Last Friday, we prepared for football and tailgating season with a satisfying recipe for Luck O’ the Irish Lamb Chops With Minty Ranch Dipping Sauce. Regardless of whether you’re a football fan, why not use the opportunity to fire up the barbecue, gather friends and family, and bring the tailgating party home?   

Chris Lilly, champion pitmaster and owner of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur, Alabama, says the key to a successful backyard tailgate is a winning game plan.   

“I like to do as much as I can prior to game day so that when my guests arrive, I am free to enjoy myself,” he says. “Easy steps such as marinating meat the night before, preparing a checklist of necessary items to avoid last-minute trips to the market and choosing simple recipes make all the difference when you are trying to catch the first quarter.”   

World champion quarterback and restaurateur Joe Theismann (left) says he has spent some of his favorite game days in his own backyard. He fires up Luck O’ the Irish Lamb Chops to honor his alma mater.   

“Tailgating at home gives you the ultimate home field advantage,” he says. “The grill is always going, the glasses are always topped off, and there is always room for a quick game of pickup football between family and friends.”   

Here are some additional grilling tips from the experts at Kingsford:   

Score an Early First Down. Marinate meat the night prior to game day, using a large plastic storage bag for even, easy coating.   

Create a Burger Blitz. For a better game-day burger, poke a small hole in the center of the patty. This will stop the meat from rising in the center, allowing for a delicious, evenly cooked burger. For extra flavor, try adding barbecue sauce.   

Avoid Pass Interference. Make sure there’s a radio or small TV by the grill and in the kitchen so you don’t miss any of the action.   

Take It Into Overtime. To regulate cooking temperature, use two grills. On the larger grill, create hot and cool zones to rotate your meat from searing to indirect cooking. On the smaller grill, create a normal fire and cook hors d’oeuvres and desserts.   

Tune in tomorrow for another crowd-pleasing recipe that’s sure to score a touchdown!