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The 10 Best Tailgate Grills in 2020

If you are someone who loves outdoor parties and grilled food, the purchase of a tailgate grill might be the best decision you’ve made. Be it camping, a BBQ party or even a concert, the thought of having a grilled steak or a smoked burger will surely make your day better.

A tailgate grill is a portable grill that is easy to carry and it does not take up much space. It will also enable you to cook a large quantity of food which saves you a lot of hassle during a big gathering. Tailgate grills are easy to function and yield great satisfaction. The tailgate grills can be used for multiple occasions and will ensure that quality meals are cooked. In this article, we have listed and reviewed the best tailgate grills that you will find in the market.

Best Pick

Coleman RoadTrip LXE Portable Gas Grill

The Coleman RoadTrip LXE Portable Propane Gas Grill is our best pick because of its collapsible design, ability to switch grill grates and high functionality.

Budget Pick

Weber 10020 Smokey Joe 14-Inch Portable Grill

The Weber 10020 Smokey Joe 14-Inch Portable Grill is our budget pick because of its compact design, high quality and effective cooking options. This is definitely worth the money.



1. Coleman RoadTrip LXE Portable Gas Grill

Highlighted Features

  • 20,000 BTUs of grilling power
  • Two independent burners
  • Built-in thermometer

This grill is best for summer cookouts but it also performs equally well in chilly conditions. The material is made of aluminium with porcelain-coated cast iron grates and the grill weighs only 44 pounds. The stand is collapsible which means it folds on itself and the grill has a set of rugged wheels that makes it easier for you to move it from one place to another. This grill is highly portable.

The propane grill has a large grilling surface of 285 square inches which allows you to cook lots of food at once. It also has adaptable burners on both sides that produce a total grilling power of 20,000 BTUs. This means that, with the addition of two separate burners, one grill will enable you to cook a wide variety of meals.

It comes with two side tables on each side and the entire grill can be assembled within just thirty minutes following the instructions that come with the box. The propane grill has a unique feature called the Swaptop interchangeable cooktops. This feature lets you switch between two grates. You can either choose to cook your meal using grill grates or switch to a stove grate. Thanks to the Instastart Ignition button, you can light the burners without using a match or a lighter. All you need to do is push a button and the burner will be ready to grill your desired food. It also has removable grease trays which makes it easy to clean. 

However, this propane grill is said to have a faulty design. Firstly, the two side tables are made of plastic which means that there is a high chance of the side tables melting if they are not fully extended. Secondly, the collapsible stand cannot be locked and is quite difficult to stabilise. Moreover, lack of information on the instruction guide has had many consumers grill with the cover on which has destroyed the grill handle. Furthermore, it is difficult to keep food from sticking to the grilling surface.

Pros

  • The grill can be assembled in less than 30 minutes. Just attach the wheels, the handle and the regulator and you’re good to go.
  • The cooking surface is removable which allows flexible cooking.
  • Fast setup makes it perfect for tailgating, camping and other such outdoor activities.

Cons

  • Consumers have complained that it is difficult to keep food from sticking to the grilling surface.
  • The heating is a little uneven. The grill plate over the burner tends to be hotter compared to the rest of the grill.

2. Weber 10020 Smokey Joe 14-Inch Portable Grill

Highlighted Features

  • Rust-resistant Aluminum dampers and lid handle
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Effective ventilation system

The Weber Smokey Joe 14” is quite small compared to other models but it does not fail to deliver quality performance. The grill weighs only 9.5 pounds which makes it easy to transport. Despite being small, the 14” tailgate grill comes with a Burger Press that is able to hold up to five burgers at once. The rust-resistant aluminum dampers make it easier to control temperature on the charcoal grill. 

The grill has three legs made of aluminium and it also comes with an aluminium ash catcher. Since it has a porcelain-enameled lid and bowl, it retains heat that prevents it from rusting or peeling. The air flow can be controlled and the grill is said to last for a period of ten to fifteen years.

Pros

  • The legs are strong and stable.
  • Strong breeze or harsh weather conditions do not affect the temperature inside the grill.
  • The grill won’t rust if stored outside.

Cons

  • No side handles make it difficult to carry.
  • The grill does not have a built-in thermometer which makes it difficult to achieve specific cooking temperatures.
  • This product can expose you to harmful chemicals such as nickel fumes and soot.

3. Blackstone 1666 22" Tabletop Griddle Outdoor Grill

Highlighted Features

  • Two independently controlled H-burners
  • Comes with a custom designed hood
  • Heat resistant handle
  • Built-in grease channel

The Blackstone 1666 Tabletop Griddle Outdoor Grill is a 32 pound portable grill. The cooking surface on this grill is 330 square inches which means that you will be able to cook a large meal easily. Whether you are looking for an easy dish, such as pancakes and sausages, or wanting to taste gourmet steaks, this grill has got your back. 

