Super Bowl Sunday is almost upon us. (You know, just in case, you hadn’t heard.) And while the Falcons and Patriots players are currently going over their gameplans and last-minute preparation in advance of the big day, any self-respecting football fan should be doing the same.
The only difference is, while they’re busy polishing their routes and practicing the plays that’ll hopefully get them into the end zone, the rest of us are focused on just one thing: the best way to go H.A.M. on a massive spread of food. Warm up with chips and dip first, or rush straight for the main event? No one ever said the path to Super Bowl party glory was going to be easy.
So, to help you gameplan for the big day, I’ve attempted to rank the most popular gameday foods, using a highly (read: not at all) scientific method. Now go out there and give it 110 percent, take it one chicken wing at a time, and eat as much fried food and salty snacks as your body can physically handle. We’ll be rooting for you.
Are you kidding? Hard pass.
14. Anything That Requires Cutlery
I’ve seen recipes for Super Bowl lasagna. Veal parmesan. Enchiladas. All fine meals the other 364 days of the year. But think of it this way: every second spent looking down at a knife and fork is a second your eyes aren’t on the TV. If it can’t be eaten with your bare hands, it doesn’t belong at a Super Bowl party. It’s just that simple.
13. A Vegetable Platter
Basically salad, just in a different form. And sure, on paper, a vegetable platter seems like a great idea. The perfect way to balance out all that grease and cheese. But moderation is for Monday. And so are veggies. Pro tip: save the Ranch dressing for the wings.
12. Tortilla Chips
Tortilla chips are to Super Bowl parties what wheels are to your car – worthless on their own, but you can’t do without them. Still, it’s always chips and salsa, chips and guacamole. No one eats tortilla chips on their own. (Except serial killers, maybe.) Which is why we can’t in good conscience rank them any higher. They’re a role player, not an MVP candidate.
11. Mozzarella Sticks
The positives: combines the two main Super Bowl party food groups, cheese and breading. The downside: turn into leaden grease-clumps the minute they get cold.
10. Jalapeno Poppers
Essentially a more EXTREME! version of the mozzarella stick.
9. Potato Chips
Chips get a Top 10 spot simply for being the hardest Super Bowl food to screw up. Open a bag, pour into bowl. Boom. You’re done. Sour cream and onion, salt and vinegar, plain Ruffles, it really doesn’t matter. Bringing a bag of chips to a Super Bowl party is the equivalent of bringing a bottle of wine to a dinner party. It’s just what you do. But remember: filling up on chips before halftime is a total rookie move. You’re better than that.
Chili is the perfect lazy man’s gameday meal: you can toss a bunch of ingredients in a pot or slow cooker and just sit back, leaving you copious time to do other things (like, uh, watching football). That alone earns it our sole exemption to the “no cutlery” rule.
Yes, pizza is awesome. That much is not up for debate. But this is the Super Bowl. Not the Regular-Ass-Weeknight Bowl. Step your game up, people.
6. Baked Goods Decorated to Look Like Tiny Footballs
Clever, but not really necessary. There’s “cute” and then there’s trying too hard.
5. Seven-Layer Dip
There’s no shortage of dip options come Super Bowl Sunday: bean dip, sour cream, spinach. But only one can reign supreme. Salsa, refried beans, guacamole – all great on their own, but when their powers combine, they’re unbeatable. And on a day that’s all about going big or going home, anything less than seven layers can GTFO of my living room.
“Isn’t this just another dip?” you might be asking yourself. But let me remind you that the best Super Bowl foods are essentially just vehicles for getting as much cheese as possible into your body. And it’s kind of hard to beat a dish that’s basically nothing but molten hot cheese. The only downside with queso? It currently remains socially unacceptable to stick your entire hand into the bowl, necessitating some kind of non-cheese delivery system (i.e. a chip).
Doesn’t matter if they’re of the pulled pork, turkey burger or just regular old beef variety. Any food that you can A) eat a whole pile of and B) makes you feel like a giant while doing so is an A-plus gameday food.
Again, nachos are a dish that’s all about combining a variety of foods that make excellent Super Bowl options on their own, with the added bonus of not having to do any of the work yourself. The only thing that keeps them from going #1 overall is the potential for uneven distribution of toppings. The prospect of going in for a fistful of goodness and coming up with nothing but a bare chip is the stuff of Super Bowl nightmares. (Or, uh, maybe that’s just me…)
1. Chicken Wings
It’s estimated that Americans will go through 1.33 billion wings during the big game this year, and you can put me down for approximately half of those. Chicken wings have become the platonic ideal of football food for good reason: they come in a seemingly endless variety of sauces and flavours, they’re messy AF, and you can put away a bunch of them in a single sitting, sitting atop the resulting mountain of bones like some kind of Viking king. What could possibly be better than that? Nothing, that’s what.