Best Tailgating Grilling Accessories
Tailgating gear all #MeatGeeks should own to make every tailgate party a sure fire win. We've reviewed the most important tailgating cooking accessories to provide our top pick in each category.
Everything you need for a successful tailgate party.
It’s that time of year again. We wake up at the crack of dawn (at least those of us on the West Coast do) to gather at stadiums across America as we prepare to transform ourselves into degenerate shouting maniacs.
In anticipation of what 60 minutes on the gridiron will bring, we stuff our faces with our closest friends in a parking lot – it's an experience every fan should know.
However, a memorable tailgate session doesn’t come without preparation and elbow grease. Someone has to take one for the team to ensure ‘The Festival of Great Tasting Foods’ is plentiful. The key to cooking away from home is to be sure you have the right tools for the job. Not just the right tools, the best tools. We all know what it’s like to improvise with tools that “will work”. From a well-designed portable grill to key grilling accessories, all of these recommended products will guarantee a simple and effective tailgating grilling experience –work smarter.
Weber Grill - Portable Smokey Joe
With a wide range of portable grills on the market, the Weber Portable is designed to work just as well as portable grills that cost five times as much. Not only does it cook well, but it is the most functional grills at its price point; functionality is key when it comes to portable products. You don’t want to wrestle with a grill that takes forever to assemble, is hard to clean and makes a huge greasy mess when it comes time to load it into the car. Simple, well designed, and most importantly, portable.
This grill will hold about half a dozen burgers and should hold enough briquettes to cook two rounds of burgers. I call that a big-time win.
Spatula - Weber 6680 Essentials Spatula
A spatula thin enough to navigate the tight space of a portable grill while sturdy enough to flip a thick juicy burger. Reviewing spatulas in the $15 range, this one was chosen by many of the top grilling experts for an on-the-go spatula. The handle’s design feels right for flipping and navigating the grill with precision. While this spatula is our pick for tailgating, it’s not the most ideal spatula for home use, heavier meats such as steaks were a bit of a strain on the petite design.
Tongs - Outset Verde Locking Tongs
A good pair of tongs are worth the few bucks you’ll spend. For tailgate grilling, I look for a pair of tongs with a rigged pincer design. This style of tongs allows you to grip a variety of foods. The key design element of these tongs is the concave area in the pincers – it’s just right – not too flat not too sunk-in. All other rigged style tongs at this price point seemed too sharp around the edges or not flat enough, which can result in puncturing meat. Outset Verde tongs work well with hotdogs, burgers and even getting under several cuts of asparagus to pick them up all at once. It’s nice when tools work like they should; not so nice when they don’t.
Chimney - Weber Rapidfire Starter
If you don’t already own one of these, buy one now; and you’ll never have to buy another $5 bottle of lighter fluid from the gas station again. One of the most common tailgating fails is forgetting lighter fluid.
Load in your charcoal, shove paper in at the bottom, light it and the chimney’s design does the rest. It takes about 15 minutes for the coals to become cook ready, then just pour them into your grill. You’ll want to fill the chimney about ¾ of the way with charcoal in order to fill the portable weber grill we recommend above.
Flip Thermometer - Flip Tip Instant Read
It’s about simplicity. Well, that and accuracy. This is one of the most compact digital thermometers that can stand up to the rigors of travailing. It doesn’t come with overly complicated bells and whistles – just the basics. There are various flip style thermometers on the market, for the price, this is a good buy as it is on the lower price point with similar design and performance or other more expensive ones. One thing to note: leaving a digital thermometer in the sun on a hot day can cause issues with the display.
Grill Wok - Man Law Stainless Steel Wok
Almost every tailgate meal can benefit from grilled vegetables. From sweet peppers, chilies, onions and tomatoes you can easily add them the grill without needing a utensil to flip them, or worry about them falling through the grill. Just give them a course chop (coat them in some oil if you have it) and toss them in the Wok; then just give the Wok a shake every few minutes and voilà!: sweet, smokey and charred vegetables. Consider prepping the veggies at home to eliminate most of the work come tailgate time.
EZ Grill - Disposable Instant Grill Party Size
If you’re like me you like to pack light, and pack-up as little as possible. This bad boy does that. While it’s not much to look at, it gets the job done. It comes with presoaked charcoal; so strike a match, let it sit for 15 minutes and you’re ready to grill. You can expect about 30 – 45 minutes of cooking time and enough room to cook about half a dozen burgers or about three steaks. When you’re done, toss it – done and done.
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Casserole Case - Rachael Ray Lugger
For those times when you leave the grill at home to take your family’s famous casserole you want to be sure your insulated travel case will keep it hot as possible. This is one of the best insulated food totes on the market. It keeps food close to its original temperature for three hours. It also excelled when it came to keeping a 13 x 9 dish snug and secure, additionally the case is design for easy carrying.
Cooler - Engel 13 Gallon
In an era of $80 Yeti beer koozies and $400 Yeti coolers, Engel provides an alternative to overpriced high-end coolers while performing like one. The interior is designed with polystyrene and the exterior is comprised of marine grade stainless steel. While this cooler was among the highest priced coolers we reviewed, it was the only one that could actually deliver on its claim of how long it can keep its contents cold – which is two days. It is durable, sturdy and seals well to avoid leakage if tipped. The shoulder strap is good enough, should you need to transport it.
Since this is the smallest cooler Engel offers (13 quarts) we recommend using it to keep your ice cold. It can hold about 12 pounds of ice or about 18 cans.
Pizza Oven - KettlePizza Conversion Kit
Imagine the smells of a pizza pie grilling in a parking lot. Yeah, its kinda like that. A wood fired pizza seems far from traditional tailgate foods, but it doesn’t mean it’s wrong. The kit comes with everything you need to quickly convert any 18.5 or 22 inch kettle style grill into a brick pizza oven. Normally when you see gadgets like this they are often gimmicks, they seem good in theory but fail to deliver at a practical level. However, the KettlePizza conversion kit works as advertise and it is easy way to obtain the flavor of a brick oven pizza, without the brick oven. This doesn’t just have to be tailgate accessory.