. Once you find these loyal fans, be sure to check out their setup — they’re experts, and you’re bound to learn something.

Be Smart and Only Cook with Propane

Cooking with a propane grill will dramatically cut down the start-up time by lighting easily in a two-step process. You are ready for cooking in 5 minutes, not 20 to 30 minutes like charcoal. Propane gas offers precise temperature control for favorite recipes and costs about half to one-third as much to fuel as a charcoal grill. You will not have to hassle with charcoal bags or lighter fluid, and a huge plus is that propane grilling on average produces three-times less greenhouse gases than charcoal grilling.

Check Your Equipment the Night Before and Pack Spares

Check the weight of the propane tank. Nothing is worse than trying to find someone with a spare propane canister at the tailgate when everyone else is using their own. Often, tailgating involves pulling into an overcrowded parking lot with no chance to leave and come back so pack an extra propane cylinder and set of tongs.

Keep an Eye on the Clock

Since your party start time is tied to kickoff, coordination is everything. If you have a noon game, you’ll need to get a REALLY early start. If your team plays at night, you can sleep in. Either way, you do not want to miss out on any of the good pregame dining or schmoozing. To figure out just how early to get to the stadium, make a list of all your pregame tasks and how long each takes, then work backward from kickoff time.

Now, that you have the tips, are you ready for some football?