Are you looking for a suitable BBQ cart for your next outdoor gathering? There may be a few that suit your needs. I’ll take you through the information you need to choose the right model out of several portable grill carts, to help you have the best and most convenient gatherings when you’re grilling.
What is a Grill Prep Cart?
A grill prep cart, also referred to as a grill side table, makes it so much easier to spend the afternoon grilling outdoors. After all, it’s no fun to go back and forth to the kitchen to retrieve cold meat from the freezer, chop it up on the kitchen counter, and then do it again for any additional ingredients.
A grill prep cart is usually made of stainless steel, and there’s enough space to chop chicken, leeks, bananas, etc. –whatever it is you need to put on the grill. It offers you a small but vital prep space where you can add seasoning, shape hamburgers, and other important prep for each meal. Portable grill carts like these are great to keep in your garage or tucked away, covered, on a portion of your patio or deck. All chefs that plan on cooking more than just your average hot dog will probably benefit from one of the portable grill carts.
A grill prep cart can hold spices, juices, and BBQ sauces all in once place so that they’re easy to access while the food is grilling. It always depends on the model you buy and the materials it is made from.
Some prep carts can also function as a table for chopping and preparing meat.
- It doesn’t come with wheels, but it’s easy enough to move to handle like a cart. It’s lightweight and highly rated by buyers.
- This is a handsome cart that is purely functional in nature. Made out of wood, there is enough space to have multiple chopped up foods on the surface. Easy to clean with cutting board cleaner and store indoors.
Outdoor Prep Tables
There are a lot of people who prefer an alternative to a grilling cart, which may be too small for their needs or just too expensive. You can actually build or buy your own outdoor grill prep table, which is perfect for cooking enough food to serve a large crowd.
A prep table like this is meant more for serving than chopping or sautéing. In fact, usually it will have wheels (with no lock) and a special shelf for clean plated, bundled silverware, and condiments. These types of prep tables are more likely to be positioned close to where people are eating, rather than close to where the cook is preparing the food.
In a pinch, these tables can also serve as prep area for the chef. However, because they are usually made of wood, they’re difficult to clean, which causes a risk of bacterial back up such as e-coli. They’re usually more stylish than kitchen-oriented. Thin of them as a condiment rack, not a cutting board.
- The name is long, but the setup is not complex and it’s also not too pricey on most websites. This setup includes paper towel holders along with condiment holders.
These types of carts are good for storage. You can roll them out onto a patio with your silverware set-up, pitcher of iced tea, plates and napkins. But please don’t try putting food on them; they’re just not built for that, and they can get gross if try it.
There are also various kinds of outdoor prep stations with storage for those who regularly host outdoor gathering, especially if those gatherings include pool parties. With everything packed away – even the booze – cleanup is easier than you would expect.
What About a Grill Prep Station?
This type of BBQ prep cart is larger than the previously mentioned carts. Ideal for working with large amounts of raw meat – the kind that servers 10 to 18 people, this cart is usually made from stainless steel or a microbial-resistance plastic and is easy to clean.
Caterers or people who work in the food industry often uses a grill prep station. It’s used to sometimes sit rising pastries overnight or line up identical foods as they wait to be placed in the oven or the stovetop.
Some of these stations will have drawers that have locks or other features that allow for easy and secure storage.
- Affordable and easy to store, this station is made of a plastic that is ideal for parties. Two storage cabinets pull open for easy access to utensils, plates, and condiments. Great for poolside!
- This attractive yet durable option also has enough style to make it match your outdoor furniture. Available in multiple colors.
Choosing a Brand
It may go without saying that a Weber grill cart is usually the best choice for a grill from the same brand. Why is this? For one thing, there is a certain height and weight that should match. If you’re standing next to a BBQ prep cart, and your grill is lined up next to it, there shouldn’t be any different in the heights.
It should be easy to transfer things from your grilling cart to your grill. If this simply isn’t possible, there are actually small, thin cutting boards built for that, so don’t sweat it too much. These prep stations are meant to make life easier for the hostess as well as the chefs.
Brands aren’t the most important thing when it comes to different grill prep stations, although it’s often recommended that you stick with the same brand as the grill you’re using, especially because you’ll get better customer service if there is a problem with either product.
Little-Known Secret: Preheat Your Grill While You Prep
Many grill owners love to cook out, but they often forget one of the earliest tips given to them regarding making great food – the art of pre-heating. Pre-heating your grill is critical for having success. It’s also a safer thing to do when it comes to food science.
How do you pre-heat a grill? Simple. Let it get hot, and put the lid on it. A little bit later, check the temperature. You can add coal or heat if it’s not hot enough. Many people who grill spend time checking the heat with a thermometer to avoid food poisoning.
If you put your meat on the grill before it’s heated, there won’t even be any off those crosshatched grill marks. You’re risking a keeping your food at a warm temperature too long and you’re also ruining the flavor since the meat won’t get enough exposure to the flame and the smoke.
Preheat your grill for at least 10–15 minutes every time you’re cooking. If you feel like that’s too time-consuming, then go inside and use the time for prep of other things. After all, dinner isn’t only your meat. There are plenty of ther good things to go with that cut of beef or turkey. Whatever you’re planning to put on the grill next should taste excellent, so don’t waste any time when it comes to trying to prep for your meals.
To Sum It Up:
You can prep your food beforehand, or you can prep the condiments. There are tables for both commercially available, and there are also instructions for how to make a DIY grill cart from scratch.
Stainless steel work stations to prep food ready to be cooked are impressive, but typically not needed for those of use who entertain every once in a while. They do, however, have a great advantage when it comes to cleaning up; they’re built to resist yeast, bacteria, and other microbes and can be trusted to handle food.