February 1, 2011
The march to the Big Game is on and Grilling.com wants to make sure that your pre-game tailgate goes off without a hitch. Here’s some quick tips to get the party started right.
’Theme’ me up, Scottie. Creating a theme for the Big Game is easy – the teams’ hometowns offer regional flavors and specifies that translate terrifically on the grill – don’t let cooking away from home prevent you from showcasing your grilling style be it a Chicago style hot dog, some Buffalo like hot wings or California inspired tri-tip tacos.
Team sport. Grilling is not a solitary activity. Turn over the reins occasionally so you can circulate among your guests. Everyone is already drawn to that magical combination of meat and fire – be sure and share the fun. Giving guests a role in the party makes it more enjoyable for all.
Know your menu. The last thing you need on game day is to realize you’ve left a key ingredient or tool at home. Decide on a menu in advance and create a checklist of items necessary to execute it onsite.
Home base. Whether mixing a batch of chili or pre-slicing vegetables and meats for kebobs, you can minimize on-site mess and leave yourself more time to enjoy the experience by doing as much prep work as possible at home. Place items in labeled plastic bags, place in the cooler, and you’re ready to rumble.
Survival kit. Before the first game of the season, fill a plastic bin with a variety of essentials including a small fire extinguisher (better to be safe than sorry), tinfoil (to be used for everything from cleaning a grill grate to creating a pouch for steaming vegetables), extra batteries (for portable lights, radios, etc.), ponchos (in case of rain), disinfectant wipes (for quick cleanups), etc.
Cleanliness first. Just because you’re cooking outside doesn’t mean you can skip preparing food safely. Keep raw meats in different coolers separated from vegetables and beverages and designate different-colored cutting boards for different foods. Disposable food safe gloves (available at restaurant supply stores and most big box retailers) are also great way to avoid cross contamination and pocket thermometers ensure meats are properly cooked.
We’ve got power. Available for under $200, small generators provide the added convenience of working electricity, whether for brightening up those themed party lights or powering up the blender for customized cocktails.
Extend your reach. For taller grill masters, preparing food all day on a too-low folding table can wreck havoc on your back. Cut 2” round PVC pipe into four 18” sections and place each table leg into one to raise the overall height.
- Clint Cantwell, Guest Editor