Two great grills for tailgating are the Weber Q 1200 and the Weber Jumbo Joe. You truly get the best of both worlds with gas and charcoal at your tailgate. The Weber Q and the Jumbo Joe are easy to transport and perfect for grilling up common tailgating foods. If you are planning on home gating, I also encourage lighting up both your Weber gas and charcoal grill. Always remember the most important step to grilling anything: pre-heat your grill for 15 minutes. This one step will allow you to clean off your grates easily, allow your food to release from the grill when flipping, and provide even heat distribution though out the grilling process.
2. Fuel: Propane and Charcoal
Whether you are on the go or at home make sure to have plenty of fuel too keep your grill at optimal temperature in cold conditions. You want to make sure to grab extra propane tanks and enough charcoal in case you need to refuel. The small blue or green propane tanks, which can be found at your local hardware store, work with the Q.
For charcoal grilling, I like to use Weber Briquettes, they burn long and hold a consistent heat, making them perfect for all types of grilling. Make sure to grab some Weber Paraffin Wax Cubes, a Chimney Starter, and a lighter. The paraffin wax cubes and chimney starter will take the time and hassle out of lighting your charcoal on game day.
3. Accessories: Must have!
Make sure to have a grill brush, tongs, spatula, thermometer, and timer. You always want to clean off your grates after pre-heating your grill. Every Weber stainless steel grill brush has been tested on our cooking grates, so make sure to grab a Weber one. Depending on how many people will be at your tailgate or home gate, it doesn’t hurt to have an extra set of tongs and spatula in case one falls on the ground. A meat thermometer is going to ensure you are grilling the meat to the proper temperature. Almost everyone these days has a cell phone and in that cell phone you have a timer, and I always encourage the use of timers when grilling anything. Timing your food will help you know when to temp it and ensure that you don’t overcook any of the food while you’re mingling with friends and family.
3. Food Prep: Preparation=Success
I recommend preparing all of your sides the day before because it will make game-day ten times easier for you. A couple of my favorite sides to serve are guacamole, taco dip, spinach artichoke dip, veggie platter, cheese platter, fruit platter, a variety of nuts and chips, and puppy chow. I also recommend doing all your pre-grilling food prep the day before. Marinating and seasoning the day before takes one messy step out of your tailgate and home gate. That way when it’s game time your food is ready to hit the grates.
One of my favorite items to serve as a main dish is pulled pork or brisket sliders. I suggest smoking the pork butt or brisket the day prior. Then keep it wrapped in foil while resting, refrigerate overnight, and bring it back up to temperature on the smoker in the morning.
Important tip: the weight of the pork butt or brisket will determine how long it will take to get back to serving temperature, so make sure to allow yourself enough time for the pork butt or brisket to come back up to temperature in the morning. After you pull your pork or brisket, I recommend having Weber BBQ sauces out so guests can have a variety of options or just eat it plain.
4. Weber Way: Have Fun
Now that you have your food prepared, your grill fired up, and your snacks out, there are a couple traditions that my family and friends have always done to make it the ultimate tailgate/home gate. Four great additions are a flag, music, games, and beverages. Get a unique flag to fly so all your friends that are coming to your tailgate are able to find you. For home gating we always fly our Chicago Bears flag to let those Packer fans in my family know what team our house represents. Secondly play some music, as music is always a staple to any good gathering. Thirdly whether it’s Bags, flip-cup, ladder toss, or squares, it’s always good to provide the party with some games…this is where the rivalries can hash out their differences. And lastly, make sure to have some beverages, adult and non-adult for your guests. In the wintertime some homemade hot chocolate or hot apple cider will do wonders for those who have the chills.
5. Be Safe and Go Bears!
Remember if your tailgating, allow enough time for your grill to completely cool down so you can safely store it in your car before heading into the game. At home close off all dampers and turn off the gas right when you’re done grilling so you don’t forget when you go inside and get caught up in the game.