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Earth Day Tailgating: FireJel Charcoal & Firewood Starter

Posted by Dave On April - 22 - 2009

Last year we brought you Tailgating Green with the Environment in Mind, as a tribute to Earth Day and eco-friendly tailgating. That post was quite popular and was the inspiration for Andrew Lovett of WTMD to bring me on as a guest to discuss environmentally friendly tailgating. So in honor of today, Earth Day, I am bringing you a product review of another environmentally friendly tailgating item called FireJel. FireJel is a safer, lighter and more compact alternative to lighter fluid that burns hotter, longer and leaves no residue behind. Check out their video below to see how it works.

If you chose to skip the video here is what FireJel is all about. FireJel is a corn-based fire starter that eliminates the danger and smell of lighter fluid, the blinding smoke that accompanies newspaper used under charcoals and the putrid taste pre-soaked charcoals leave on food. Since it is a corn alcohol-based fuel gel, it is a renewable energy source and much more environmentally friendly than petroleum based lighter fluids. It’s use has been approved by the State of California, known for its strict air quality regulations and has been approved for use as a charcoal lighter. Two ounces of gel are all you will need for about 15 minutes of burn time which is plenty long enough to get your charcoal started. FireJel comes supplied in a mini-tub made of a candle wax material which burns away in the process. Think of FireJel kind of like Sterno Canned Heat that consumes its own container without leaving any residue on your charcoal to transfer to your food.

Outside of being good for the environment and your grilled food tasting better, here are a few more benefits of FireJel:

  • Safer – Will not flare up.
  • Easy – Lights first time every time.
  • Timing – Coal readiness can be predicted. Meal time can be scheduled.
  • Reliable – Flame will not blow out – no need to “jump start” a fire.
  • Convenient – Small enough to take anywhere. Great for tailgating.
  • Non Toxic – Unlike lighter fluid.
  • Economical – One 2 oz tub does the work of 9-10 oz of lighter fluid.
  • Environmentally Friendly – No petrochemicals released into the air.

As a tailgater that shuns lighter fluid and only uses starter sticks, why should you make the switch to FireJel and ditch the sticks? Starter sticks are generally made of sawdust and paraffin wax which always generate soot. This soot gets on the grill grate even if you haven’t put your food down on it yet and affects the taste of food when it goes down later. Starter Sticks are generally lighter in weight and contain less fuel than FireJel. FireJel burns much hotter and will light charcoal and firewood much faster and more evenly. You can place your food on the grill at anytime with FireJel, whereas with starter sticks you have to be sure that they are completely burned out if you want to avoid putting the taste or smell of wax and sawdust into your food or in the air.

I did my own test of FireJel and tried it out on my Bubba Keg Grill. Check out the video to see how it performed for me.

Looking at FireJel strictly for tailgating purposes, there are two major advantages. Outside of the obvious lack of “fuel flavor” transfer to your food and the minimal impact on the environment, FireJel tubs are sealed with a protective plastic lid and heat-shrink band. That can’t be said for a bottle of lighter fluid and if the top is not properly secured, it could tip over on your way to the stadium and spill fluid all over your car. Also, FireJel tubs are smaller and more compact than a bottle of lighter fluid. The FireJel tubs will take up less room in your tailgating vehicle which leaves more room for more important stuff.

FireJel sells for less than a dollar per tub and can be purchased in a box of three. Master cartons hold 24 individual boxes of Firejel. If you are a tailgater that loves the taste of food grilled using charcoal you definitely need to check out FireJel. Overall it is a better product than lighter fluid or starter sticks and I would highly recommend this product.

For more information or to purchase FireJel, visit their official website at FireJel.com.


Tailgating Gear Review: The Bubba Keg Grill

Posted by Dave On April - 20 - 2009

Bubba Keg GrillIf you are new here you may have missed my previous posts regarding testing out of the Bubba Keg Convection Grill. Enough time has passed and I have cooked on it a number of times to gain adequate knowledge and experience to offer a thorough review and endorsement. It is rare to come across a product that delivers on all of its promises and continues to exceed expectations as you use it again and again. The Bubba Keg Grill is one of those products. As I used it, each time I would discover new features that would impress me even more. The Bubba Keg Grill is truly a highly versatile piece of cooking equipment and I would recommend it to any tailgater.

