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Now that the football playoffs are here, you will want to up your GAME. You want to take your flavor profile for tailgating to the next level but are unsure how. I will try to give you some tips that will make you a hero of those who partake of your grilling expertise. Hopefully this will save time for your tailgating event and allow you more time to enjoy friends, family and those who stopped by to compare recipes.
Your Flavor Profile Will Tell on You
The taste of pulled pork may be what you prefer but if this is for tailgating, you may have a problem. Do you like hot dogs and hamburgers when tailgating? Do you often grill vegetables for those who do not eat meat on a regular basis but will eat all the grilled vegetables you have if you turn your back? Do you prefer fish or shrimp tacos?
How often are you asked for a bratwurst to be boiled in beer before putting them on the grill? There are so many variations of what is grilled at playoff games that you will need to decide ahead of time which you will grill.
You can smell and taste the delicious flavors of all that goodness as it is being grilled in front of you. You can feel the texture of the bread and the meat. That zingy flavor that always come through for you.
Make a List of What to Chill for Transporting
One of the things I have learned over the years is to MAKE A LIST! Make a list and be Santa, check it twice. Invariably, you will find that you had forgotten something that was vital to having a good tailgating experience. Some of these are:
- Trash bags
- Collapsable Table(folds in half).
As you pack your inventory in your vehicle, check each item off in a deliberate manner. Do not hurry the process. That only leads to leaving something behind.
Separate Containers for Food to Be Grilled
I normally will put my meats and vegetables in plastic containers for easy transport. The reason for putting your meats in a separate container is so if you are marinating your meat then it will not change the flavor of your vegetables in a way you don’t want.
Whenever I grill vegetables I always have a particular flavor profile that I want to achieve. I like to have my rub already on them so they can absorb the flavor before putting them on the grill. I also like to have just a bit of olive oil on them to help lock the flavor in and to help keep them from sticking on the grill.
I have a small locking rack that I put my spices in so they are easily found and have not spilled out into my cooler. Depending upon what I am grilling these are some of my favorite spices to put in my carrier are salt, pepper, cumin, chipotle chile powder, garlic powder, ginger and mustard.
You have your own secret stash that makes everyone want to be there to find out your secret. You have that one spice that no one can figure out and this adds to you awesome skills as a pit master or a grill master.
Arrival at the Stadium
Once you get to the stadium, you will already have your pass or be directed to where you get your pass for tailgating. Once you have your pass and proceed to the area to which you have been assigned, the work of unloading begins. Since you have already categorized everything this should not take long.
You may want to stretch a bit before you tackle the unloading. It may have been a long drive followed by heavy traffic.
If you thought to load your canopy last then this will be great for you. You can just pop it up in no time flat. After that, unload your chairs, table, coolers and grill(if you are using a portable grill). By having an organized way of packing and unpacking, you will have.
You want it when?
Most people when they are tailgating before a football playoff game want something that is easy to grill. By having your food already sorted and in separate containers you are able to conquer people asking when to expect your food to be ready.
Some items take a while to cook so it is always good to have some smaller things to grill that only take a few minutes to prepare.
If I am there early I like to make myself and family a quick breakfast burrito. It only takes a couple of minutes to prepare and is great right off the grill with the tortilla still warm from the grill.
I generally grill some diced peppers, onions and hashbrown potatoes together before I put them in a cast iron skillet or on a griddle. Great way to start the day and be able to concentrate on the really good meal before going in to watch the game.
Fire it Up For Flavor
Now that you have done your unpacking and have eaten a quick snack, you can concentrate on your grilling. Remember all those containers you had with everything laid out for grilling, now is the time to get the grill hot and start grilling.
Whatever you have that is going to take the longest get it onto the grill once it reaches the right temperature. Propane grills will reach the desired temperature quickly.
Charcoal grills(if allowed) take a bit longer to heat up and cool down but still are great to use.
Some people like to have some of their favorite items such as pulled pork already cooked and ready to be warmed up. You may want to grill hot dogs, hamburgers or vegetables at this time.
You can grill a great deal of food with the proper organization. Having everything separated out in different containers gives you the opportunity to socialize more but more importantly have your grilling done in less time since you have already done your prep ahead of time.
There is no shame in this as it will give you more time to socialize with other people.
What Taste Do You Prefer
By learning about spices and which ones work best together, you can save yourself a lot of indigestion. Sweet and Sour work well together. Sweet and savory work well together.
You get the idea, there will have to be some experimenting in order to find which spices you and your family(or friends) like together. The taste that keeps them coming back for more.
You have brought your spices with you in your spice rack. This allows you to choose the right spice for the right food in just a flash.
You had already made your decision about your flavor profile ahead of time and now you will show others how well and which spices work together for the best flavor.
Will You Marinade
If you decide to marinade some of your foods ahead of time, you will be grateful for having your marinade going since the day or night before.
This gives your food time to absorb the flavors and be ready to put on the grill as soon as it reaches the right temperature.
Since some vegetables only need an hour or two before putting on the grill, you may want to wait until you are at the stadium before putting the marinade or rub on the vegetables. This way you can almost guarantee to have the best flavor.
Meat on the other hand takes longer for the marinade to penetrate deeply into the tissue for the best flavor. I would recommend that you place the meat in the marinade the night before for best results with the exception of seafood(especially shrimp).
What Types of Beverages Are Allowed
Different beverages are allowed but you must be certain that if there is alcohol involved that it stays out of the hands of minors. You can have a variety of drinks but make sure that there is water and drinks for the kiddos, this helps you stay in good standing with any law officers that may be patrolling.
If you know that someone has had too much to drink then try to switch them to something else so everyone can enjoy the tailgate. There is nothing worse or more embarrassing than to have to be asked to leave because someone had too much to drink.
You will need to keep some drinks available that are non-alcoholic and do not have sugar. The reason for this is quite simple. You do not want to become dehydrated from lack of proper hydration. Alcohol causes you to urinate more often leading to the possibility of dehydration.
Sugary drinks have a tendency to make you even thirstier than other drinks, even fruit juices. Also, you don’t want children to have a sugar rush and then a sugar crash, they will either be cranky or go to sleep and miss the fun.
Now the Hard Part
This is what most people call the hard part. Cleanup after the game is over. This does not have to be difficult.
I have taken a clothes hanger and used it to keep a trash bag open while attaching it to the frame of my canopy. Just throw it away when cleanup is done.
Another thing you can do is use a collapsible clothes hamper, put the trash bag in it and change it out whenever necessary. This saves a great deal of time and frustration. Some stadiums are beginning to try to recycle so pay attention to their policies.
I hope I have given you some tips and ideas on how you can have a GREAT tailgating and grilling event. This list of tips is not all inclusive. You may have a system that works great for you. Having a method of planning and putting in place various techniques you can spend less time grilling and more time with family and friends.
Finding Your Way to the Playoffs at Home
You want to go to the playoffs but unfortunately you can’t. I have just the thing for you. Now you have been looking for a new grill that will allow you to have a great tailgate experience from home.
The Traeger Grills Tailgater 20 Portable Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker will be a good fit for grilling and smoking for the playoffs and super bowl seasons. Knowing you can find it on Amazon should take a great worry off your mind.
There are accessories as well on Amazon for your grilling needs. Amazon also has the pellets and other accessories you will need for great grilling and smoking for years to come.
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