Drive to the ball park, open the tailgate and set up for a party! It’s a fantastic atmosphere as we enjoy our outdoor grill cookout and anticipate the game ahead. What are the essentials that make for a good tailgating experience? For me it’s the grill that’s critical because cooking is the center piece of the action, I need one that’s powerful, flexible and packed with lots of handy features.
Of course your needs might be different, after all every grill can’t be all things to all men so how do we determine which is the right grill for each and every one of us? In this article I’ll discuss some of the unique features of each of the portable gas grills that I’ve experienced so far and these are the Aussie Adventurer, Coleman Road-trip, Holland and Weber Q series.
Because we are tailgating, weight isn’t such an issue, most of these grills weigh in at about 30 pounds which isn’t light but is certainly something that one person can lift and set up alone. After that I look at the power of the grill because this is going to determine the variety of food that I can cook well and in particular steaks. At the end of the day, if you are going to sear a steak you need a grill plate that you can really get up to a good temperature.
Grill power output isn’t as easy to determine as you might think. You’ll notice that every grill manufacturer gives a BTU (British Thermal Unit) rating to their grill burners and most folks believe that this indicates the power output but it doesn’t. It actually refers to the energy consumption of the burner.
You might think that I am splitting hairs but this is important to recognize because unless the consumption of the burner translates directly into a good heat output then you’re going to be disappointed about the quality of the searing results and in addition you will be spending money buying gas canister after gas canister. To be fair, the BTU rating does generally reflect the heat output but it’s an important distinction and if you want the ultimate measure of power output look for the Kilowatt (KW) rating.
So who wins the BTU competition? The Holland grill blows everything out of the water so arguably if steaks is your thing then this is probably the grill for you. A couple of interesting points to make are that each portable gas canister lasts only 4 to 5 hours however to compensate for this the Holland grill does have an adapter kit so that you can attach a much larger gas tank. Again, if you’re tailgating then carrying a larger gas tank probably isn’t going to be a problem to you.
Next for me is the set up. How easy is it to set up the grill so that I can cook safely without the grill wobbling on being off the level? The Aussie wins on this score because it’s the only grill in the five mentioned above with three legs (and adjustable ones at that). It amazes me that everyone knows that a three legged stool is the most stable to sit on in any terrain hence why milk maids used to use them so why hasn’t this caught on? It’s probably because so much more of the design has to be compromised.
I didn’t include it above but if the stability of three legs is important to you then you should look at the range by Cadac too. Originally from South Africa, these hotplate grills are pretty good although I think that they are verging more towards cooking than grilling. Yes there’s a hotplate for searing but then the other attachments are a paella pan for example which is taking us away from the smoke.
By wigbout from Pixabay