A tailgate can happen anywhere, and they often do. Whether you’re using a stove or an indoor grill, a BBQ or a campfire, any good food requires a little preparation. The meat has to be marinated or, at the very least, seasoned to bring out the right flavors. All this may just come down to salt and pepper. But it’s up to you, as host and head chef, to get it right.

The right tools can help, at every step. We’re going to take it from the beginning, before the meat even hits the grill… heck, before the seasoning even touches the food. Here are three tools you need before you even think about cooking anything.

 IMUSA, J100-00102, Gourmet Citrus Juicer, Black

Photo Credit: Imusa

Juicers aren’t just for [making] breakfast anymore. The iMUSA Gourmet Citrus Juicer may actually be more important grill-side where it can do some real good, adding citrus accents to marinades (and flavors to mixed drinks if you like). Batteries aren’t required, just put any fruit up to the size of a grapefruit in the receptacle and pull down the handle. The base stays put, thanks to a heavy-duty cast base and non-slip rubber feet. And out comes the juice, free of seeds and pulp. That’s all there is to it. Time to marinate that meat, and fix yourself a delicious drink.

Buy the Gourmet Citrus Juicer.

 KRUPS GX4100 Electric Spice Herbs and Coffee Grinder with Stainless Steel Blades and Housing, Grey

Photo Credit: Krups

You’ll need some spices in that citrus marinade. Lucky for you, there’s a tool for that: the Krups GX4100 Electric Spice, Herb and Coffee Grinder. Many a coffee convert already knows the wonders of the coffee grinder. But it’s also a handy tool by the grill, where it can be pressed into duty grinding herbs, spices, nuts and grains for sides, salads and the main course. This electric grinder can can produce enough coffee grounds for 15 cups of coffee. You probably won’t need that much seasoning, but it’s nice to know you have the power at your fingertips. The pulse-action button works in concert with a 200-watt motor (and your hand) to grind as you wish. And the lid-activated safety switch helps protect your thumb from the spinning blade.

Buy the Electric Spice, Herb and Coffee Grinder.

T-fal Excite Hand-Powered Rapid Food Chopper

Photo Credit: T-fal

Nobody is going to volunteer to chop the vegetables, particularly if onions are involved. It doesn’t take a tailgate veteran to figure that out. So leave it up to the T-fal Excite Hand-Powered Rapid Food Chopper. Two blades, working independently of each other, quickly chop meat for the grill or vegetables for salsa. It takes a grand total of five seconds to make two cups. The manual pull knob can be set for anything from coarsely chopped to puree. Use it fast, and clean it just as quickly, since both the cutting case and blades can go straight in the dishwasher.

Buy the Hand-Powered Rapid Food Chopper.

There you have it, mighty tailgaters, three great ways to drastically reduce your tailgating prep time. Tailgate long and prosper.

Marshal M. Rosenthal is a technology, gadget and lifestyle writer based on the West Coast.

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