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How to Barbecue Out the Back of an SUV

A great tailgating party just isn’t the same without barbecue. Despite time and space limitations, you can still cook up a barbecue feast with plenty of time left over to cheer on your team.


  • Step 1: Get a grill Use a portable grill that easily fits in your SUV and has enough firepower to cook food quickly.
  • TIP: You can get a specialized tailgate grill that mounts onto a trailer hitch and swings out for easy access.
  • Step 2: Pick easy foods Choose hot dogs, brats, and thin cuts of steak that cook quickly over an open flame. Bring along prepared salads and side dishes for easy accompaniments.
  • Step 3: Practice food safety Fill the cooler with plenty of ice and keep the raw meat away from cooked food to avoid cross-contamination. Use an instant-read thermometer to monitor freshly cooked food.
  • TIP: Give yourself plenty of time and arrive about three hours before the game; serve food an hour and a half before the game starts, giving yourself time to eat, clean up, and cool down the grill.
  • Step 4: Remember the extras Pack squeezable condiments. Don’t forget hamburger and hot dog buns, along with onions, tomatoes, pickles, salt, and pepper.
  • Step 5: Clean up your area Be respectful -- gather your trash and put it in garbage bags. Throw the bags into the back of your SUV and take it home for easy disposal. Go team!
  • FACT: Although accounts vary, football’s tailgate tradition likely began in New Brunswick, N.J., during a football game between Rutgers and Princeton in 1869.

You Will Need

  • Portable gas or charcoal grill
  • Lighter
  • Meat
  • Salads and sides
  • Cooler and ice
  • Instant-read thermometer
  • Paper plates
  • Napkins
  • Plastic utensils
  • Condiments
  • Garbage bags

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