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posted: 9/9/2011 6:00 AM

Tailgating comish gives tips for pre-game parties

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  • Line your grill with foil for easy clean-up and choose drinks in aluminum cans for quick chilling, says Joe Cahn, the Commissioner of Tailgating.

    Line your grill with foil for easy clean-up and choose drinks in aluminum cans for quick chilling, says Joe Cahn, the Commissioner of Tailgating.
    Courtesy of Coyne Public Relations

By Joe Cahn

As The Commissioner of Tailgating I believe I have the best job in the world. I can say that. I invented it.

I am the world's only professional tailgater, and for the last 15 years, I've traveled the country with my cat Sophie in my RV, the Joe Mobile. I've tailgated at more than 800 games and traveled more than 800,000 miles, tailgating with millions of fans across the country. I've visited every NFL stadium, more than 125 college stadiums and 17 NASCAR tracks.

To enhance your tailgating experience, I would like to offer these tips to you, especially if you are attending the Bears vs. Falcons game Sunday, Sept. 11 at Soldier Field:

Drink out of cans: Use aluminum cans when tailgating because they are the smartest choice. Cans are great for tailgating because they are portable, stackable, durable, infinitely recyclable and safer. They also cool faster.

Keep it clean: Consider buying small bags of chips instead of the large bags to share with your fellow tailgaters. Utilize a cereal dispenser for nuts and M&M's. This will help eliminate germs and keep everyone clean.

Designate a griller: Nothing spoils a tailgate faster than burned food. Make sure whoever is manning the grill on game day isn't intoxicated. Your tailgate party will thank you.

Be safe: Always have a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit on hand. Let's face it; you need fire to cook, so you need an extinguisher to douse the fire if there's an accident.

Freeze your water: If you get bottled water, freeze it. The day of the game, pop it in to the cooler. If it's hot out, you can take it out as it melts and you'll have plenty of cold water.

Prep for burgers: Make your burgers in advance -- and make sure they are no thicker than inch -- thick burgers can take a long time to cook. If you like to eat, stack patties.

Foil the grates: Line your portable grill with aluminum foil for easy cleanup and disposal of spent charcoal. You can use any kind, but I recommend using heavy-duty foil. It is a little more durable and stronger.

Laminate your checklist: Laminating your checklist allows you to simply check items off with a dry erase marker as you pack. When you're done, wipe it off and you'll be ready for the next game.

Chicago is the second stop of the Can Crusade, a 17-city tour of NFL stadiums to remind people that using aluminum cans during a tailgate is the smartest choice. I invite you to tailgate with me at Soldier Field this Sunday, Sept. 11 where I will be handing out Can Crusade T-shirts, hats and can handles at my RV.

You can follow me on Twitter (@Tailgating_com) to find out where I'll be parked at Soldier Field. For more information on the Can Crusade including tailgating recipes and proper etiquette, visit I hope to see you Sunday.