You probably have heard the name Bubba Keg after seeing or using their insulated mugs and coolers. Building on the same technology that helped them become a household name in keeping things cold, Bubba Keg developed this grill to deliver the highest quality thermal convection-style cooking. I found the Bubba Keg Grill to be highly versatile that it gets hot enough for high-temperature searing to fire-oven baking to oven-style roasting to smoking or slow cooking. (Click images to view large size)

The key to the Bubba Keg Grill’s versatility is the top and bottom adjustable dampers that allow you to control and maintain the perfect temperature. Adjusting the amount of oxygen and air flow to the coals with both dampers allows you to find the perfect air flow combination for exactly the type of cooking you want to create. I was able to get the Bubba Keg Grill upwards of 650 degrees for high temperature searing and also was able to maintain the heat down to 225 degrees for slow smoking. Unlike other grills, the Bubba Keg Grill is so well insulated that it easily retains the natural moisture in foods, burns less charcoal and the exterior remains cool to the touch. Speaking of the exterior, it resembles a beer keg and that just makes it all the more desirable while tailgating.

Bubba Keg Grill GratesSome of the other cool features of the Bubba Keg Grill include two adjustable grill grates: one cast iron and one chromed steel along with removable side trays. But any self-respecting tailgater will agree the Bubba Keg Grill engineers had us in mind when they added in two bottle openers right on the grill’s lift handle. The Bubba Keg Grill uses 100 percent natural lump charcoal and includes a multi-tool used to adjust the dampers, move and clean the grill grates and rake ashes. My experience has been the multi-tool is invaluable when working with your Bubba Keg Grill. The biggest kicker for those of us who tailgate regularly, the Bubba Keg Grill comes with a receiver bar to attach the grill to your trailer hitch so you can take it with you on the road.

Okay, alright, so I have gone on and on and gushed on how great this thing is. There has to be negatives right? Well, from a strictly tailgating point of view, yes, there are some drawbacks but they are very few. One such drawback I found was that even though you can attach the Bubba Keg Grill to your tow hitch and take it tailgating, you have to remove it and place it on it’s stand to cook on it. (The manufacturer warns to never cook on the Bubba Keg Grill while it is attached to your vehicle.) Secondly, although the Bubba Keg Grill heats up quickly and cools down quickly by adjusting the top and bottom dampers, it still uses charcoal as its fuel source. Some tailgating parking lots strictly ban the use of charcoal or any type of hot coals while tailgating. Even though you won’t need to dump out the coals once you are done cooking on your Bubba Keg, these tailgating lots have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to charcoal. Lastly, the Bubba Keg Grill is great as a convection cooker or a smoker but many tailgaters do not have the time to invest in that long of a cooking process. The recent reduction in tailgating times at NFL stadiums across the country this past season make smoking meats too time consuming of a process. Tailgaters that are allowed a more leisurely time in the lot would love the Bubba Keg Grill for its slow cooking abilities because they have the time to enjoy it. Lastly, the Bubba Keg Grill weighs over 100 pounds so it is not quite lightweight and compact to transport to and from your tailgate party. You’ll need a second person to help you attach it to your tow hitch and also to get it back on its stand once you are parked. Then again, who tailgates alone and can’t ask a neighbor parked nearby to give them a hand? Like I said, the positive aspects of the Bubba Keg Grill far outweigh the minor drawbacks when applied strictly to bringing it along to go tailgating.

bubba_keg_logo.jpgI have cooked on my Bubba Keg Grill almost every weekend since getting one. I have smoked a pork roast, beer butt chicken and even a Bacon Explosion. (If you have been following me on Twitter you would have seen these pictures weeks ago as I was cooking these items.) I have cooked carne asada and pollo asada as well. I have yet to use the Bubba Keg Grill to bake anything like cookies or pizza but I am sure there is plenty of time for that this summer.

All things considered, I would highly recommend the Bubba Keg Convection Grill to any tailgater or grilling enthusiast. It is now available at select Home Depot stores at a retail price of $599. To see demonstration videos on exactly how the Bubba Keg Grill works, visit the Bubba Keg Grill channel on YouTube. For more information on the Bubba Keg Convection Grill, visit the official website, BubbaKeg.com.

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EZPong Beer Pong Tables Ideal For Tailgating

Posted by Dave On April - 15 - 2009

The game of beer pong and tailgating are becoming quite a couple lately. I think I read somewhere (I think it was in Tailgater Monthly if I recall correctly) that beer pong is the No. 2 most popular tailgating game, second only to cornhole. So with the growing popularity of the tailgating game it stands to reason there would be an number of companies out there vying for a piece of the beer pong pie. How can you recognize which one is the best for tailgating and not just getting hammered in your uncle’s basement? You turn to us, the tailgating experts, to show you the best on the market.

