The 10 Best Tailgate Grill Options For Game Day

The Tailgate Grill Ultimate Buying guide

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases through links in this article.

Having a grill at your tailgate party is not a choice – it’s a necessity! Any outdoor expedition is not good enough if it doesn’t involve some good ole’ grilling and a couple of beers in the cooler. Better yet, a portable grill is a sure way of carrying the fun with you whenever you have an outdoor plan with your friends.

The one thing that stands in the way of most outdoor enthusiasts getting the best portable grills that are perfect for tailgating is not knowing what to look for. Should it be small or big? How much power? Will it rust? Is it waterproof? All these questions plague most people, and without the right answers you will most likely end up with a scraped charcoal grill you great grandfather handed down to you last year. What, therefore, do you look for when choosing the best tailgate grill?

Editors Choice

The Blacktone Tailgater Grill

the best tailgate grill ever

What To Look For When Buying a Tailgate Grill

  • Portability

What would be the point of buying a portable tailgate grill if it isn’t portable? Right? So, before you close the deal, make sure that your grill is light enough to be carried around. 

  • Cooking surface area

The choice of the grilling surface area may depend on the amount of food that will need grilling. If it is mostly you and a few friends, a medium sized grill should be enough (around 250-300 sq/in). A small one, on the other hand, would be ideal if it is only for you and a few friends (100-200 sq/in).

  • Power output

Now, you wouldn’t want to spend the entire time on the grill when everyone else is busy playing drinking games and getting lit, would you? You need to consider the amount of power the portable grill outputs before buying. The power is usually measured in BTUs meaning those with higher values will cook faster and more efficiently.

  • Burner control

The better portable grills have control of the heat that each burner produces, whether it be 1 or multiple burners. Failure to get a portable grill with a burner controller would mean that the grill plate could be hotter in different parts of the grill. You don’t want sally complaining that her chicken sandwich isn’t cooked all the way through. This is arguably the most important of all.

  • Accessories

Portable grills that come with accessories are even better. Some include a set table, warming racks, hooks for hanging your tools, actual cooking tools and much more. While this is not a primary consideration, you can always use a few more grilling gadgets, don’t you think?

So here it is, the list of the top 10 best portable tailgate grills.

10. The Smoke Hollow 205 Grill

By: Masterbuilt

Are you worried that your tailgating grill will rust? Well, don’t. Smoke Hollow is a stainless grill that offers more than grilling efficiency – durability. Over the years, Smoke Hollow has changed its name twice, but its reliability for outdoor coming has remained constant. In addition to three good looks, this grill also gives you power in three right amounts. A single burner produces about 12,000 BTUs of energy.  

The 205 in the name represents the area of the main grill in square inches. This means that you have enough space for a quick dinner or a tailgate grilling with a few friends. The lid of the grill is designed with double walls to promote insulation and thus heat retention in the central unit. In case your food gets cold, the warming racks should be sufficient to do the warming. The Smoke Hollow 205 also comes with fold-able wheels for easy transport as well as an easy-to-clean tray.

In short:

  • Cooking Area: 205 sq/in
  • Burner: propane 
  • 10,000 BTU
  • Pros: easy to clean, light, very portable 
  • Cons: no side platforms, need table top to put grill on 

#9 Weber 10020 Smokey Joe Grill

By: Weber

Weber is another big name in the grills industry, and one of their known best features is quality. The Weber 14” grill is no different. This grill is built to last and ideal for your long day cooking on the tailgate grill.

The small size says nothing about the amount of power this grill produces. While the grill area is quite small for a big gathering, you can be sure that the little it will cook will be perfect. The good thing about its size is that it’s easy to pack and with a tuck and carry lid holder, you can be sure to have an easy time transporting this little guy.

In short:

  • Cooking Area: 14″
  • Burner: charcoal 
  • Pros: easy to set up, very portable, inexpensive 
  • Cons: small, charcoal to clean up, not that high off the ground

#8 Cuisinart CGG 180T Tabletop Grill

By: Cuisinart

Coming in at number 8 is one of the products of Cuisinart in the CGG series – 180T. It is a small table-top portable tailgate grill that offers you the convenience you would want when grilling for a few friends in the backyard.

The cooking surface area of 145 square inches is enough to grill 6 to 10 chicken breasts, 8 burgers, 4 pounds of fish or 8 steaks. You will love the even distribution of heat across the grilling area produced by a stainless burner generating 5,500 BTU. For portability, the Cuisinart CGG 180T weighs only 13.5 pounds with a pronounced briefcase style.

In short:

  • Cooking Area: 145 sq/in
  • Burner: propane
  • 5,500 BTU
  • Pros: briefcase style portability, very light 
  • Cons: not a lot of power, small cooking area

#7 Blackstone Table Top Grill

By: Blackstone

If you are looking for a convenient portable gas grill on the budget, then this tabletop grill by Blackstone will blow your mind. 

You may mistake it for a restaurant style griddle grill at first sight, but it is a light, highly efficient portable grill. It has a grilling area of 260 square inches with an evenly distributed heating system. The total heat production is 12,000 BTU, quite enough and storage shouldn’t be a hassle thanks to its small size.

