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Discover the surprising but effective art of grilling on a shopping cart. Learn everything from why to how to grill on in this unconventional method with this helpful starter guide!
In the world of barbeque, there is a long tradition of using lots of unexpected materials to bring the heat.
Great grills can be found in unexpected places, like barrel drum grills, earthen grills, and even shopping carts! Next time you’re grabbing groceries for the grill, look at the cart and see your next big innovation thanks to this guide to grilling on a shopping cart!
Why Grill on a Shopping Cart?
All the best grillers have a few unconventional tricks up their sleeves and grilling on a shopping cart makes a lot of sense! The metal grating of the cart makes for a perfect grill grate.
Some big stores discard or update old carts, so why not put them to delicious use!? Shopping carts offer a large surface perfect for outdoor grilling. If you can score one of these wheeled wonders, you’ll have a great grilling experience!
How to Get the Shopping Cart
DO NOT STEAL A SHOPPING CART! Please never steal a cart from the store. Depending on where you live, stealing a shopping cart might be against the law. No barbeque is worth the ticket, so please stick to legal methods to get the shopping cart!
Some stores discard old carts and shop owners might be willing to make a deal with you instead. You can also purchase a new cart from wholesale restaurant and retail suppliers.
You can also seek a cart online through grilling forums, garage sales, and social media. You would be surprised how reliable this method is!
Always check the cart out before closing the deal. You want a metal cart without plastic coatings for the best results and safest practice.
Getting Ready to Grill with a Shopping Cart
Getting ready to grill with a shopping cart is pretty simple, but there are a few focus areas you don’t want to miss:
- Remove all plastic and non-metal materials from the cart, like child straps, buckles, and plastic advertising plates.
- Optionally remove the wheels. If you intend on using your shopping cart grill upright in the same place, you might want to remove the wheels for added stability.
- Wash all cart surfaces thoroughly, even areas you don’t think will come into contact with food.
- Determine the location of your grill. You will need a good fire ring or pit to set up your shopping grill on top of. Never grill under an overhanging structure, trees, or enclosed space. These are all fire risks.
- Grab kindling, charcoal, lighter fluid, a lighter, and anything else you might need to get your fire going.
How to Grill on a Shopping Cart
There are two excellent methods for grilling on a shopping cart that do not require special tools or modification to the cart, beyond what has been discussed. This section will look at the two quickest ways to get grilling with a shopping cart!
1. Sideways Shopping Cart Grill
- Build a nice big fire in a fire ring or pit on the ground. This method works well with sturdy walled fired rings, like brick fire pits.
- Place the shopping cart on its side on top of the fire. Be sure that the flippable back of the cart is locked in position out of the way. The cooking grate is the side of the cart resting directly over the fire. So you will essentially reach sideways inside the cart basket to adjust the food.
- Allow the grill grate to heat up for 10 or more minutes. Be careful not to knock the cart and keep kids out of the grilling area.
- Lightly brush the grate with olive oil and add hot dogs, burgers, brats, or whatever food you like.
- Grill is turning often. Craft a small aluminum foil tent to place over the food if you want to hold more heat in.
- Carefully remove the food from the shopping cart grill and enjoy!
2. Upright Shopping Cart Grill
- Build a fire in a ground-level fire pit or ring. This method will result in the grill grate being a little further from the flame, so it’s perfect for lower-temperature cooking foods, like veggies and fruits.
- Place the shopping cart upright directly on top of the fire. The bottom of the basket will become the cooking surface. You may want to remove or dig the wheels into the ground for security.
- Allow the grill grate to heat up for 15 minutes before adding food.
- Before cooking, brush the grill grate lightly with oil. Add the food to the oiled grill. Be careful not to touch any of the sides of the cart when adjusting the grill.
- Grill turning often with long grill tongs or sticks. To speed things up, you can use aluminum foil to cover the food for faster cooking.
- Remove fully cooked food from the grill and enjoy it while it’s hot!
Pro Tips for Success When Grilling on a Shopping Cart
This thrifty grilling method can produce great results. Here are some ideas to help you nail the shopping cart grilling technique:
- Try making campfire meal packets. This is where you put thinly sliced meat, potatoes, and seasonings in a sealed foil packet. These packets grill very well on a shopping cart.
- You can also use cast iron cookware on the shopping cart grill.
- Have lots of extra-long grill skewers available. These are great for grilling hot dogs, kebabs, or sausages on a shopping cart.
- Always have heat-proof gloves available for adjusting the fire and grill as needed. Also, have a large bucket of water nearby in case of emergencies.
- Remember never to leave your shopping cart grill unattended, and always fully extinguish your cooking fire when you’re done.
If you have the itch to grill on a shopping cart or are simply looking for a conventional grilling method, and you have a shopping cart handy, then we say go for it.
It is, however, advised that you remove all things plastic from the cart before you start grilling, and you might want to give it a good cleaning as well; proper safety measures have to be put in place before grilling with a shopping cart.