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Essential Kitchen Tools for Tailgating Parties

Tailgating is a time to eat, drink, and party; however, lack of proper planning can turn this fun experience into a total disaster. You need to take all the necessary tools required for your culinary expedition. Let's take a look at some of the best cooking tools for tailgating parties that you definitely need to take along.
Essential kitchen tools for tailgating parties
Did You Know?
There are about 50,000 tailgaters in America, with Baltimore, Houston, and Denver being among the top 3 American tailgating cities.

Tailgating revolves around grilled food and alcoholic beverages, socializing, and hanging out before the big game begins. A tailgating party is hosted from a mobile kitchen, which is the transformed version of the trunk of a vehicle. For some, tailgating has been a tradition that has been passed down from generations, while others are just getting comfortable with this culinary endeavor.

For those of you who aren't very familiar with a tailgate cookout, we're here to help. Tailgating has only one simple rule: 'be prepared.' Since you're planning to cook, carry along everything you need because missing essentials can put a wet blanket on your celebration. So, going well-equipped is the key! Let's take a look at the essential cooking and serving tools you need for a tailgating party.

Must-have Kitchen Tools for a Tailgating Party

Portable Grill/Stove

grill types

You need a grill that you can tote comfortably around and set it up with ease. Moreover, it's preferable to get a gas grill because it eliminates the need to dispose off the charcoal. The gas version also heats faster and requires minimal grill preparation work.
Some grills have been specially designed for tailgating, with cooking surfaces designed to handle deep-frying and pan-frying besides the standard grilling feature.
A tabletop grill would also be good. Choose a size that can be conveniently transported to the parking lot, easily set up, and can grill enough food for your family and friends.
Moreover, depending on the type, carry along adequate charcoal or liquid propane. You may also need a smoker for the charcoal grill. A portable gas stove would also be convenient.

Spatulas and Tongs

spatula and tongs

Since you're dealing with a grill, don't forget to take along a pair of tongs. Always make sure you have a couple of them because you need different ones to handle raw and cooked meat.
Tongs with long handles are preferable because they let you work with the food without having your hands seared.
You also need a couple of spatulas to flip the burgers, etc.
Next, a basting brush is useful to baste the food, so carry along a silicone one which is easier to clean up.

Grill Baskets and Skewers

grill basket and skewers

If you're planning to grill kebabs, you need skewers. It's best to marinate and skewer the meat the night before, to increase convenience.
If you're grilling vegetables or smaller cuts of meat, it's better to use a grill basket to hold them intact. The last thing you need is food slipping through the grates, adding to the cooking frenzy.
You can also use foil to make little pouches to hold the vegetables and grill them.
Another important tool is the basting brush, which is required to baste the food.

Knives and Chopping Board

chopping board

Irrespective of what you're serving, you should carry along a knife and a chopping board. It's a tool that is always required while cooking. But, transporting this sharp tool is tricky, because improper packaging can result in injuries. So, always make sure you place your knives in a rectangular container, and don't forget to label it. This will help exercise caution.
If you manage to get hold of knives with individual sturdy covers, then nothing like it.
Take along some butter knives to apply butter, mayonnaise, etc., on the buns.
Cover the chopping board in a plastic bag and place it along with the knife container. You don't want to keep looking for the chopping board once you're ready to slice.

Ice Bucket

ice bucket

Don't bother to use ice cubes to chill your drinks; it's not practical while tailgating. Think smart and freeze water in freezer-friendly containers. These will yield bigger blocks of ice that won't melt so easily.
Freeze water in different-sized containers and then use their lids to seal them. This way, you can transport the ice easily. Place these containers in an ice bucket, and take them along to the tailgating site.
Once you are ready, open a few containers, drop the blocks of ice into the bucket, and use it to keep bottles of beer and other drinks cold.

Cooler

cooler

It's always good to purchase a large cooler, because it's very important to keep your perishables and drinks cool. You need one cooler to keep the meat and other perishables and another cooler to store the drinks. Label them for easy identification.
Moreover, always wrap your meat in plastic wrap and seal it well so that its juices don't contaminate other items in the cooler.
If you're using a container to store the meat, make sure you don't use the same container to hold the cooked version. Always use separate utensils for cooked and raw meat.

Food Thermometer

oven thermometer timer

Meat needs to be cooked to a temperature of 160 - 165ºF, and serving undercooked meat is extremely dangerous. With all the hustle and bustle involved in a tailgating party, doling out perfectly cooked meat can be tricky.
To avoid the stress, just take a food or oven thermometer along, which will notify you when your meat has been thoroughly cooked.

Bottle and Can Opener

bottle and can opener

A bottle opener is definitely not something you want to forget, so make sure you carry it along. Get those magnetic ones, wherein you can attach them to any magnetic surface like the trunk of your car or any other metallic surface.
The problem with bottle openers is that it always seems to get lost at the end. To avoid this, tie a string to the inside of the car, and give it enough length so as to allow the opener to be stuck to the car body. This way, if anybody wants to open a bottle, he uses the opener, but he or she cannot throw the opener around.
Carry along can openers if you're taking canned food along.

Mitts and Kitchen Towels

kitchen towels

You are not cooking in the comforts of your home kitchen, which is why the kitchen towel becomes your next best friend. Keep three to four kitchen towels with you; one for wiping the workspace, one for wiping your hands, and the others for miscellaneous uses. Don't worry, kitchen towels never go unused and you'll always wish you brought more.
It's also better to carry an apron along, to prevent food stains from getting all over you. Those with pockets are great to hold towels and other essentials during this busy cooking endeavor.
Moreover, don't forget to take oven mitts along, which are essential when you're working with a grill.

These were some basic tools you will require as a tailgater; however, the items will vary depending on what you're preparing and how many people you're catering too. Irrespective of what you're preparing, remember that good planning ensures a smooth tailgating experience. All the best!
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Published: December 24, 2013
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