All right, so you are headed to a Dallas Cowboys home game this season? It’s time to do the tailgating thing the right way.
The best way to take in a Pokes game at AT&T Stadium is to ease into the day by getting there early. Feeling like you want to be the first ones? Lots open five hours before kickoff. Some fans advise getting to the gates an hour before they open for big games. If the Cowboys win, stay late. The pre-game party can go post-game as well, as the team permits tailgating up to two hours after the final whistle.
Below are some tips on making the best Dallas Cowboys home game pre-party experience for you and your friends to enjoy:
Where to set up your tailgate
Tailgating at AT&T Stadium occurs in Lots 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15. These lots all sit adjacent to grassy areas, and tailgaters have access to their tailgating space and grass. Fans must set up on the grassy areas, so no tents, etc., behind or in front of your car in the lot itself.
Silver Lot 4 tops the list of recommended spots since it puts you close to the stadium. You’ll also be amid the densest amount of fans pre-game. The lot is centrally located, so if you have friends parking in lots all around the stadium, they’ll be able to get there with ease. In 2014, celebrity chef Guy Fieri hit Lot 4 and judged a best tailgate burger contest among three Cowboys fans.
Some pre-gamers advocate for Blue Lot 11 as the lot is located southwest of the stadium and a big chunk of the cash lots are situated on this side, making for more foot traffic to the stadium, increasing the atmosphere. Plus, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ helicopter lands near this lot, so there’s a chance you’ll get to see him come in if you are there early enough.
How to make your tailgate the best
The best host to a tailgate is always the one who is the most prepared. Make sure all the food is prepped for the party. Be sure to marinate meat, chop veggies and season turkey and hamburger patties. Grab all of the condiments you think you may need. There’s always that friend who wants mayo on his hot dog.
Make sure you put together a tailgate toolbox. Let’s take a look at what a five-level toolbox could look like. At the bottom, you can store plates, plasticware and napkins. Set aside one layer for sunscreen, lip balm, Kleenex and bug spray. File condiments and spices on one level. A can and bottle opener, scissors, tongs and any other flat utensil goes in another. And last, earmark the top level for matches, a can opener, salt-and-pepper shakers and a small flashlight. The official Dallas Cowboys online store has almost 300 team-branded tailgating items to add color to the pre-party.
In North Texas, be prepared for any weather. For early season games, the tailgating landscape at AT&T Stadium is dotted with tents. Temperatures may push past 100 degrees, and you’ll want to provide your guests as much shade as possible. Tailgaters may face sub-freezing weather as the season drifts into December and January. While the temps are still hovering in the triple-digits, grab a heater that can operate on batteries or a car battery if you plan on tailgating late in the season.
If beer and wine are going to be a part of your tailgate for a Sunday day game, you’ll want to stock up the night before. The infamous “Blue Laws” in Texas still prohibit the sale of beer and wine before noon on Sunday.
Other tips Dallas Cowboys fans have for tailgaters
Chill out on the tunes. A lot of folks want to enjoy their own tailgates. Don’t ruin their party by blasting your music too loud.
Don’t hoard the parking spaces. Yes, you want your buddies to enjoy the party with their cars next to yours, but AT&T lots don’t operate on the “this-seat-is-saved” policy. You must caravan to the stadium if you want to enjoy the pregame with your buds.
Leave the flames and fryers at home. Yeah, deep-fried turkey sounds awesome to chomp on before the Cowboys’ annual home game on Thanksgiving. But you’ll have to prep and cook the bird ahead of time if that’s the meal. It’s a no-no to bring deep-fryers and open flames to cook pre-game meals. Only charcoal or gas cooking is permitted.
Always bring one extra chair. While planning for any tailgate, toss in one more folding chair for that friend (or stranger) who’ll show up without one. You’ll be the hero of the party for one unprepared guest.
Be prepared for more trash than you think. Come to the stadium with a roll of kitchen trash bags, or at least four to five in tow. These work better than one big yard trash bag, as multiple bags can be hauled off by different cars to ensure one fan doesn’t get stuck with the large bag.