Some of the country's most legendary tailgating parties last for several days, and even the shortest tailgates can last several hours. While grilling is still king when it comes to tailgate food, sides and appetizers are just as important for a successful party. If you plan to grill, prepare as much food as possible the day before to free up time for partying on game day. Simply throwing preseasoned and precut food on the grill is a lot easier than trying to prepare it while surrounded by excited tailgaters. Bring plenty of finger foods, such as chips and dip, appetizers or wings to share, and if you want to keep it simple, skip complicated dishes or those that require utensils.
Food poisoning can quickly ruin a good party, so keep all dairy-based dishes on ice until you're ready to consume them. Better yet, skip the mayo and stick to vinegar-based salads, which last longer with less refrigeration [source: Bonne]. Bring plenty of plates, napkins and other essentials to keep the party going and avoid last-minute trips to the store. And don't forget to bring enough trash bags and recycling bins to haul it all away at the end of the day!