I recently discovered EZPong Beer Pong tables and found them to be ideal for tailgating. If you are the type of beer pong player that prefers a hard surface beer pong table, EZPong is by far and away the tailgater’s beer pong table.

Like most of the other aluminum portable beer pong tables, EZPong beer pong tables are sturdy, includes a 8’x2′ playing surface and weigh about 22 pounds. So what makes it the ideal tailgating hard top beer pong table? As you can see from the above photo, three main attributes make it the best beer pong table for tailgating specifically.

Start with the way it folds and stows away. Many standard sized beer pong tables fold in half. That means you need to budget for something 4’x2′ to be taking up space in your tailgating vehicle. EZPong Beer Pong tables fold into a 2’x2′ portable case with high quality carrying handles. Less space taken up in your car on the way there leaves more room for more important stuff like, um, let me think….. BEER!

The second feature that I like about this beer pong table is the ping pong ball holder. How many times have you broken out the beer pong table while tailgating and then found out you forgot your box or bag that holds your spare ping pong balls. Kind of hard to play beer pong using rocks and pebbles you find in the parking lot. With the convenient ball holder attached to the bottom of the table, you’ll never worry if you were the one responsible for bringing the beer pong balls. They travel with the table and it holds up to six ping pong balls. That’s more than enough even if you are playing with someone with the worst aim in the world.

The third feature that sets the EZPong Beer Pong table apart from the others is the built-in stainless steel bottle cap opener. No more running around and seeing if someone has a bottle opener on their key chain when it comes time to refill or start a new game. Also, make sure to set up your beer pong table with the bottle opener side pointed at the hot girls tailgating next to you. That way they will notice it and hopefully will come over the next time they need a bottle opened.

Also, for those of you on a budget, EZ Pong offers the Starving Student” beer pong table. The tables are prices significantly lower than the regular tables without sacrificing quality. The only major difference is that the Starving Student beer pong table does not include a bottle opener. But think about this…. If you are really a starving student, you are probably using Natty Light in a can to play beer pong and who needs a bottle opener if that is the case. Other than that, it is pretty much the same. How do they pull it off? Not sure but then again, if it is the same quality as the the other tables, do you really care. It is a beer pong table priced at less than $100.

Video: Opening Day 2009 Flip Cup

Posted by Dave On April - 15 - 2009

If you are wagering $150 on a game of tailgating flip cup you either

A) have waaaaaay too much money and you should send me some

or

B) have a serious gambling problem.

Anyone else notice that the white girl talking trash on how the game was not even close was the weakest link on the winning team?

Memo to future flip cup players: If you are going to talk smack on how much your team dominates, you better be the one nailing your cup in one flip attempt, not three. I’m just saying.

All the time you spend tailgating is time well spent except for the 30 minutes you spend waiting to use the port-a-potty. Sure you can use your excellent socializing skills to make new friends and recruit the cute girls to come back to your tailgate party, but wouldn’t you rather spend that time grilling and relaxing? Of course you would but you can’t just ignore nature’s call… especially after you’ve had a few beers.

That’s why we’re proud to introduce you to our newest advertiser, The BassRoom made by Cover Your Bass. Originally designed to fit on a bass boat to give you a little privacy when it comes to “that time” but it also is great for tailgating. It fits well in the back of a pick-up truck and gives you all the privacy you need. Honestly, you don’t want to be Leaky Radiator Guy when you are out tailgating and the BassRoom eliminates wasting tailgating time waiting in line. Check out this quick commercial for a quick explanation.

To get more details on the BassRoom from Cover Your Bass, visit the official product page HERE and make sure to tell them you heard about them from TailgatingIdeas.com.

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About Me

TailgatingIdeas.com is a tailgating blog dedicated to bringing you the latest and most intriguing tailgating ideas out there. Whether it is the latest tailgating gear reviews, a great new recipe or a funny list to make you smile, our goal is to inform and entertain the avid and the casual tailgater alike.

Started in August 2007 by tailgating enthusiast Dave Lamm, TailgatingIdeas.com has evolved into an advocate for tailgaters rights and is not afraid to touch on controversial issues confronting those who frequent the tailgating parking lots.

To learn more about TailgatingIdeas.com and our team of writers, reviewers, cartoonists and contributors, please visit the About Us page.

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