Believe it or not, there aren’t many things that can truly be called 100% American. Certainly, a lot of our food was inspired by cuisines from around the world. In other words, we didn’t invent pizza but we sure perfected it! As for music, we can take claim to being the originators of jazz and that’s cool, daddio. In the sporting world, most of our professional sports started out as versions of a game borrowed from Europe. That is certainly true for football. However, there is one thing associated with football that is uniquely American. That would be the tailgate party.

No one is quite sure how this all started but tailgating has become just as important as the actual games itself. You can show up at a game and make the rounds of tailgaters set up in the stadium parking lot. Chances are you’ll be invited in for a brew or a brat. The best way to show your appreciation is to host your own tailgate party. It doesn’t take much effort and it’s a great way to show off your team spirit. Here’s what you need to do to throw the ultimate tailgate party:

Step #1: Gather Up the Fans

Tailgating is like a big block party in a football stadium parking lot. That starts with groups of fans hosting their own “section” of the party. You’ll want to gather up your fan group and coordinate their arrival. Everyone should get to the same spot at the same time. If you can car pool, then all the better.

Step #2: Plan the Menu

Many tailgaters take this party seriously. They’ll bring grills and hot plates and do a lot of the cooking on site. If you’ve got the skills and the mobile cooking equipment, then have at it! A better approach would be to plan a menu that is based on simple prep and set up. You can easily have warm food with a chafing dish and sterno flame. If you have an outlet in your car, then consider a Crockpot item. Just be aware of potential battery drain. Keep in mind the best tailgate food are the items you can eat with your hands. There isn’t a lot of sit down dining at tailgate parties.

Step #3: Get There Early

Before you throw your first tailgate party, you want to get the lay of the land. That would be the parking lot. There might be an unofficial/official tailgating section. Ask those tailgaters how early they show up to claim a spot. That will be your guide as to picking the perfect destination for your gang. You might not all have to show up at the same time but there should be a least one advance scout who has the right vehicle for the tailgate.

Step #4: Show Your Colors

You’re throwing a tailgate party to have fun and demonstrate your team spirit. That means everyone needs to be wearing the team colors. Get some!

Step #5: Clean Up

It goes without saying that you should cleanup after your tailgate party. Be sure to bring plenty of garbage bags for the trash. If you can’t find a dumpster to drop it off at the stadium, then it won’t be hard to find one on the way home. Set an example for the kids!

Will you be throwing a tailgating party this year?