When it comes to tailgating, if you can’t put it on a grill more than likely it is going to stay cold. Sure, people bring camping stoves and even those large outdoor turkey fryer burners but for the most part, grills are king. I recently discovered a new way to heat things up while tailgating that is light, portable and won’t burn you. It is called the Portable Induction Cooker made by Frigidaire.
In the interest in fairness and full disclosure, I was provided a sample of this product to test out for myself by the AP Wagner company. I was sent this product to test for myself but needed to ship it back to AP Wagner once my tests were complete. They did pay for the shipping costs both ways but I did not keep the product after testing it.
I did find that the Portable Induction Cooker was very easy to use, heated the pan quickly and was more convenient than an electric or gas hot plate you normally see while tailgating. When testing it out for myself I made a grilled cheese sandwich for my son and also fried an egg to test the different settings.
Induction cooking is different than the regular cooking styles you are most familiar with in that there is no transfer of heat. The brief science lesson for today is that induction is the process of heating an electrically conducting object (usually a metal) by electromagnetic induction. So a powerful magnet inside the cooker makes the pot or pan heat up which is then transferred to the food. There is no heat transferred and the actual cooking vessel is the part that gets hot. The key here is that whatever cooking vessel you use, whether it is a pot, pan or skillet, it needs to be iron based and able to hold a magnet. You could even place a can of beans or sauerkraut on the Portable Induction Cooker as long as the can is able to have a magnet stick to it. The benefit of induction cooking lies in the speed and efficiency the food heats and cooks.
The only major drawbacks I found in the Portable Induction Cooker is that you need electrical power, something that is scarce in a tailgating parking lot. Also, the cooking vessels you choose have to be metallic. Copper bottomed pans, aluminum pans and most stainless steel pans are generally unsuitable. The quick way to figure out if your existing pans are suitable for induction cooking is to simply place a magnet on the bottom. If the magnet sticks, you are good to go. Make sure to do this before heading out to tailgate that day because you don’t want to get there and find out your pots and pans are incompatible.
In regards to the power you will need, the Portable Induction Cooker will suck about 1,300 watts of electricity. That is on the level of some microwaves. So you will need yourself a good generator rated to have a fair amount of wattage capacity. You could use the Eastern Tools & Equipment IN 1800i Portable Generator to power it but you would need to unplug and not use any of your other electronic devices. That means turning off the portable TV and satellite system unless you go with a higher wattage generator like the Eastern Tools & Equipment LPG 3500 Portable Generator.
Here are the specs on the Portable Induction Cooker by Frigidaire:
- Lightweight, portable and easy to carry electric cooker.
- Does not take up a lot of surface space.
- Comes with 8″ non-stick high quality induction pan
- Fast and efficient heating.
- Precise control of temperature and greater heat consistency.
- Uses Induction heating, a non-contact method of heating which is flameless with no heated surface, so there is no heat build-up and no carcinogenic fumes in your cooking environment.
- Safe, family friendly as there is no flame and comes with child lock out feature and auto shut off.
- Ceramic plate – easy to clean.
- Induction is the most efficient use of cook-top energy
I found this product to be very efficient and cooked food quickly and evenly. You can perform delicate cooking techniques like melt butter or melting chocolate on the lowest setting or bring a pot of water to boil on the highest setting. So if you are tired of being pigeon holed into only cooking on a grill, give this portable cooker a try.