It’s always a great day when sports season rolls around, which means it’s time to break out the supplies and enjoy some good old-fashioned tailgating. Tailgating is a fun event that football fans and sports lovers enjoy rain or shine to celebrate games and get in the spirit with other fans.
To truly be able to enjoy your tailgating experience, you need the right equipment! This means you need a good tailgating grill that will be perfect to fit in the back of your vehicle and pull out for the tailgating party.
We’ve got you covered! We’ve selected some of the best tailgate grills of 2021 and we’re here to share every last noteworthy detail with you! We’ll share detailed reviews and then give you a complete buying guide to make an informed decision when you’re ready.
10 Best Tailgate Grills For Your Next Tailgate BBQ
- Coleman RoadTrip LX Propane Grill
- 285 sq in.
- 36 x 13 x 22 in
- Weber 50060001 Q1000 Liquid Propane Grill
- 189 sq in.
- 14.5 x 27.0 x 16.5 in
- George Foreman 15-Serving Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill GFO240S
- 240 sq in.
- 11.0 x 20.0 x 20.5 in
This grill is the best choice overall. It’s also our best overall pick for best tabletop grills, regardless of fuel type.
It has sufficient power and a decent amount of cooking space given the size. We like the chrome look and this grill is sleek and graceful by design. It stands on nice legs so you can set it sturdy on any surface, including the ground if that’s the best location.
The legs do not extend for height purposes. This grill from Weber operates with a simple ignition switch. It has easy-carry handles for portability. It does weigh a little over 25 pounds but the handles make moving it easy.
This grill is made with solid, reliable materials and is our favorite pick of 2020. We really like the shape and style of this grill and the overall size. It’s functional and efficient and is one of the best options for tailgating purposes that you will find.
This grill easily slid into our runner-up spot in the countdown. It is small but mighty and amazing for portability. This handy little grill comes on a stand that pops up to full height. When it pops down, it gives you a handle and wheels to make moving it easy, no carrying is required.
This handy little grill has a sleek design. It’s simple to use and it’s highly-rated across the board. It has side trays so you literally have everything you need at your disposal. The side trays push in for portability space.
This one has a unique grill top that comes with typical grilling grates but can be switched out to griddle and stove grates that are sold separately. The cooking grates can be changed out, which gives you some additional versatility that you just don’t get with some grill options.
This grill is our premium choice. It’s a George Foreman grill that operates great and can sometimes be hard to find in stock. The downside on this grill for tailgating purposes is that it does require electricity. However, it’s nice to have no charcoal or propane to contend with.
The electric power makes it a similarly great indoor grill option to the George Foreman on our best indoor electric grills list.
This grill can hold up to 15 servings, which makes it substantial compared to some grill tailgating options. The temperature controls are completely adjustable and easy to work with and this grill has a temperature probe to get perfection every single time.
The grill top has a non-stick coating for easy cleanup and the sloped surface of the grill helps to remove excess fat from your meal. This grill really does it all and for the size, it has a lot of space in it. It’s definitely a premium option but it could be a challenge to find electrical when you’re on the go.
This grill draws our attention because it screams tailgating. It’s big and powerful. It’s heavy-duty and attractive. It’s also simple and effective. This large, portable grill is perfect for those tailgating parties and easy setup and clean up.
This grill has quite a bit of cooking space without being overly large or heavy by design. It has a warming rack and the cooking grates. The burner is “U” shaped to try to spread the heat evenly over the space. It’s easy to ignite and use.
There are latches to lock the lid for transport and the legs easily fold up and extend as needed. This is designed for tabletop use. This is a large and mighty grill without being excessively bulky or overbearing in size. Be sure you have a good storage place to keep it away from the elements. This will ensure it lasts as long as possible.
If you’re a charcoal lover who wants to keep their grilling experience authentic, look no further! This portable charcoal grill is a really great option for tailgating. You may want a truck to transport this grill since it’s charcoal but isn’t that the vehicle of choice for tailgating?
This grill is compact and lightweight. It has a sufficient cooking surface, although the square inches are undefined. The grill properly retains heat and has a well-made lid and bowl that won’t rust on you.
There is a drip tray for catching the mess. On the downside, the lid doesn’t lock on for transport so you will want to be mindful of that. This is a great, traditional charcoal grill and sometimes you simply can’t beat a good charcoal-hamburger!
The Coleman party propane grill was made with tailgating in mind. This is a simple grill that is very easy to use and understand. This grill looks a lot like a charcoal grill but it keeps it simple with a basic miniature propane hookup. Less mess but super easy to use.
This little grill has a decent amount of cooking space. The legs are removable and it even comes with a bag so you can pack it up easily and store it easily as well. There is no lid. This is an open grill but it has Perfect Flow technology that allows it to heat evenly across the entire grill space.
We love this grill because it’s just simple and yet effective at the same time. This grill is not large but it has a decent cooking space. The fact that it doesn’t have a lid does turn some people away but the grill still heats and cooks effectively.
This is a fun grill from Cuisinart that is very reliable and well-made. It has a decent cooking space that will cook 8 burgers or steaks at a time. It has a decent amount of power for the cooking space and heats evenly over the grilling surface.
This grill has legs that fold out and then fold up for portability. The legs are nice and give it just a bit of height, making it perfect for the tabletop. The lid latches closed to make carrying it around simple.
This folds up almost like a briefcase so when you travel, you just grab the handle and move it around as needed. It’s compact and small while also having sufficient cooking space. We like this grill just because it is small. You will want to plan for it to take a bit longer overall to cook.
Blackstone has a reputation for turning out some really awesome griddle-style grills. This option is certainly a great one. It is a bit more expensive but it’s a quality investment that will last. This portable, tailgater grill is completely portable with its own legs that are made to be stable anywhere.
It’s versatile. You get the griddle cooktop as well as a burner that can be used for grilling, cooking, or whatever you need. The griddle cooktop cooks far more than just typical BBQ items, so you get some extra functionality.
It’s very easy to use and clean and the company also offers a satisfaction guarantee. The nice thing is it can be stood up or even just laid flat on a truck tailgate. This grill has a LOT of cooking space and a lot of functionality. It’s definitely heavier than most portable grills but it’s a very nice option.
If you need a budget-friendly approach, this charcoal grill could be a good option for you. It’s simple and affordable and it runs on charcoal. This grill also ranks as our second choice for best portable charcoal grills.
The only downside to charcoal is that you will need to be able to transport charcoal and lighting materials as well.
This makes a great tailgating option because it can set on the tailgate or even on the ground and it will stand securely. It is super lightweight but it looks sleek and nice. This charcoal grill has secure lid locks for portability.
The dual-venting system on the lid gives you some control over the temperature so you can cook in your own way. There is an ash catcher to reduce the mess and also make cleanup easy. The lightweight build and the sleek design really make this a great option for tailgating needs.
This is the ultimate char-griller machine. It is pretty unique in design and looks a lot like a smoker as far as shape and style go. It is heavy-duty and does weight a bit more at 41 pounds so be aware of that when you plan traveling or portability.
This small grill can also attach to larger grills like Char-Grillers barrel grills as well as their Duo gas and charcoal grills. This grill is made with heavy steel and has cast iron cooking grates. It is built to be durable and long-lasting. It will catch everyone’s attention at your tailgate party.
This has a really great cooking space, giving you plenty of room for cooking several items. There is a convenient sliding drawer for access to both the coals and the ashes as well as a pan for dumping ashes. The handle is designed to stay cool even when the grill is at maximum temperature.
Things to Look for in a Tailgating Grill
Buying a grill that is suitable for tailgating does not necessarily mean just running out and buying a small grill. You need something that will be portable and convenient to work with but will also be reliable and get the job done when you’re at a game, waiting for some burgers!
There are a lot of options out there but we want you to be aware of a few features that you may want to keep in mind specifically while you pick out your tailgating grill.
Some portable grills can be very small so you will want to be sure to check the cooking space of any grill before you make a purchase. You don’t necessarily need to purchase huge just because there are huge sizes but you do want to make sure that you choose a size that will be sufficient for your needs.
If you want the ability to cook more than 4-5 burgers or equivalent pieces at a time, we recommend looking for a cooking space that is 190 or more square inches. Any smaller size will cook for about 4 servings.
190 square inches is about the right size for cooking up to 6 burgers and obviously, from there, the larger the space, the more you can cook on it. As far as tailgating grills go, you probably won’t find many options that offer more than 500 square inches of cooking space.
Overall Grill Size
Cooking space is important but so is the overall size of the grill. You’re most likely purchasing this grill specifically to be portable so you will want to be sure that it fits within your portability needs.
You will need to know whether your travel space will be compatible with the size of the grill. Do you have plenty of room for the grill you have in mind? Remember that you will have to transport it, set it up, and then be able to transport it back home as well. You may need supplies if you choose a charcoal grill.
Set yourself up to know the size you are working with and whether your space will accommodate the size.
One very important thing to consider is your fuel source. As far as tailgating grills go, you can expect to use either a charcoal or a gas/propane fuel for your grill. If you have a specific stadium that you normally tailgate at, you may want to check to see if they have any rules or restrictions that might affect your decision.
For propane grills, you will need to know whether you can use a portable propane tank or whether you will need a full-sized tank. This also may be something that will affect your decision overall.
Gas grills tend to be larger overall but many of the portable options use portable-sized propane tanks, which makes them convenient and easy to transport as needed.
Charcoal grills typically require more tools and accessories to use when you get there and get setup. You will most likely need some lighting tools as well as some charcoal. Be sure you take enough charcoal with you.
Which fuel source you choose will totally be up to your own preferences. Which do you prefer and which does your favorite stadium allow for tailgating purposes?
There are some portable smokers and pellet grills but these are less common for small tailgating options.
Different grills are made with different materials. On the same note, the materials can make a significant difference on the durability of your grill. Remember that your grill needs to be portable so the materials can also make a difference in this category.
Heavy-duty steel and cast iron can quickly make a grill heavy. There is nothing wrong with a heavy grill and these will usually last longer but the heavy weight could make transporting a bit more challenging.
The good news is that even the heavy tailgating grills we discussed here weigh less than 50 pounds. While they are heavier they are not so heavy that they can’t be moved. You will also notice that there is a grill here that only weighs 2 pounds, so you get quite a variety as far as weight goes.
You will want to be sure that the materials are sturdy and durable. You don’t want to worry about rust if you end up tailgating in adverse weather.
Look for materials that are reliable but are also easy to clean. When you’re finished with your tailgate party, you need to be able to tuck that grill back in your vehicle and take it home without making a giant mess!
Best Tailgate Grill Review Final Verdict
When all is said and done, we do have a couple of favorites from these reviews. While all of the grills here are great options, depending on your needs and preferences, some just stand out to us above the rest.
Our top pick from this list of the 10 best tailgate grills is the Weber 50060001 Liquid Propane Grill. It meets our best overall rating. It has a good amount of cooking space without making the grill overly large. This is a gas grill that uses a portable propane tank. It is sturdy and well-made and a really great grill overall.
It’s unique and perfectly designed to move around as needed. It also has a pretty decent amount of cooking space and power.
What we know for certain is that even though we list these two as the overall winners, you will be satisfied with any of the options you find here. These are all highly-rated and any one of them will work just perfectly for tailgating!
Don’t wait until tailgating season is already underway to prepare yourself with the perfect grill. Now is the time to pick one out so you will have a chance to open it up and get to know the grill a little bit before you really put it to work.
Choosing the right tailgating grill is an important part of having a fun and exciting experience! Happy tailgating!