CRITTENDEN, Ky., Sept. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The end of summer is near, but that doesn't mean it's time to pack up the tongs. In fact, for many sports fans — the height of grilling is just beginning. September kicks off football season, and according to gourmet grill maker Napoleon's Grilling the Nation™ research study, the sport also marks the pinnacle for tailgating, with fans focusing on time with family and friends, and of course food.
Football games are where the vast majority of tailgating takes place, with get-togethers evenly divided between professional and college. And while team spirit is the catalyst to these parking lot parties, getting decked out in team gear or heckling opposing fans isn't the highlight. Hanging out with family and friends is what fans like most about tailgating, and eating delicious grilled food is a very close second.
"For many, the best part of the game is before it even begins," said Stephen Schroeter, senior vice-president of sales and marketing for Napoleon. "Food is the centerpiece of these parties; however, not everyone can translate their backyard grilling skills to the parking lot. Fortunately, with some simple tips anyone can tackle tailgate grilling."
Napoleon offers their top five recommendations for better game-day grilling:
- Get a Game Plan: Calling an audible is the last thing you want to do, so being prepared is the name of the game. Prep work can pay off big; it diverts disasters, and allows you to spend more time enjoying yourself. Plan your menu, and keep it simple; prepare as much food in advance as possible and pack it in disposable containers for simple clean up. Also, Napoleon's research found that nearly 70 percent of people name quality meat as a must-have for tailgate grilling success. Keep this in mind when choosing choice cuts, and season and marinate ahead of time.
- Suit Up: Do an equipment check to ensure essentials will be at hand. That includes packing up long handled tongs, a chef's spatula and a strong grill brush. Don't overlook safety, so an oven mitt and baking soda should also be within easy reach of your grill in case of a grease fire. Finally, a good grill will always be your tailgate MVP. The Napoleon TravelQ 285 has set a new standard in portable grilling excellence. Don't let the small size fool you, this grill packs a punch; with 285-square-inches of grilling area and 12,000 BTU's, it can cook up to 20 large burgers at once. At only 28 pounds, its fold-away design and unique scissor cart allow it to be easily transported or stored. But when you are ready to cook, it can be set up in less than 10 seconds.
- Watch the Clock: Arriving three to four hours early will allow you to find a good parking spot. It will also allow you plenty of time to set everything up, and party with your family and friends before heading into the stadium. Timing is also crucial when preparing food; for example, preheating the grill with the lid closed for at least 15 minutes prepares the cooking grate. A good rule of thumb is to wait until your grill reaches about 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This not only loosens encrusted food from the grate, but the high temperature is key for proper searing.
- Go for a Direct Hit: When it comes to grilling there are two main cooking styles: indirect heat and direct heat. Knowing when and how to use each of these styles is crucial to a perfectly cooked meal. Direct heat is the process of cooking food directly over the heat source, and works best for grilling typical tailgate foods such as hamburgers, boneless chicken breasts and sliced vegetables. This method also allows you to cook the food much faster.
- No Need to Huddle: Patience can lead to delicious perfection, so resist the common urge to huddle around the grill flipping, pressing and cutting your meat. Whether you're cooking burgers or steaks, turning them too much won't make the process go faster. In fact, it will strip the meat of its seasonings—not to mention those awesome grill marks. The same goes for pressing; this releases the precious natural juices that give the meat its flavor. Finally, once you remove the meat from the grill—leave it alone. This allows the juices to settle, so once you do cut into the meat all the mouth-watering juices won't run out.
About the Napoleon Group of Companies:
Napoleon is North America's largest privately owned manufacturer of quality wood and gas fireplaces (inserts and stoves), gourmet gas and charcoal grills, outdoor living products and a complete line of Heating & Cooling equipment. The company with operations in Crittenden, Ky., and Barrie, Ont., began in 1976 when a small steel fabrication business launched by Wolfgang Schroeter started manufacturing steel railings. Since then, Napoleon's commitment to producing quality products combined with honest, reliable service has been the successful framework to the rapid growth of the company which now operates with 1.4 million square feet of manufacturing space, and employs more than 1,400 associates.
Editors' note: Napoleon partnered with market research leader ORC International to conduct the study which included an online survey of 1,600 adult grill owners throughout the United States. Completed interviews were weighted by a number of Census variables including age, gender and geographic region, to ensure a reliable and accurate representation of the total U.S. population.
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