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5 Things Not to Bring to a Tailgate Party

Big Old Side of Beef

For a lot of people, tailgating is all about the grill. There's something primally satisfying and way impressive about slapping a 10-pound (4.5-kilogram) pork loin rib roast over the coals. But large cuts of meat can be demanding. You'll need extra tools, dishes, time and attention for prepping and serving. There's also the challenge of cooking the interior to a safe temperature of 160ºF without drying the outside. (Partially cooking meat at home and finishing it on the grill may save time, but it's a risk safety-wise.) Tailgating isn't conducive to such effort. And don't forget the transportation logistics: A chunk of meat that size takes a cooler all its own.

A good performer knows his audience. A steady supply of well-done burgers or hot dogs, ready for the asking, will make you a grill master in the eyes of a hungry crowd.

If you're a sandwich maker, stick with simple, user-friendly fillings in a hand-held bun. Slices of corned beef and Monterey Jack (horseradish and sauerkraut on the table) pack a lot of flavor without the fuss. Save the nine-layer sub for the Super Bowl party.

Tailgating offers other chances to satisfy your food artistry -- within limits, as our next word to the wise shows.