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Johnsonville Sizzling Sausage Grill

Posted by Brandon On June - 16 - 2016ADD COMMENTS

Ever since the birth of my children I find that time that I can use for recreational outdoor activities has become to put it gently, limited.  And even though the resolution is for them to just get a little older, waiting is the hardest part.  In the meantime I’m always searching for those ways to get me a little taste of the things I used to do in those pre-daddy days.  Well as luck would have it, a couple weeks ago I was contacted about a new product from Johnsonville, their Sizzling Sausage Grill.  Anytime someone is willing to send me a sample, especially our friends at Johnsonville, to get my thoughts I am happy to oblige.  

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I think the first thing worth mentioning is that the fact that this is an electrical appliance is a significant departure from Johnsonville’s food only approach before. In all honesty I was admittedly a little skeptical about the item since it appears to be only useful for sausage cooking.  The other thing is that most people have some experience with the electric grill concept, probably with something sold under a famous boxer’s name.  I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with the idea, but I can’t really tell you the last time I saw one in use.

So for starters the Sizzling Sausage Grill is a counter-top electric grill which has metal inserts with grooves in the shape of the typical Johnsonville sausage link i.e. a tube with that slight curvature.  In the top plate there is a hole through which a temperature probe is allowed to puncture a sausage and sense when to stop the cooking process.  Each of the cooking plates is removable and are dishwasher safe.  On the exterior of the product there is a removable drip tray and the outer surface is a mixture of black plastic and a brushed metal.   It has a solid feel and slight heft which seems appropriate for its appearance.

Using the grill is pretty simple, you place your desired sausage onto the bottom plate, matching the shape with the groove.  You can do 1-5 sausages at a time, the only caveat is that one sausage must be placed into the middle groove so that the temperature probe can detect the internal temp.  Otherwise you’re free to place any extra sausages in whichever spot you’d like.  From there you close the lid until it latches and press the button.  The claim is that the grill will cook the sausages in 10-15 minutes.  Here is a video describing the process along with graphics showing it:

My test was pretty straightforward, cook a pack of brats and see what happened.  Less than 12 minutes later I had 5 nearly perfected cooked brats hot and ready for dinner.  I say nearly perfectly because a couple didn’t have complete browning, which is a minor criticism.  The vast majority of the surface was a lovely even shade of brown and other than the sausage that received the probe none appeared to be punctured/cracked.  And that cook time?  I don’t think I’ve ever turned out brats that fast except when dealing with the pre-cooked varieties.  Truthfully I was very pleased with how they turned out.  

Indoor sausage cooking usually involves a lot of cleanup, that was not a problem with this.  The plates are easily removed, and even though they are dishwasher safe, a quick wash with a soapy sponge took care of them.

Does that mean that I would recommend this to everyone?  Not really.  It’s not very often that I test a product that delivers on it’s claims that I still have reservations.  When we talk about a product in terms of tailgating there are plenty of variables that need to be factored in.  

Firstly this is an electrical appliance, if you don’t have electricity available to you at your tailgate then you’re out of luck.  Also consider that you can do 5 sausages at a time, if you need to crank out more than 5 every 10-15 minutes you need additional resources. Finally it really only cooks the fresh uncooked sausages, that can mean a wide variety of flavors, but it definitely doesn’t mean a burger or chicken wings. 

One place where I can see a product like this being useful for a tailgater is after the event when you want something to eat while you wait for traffic to clear up or to celebrate your team’s win.  Firing up a more traditional grill is can take time, and cool down usually isn’t instantaneous.  This can mitigate a lot of that.

Also for a lot of people they can’t make it to every game and do a fair amount of “homegating.”  In my situation with the kids the ability to go to the kitchen turn on the grill and then walk away for a bit and come back to cooked food is really appealing.  

I do like this product, and where I think it will be of great use will be in prepping sausage when it isn’t necessarily the main course say for pizza or more typical sandwiches.  

The price seems high, but if you’re considering this product you likely don’t take your sausage consumption lightly.  Currently the product site has the Sizzling Sausage Grill listed at $99.98 + $14.95 S&H which can be broken down into 2 payments.  There is a 2 year limited warranty on the product, and right now they include coupons for 4 packs of sausage with every purchase potentially a $28 value.  

My final take?  Tailgating approved with reservations for the reasons I listed above, but worth it if you’re serious about Johnsonville sausage.  For more info see https://www.sizzlingsausagegrill.com/

 

Drive for Uber & Lyft to supplement your tailgating habit

Posted by Dave On April - 15 - 2016Comments Off on Drive for Uber & Lyft to supplement your tailgating habit

Uber and Lyft logos

By now you are probably familiar with Uber and Lyft; two transportation companies that allow passengers with smartphones to submit a trip request which is then routed to drivers who use their own cars essentially as taxis.

