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How to throw an epic big game party

A game plan for a game day you can enjoy just as much as your guests.

pigs-in-a-blanket-recipe-chowhound

Homemade pigs in a blanket never hurt.

Chowhound

There's one team that everyone roots for, whether your eyes are glued to the game or you're more focused on those fantastic commercials, and that's Team Food. Not sure where to start when it comes to planning the perfect big game party? No stress, just get some coaching tips from our game day party playbook, and you'll be serving up touchdown-worthy recipes in no time.

Read more: Watch the Super Bowl 2020 in 4K for free

1. Make some dishes that don't require attention while eating

slow-cooker-party-mix-recipe-chowhound

Mmm, slow cooker party mix.

Chowhound

Wings are fabulous finger food, but the presence of bones means they require more attention than many other scarf-worthy snacks, and guacamole demands a modicum of coordination to get it onto your chip. It's easier to keep your eyes on the pigskin when noshing on preskewered meatballs, or even pigs in a blanket (though dipping in different sauces complicates things a little). 

Just have at least a couple grab-and-gobble options for those who are actually there to watch the game first and eat second, in case they truly can't tear their eyes away from the screen. Try Chowhound's slow cooker party mix recipe, or make ever-popular popcorn and dress it up with homemade seasonings.

2. Have enough beer -- and beer openers

It's key to have enough beer. And to have a way to open it, in case you're not just dealing with twist-offs and pop tops. Consider stocking up on multiple openers like these rubber-coated stainless steel openers (six for $11 on Amazon) to stash around your viewing area. (Try these ways of securing your bottle opener so it stays in place.) But if you do lose track of it, pull out a nifty party trick and up your awesomeness by learning how to open the beer bottle with a pen. If you want to get a little fancier, but not as fancy as game day wine, consider batching up some beer cocktails for the big game.

3. Bring out the heaviest players during halftime

juicy-lucy-cheeseburger-recipe-chowhound

A Juicy Lucy burger will slay at halftime.

Chowhound

This means brats, burgers and other such meaty mains. Even though your guests have been eating for a good portion of the game, they're bound to still be hungry after a few beers. And during the half, they'll have time to devote to properly chowing down. Trust us, more food is good for one and all.

Read more: The best meat delivery services for 2020

4. Remember to include some healthy options

Just because game day is stereotyped as a barbecuing, testosterone-fueled, tailgating-type shindig doesn't mean that every recipe has to be so fat-filled that it's sure to clog your arteries. Serve prepped veggies with a flavorful homemade dip, like this remoulade or blue cheese dressing, and lighten up your queso. Sneak in some plant-based junk food options, and check out these other healthy game day snacks. Your waistline will thank you, and so will your guests. (Don't forget the keto folks, or vegans either.)

5. Call on your Crock-Pot -- or your Instant Pot

pulled-pork

Pulled pork, always a winner.

Chowhound

If you don't want to be distracted in the kitchen, make one (or several) slow cooker game day recipes that can hang out on the kitchen counter so guests can serve themselves. They're handy for super bowls of soup as well, in case you like things that are easy, delicious and punny.

Or take the opposite tack and pick a quick-cooking Instant Pot preparation like this veggie chili.

6. Don't be afraid of shortcuts

Just because you're hosting doesn't mean you shouldn't sit down and enjoy yourself, so consider taking some game day party shortcuts. There are lots of easy crescent roll recipes perfect for the occasion, and delicious ways to hack biscuit mix too. Try transforming store-bought pizza dough if you prefer that. Or just order in some gourmet frozen pizza and call it a day.

7. Don't forget dessert

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S'mores stout brownies.

Chowhound

Keep it to finger food, like brownies, bars and cookies, but don't leave your guests craving something sweet (other than the taste of victory, of course). Think: sticky peanut cookie bars, marble cheesecake bars, s'mores bars, chocolate chip cookies and s'mores stout brownies -- but if cakes and cupcakes are more your cup of tea, our sister site Chowhound has those too.