Grillmaster Tricks For Your Tailgate Party.

Every tailgate party host I ever met thinks he/she is a Grillmaster.  Realistically, Steve Raichlen is probably the legendary griller of our time.  Yes, he’s awesome, but my Dad developed his Grillmaster tricks by tailgate party grilling.  Here are some of his essential Grillmaster tricks developed in parking lots of many stadiums.

Grillmaster Tricks – Stop Press !!

Naturally, a really exciting grill and accessories are worth mentioning.  And so, here’s my headline!

The Broil King Keg 5000 BBQ was designed for a revolutionary cooking method by which the air circulates all around the food, cooking it evenly no matter whether you are grilling or smoking.

Broil King Keg grill 5000

Broil King Keg grill 5000

Whether home-gating or tailgating, it is equally stress-free because it can be set up in the back yard or transported with the greatest of ease and simplicity.

Homegating with the Broil King

Homegating with the Broil King

This picture gives you an idea of its size and human scale.

And here is how easy it is to transport.

You just take off the side shelves and clip it to the trailer hitch.  All the parts can be bought along with the actual Broil King BBQ keg.

Broil King Keg transported

Broil King Keg transported

Broil King Hitch Adapter kit

Broil King Hitch Adapter kit

It’s constantly 5-star reviewed and that is because the designers have created a whole system for grilling and smoking with tailgating and camping uppermost in mind.  This is quite the best all round system in its price range – I have tasted the final product which is superb, meat as juicy as you could ever imagine and even vegetables seem to love being cooked this way.

The advantage over the Kamado style ceramic lined Big Green Egg is that the Broil King can be transported without breaking.  It heats fast, holds its heat for a long time and it a magnificent beast.

Note that it is a wood-burning/charcoal heated grill and you need to make sure that the site where you are setting up your tailgate party allows it. Some have stricter fire marshall rules than others.

But I LOVE this grill enough to get a T-shirt with that emblazoned on it.  So much so, that even though I have smaller and lighter ones, I had to have one.

Grillmaster Tricks – # 1

Bring steaks, pork chops and lamb to room temperature before grilling. Leave fish, kebabs with mixed food, turkey, chicken or other poultry refrigerated at the coldest temperature your cooler allows.  Be sure to invest in an efficient cooler that’s up to the task such as this Coleman model:

Coleman 50 Quart Xtreme: The Best Cooler

Grillmaster tricks: Use 'Xtreme 5' Coleman Cooler

Grillmaster tricks: Use ‘Xtreme 5’ Coleman Cooler

Grillmaster Tricks – # 2

Season foods generously on both sides with salt and pepper and if you are into herbs add these after cooking or they burn.  A tip I learned from a Farmers’ Market smoker stall was to oil the hotplate well at the start of the day and then throw on some peeled (or unpeeled – it really doesn’t matter) garlic which you leave on the oiled flat-top and remove just before it burns.  This sets up your seasoning.  You can use the cooked garlic as a dip if you want or just dispose of it.  Mainly, the smell of your grill will make everyone hungry and no matter what you cook it will taste awesome. I have a few of these and keep salt, pepper and various dried herbs for instant grinding.  No batteries required.

Best Pepper and Salt Grinder

Grillmaster Tricks: Use Your Best spice grinder

Grillmaster Tricks: Use Your Best spice grinder

Grillmaster Tricks – # 3

Be sure to preheat the grill to medium-high before you begin. (check whether any forms of grilling are restricted in the parking lot.  Some only allow propane and this one is charcoal but there is a propane version.)

Awesome ultra portable grill:

Grillmasters Tricks - Choose an appropriate grill

Cuisinart grill for Tailgate Grillmasters

Or this monster grill for being grillmaster while homegating:

Grillmaster tricks: invest in the Weber Genesis grill

Grillmaster tricks: invest in the Weber Genesis grill

Grillmaster Tricks – #4

When searing foods, always keep the lid open. Otherwise you will steam or stew the meat and it will be chewy.

Grillmaster Tricks – #5

Don’t let the flames lick the meat or you will end up with a bitter, turpentine flavor on the sear.

