11 Essential Tailgating Tools From Your Kitchen

Garbage Bags

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Ice Alternative

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Ice is expensive, and it’s small and melts quickly. Fill empty plastic milk cartons with water and freeze them for a sustainable ice alternative. You can then throw them into the cooler, or cut the plastic and break the ice into bigger chunks to keep drinks cooler for longer.

Oven Mitts

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Most people wouldn’t think to bring one, since you don’t always imagine yourself doing heavy-duty cooking at a tailgate. However, the mitts really come in handy when dealing with a hot grill or stove.

Oven Thermometer

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Grab your oven thermometer to bring with you on your tailgating excursions this season. To check the temperature on a charcoal grill, just drop the metal tip of the thermometer (the part that would normally go into the turkey) through the top circle holes of the grill. Oven thermometers are plugged into electric readers that will tell you the temperature inside the grill, making for perfectly cooked burgers and hot dogs every time.

Lid For Your Pots

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If bacon, egg, and cheese bagels are on your tailgating list, bring a pot lid to put over the eggs to make sure everything cooks properly in the outdoor conditions.

Portable Stove

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Think electric stoves are down for the count at tailgates? Think again. You can bring one and plug it into the cigarette lighter of your car.

Towels

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Towels are perfectly compact for travel, and also provide the softness necessary to keep food and equipment from shuffling around and breaking on the drive to and from your tailgate. They’re also more environmentally friendly than paper towels or napkins to use for cleanup.

Hot Plates and Trivets

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Hot plates, trivets, or any other flat, thin items are helpful to have on hand. You won’t necessarily need them to hold actual hot plates (although you never know), but who wants to cook on a tailgating stove that’s not flat because the ground is uneven? Use your hot plates to level the stove or grill to fix otherwise imperfect cooking conditions.

Tupperware

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Transporting sharp knives can be tricky tailgating business. Instead of using plastic bags to tote them — which can rip and cause injuries — use a small, rectangular, hard plastic container to transport knives, lighters, and spice containers that might shatter.

An Apron

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This isn’t just a vanity thing — imagine how heartbreaking it would be to spill barbecue sauce all over your home team sweatshirt right before the big game? An apron can help prevent such a travesty.