The heavy gauge griddle top provides uniform cooking temperature which ensures that your food is cooked evenly. This grill has dual burners which enable better control over heating. It also has a large grease trap which keeps the grill from flaring up.

Pros

  • You will be able to cook flavourful food since the grill infuses everything you cook on it.
  • Easy grease disposal system saves you the hassle of hour-long cleaning

Cons

  • You have to season the grill before using it. To season it, first heat it up to the maximum temperature and apply cooking oil all over the griddle. Let the oil cook off and repeat for another 2 or 3 times.
  • Griddle may rust if it is stored outside, even if you put a cover on top.

4. Weber 51040001 Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill

Highlighted Features

  • Runs on liquid propane
  • Porcelain enameled cast iron grates
  • Built-in thermometer
  • Effective burner control

If you are someone who is tired of seeing the same dull coloured grills, then The Weber Liquid Propane Grill might be the one for you since it lets you choose from six vibrant colours. The colours offered include black, red, green, orange, titanium and blue. The propane grill has a compact design which is easy to store. The stainless steel burner has 8,500 BTUs of grilling power and an average cooking area of 189 square inches. It includes two foldable side tables and has a built-in thermometer. 

This innovative grill has porcelain-enameled cast iron cooking grates and its lid and body is also made of cast aluminium. It retains heat well and prevents food from sticking to the grilling surface. The grill uses a liquid propane cylinder and has a removable catch pan which makes it easy to clean. Electric ignition and convenient lighting make it easy to operate. This grill comes fully assembled which saves you the hassle of reading through long pages of instructions. It also enables an even distribution of heat and includes an easily accessible drip pan. 

However, since it heats up quickly, it is hard to maintain low temperature. The brass material on this product results in lead exposure which is harmful. It is advisable to wash your hands thoroughly after handling this product.

Pros

  • The compact size makes it ideal for a small cookout.
  • Convenient grease drip system makes cleaning up easier.
  • The grill heats up quickly so you don’t have to wait for a long time to prepare food.

Cons

  • Difficult to attain low temperature.
  • Consumers have reported errors with the small gas canisters.

5. Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill

Highlighted Features

  • Porcelain coated cast iron
  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Foldable legs

The Go-Anywhere charcoal grill has a sleek design and is made for high functionality. This compact grill has a rectangular shape and comes with a burger press that is able to hold up to six burgers at once. It weighs only 14.5 pounds which makes it ideal for tailgating, picnicking or even camping. 

It includes a rust-resistant porcelain-enameled base and lid which allows easy retention of heat. You can lock the lid for easy transport and the dampers allow you to adjust temperature accurately. 

The charcoal grill has a cooking surface area of 160 square inches. You can fit up to four medium sized steaks in the griller. The carrying handles are convenient and the pivoting legs are made of plated steel.

However, the body of the grill is quite shallow which makes it difficult to prevent food from burning when it comes in contact with the charcoal. Moreover, the handles can get heated up quickly and this charcoal grill is not meant for cooking huge batches of food.

Pros

  • The sleek design lets you travel in style.
  • Solid construction makes it highly durable

Cons

  • Cooking grates are not adjustable which limits cooking options.
  • Handle quality not up to mark. The handles have no heat resistance.
  • Need to change coals frequently during long cooking sessions.
  • Too small for a family

6. Weber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill

Highlighted Features

  • It comes with two aluminium dampers which resist corrosion
  • The cooking grates and the charcoal grates are made of heavy-duty plated steel
  • The grill allows great air ventilation
  • It comes with an aluminium dish

The Weber Jumbo Joe is an 18” charcoal coal grill which is small in size and is lightweight too. It weighs only 18 pounds. The grill has 240 square inches of grilling space. It includes a glass-reinforced nylon handle which prevents the handle from heating up. The dampers and the ash catcher are both rust-resistant.

It takes no more than 15 minutes to assemble this charcoal grill. The porcelain-enameled lid and bowl allows for effective heat retention and the model is said to last for a period of 10 years. With easy temperature control and a large cooking surface, you will be able to prepare delicious food without much hassle. 

This model, too, comes with a burger press that can hold up to eight burgers at once. Although this grill is highly portable, it has limited space under the lid. This means that the grill is not meant for cooking food like whole chicken or turkeys.

Pros

  • Perfect for cooking light meals such as sausages and burgers.
  • Tuck-N-Carry lid lock which makes it easy to transport.

Cons

  • The parabolic shape limits heat distribution. The food may not cook evenly.

7. Weber 54060001 Q2200 Liquid Propane Grill

Highlighted Features

  • Electric ignition
  • Built-in thermometer
  • Removable catch pan

This liquid propane grill is known for its sleek design and is considered to be one of the most convenient grills in the market. The 42 pound grill is foldable and has wheels which makes it easy to transport and store. It has 280 square inches of cooking space which means that you will be able to cook both a whole chicken and thinner items such as sausages and burgers. 

