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Tailgating – The Best Things to Grill While Tailgating

Whether you’re cheering on your favorite high school, college, or pro team this season – or a bit of all three – you’re probably going to work up an appetite. Knowing this going in, most sports fans fuel up for the big game with a tailgate party that includes plenty of delicious food.

When you unpack your grill for your next tailgate, what are you going to cook on it? If you need a few ideas, we have a few suggestions for you. Here are some of the best things to grill while tailgating for any event.

Grilled Burgers and Hot Dogs

Let’s start with the tailgating basics – burgers and hot dogs. Kids and adults alike love and probably expect to see these staples at any tailgate event. But, instead of making them an afterthought, you can make your burgers and dogs memorable.

One way to ruin these tailgating mainstays is to assume they require the same cooking heat. They don’t. No matter how you prep them, you want to grill your burgers over medium-high heat and your hot dogs over medium-low heat.

Your burgers are ready to be flipped when they are easy to move. If you’re struggling to scrape them up, it’s not time yet. You are looking for an internal temperature of between 145° (medium rare) to 160° (medium well). With your dogs, keep them rolling often on the grate to get them heated evenly.

Grilled Chicken Wings and Drumsticks

Grilled chicken wings and drumsticks can be made quickly, are delicious, and complete crowd-pleasers for any event. They only require a few ingredients and are ready in under an hour. Here are the steps to take to prepare them:

  • Set up your grill for two-zone grilling with a target of about 375-400 degrees F for the direct heat portion.
  • Season your chicken wings and drumsticks thoroughly with a mixture of garlic salt and pepper.
  • Place your chicken on the direct heat portion of the grill and cook for roughly 30-35 minutes, flipping about every 5 minutes. The internal temp should reach about 165 degrees F.
  • Once cooked, move your wings to the indirect heat side of your grill and baste them with your favorite sauce (BBQ, Teriyaki, Buffalo, etc.).
  • Grill the chicken for an additional 5-10 minutes, so the sauce begins to caramelize and set. Once the internal temp of your chicken reaches 175 degrees F, they’re done!

Grilled Baby Back Ribs

Sure, they’re a bit messy for a tailgate. But baby back ribs are so delicious that no one’s going to care. Traditional BBQ ribs don’t need to be precooked before grilling. But they will need to sit on the grill for a few hours, so plan your time wisely.  Here are the steps:

  • Buy about 2-3 racks of pork baby back ribs and your choice of prepared BBQ sauce. (set aside).
  • Create a dry rub in a bowl from these ingredients:
    • 2 tablespoons paprika
    • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 1 tablespoon chile powder
    • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
    • 1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
    • ¾ teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • Remove any sliver skin from the back of the ribs using a sharp knife. Then, coat each rack of ribs evenly with the dry rub. Wrap tightly with 2-3 layers of aluminum foil.
  • Preheat your grill to medium heat and cook the ribs over direct heat (covered) for about one hour, turning twice. The grill temp should be about 350-400 degrees F.
  • Remove the ribs from the grill for 10 minutes to cool. Take them out of the foil and place them directly on the grill (bone side down). Using a brush, baste the ribs with your choice of BBQ sauce for about 10 minutes until glazed. Flip the ribs several times while continuing to baste.
  • Remove the ribs from the grill and let them sit for several minutes before serving.

Grilled Shrimp Skewers

If you’re looking for something fast to grill that will also be a crowd-pleaser, shrimp skewers might be just the ticket. You can prepare them at home by first peeling and deveining them. Then, marinate them for up to two hours in your choice of lemon and herb dressing on wooden or metal skewers.

These skewers need just a few minutes on the grill. Cook your shrimp until it is a pinkish-orangish color, usually about 2-3 minutes tops.

Visit Nick’s of Clinton for All Your Tailgating Needs

Now that you’re ready to cheer on your home team, let Nick’s of Clinton get you prepared for that ultimate tailgate party. Nick’s full-service meat counter is the centerpiece of its store. We take pride in offering the highest level of customer satisfaction as well as giving customers a wide variety of fresh meats at the most affordable prices. Visit Nick’s today for all your tailgating needs.