What if I told you you can earn some extra money in your spare time driving for Uber and/or Lyft in order to help finance that tailgating habit of yours that can be quite expensive?

If you are unfamiliar with both Uber and Lyft, we’ll let their Wikipedia pages speak to them and what they are all about.

Wikipedia – Uber

Wikipedia – Lyft

If you have never used Uber or Lyft, here are some coupon codes for free rides using either Uber or Lyft.

Lyft rider free $50 credits

Lyft – $50 in free ride credits – Scan the QR code above or click on it or click HERE to claim your $50 in free rides from Lyft.

Uber coupon for free ride up to $15

Uber – Get your first ride free (up to $15 maximum) – Scan the QR code above or click on it or click HERE to get your first ride for free up to $15. (*Free ride value amounts vary by city.)

Both promotions through Uber and Lyft only apply if you are a first time user of Uber and/or Lyft. If you have already requested and taken at least one ride with Uber and/or Lyft, you are not eligible for the free coupons. The good news is if you have friends or family that have never take Uber or Lyft, pass those coupon codes along to them and they can get free rides themselves.

Drive with Uber / Drive with Lyft

Now that we gotten the free ride coupons out of the way, let’s jump to how you can make some money and also provide some hints and tips on earning more on your very first trip.

Right now, Uber is offering a $750 bonus for drivers who sign up and complete 75 rides WITHIN 30 DAYS. 75 rides may seem like a large number but 75 rides is quite easy to achieve. To sign up to drive with Uber, click HERE.

Because I am based in Orange County, Calif., Lyft is offering a $750 bonus to new Orange County drivers who complete 75 rides in their first 30 days. To sign up to drive with Lyft, click HERE.

(The bonus structure for Lyft varies from city to city and they sometimes will adjust it up or down based on driver supply and rider demand. An example is those who want to drive in San Francisco can earn a $1,000 bonus and need to complete 100 rides in 30 days. New drivers in Columbus, Ohio can earn a $150 bonus while only giving 30 rides in 30 days. Check out the Referral Rewards for Lyft Drivers page to see if Lyft is in your city and what the bonus structure and requirements are for your area.)

If you are a tailgater, you probably have your own car. That’s the first step towards driving for Uber and Lyft. Your vehicle needs to have at least four doors and be in good condition. In addition to having your own vehicle, you need to be 21 years of age or older and have a smart phone. Uber and Lyft requests come to drivers via a mobile app so it is recommended to have an iPhone 4s or newer or Android 2013 or newer.

In order to be approved by Uber and Lyft, you will need to have a clean driving record and pass a criminal and personal background check. Your vehicle will also undergo a safety inspection to ensure your vehicle is safe and presentable.

After you are approved, you are ready to hit the road and start earning money.

Lyft driver referral code

Lyft driver referral code

To start driving with Lyft, scan the above QR code with your smart phone or click HERE.

Uber driver referral code

Uber driver referral code

To start driving with Uber, scan the above QR code or click HERE.

Some Uber and Lyft drivers have reported they earn an average of $1,500 per week. This varies based on the number of hours they drive and which days they choose to drive but the opportunity to make some money is out there. Even driving part-time on your schedule, you can earn some extra beer money or money to take a road trip or buy some new tailgating gear.

If you do end up driving for Uber and/or Lyft, here are some hints and tips:

