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Quick & Sturdy Table-Tip

Do you need some more temporary work space out by your grill? This need may come up for any one of several reasons: Your grill may not have much in the way of side table area. You are using the grill’s rotisserie which cuts down on the available side table area. You are doing all of your prep out by the grill and not in the Kitchen. Your are using the side burner of your gas grill which means you are down to one side table for prep, storage and everything else. Lastly it may be a combination of the two: You are making something like a paella and you need to heat the broth on the side burners and you have lots of ingredients, pans and utensils to have out at the grill. The point is, you don’t have to think hard to come up with reasons you might need more work space out by your grill.


The picture on the left is a perfect example of when you may need more works space. I was making Twice Grilled Potatoes & Sloppy Joes and wanted to do everything out at the grill to save time. By working all out at the grill I could multitask and keep an eye on everything. I had the meat on the grill & some sauce going on the side burner. This meant I had only one side table on the grill available for use. The picture on the right shows the Workmate set up with the full sheet pan on it to serve as a potato stuffing work station when the potatoes came off the grill.

You may have a quick and easy solution for this in your Kitchen and in your workshop. Yes I did say workshop. Now when you think of food prep, you don’t necessarily think of heading to your workshop. But if you have a Black and Decker Workmate (or similar), You may have just what you need. For anyone who doesn’t know the Workmate is a collapsable workbench and vise suitable for any number of construction tasks. When collapsed it can easily be carried under your arm. Workmates are rated by how many hundreds of pounds they carry (200 lb = 90.75 Kg).So it is actually far more sturdy than a folding table plus your spouse can’t yell at you for using one of your good “inside” folding tables outside. The top can be adjusted to act like a vise. When using it for cooking, I adjust the depth of the top to support the size of my top. This reminds me: You must pop out the 4 swiveling clamps that fit into holes in the top. This will give you a perfectly flat work surface.


In these pictures my Workmate and sheet pan are in use as a pizza topping work station right out at the grill.

For a work surface I use a full sized 26” x 18” x 3/4” (66 x 46 x 2 cm) stainless steel sheet pan from the kitchen. I fill it up with whatever I’m going to need out by the grill and carry it all out to the grill area and place it on the workmate. The s/s sheet pan is a food safe working surface that is light weight & easy to clean. The rimmed edge helps keep things contained on the pan. I have a friend who cribbed the idea of using the workmate from me, but he uses a piece of 1/2” Dupont Corian synthetic counter top material that he had cut special just for this task. Corian and the other synthetic countertop materials are food safe, but they weigh a ton. He carries the top out and places it on the Workmate and then brings out the items he needs. I can carry my sheet pan and everything I will need in one trip & it weighs less than that piece of Corian. My friend counters (ouch) that he can cut on the Corian. To which I reply that I can bring one or more cutting boards out with me.

You can argue about the perfect top-my vote is for a full s/s sheet pan- but for a great portable base you can’t beat a Black & Decker Workmate. Now I’m not saying to run out and buy one if you don’t have it. But most people I know who do much carpentry, wood working, home repair etc. already have one around already. This means the price is right.

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