he Super Bowl only happens once a year - make the most of the big game by throwing a raucous party filled with easy-to-eat snacks and enough beverages for all. Traditional chips and dips, simple appetizers, hand-held main courses, and good-quality disposable plates and napkins are a good, basic strategy when planning a Super Bowl party menu. And remember, football is a hot-blooded sport. Rivalries, friendly to somewhat-serious, are encouraged and the wearing of team colors is absolutely essential.
Full-Coverage TV Strategy
If you’ve invited more than six or eight people over, chances are conversations will get noisy and not everyone will have a good seat. Tune in to the game on TVs in a few different rooms, including the kitchen, to encourage movement and mingling and to get the cooks in on the action.
First Line of Defense: Snacks
Make-ahead and store-bought snacks are a Super Bowl party host’s best friends. Set them out just before the guests arrive to keep everyone comfortable from kick-off to the final whistle.
- Dips. Some dips actually improve in flavor when allowed to sit in the fridge overnight, so whip up a couple of varieties the day before. Sour cream and herb and black-bean dips are both good choices. Salsa and freshly made guacamole are also must-haves, but they are best prepared the day of the game.
- Chips, chips, chips. It cannot be understated. A successful party always has lots of chips.
- Pigs in a Blanket. A party staple, Pigs in a Blanket are deceptively easy to make at home when you employ store-bought frozen puff pastry. Spice up this retro-classic appetizer by swapping in duck hot dogs, paprika-seasoned Spanish chorizo, or spicy lamb merguez sausage for traditional cocktail weenies.
- Cheese and cured meats. Whether your guests prefer beer, wine, or iced tea, no one can resist the allure of high-quality cheeses and cured meats. For ease of eating, pre-slice or cube all cheese and provide toothpicks for self-serving. Prosciutto-wrapped hunks of Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino-Romano cheese are especially tasty combinations.
Dainty cuts and lean meats just won’t suffice on Super Bowl Sunday. Pull out all the stops on this guy’s-guy holiday and dish up a juicy array of steaks, sausages, and chops straight from the grill. Keep messy sauces to a minimum and make sure to marinate meat a day in advance.
- Sausages. Go traditional with bratwurst and hot dogs or get gourmet with chicken sausages and game-meat sausages. Seasoned with truffles, apple, or liqueur, these sophisticated links can be grilled and then sliced into rounds, making the sausages easy to sample.
- Steaks. To wow your meat-loving friends, start with high-quality ingredients, such as pasture-raised beef or Kobe-style Wagyu steaks. These meltingly tender cuts benefit from savory marinades (such as garlic, fresh herbs, black peppercorns, and red wine) and quick cooking times over high heat. Once the steaks are cooked to desired doneness, let them stand for 10 minutes before slicing into strips.
- Chops. Marinated in rosemary, garlic, and olive oil, frenched lamb chops grilled to medium-rare are a succulent addition to the hand-held offerings. Scraped clean of fat and sinew, the lamb chop bones become a built-in utensil.
- Buffalo wings. What Super Bowl party is complete without this spicy ode to the humble chicken wing? Save yourself the trouble of deep-frying and prepare these wings in the oven. Simply grease a sheet tray with vegetable oil, dredge wings in seasoned flour, drizzle with butter, and oven-fry at 425 degree F for about 45 minutes, turning once. When the chicken is cooked through, remove from the oven and douse with spicy Buffalo sauce, which is equal parts melted butter and hot sauce.
Coolers are a smart strategy for party drinks. Storing beverages in the refrigerator means guests will be forced to continually open and close the fridge door, warming up the contents and causing traffic jams as a result. Placing clearly marked coolers of beer, wine, and nonalcoholic beverages in the kitchen and out by the grill promotes easy access and happy guests.