  • You can drive for both companies. With Uber and Lyft, you are an independent contractor and are free to work for both companies. Both companies do not deduct taxes from your payments so it is your responsibility to save a portion of your earnings when filing your taxes. You will be given a 1099 form for tax purposes and therefore you are eligible to work for both companies.
  • Speaking of taxes, you can write off a portion of your gasoline and maintenance costs if you drive for Uber and Lyft. Since gassing up is needed in order to give rides, the IRS views gasoline as a business expense. Same thing goes for oil changes, new tires and even car washes and auto detailing. We are not tax attorneys so we would suggest consulting with someone who has more knowledge than us to know exactly what portion of these costs can be written off your taxes.
  • You can have both apps open at the same time. When a Lyft rider request comes through and you accept it, turn off Uber. Same goes after you accept an Uber request. You want to turn the other app off so that your acceptance rate does not suffer. Both Uber and Lyft encourage their drivers to maintain a rider request acceptance rate at or above 90%. Turning off the other app when on another ride will ensure a request will not come through that you have to ignore and thus affecting your acceptance rate with that company.
  • Lyft allows for passengers to give tips directly within the app. Uber does not have a tipping function within the app. If a Lyft passenger chooses to tip a driver, 100% of that tip amount is passed on to the driver and Lyft does not take a percentage.
  • Keep your car clean both inside and out. Passengers getting into a dirty car are less likely to tip and will probably give you a lower star rating than had your vehicle been clean and presentable.
  • Understand that when accepting a ride request, you will be routed to wherever that passenger is located. It may be at a house or a business and you may have to drive a few minutes to pick them up. You do not earn money on your way to pick up the passenger but the clock starts ticking and you start earning money as soon as you pick them up.
  • Fares are based on total miles and total minutes during a ride. Longer mileage and the more time spent means a higher payout to you. Even if you are sitting in traffic or at a stop light, you are getting paid to give that ride. The mileage and minute rates vary between the companies so make sure you know how much they pay.
  • There are no set hours when driving for Uber and Lyft. You can drive early morning or late at night or anytime in between. It is up to you to determine how much or how little you want to drive. You turn on the app when you want to earn extra money and turn it off when it is not a convenient time. It is truly a job where you set your own hours and are your own boss.
  • When picking up a passenger, you will not know where they are going until you confirm they are picked up. They might be going to the airport which is 90 minutes away or they might be going a half mile from the super market to their home and do not want to walk carrying all their bags. You never know where you are going to end up until the passenger gets in your car. Make sure that if you have an appointment during the day, you budget enough time to be able to get there based on wherever you end up. Turn off your app about an hour prior to your appointment time to ensure you are not too far away and can not make it in time.

There are plenty of other hints and tips to driving with Lyft and Uber but those are the basics to get you started. We are considering doing a “How to be an Uber/Lyft Driver” video in the future. Be on the look out for that.

If you are ready to start earning some extra money with both Uber and Lyft, there is very little stopping you. If you meet the above criteria and you and your vehicle pass all the checks, you can be earning money right away. The get driving with Uber and Lyft and start earning bonuses, click the link below:

Drive with Lyft

Drive with Uber

Kingsford Professional Briquets

Posted by Brandon On April - 15 - 2016Comments Off on Kingsford Professional Briquets

Ifkingsford-professional-bag you’ve been in the grilling section of any of your favorite markets you might have seen a new Kingsford product on the shelves.  This year Kingsford is offering “Kingsford Professional” briquets. What you might not realize is that this product is new in name only as they used to be called “Competition” which you might have seen in a bag with more red coloring. The Professional branding makes use of that classic Kingsford blue that we’ve long associated with their product.  Even though I was aware of this product even from its “Competition” days, I had never taken a chance to actually try it.  That was until Kingsford very generously sent me a sample bag.

For new users of Kingsford Professional you’ll notice one thing initially, that it looks virtually identical to Kingsford Original.  The briquets have that same groove pattern, with one side’s grooves in the shape of the letter “K”.  While they may look similar they are in fact different products by way of their composition.  While they come from the same source the formulation for the Professional product causes the briquets to burn at a hotter temperature and produce less ash.

As far as performance goes I feel that the claim that the Professional blend burns hotter holds true.  I have cooked with it several times, using nearly the entire sample bag, each occasion using a direct grilling method.   Each time I have found that I have a superior crust/browning production on each item. Now of course it is very difficult to get uninfluenced side by side comparisons, so my opinions are based purely on my perception at those moments, rather than scientific data.  Based on my testing I can conclude that if you want the best direct grilling briquet from Kingsford the Professional Briquets would be the best bet.

If you are looking for more detailed data, a few years ago PatioDaddio conducted a more scientific comparison of Original and the then named Competition briquets. While I know the formulation for Original has changed since then, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Comp/Prof had as well I think it still offers a little more detailed look into the characteristics of each variety.

While it may sound like Professional is the superior product, I think Original still has applications where it is the better option. If you want to sear off some steaks or burgers the Professional is preferred, but if you’ve got an all day low and slow cook where you are looking less at maximum heat output the less expensive and more widely available Original blend would be my fuel of choice.   That being said Kingsford Professional are absolutely Tailgate Approved.

Tremor by DreamWave – Not a speaker, it’s an outdoor sound system

Posted by Dave On April - 14 - 2016Comments Off on Tremor by DreamWave – Not a speaker, it’s an outdoor sound system

Tremor by DreamWave

What’s a good tailgate without good music? Even if you have the most awesome playlist, what good is it if nobody can hear it? Ensuring your tailgate party has the best music is always a guessing game as to what the people will like the most. Making sure they can hear it and in mind blowing high quality is a no brainer.

We recently tested out Tremor by DreamWave. It may look like a rugged boom box but it is a lot more than just that. The Tremor is a 50w full activity sport speaker with a 20 mAh power bank. What does all that mean? It means that you don’t always play Mettalica’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” but when you do, the rest of the parking lot does too.

