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13 Tailgating Dos and Donts

From beers to dips to not setting the stadium on fire, here’s how to rule the parking lot this season.

1. Make a supplies checklist.
Getting organized may seem slightly less thrilling than a C-SPAN marathon, but it’s a buzz kill to get stuck with a glowing grill, a stack of frankfurters and no tongs. You don’t want to be stuck fingering hot, plump wieners, right?

2. Paint body after eating.
Hey, Picasso: If you’re going to paint your team colors on your body, do it after you’ve eaten. Nothing says team spirit like mustard and BBQ sauce on your nipples.

3. You get one parking spot, buddy.
Though your car may be the approximate size of Albert Haynesworth after an eve at the Old Country Buffet, resist the urge to swallow more than one parking space. It’s against most stadium regulations. In fact, check your team’s website for rules before setting up camp: You don’t want to be booted before the game. Save that for the fourth quarter when your team is losing by three touchdowns and you want to sucker punch that loudmouth rival in row 21.

4. Stay within your boundaries as a cook.
Mario and Emeril make whipping up four-star meals seem as easy as getting laid on prom night, but game day is not the time to try to stuff a turducken. Besides, everyone’s plastered: They’ll be happy to pack their pie holes with brats, burgers and hot dogs.

5. Designate one man as lord of the flames.
It’s tough to run a tailgate party and tend to the Weber too, so ask one trusted grill master to oversee the sizzling flesh. It’s no burden; it’s an early Christmas present.

6. Choose your dips wisely.
Five-star choices include onion dip paired with thick-cut, kettle-fried taters such as Zapp’s, Fritos dunked into gooey queso or tortilla chips with fiery salsa. However, serving hummus and carrots to your friends grants them every right to duct tape your mouth, bind your arms and legs with luggage straps and use you as a tackling dummy.

7. Bring ice ice, baby!
So much ice! Enough ice to re-create The Day After Tomorrow! You do not want your beers, cheese or, more importantly, mayonnaise to get warm. Salmonella is not a secret ingredient.

8. Reduce bathroom trips.
It’s great to pound can after can of light, watery brews, but you don’t want to spend half the game rooting against No. 1. Look to more potent canned beers such as 21st Amendment’s nicely bittered Brew Free or Die! IPA or Oskar Blues’ potent, oil-thick Ten Fidy imperial stout. You can still crush them on your forehead.

9. Leave the liquor at home.
No one appreciates an angry whiskey drunk, and tequila will only make you weepy. Remember: There’s no crying in football.

10. Keep a close eye on the clock.
You’re here to pre-game, not miss the game. Kickoff waits for no man, especially one sucking down a last-minute beer bong.

11. Bring tickets. Duh.
Assign one trustworthy guy to keep the tickets safe. Or the glove compartment: The glove compartment will never pass out and let you down.

12. Don’t be a litterbug.
Bring garbage bags. Gather your paper plates, silverware and cups, then wipe up the mess with paper towels. Extinguish coals and flames. No, leaving garbage behind does not create jobs.

13. Recycle empty beer cans to gain favor with the Almighty.
Lord knows your team could use every last bit of luck, and sorting cans is certainly easier than the good-juju alternative: animal sacrifice.

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