If anyone can pull off a party in a parking lot, it's Guy Fieri. The Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives star is a die-hard football fan and, as the host of Tailgate Warriors, he travels the country scoping out hard-core tailgating setups. Check out these tips he's learned along the way.
Rule #1 Excite the crowd! One-up typical tailgating grub like burgers and hot dogs. Guy uses kobe beef to give these sliders an unexpected highbrow twist.
Rule #2 Make hand-held food. Guy's goal at a tailgate party: Avoid utensils. He serves food you can hold in one hand, like these Asian Chicken Lettuce Cups.
Rule #3 Wrap it up! Wraps are the ultimate tailgating food: They're easy to eat and transport, and kids love them. You can do all the work at home for these Creole Chicken Wraps, then pack them up on game day.
Rule #4 Make it a team sport. Don't be shy about putting friends to work: Ask pals to pitch in and bring a signature dish or drink. Guy's buddy Dirty P's chicken thighs are always a hit.
Rule #5 Watch the clock! Coaches don't wait until game time to plan their strategy, and you shouldn't either. One week before: Pick your menu. Decide what you want to cook – and what you want your guests to bring (see Rule No. 4). Two days before: Shop for ingredients and for supplies like disposable plates and utensils. The night before: "Chop, slice, marinate, brine, freeze and blend at home – do anything you can to prep ahead!" Guy says.
Rule #6 Pack like a pro. Guy keeps a box of knives, tongs, cutting boards, plastic bags and aluminum foil ready to go for his next tailgate.
Rule #7 Stay cool. To save room in your cooler, freeze water bottles before the game and use them as ice packs. They'll thaw by the time you're ready to eat, so you'll have ice-cold water for everyone to drink.
Rule #8 Take a time-out. The cook should have fun too, so don't worry about making every single thing from scratch. Guy gave us the go-ahead to put out top-notch corn chips, pita chips and cocktail mixers from the store. And he isn't a big fan of dessert, so he usually picks up cookies from a local bakery on his way to a game.
Rule #9 Fire it up. Skip the lighter fluid (and its funky taste) and use a chimney starter, an aluminum canister sold at hardware stores. Guy fills his with lump charcoal, which ignites faster and burns more cleanly than briquettes.
Rule #10 Clean up your act. Cooking without a sink is messy, so bring disinfecting wipes or, if your spread is huge, make table sanitizer by mixing one tablespoon of bleach into a one-gallon jug of water. Guy also packs collapsible trash cans and a box of trash bags. And plastic containers are great for leftovers – in the rare event that you have any.