Game day is synonymous with grilling. Something about serving food with smoky flavors, tearing meat off bones with your teeth, and munching on hand-held edibles just feels right while watching ruthless athletes ram into each other. Even if you’re in a snow-covered state, an indoor or portable grill can help make your Super Bowl menu a breeze. We spoke with Mike Williams, grilling expert at Kenyon, for his advice on how and what to grill for your Super Bowl crowd.
Crave: What is the advantage of grilling for your Super Bowl crowd rather than using some other cooking method?
Mike Williams: First of all, in my opinion, it’s more fun. It’s a healthier way to prepare your food. There’s also something about grilling that is associated with sports, so that kind of connection makes the day and the preparation and all that goes into it more enjoyable.
How do you guesstimate how much meat you’re going to need for a Super Bowl crowd?
I think in terms of how much I want to eat and then multiply that by how many people are going to be there. My favorite thing to do is wings, so I’ll grill chicken wings with the bone in. I usually like to eat about a dozen or so. I’m not going to lie, I like to eat a lot. I try to think in terms of what type of people I’m having over. Whether or not I know them will determine how much food I buy. It depends on the size of the party you’re having and if you know everybody that’s coming.
When planning what to grill, how do you go beyond basic burgers and hot dogs?
You do steak. Pizzas on the grill. Pigs in a blanket. Bacon wraps. Sweet potatoes. Anything that you can think of, you can put on a grill, in one form or another, whether it’s directly being grilled or if it’s wrapped in something else. It can be as creative as you want it to be.
How do you avoid spending your entire party manning the grill?
Our grills heat up in less than 10 minutes. Usually, with a gas or a charcoal grill, you have to wait 30 or 45 minutes to let the lighter fluid burn off or for the grill to get to temperature. Ours heats up to 550 degrees in 7 minutes and the cooking times are significantly shorter. In terms of time, you would be done within 30 minutes, start to finish, when you’re cooking the generic burgers or hot dogs. Using our grill is the fastest way to get your results in electric form, or even in gas or charcoal, too.
Your grills can be used indoors, too. How does that work?
The design of our grill means there’s no chance of smoke or flare-ups to occur. We designed it specifically with that in mind because we began as a marine company. Obviously safety is very important when you’re cooking on something in the middle of the water. You don’t want to sink that boat. The way that we designed the heating element is that it’s in direct contact with the grilling surface so the drippings or any kind of liquid doesn’t come in contact with that, which is what is usually causing smoke or flare-ups on electric grills or, if you’re using a gas or a charcoal grill, the drippings falling onto the charcoal or they call them “flavorizer bars” on grills. That’s what causes flare-ups. So we designed ours to eliminate that, and the drippings just go into a drip tray underneath. After you’re done, you just rinse out the drip tray and put it back in the grill and you’re ready to go again.
Kenyon sells portable grills as well. What sorts of settings could you take those to? How heavy are they?
The only thing that you need to consider is having a regular standard outlet. It’s about 25 pounds, which in my opinion it’s not too heavy, but I also exercise kind of a lot, so it’s not something that’s significant to me. It’s pretty small. You could easily fit it in the back of your car and bring it with you anywhere you want to go. As long as you have an outlet, that’s something you could do.