It’s fall. It’s football. What do you think of? I’ll give you hint. There’s beer. And also chili. Maybe something on the grill. Mmmm what’s that smell? That’s right! It’s tailgating time.
And to properly organize that pregame parking lot extravaganza, there are apps that make a smartphone or a tablet an essential tool. Here are some them.
The eponymously named Tailgating app is free on Apple and offers the best checklist-based system for tracking items you’ll need. The app lets you share your lists with your friends – although this option can be difficult to operate.
The checklist is divided into two major categories: food and all the other stuff. Sadly, the offered list was a bit short on alcoholic beverages. Maybe the app designers are trying to tell you something.
But there’s no question that using the Tailgating checklists, and reality checking them by sharing them with others, can be tremendous help in this day and age when tailgating parties have morphed from actual tailgates to several picnic tables and an enormous grill – all towed into the parking lot.
Also useful, but compared to Tailgating still a bit underdeveloped, are Tailgate Fan (free on Apple and Android) and TailgateChamp (free on iOS). These apps are especially good for publicizing your party among friends.
Tailgate Fan was developed by CBS Local Digital Media and is still in testing stage. With this app, you can post details of your planned party on the Tailgate Fan web site (tailgatefan.com). Once you’ve posted, invitees can use the app to locate the party on a map and paste photos of the gathering.
Tailgate Fan even allows competition among those who party hardy in the parking lot. You can compare your photos with those of other tailgate gatherings. A point system rewards those who post the most photos and attract the most virtual visitors.
OK. Now you’re organized, posted, gathered, photographed, and ready to eat. What’s to eat? True tailgate aficionados have only one answer: grilled meat – and plenty of it.
Hauling in the grill isn’t the problem. Football stadium parking lots these days are filled with all manner of grills from tiny hibachis to towed-in monsters. The problem is getting that meat done to perfection. With all the distractions going on a typical party to divide the griller’s attention, the result is too often a carbonized and inedible main course. Your smartphone can help you here too.
The clever iGrill is a small plastic box that you connect to a metal probe. The probe, of course, goes in the meat and the box wirelessly connects to your smarphone via the iGrill app (the app is free on Apple but the box and probe will set you back a hundred bucks).
Expensive? Mais oui. But there are those who swear by it. When the meat is grilled just right, your phone alerts you. So go ahead and toss that football while those steaks sizzle. Apps rule.