Grillmaster Tricks – #6

Don’t flip food often or fiddle with it (unless you are doing so to avoid flare-ups) as it will tend to stew rather than sear.  If you are grilling fish, leave it till there is no transparency before flipping, then flip for 30 seconds.

Grillmaster Tricks – #7

Use an instant read meat thermometer to check whether the meat is cooked. Meat needs to reach 135 (chicken 145) to be food safe.  Buy 2 so that you do not cross contaminate food or wash well between uses – they are inexpensive and will last a lifetime.

Tempermark Digital Wireless Meat Thermometer with Timer and Remote – Best for Kitchen, Cooking, BBQ, Smoker, Grill, and Oven with 300+ Foot Range is a great option.  Set and forget.  You will need one probe and therefore, one unit for each meat being cooked but they are really inexpensive.

Grillmasters tricks: invest in a high tech thermometer

Grillmasters tricks: invest in a high tech Tempermark thermometer

Grillmaster Tricks – #8

Let steaks, chops, and chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving. A wooden board is best for this. Don’t ask me why.  It just seems better. This is the Fox Run Cow Acacia Wood 10.5 x 7.5 Inch Steak Board with Engraved Beef Cuts and it’s cool for beef.

Grillmasters rest meat on the Fox Run Steak Board

Grillmasters rest meat on the Fox Run Steak Board

Grillmaster Tricks –  #9

Pack marinated food in individual bags.  This saves work and prevents cross-contamination of say, chicken with, well, ANYTHING.

Generally speaking, marinades don’t preserve your food, so, temperature-wise, treat the meats just as you would if not marinated.  I use Ziploc bags (which I buy in bulk) for this and, where practical, it works best to pack each serving in its own bag.

Ziploc 94600 Resealable Sandwich Bags, 1.2mil, 6 1/2 x 6, Clear (Box of 500)

Grillmaster tricks: Marinade in individual Ziploc bags

Grillmaster tricks: Marinade in individual Ziploc bags

You can make these up ages ahead and freeze them carefully so that the bags don’t stick together.  I freeze them upright in a box and pull them apart if necessary before they deep freeze. Make sure they are not still frozen at the tailgate party so take them out of the deep freeze the night before. Don’t refreeze.  I always have a couple of dozen or so in the freezer just in case, I label them well and do salmon as well as chicken thighs, rib-eye and pork chops.

Grillmaster Tricks – #10

Be prepared. Bring backup gas and all the stuff we have listed on our tailgate party checklist.

Grillmaster Tricks – #11

Treat your leftovers sensibly.

Only take cooked grilled food home if they have not been exposed to the open air for shorter than 4 hours. Discard any raw meats that have been sitting around or you may need more than a hangover cure !

A bonus recipe from a master grillmaster ie. Ms. Rawhide, whose grillmaster tricks are the backbone of our tailgate parties:

Ms. Rawhide’s Maple Bacon Candy

Prep Time: 5 minutes to mix, a few hours to marinate

Cook Time: 30 minutes in the oven at 400 degrees F.

Smoking Pellets: 50% Apple, 50% Hickory

(You can buy a Supersmoker selection here)

Supersmoker Pack of Grilling Pellets

Supersmoker Pack of Grilling Pellets

1 pound thick sliced bacon

1/3 cup soft brown sugar

½ cup dark maple syrup

Tablespoon of black pepper


Follow the smoking instructions for your grill.

Grill on racks above the normal grill top with a pan underneath to catch the sugar to avoid burning.  275°F for one hour.

OVEN METHOD:  Cut bacon in into 4” slices.

Mix the brown sugar, syrup and pepper in a large bowl, and then mix in the bacon.

Make sure that it is totally coated and then leave to marinate. After an hour, the sugar will melt so then stir occasionally. Gradually mix the bacon well.

Place on wire racks over foil covered pan and bake for 15 minutes at 400°F then flip and bake 15 more minutes. Allow for the thickness of your bacon so you may need longer or shorter time.

Remove from oven or grill, cool in a safe place away from voracious tailgate party guests and hosts.  Once it is cool it sets hard like candy. You can, if desired, dip one end into melted 80% chocolate for an extra zing.

Happy tailgating!