The upcoming Fourth of July is not only America’s birthday party, but it’s officially the halfway point of the summertime lull between spring practice and fall camp. Nothing like a warm (or insanely hot) summer day to break out the grill and see what we cou-
What is this… WHAT IS THIS??!?! This YOURS?
I MEAN, HOW DO YOU.. alright, fine fine fine. We can work some magic, but this thing? Gone. Goodbye. Not happening.*
First, we have to choose between charcoal or propane. You can do both, but true grill heads will stick by one. Most go for charcoal, primarily chunk. It’s not as cheap as a bag of Kingsford, but I find it usually lasts longer.
How do you light it? Simple, get yourself a chimney starter. This holds up to a pound of briquets and is not only easy to use, you also don’t need gallons of lighter fluid or to keep paraffin tablets sitting around. If you spend more than 20 dollars on one, you’re getting ripped off.
All you need is a pound of briquets, yesterday’s want ads and a stick lighter. Wad up the paper on the bottom, squirt vegetable oil on the paper to help it burn, put your charcoal on top and light the paper. 10 minutes go by, and you’ve got a makeshift jet engine ready to put in the bottom of your grill.
Now, what to cook your eventual succulent morsels with? Again, it’s up to you whether you want charcoal or propane. If you want both, get something like this:
This is the Weber Performer. It’s as close to having a combo grill as you can get. Instead of using a chimney starter, you put coals into the bottom of the grill, light the fire from the connected propane tank and in 10 minutes, you turn the gas off when your coals are ready to go.
Convenient, but to me it seems like you’re wasting money on too much fuel. If you decide on straight coals, go with the original:
The original Weber kettle grill. Simple, effective and with proper maintenance, it’ll last a long time. It’s also cheaper considering that you don’t have to pay for the extra size and propane. The only issue when tailgating is it can be a pain to rid yourself of hot coals right before game time if you don’t have a good spot for disposal in your grounds.
However, if you do want a gas grill (and that isn’t a big deal, I mean you’re grilling), look at the simple greatness of a CharBroil grill.
Economic and easy to operate, this little number will be perfect for transport on gameday when you need the reliability and consistency of gas, but need to break it down ASAP and get to the game.
The only downside to this model is the size of the cooking area. If you’re cooking up burgers and dogs for four to six people, you’ll be fine. Feeding a larger crowd will require a upgrade to something bigger and more expensive.
This beauty is the Margaritaville Portable Tailgating Grill (I assume Jimmy Buffet’s not seeing a dime).
From the description, the grill hooks on any vehicle with a two-inch hitch and offers 352 square inches of cooking space. What I like is that it’s convenient and can be put up away from hazards like kids running around.
However, the smaller size of the propane tank bothers me, as does the fact it basically hangs there. How hard would it be to steal that thing and/or bump it, thus damaging your vehicle? You just know someone has tried to put that on a VW Bug.
Finally, no matter what you purchase, you have to think about future care and maintenance.
For gas grills:
For charcoal grills:
Stay tuned as later on in the series, we’ll talk about what to cook, what to serve it with, what to drink and finally setup and tear-down.
*Your significant other won’t be happy you just up and bought a grill, by the way. Remember, it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission.