Last updated on June 17th, 2020Time to Read: 9 minutes
When it comes to tailgate food, it’s hard to beat something that comes fresh off the grill. Your tailgate grill is one of the most important pieces of equipment in your collection. We’re here to make sure that you’ve got the right tailgate grill.
There are many different types of tailgate grills, coming in all shapes and sizes. Some offer convenience, while others are energy efficient. Some favor portability while others favor cooking capacity.
There’s a great pool to choose from, and it can be overwhelming if you’ve just started research yourself. We take some load off your shoulder, as we’ve done all that research for you and are here to present the best tailgate grill for any tailgate. The list features six of the top grills that offer value for money..
Best Tailgate Grill Options for 2020
Coleman Roadtrip 285
The Coleman Roadtrip 285 is among the heaviest grills that we’ve selected, at 47 pounds. Don’t let this put you off, because it makes up for it with durability and utility. Because of its cast iron construction, this grill can take knocks and never break. With proper care and maintenance, it will serve you for years.
Finding a portable grill with a large cooking surface is challenging. But the Coleman Road Trip is generous with 285 square inches of cooking space. The two side tables give you space to serve food from the grill once it is ready.
When open, it uses two wheels and a stand for unwavering support. The wheels also make it possible to move the grill around easily and quickly. It has a compact design when folded to allow you to fit and store in tight spaces. Most people love the Coleman Roadtrip 285 because it is easy to set up and use even for first-timers.
You can cook a variety of meals because it has a high heat output of 3,250-20,000 BTUs. With such a high heat capacity, you can cook up anything, including stuff that favors high heat like red meat. Similarly, having a high output also means that that you’ll be pulling off food quickly, something your fellow tailgaters will appreciate. You also have interchangeable cooktops to make you prepare a variety of dishes.
It uses propane and has Instastart, so you will not need matches. This is very convenient if you’re short on time and want to start cooking immediately.
It has three burners that you can control independently to give different heat capacities. You will have greater control of your cooking and can prepare different meals at the same time.
- Easy to set up
- Great temperature control
- Wide cooking surface
- It comes with three independent and adjustable burners
- It has a long and shallow water tray which can be difficult to maintain level water
Weber Jumbo Joe
The Weber Jumbo Joe is a portable charcoal grill that many tailgaters and minimalists will enjoy. It is incredibly lightweight and weighs only 22 pounds. It is compact yet sizeable enough to cook a full-size meal on one go. It’s about 20-inches all around, making it easy to store in tight spaces.
To avoid placing the hot lid on the ground while cooking, the manufacturer uses a “Tuck-N-Carry” clip to hold the lid in place with the grill open. Going further, you can safely move this thing around to a different spot at your tailgate, while cooking. Ever fired up a grill and placed your tent directly down-smoke? Sometimes it’s nice to be able to move the grill after it’s lit.
It is a clever design that makes it safe to carry around when hot. The three-legged stand also has an ash catcher, which makes your cooking area clean.
The Weber Jumbo Joe has a kettle like a shape that is useful in retaining heat. There is minimal loss of heat at the bottom of the grill. So after you finish cooking, you won’t have burnt furniture or grass.
The fire snuffs out pretty quickly once you close the lid because of its airtight vents. It makes for a safe charcoal burner and also energy efficient.
It is durable, made of porcelain-coated and steel construction. It has an aluminum top vent with 240 square inches for your cooking space. The Jumbo Joe is easy to clean because of the shiny, porcelain-enameled exterior. It is also rustproof and will not peel when exposed to heat.
- Compact and lightweight
- Safe handles for easy transport
- Grill closes to put out the fire and save your charcoal
- You can relocate the grill while cooking
- It has a large cooking surface
- Easy to clean porcelain exterior
- Does not come with a built-in thermometer
- The small stand is wobbly when cooking on uneven ground
Blackstone Grills Tailgater
If you are looking for a versatile tailgate grill, then you have it in this model. The Blackstone Tailgater is a propane gas portable grill that you can use to cook anywhere. If you want to cook a variety of dishes on the outdoors, then this is for you. It has both a grill and a griddle for more cooking options.
Boasting a whopping 512 square inches of total cooking space, this is the largest grill to make our list. This is a great tailgate grill if you have a lot of mouths to feed.
The design allows you to prepare different foods at the same time. You can have a different cooking setup each time. There are the griddle, grill box, and two burners combo that makes all your cooking easy and fast.
The grill gives you a wide top cooking option, but you can remove it to cook with pots and pans on the two burners.
It is durable with powder-coated steel to prevent rust and easy to clean as well. You can transport it quickly, as it has foldable legs, making it quite compact to move considering its large size when set up. It is easy to use and set up. It takes only seconds to unpack and start cooking.
It uses power ignition, so no need to bring a lighter or matches with you.
It is a 3-in-1 grill that has two burners with different BTUs. The H-tube burner has up to 15,000 BTUs, while the cast iron burner will produce 20,000 BTUs.
If you go with this grill, consider picking up a carrying case as well. This will protect your grill in transport and make it easier than ever to load and unload.
- A versatile 3-in-1 cooktop
- Foldable legs making it easy to transport
- Sturdy steel construction
- Easy to start power ignition
- The griddle may lean towards more novelty, as it’s likely not used nearly as much as the grill
- The griddle can struggle to maintain high temperatures in cold or windy conditions
Weber Go Anywhere
It is one of the best compact charcoal grills in the market today because of its versatility fuel-saving efficiency. It has 160 square inches of cooking space, which is good if you are cooking for 4-6 people. It is a compact size, so you won’t use lots of charcoal to prepare your meals.
It uses plated steel legs, which gives it stability when cooking on even ground. The legs fold up and lock the lid tightly, making it easy to transport using its handle. It is also lightweight at only 14lbs, good for somebody who prefers to pack light.
It has a vent system that allows you to regulate the heat and temperature as you cook. It doesn’t hold much charcoal, and vent adjustments are sensitive, so temperature control becomes a skill with this grill.
To save your charcoal after you have finished grilling, close all vents, and the fire will go out. The lid acts as a shield that blocks the wind as you cook, and you can access your food easily as it hangs on the side when you open it.
It is a durable and hardy porcelain-coated cast iron construction. It is easy to clean and to set up as well.
- Suitable for a small gathering
- Lightweight and compact
- Packs up in a very tight and stackable shape
- Generously sized cooking surface for a compact
- Very efficient with charcoal usage
- The compact design presents difficulties with temperature control
- No built-in thermometer
If compact is your thing, but you don’t want to use charcoal with the Weber Go Anywhere that we just discussed, check out the Cuisinart CGG-180T for a great propane alternative. It’s small and packs up easily, with foldable aluminum legs and an ergonomic handle for comfortable carrying.
The heat control is straightforward and contributes to its simple design. The cooking area is not large, but 160 square inches is good for a compact grill. It makes for an ideal tailgate grill for smaller groups of 4-6 people, when you simply don’t need a grill with a large output.
It does not have the highest heat output, but at 5500 BTUs, it will still cook your food quickly and evenly. It has a functional grill surface with a drip tray that is easy to clean and assemble. The integrated lid makes it safe for storage. It is easy to set up and use.
The weight is only 17 pounds, and it comes with a porcelain enamel grate and a stainless steel burner.
- The foldable stand makes it compact when transporting
- It has an integrated lid that won’t get lost or damaged
- Easy to move around and use
- More stable than most grills this size
- Fast startup
- Run it too hot or too long, and the handle can actually melt away
- No built-in thermometer
Solaire Everywhere Infrared Gas Grill
It has two infrared burners that have a heat output of up to 14000 BTUs. It uses propane gas as fuel but is hotter and more efficient than traditional propane grills.
It’s quite lightweight and compact, weighing only 15 pounds, 20 inches wide, with a cooking area of 140 square inches.
It doesn’t use any matches, as it uses an electric push-button ignition. Infrared cooks faster than most propane, so you’ll have meals ready much quicker. You can be cooking just 3 minutes after firing it up. The grill uses a V cut design that allows it to avoid flare-ups when cooking.
The Solaire Infrared gas portable grill is a small profile with so much power. It has a sturdy, all stainless steel construction. It will last for many years. The price is high, but you’re getting value here.
- Preheats very fast
- Infrared cooks faster than traditional propane grills
- Very fuel-efficient
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Infrared grills are more expensive than other grills
- Sometimes it can be difficult to keep the temperature low enough for certain foods
So what’s the best tailgate grill?
The answer to that question will depend on who’s asking. All of the grills here are excellent, but they aren’t for everybody. The grill that you end up going with will depend on your fuel preference, guest count, and storage ability, among other things.