Most outdoor speakers lose sound quality as the volume goes up. Not with this unit. We took it tailgating to the Cal State Fullerton Baseball game and turned it up. I mean way up. As we reached peak volume, other tailgaters from quite a few parking stalls away walked over to see if we had some sort of a DJ speaker system. Nope. Just a Bluetooth connected Tremor by Dreamwave.

Before taking it to the tailgating parking lot, the first thing we noticed about The Tremor was how rock solid and sturdy it was. I wouldn’t suggest trying to drop it and kick it around but it definitely can handle being packed in a tailgating vehicle and being brought out to a few tailgates.

Pairing the Tremor was quick and easy too. It’s equipped with Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC for easy pairing with your mobile music devices. If one Tremor is simply not enough sound to rock your tailgate party, you can connect and pair two Tremors together at once to provide double the sound for the ultimate Hi-Fi experience. We mentioned the rugged construction earlier but it is worth noting the IPX5 protects against water/dust/sand/snow and comes complete with a portable design with a sturdy shoulder strap.

Specs:

  • 50W Premium Audiophile Performance Sound System
  • IPX5 Water/Dust/Sand/Snow Protection
  • Connect 2 Tremors Together At Once
  • Bluetooth CSR 4.0 + EDR, A2DP AVRCP, APTX
  • 20,800mAh Rechargeable Battery (Power Bank)
  • Play time: Up to 20 Hours (8 Hours Max Volume, Full Bass Status)
  • Hands Free Calling and NFC Ready
  • USB 5V/1A Port for Charging Mobile Devices
  • Hi-Fi Sound and Anti-Distortion Circuity

After putting the Tremor through it’s paces and thoroughly testing it out, the Tremor by DreamWave is definitely “Tailgate Approved”. The sound quality was awesome and the rugged design makes it a perfect addition to any tailgate party.

The Tremor is listed on Amazon for $449.99 but as of press time, is selling for $318.98 + FREE Shipping. You can also get the Tremor for $299.99 purchased directly from the DreamWave website.

For more information, visit: DreamWaveUS.com.

CULER SOLO flash-evaporative air cooler

Posted by Dave On April - 13 - 2016Comments Off on CULER SOLO flash-evaporative air cooler

Cukler Featured image

Spring has sprung… well at least in some parts of the country. But don’t worry my fellow tailgaters. Soon you will be breaking out the suntan lotion and tailgating in the bright sunshine that is baseball and concert tailgating season.

Many of you will be seeking a better way to stay cool and comfortable while in the great outdoors of those gorgeous parking lots. In the spring and into the summer months, those blacktop surfaces attract the heat like free beer at a frat party attracts college students.

You want to stay cool, but how?

We recently had the opportunity to check out the CULER SOLO flash-evaporative air cooler. It’s a portable “air conditioner” that is lightweight yet sturdy and is simple to operate and maintain. Most importantly, it keeps your tailgating space cooler.

As you saw in the video, you just need to fill up the water reservoir, plug it in and press some buttons. Within 30 seconds you are getting cool air and your tailgating space is getting much, much cooler.

Culer \solo at a Titan Baseball tailgateWe tested out the CULER SOLO model because it was smaller and more compact and would be a better fit for tailgaters. If you purchase the optional 12V power source, you can plug it into your DC power source in your vehicle and start cooling down your tailgating space. And because it draws little power, you don’t have to worry about coming back to your vehicle and having a dead battery.

In the video, you saw comparisons to “pad-type” coolers. The patented flow blurring technology in the CULER atomizes water to uniform micro-droplets which are flash Evaporated to pull heat from the air exiting the CULER. Sounds like a lot of science to us but the proof is in the pudding. When we tested it while tailgating, it cooled down our space noticeably.

It is very simple to use too. Just pour in water, plug in power and press the large, soft-touch power, fan, and cool buttons to start cooling off. The glowing Green LEDs confirm your selections and includes three fans speeds. There are no pads to clean, replace, or treat with chemicals. Once your tailgate is finished, pour out any excess water that was not used and store the CULER for next time.

After testing out the CULER SOLO and taking it tailgating, it is definitely “Tailgate Approved”. It was quite effective in cooling down our tailgating space and we enjoyed the ease of portability and ease of operation. Maintenance and storage was easy too. If you are dreading those hot summer months and the early football season when the weather is still painfully hot, the CULER SOLO could save your tailgate from being a flop.

Available via Amazon, the CULER SOLO is less than $200. If you need more cooling power, the CULER DUET is a great option as well. For just $50 more, you can double your cooling capacity.

For more information on the CULER SOLO and the CULER DUET, please visit: culer.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.