In Short:

  • Cooking Area: 260 sq/in
  • 12,000 BTU
  • Burner: propane
  • Pros: small, light, easy to clean, restaurant style grilling platform
  • Cons: not a standalone grill, tabletop required 

#6 Weber 50060001 Q1000 Propane grill

By: Weber

This is a liquid propane portable grill with the ability to produce 8,500 BTU per hour on every burner. The cooking area of 189 square inches is quite small but enough for a small group of friends. It comes fully assembled and ready to use from the manufacturer meaning all you need is the plan for the next tailgate party. Operations are made much easy with push-button ignition, and burner valve controls for efficient heating. These should allow you to have fantastic tailgate grilling experience for your small group.

In Short:

  • Cooking Area: 189 sq/in
  • 8,500 BTU
  • Burner: propane
  • Pros: small, efficient, easy clean up
  • Cons: small cooking area

#5 Cuisinart CGG 306 Grill

By: Cuisinart

Another reliable tailgate grill on the list is the Cuisinart CGG 306. It features almost everything you want in your portable grill. Setting up this grill takes about 10 minutes only, and the best part is that you don’t need any tools.

It has 2 separate burners made of stainless steel that jointly produce a total of 20,000 BTU of power. The operation is also not a problem since you get a twist ignition and a thermometer to check the temperature. Also, the lid of this Cuisinart product locks firmly, and the legs fold for easy transportation.

In Short:

  • Cooking Area: 275 sq/in
  • 20,000 BTU
  • Burner: propane
  • Pros: very powerful, large cooking area, only weighs 22lbs
  • Cons: uses more gas than other grills, tabletop only grill

#4 Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill

By: Weber 

Another Weber product to make our list of top portable grills is the Weber121020 charcoal grill. It is rectangular and comes with steel pivoting legs that also doubles as lid fasteners when transporting. The handle is designed to remain cool during cooking for that added convenience. 

The charcoal grill lovers will tell you that this kind of grill offers the best-grilled foods due to the smoke. Temperature control is rather easy with dampers on the top and bottom of the grill. The cooking space of 160 square inches should be enough for a small crowd, and at 14.5 pounds, you do not worry about carrying this grill around.

In Short:

  • Cooking Area: 160 sq/in
  • Burner: propane
  • Pros: simple, lightweight, inexpensive
  • Cons: messy charcoal, no stand 

#3 Coleman Road Trip 285 Grill

By: Coleman

The Road Trip 285 grill comes with a quick set up and transportation features. The wheels attached to allow you to move it around and when folded, you can conveniently store the unit. It has 285 square inches of grilling space over 20,000 BTU of heat generated by the burners. The 3 burners are adjustable to give you optimal control of the heating and temperature. When it comes to accessories, these two grills have 2 side tables and an integrated thermometer to help you keep tabs on the temperature. Also, the water pan is easy to clean.

In Short:

  • Cooking Area: 285 sq/in
  • 20,000 BTU
  • Burner: propane
  • Pros: full stand up grill, folds away easily, easy to clean, powerful, side tables
  • Cons: None

#2 Char-Broil Grill2Go X200 TRU-Infrared Propane Grill

By: Char-Broil

Coming in at number 2 is the char-broil Grill2Go. Now don’t get this thing confused with a fishing tackle box, it’s cast aluminum firebox is made to last. This one is one of my personal favorites for bringing to the small family tailgate for many reasons. 

It has TRU Infrared technology which prevents flare-ups, uses less fuel than standard propane grills, speeds up cooking times, has a wider temperature range and ensures a evenly heated cooking surface. It even claims to make meat juicier with this infrared technology. 

In Short:

  • Cooking Area: 200 sq/in
  • 9,500 BTU 
  • Burner: propane with infrared technology 
  • Pros: light, portable, efficient, easy to clean, cooks food faster than most grills, even temperatures throughout 
  • Cons: none

#1 Blackstone Grills Tailgater - Gas Tailgate Grill and Griddle Combo

By: Blackstone 

This right here is the mac-daddy of the tailgate grill game. If there was such thing as the tailgate grill Olympics, this guy right here would take gold every time. The Blackstone Tailgater. Yeah that’s right, it’s literally a grill for tailgating.

 With it’s large grill and griddle combo, this thing really gives you the best of both worlds. Smoke ribs in the grill, cook your burgers on the griddle. The options are endless with this things massive 512 sq/in total grilling area. 

To enhance its portability, this grill comes with fold-able legs. Also, assembling is not a problem thanks to the adjustable legs that offer stability. Versatility is also an advantage with this grill regarding set up. Its two burners the H tube burner and the cast iron burner produce 15,000 BTU and 20,000 BTU respectively. This is pretty impressive and adding the fact that the grill is built to last, you get yourself one of the best products in the market. A grill like this is most definitely suitable for the world’s largest outdoor cocktail party.

In Short:

  • Cooking Area: 512 sq/in of grilling space 
  • 35,000 total BTU
  • Burner: propane
  • Pros: grill & griddle combo, large cooking areas, sturdy legs, built in thermostat, dual burner controls.
  • Cons: a little heavy but who cares when you’re the tailgate master with this thing 

In conclusion:

Choosing the best tailgate grill really depends on how many people you will be grilling for, these numbers can change drastically from around 3-5 people for your small family tailgate party, up to 50+ people that need to eat at the larger frat tailgate tents. 

Didn't find a grill you like?