Mike Hedrick: Mike Hedrick, Pit Crew Barbeque. Tailgating is what it's all about. A lot of times I get e-mails with questions from people saying, hey Mike! When you are heading to the football game or to the track or to the race or whatever you are going to, what do you take with you so that you are always prepared for being at the tailgating and having all the right things for grilling and smoking.
Tailgating really is all about being simple, being fast, enjoying the game or the race with your friends and with some great food, some great drinks and all that kind of stuff. So having the proper things in your toolbox s pretty important. Let me show you a couple of my very favorites. You really want to have a good set of grabbers. You can call them tongs, you can call it anything you want but good set of grabbers, longer ones are better. That way in case you have got some hot broads on the back, you can get those without getting hands burn. I would like to have a good spoon, that you can either do your baked beans or your chilly, all those kinds of stuff. You can have little holes in it, but not the big holes because you will lose a lot of the good stuff.
You want to have a good set of knives. I like a very large knife for cutting through like a chicken bone or something like that and then I also like to have a smaller knife, like when you are working with -- sometimes when you are cutting steaks or you are cutting just little things like that, but you definitely want them sharp.
Along with your sharp knives is, you want to make sure that you have a got a sharpening device. This is a Crock device, you set it down, you draw your knife through there. This works really well, sharp knives are much better because you will get cut far less on a sharp knife than a dull knife because you are not forcing it.
In that same knife department, I just got to have a meat cleaver. I think it's just great, it's great for separating chicken bones, it's great for chasing away people from the other team. So just having a couple of pound of meat cleaver. The weight is what it's all about. It does have an edge on there and it's a little bit sharp but it's really not the sharpness, it's the weight of it, that makes a good cleaver work.
Along with that, a good wooden spoon, nice and long so when you are doing big pots of chili or a frogmore stew or something like that and you have got plenty of room to keep yourself away from the fire. A nice set of old tongs. I like old stuff, something about old, antique stuff you get from somebody else who has been cooking on it or years and maybe there at that point where they are not cooking nowadays. Well, you give it to a guy like me or a barbecue man and it will keep getting used and there is just something magical about wooden handled and old forge tools, that you just really love and you can enjoy and cheer.
When doing sops and mops and sauces, I like the silicone ones because these can be washed up and sanitized whereas the ones that actually look like a mop, that are made out of cotton and such, sometimes those can't be cleaned up and sanitized as quickly, you would have to wait for it to dry out and use bleach and those things, where these silicone ones are really good, they get the sauce on there, they hold a lot of sauce and then they can apply that sauce and then they are very easy to clean up.
You want to go ahead and have yourself have a couple of different kinds of thermometers. You would have the kind of thermometer that you would leave in the meat. This kind of thermometer would be like in the roast or a pork shoulder or in the chicken, that we are doing right now. This just stays in the meat and as it gets up, it tells you what temperature. They also make instant read or digital ones. These are really good for being very accurate and within just a few seconds of time. I will tell you it's here at 160 which is safe for most foods. So you want to have a good one of those.
Another thing that you want to have, sometimes you will want to have a Cajun Injector. I keep mine together with the needle right in here. It attaches on to the front. You can use this for injecting chickens and pork butts with Apple Cider or different kind of marinades and stuff like that, that just brings out flavors in foods that just really speaks about tailgating and where you out at the time, you might be down in Louisiana, you might be up in New Hampshire, no telling where you are at and you can add that local flavor right there with your own injector.
I think a good set of skewers are good. I like the nice wooden ones. Remember, when you use these for doing kebabs and such, that you want to kind of soak these down for about a hour or so in just some regular water. That way when they have the spots in between, the meat won't burn when it's on the grill. Another thing for tailgating as well, you usually always going to have some libations around, so you want to be able to open up those bottles a pop for your friends and your family and the kids and your grandmom and all that kind of stuff.
You want to have some straws because it might be Bloody Mary time, it might be Margarita time, depending on where you are at. Then I say a shot glass. Your shot glass could be from -- if you are just getting out and you want to have a early say, you just start off low as you go through your day, you are going to wind up, just deciding where you are at. Meaning, sometimes I am not fillings these I might be the pig. So be careful when you are doing that.
Have a great time tailgating, load yourself up the right kind of stuff in your toolbox. Make sure that when you get out there, you have got it all, double check yourself. So that way when you are out there having fun, it's all about having fun with your friends and your family and it's just that's what tailgating is all about.
So the next thing what we are going to do is go ahead and show you how to get your charcoal going without using charcoal fluid.