This grill is multi-functional which means that you can cook food in different styles. It comes with two folding side tables which can carry a lot of load. The grill has stainless steel burners with an input of 12,000 BTU-per-hour. The cast aluminium lid and body prevents rusting and makes it easier to heat up quickly. The cast-iron cooking grates which are enameled with porcelain provide better nonstick properties and enable the grill to last for a longer period of time.

Pros

  • The seamless and stainless burner makes it last longer.
  • It has split grates which allow for a grate/griddle cooking combination.
  • It has a compact size but a large grilling surface.

Cons

  • The grill is quite heavy which makes it difficult to transport.
  • It is difficult to reach a high temperature so the heat control is inefficient.
  • It does not have adjustable air vents.

8. Blackstone Tailgater Portable Gas Grill and Griddle Combo

Highlighted Features

  • Includes grill box and griddle plate accessories
  • 3-in-1 cooktop
  • Power ignition switch

The Blackstone Tailgater Portable Gas Grill and Griddle Combo is the ideal outdoor griller. It has two independently controlled burners which include an H tube burner and a cast iron burner. The H tube burner is able to release 15,000 BTUs of grilling power whereas the cast iron burner can release 20,000 BTUs of grilling power. This allows for even heat distribution. 

Although this model weighs 75 pounds, it is highly portable. The legs are adjustable and the grill can be placed on uneven surfaces. The grill is also foldable and does not take up much space. On the other hand, there is no need to assemble parts since the grill comes in one piece. 

You can use both the grill box and the griddle at the same time or you can use them separately. The model even allows you to use pots or pans on the open burners. This means that you can cook in different styles at the same time. This grill is ideal for a large cookout since it has a total cooking surface of 477 square inches.

Pros

  • The legs are well-built and you will be able to level it on uneven grounds.
  • It has a dual cooking surface. On the right, there is a versatile flat griddle and on the left, there is a grill and a grill box.

Cons

  • The grease trap trays are inconvenient and difficult to clean.
  • The grill does not function well during low temperatures.

9. Cuisinart CGG-180TB Grill

Highlighted Features

  • Includes a temperature gauge
  • Includes drip trays to collect grease and drippings
  • Electric ignition

The Cuisinart CGG-180TB Grill is a portable propane grill that weighs only 17 pounds. It has a carrying handle and a built-in lid lock which make it easy to carry around and store. The burner produces 5,500 BTUs of grilling power that enables even heat distribution across the 145 square inches of grilling surface area.  

The grates are enameled with porcelain which makes cleaning up easier. With this model, you will be able to cook a family meal and it is ideal for small spaces. Although the grill has foldable legs, the legs cannot be extended. 

This portable grill has a gas regulator to control the rate of gas travelling from the propane tank to the grill while cooking. This model has a 3-year limited warranty.

Pros

  • The grill has removable grates which saves you lots of cleaning time.
  • It heats up quickly and is not affected by strong breeze or low temperature.

Cons

  • The grease catch tray is quite small. It will spill if not emptied frequently.
  • It does not include a low heat setting so slow cooking may not be an option.

10. Cuisinart CCG-100 GrateLifter Grill

Highlighted Features

  • Unique grate lifting system
  • Built-in temperature gauge
  • Double ventilation system

The Cuisinart CCG-100 GrateLifter Grill is a portable charcoal grill with a cooking surface of 240 square inches. The heavy-duty porcelain enameled cover prevents heat loss during grilling. This grill is extremely easy to transport and store. It weighs only 2.2 pounds and has a heat-resistant lid handle which is made of stainless steel.  

This model has a unique grill lift system that allows you to access the charcoal bed without having to come in contact with the cooking grates. The dual ventilation system enables precise management of temperature. Moreover, the large ash collection bin makes it easy for cleaning. The grill can be used both indoors and outdoors.

Pros

  • You can adjust the amount of charcoal inside the grill in order to reach the perfect temperature.
  • Sturdy side handles on each side of the grill make it easy to carry from one place to another.
  • The grill does not rust with time.

Cons

  • Many consumers have complained that the grate lifting mechanism does not operate smoothly.
  • It is difficult to level the grill on uneven grounds.

Things To Consider Before Buying A Tailgate Grill

Portability

You should buy a tailgate grill that is easy to transport from one place to another. It should be lightweight and you should be able to fit it into your vehicle. It’s best if the grill has a lid lock or sturdy handles. These features make your grill more portable. There are tons of compact grills listed above from which you can choose from.

Cooking Surface

If you usually go tailgating with a large number of people, then you should purchase a grill that has a cooking surface of 200 square inches or more. A greater cooking surface will enable you to cook more items at once. 

On the other hand, if you have a small crowd, a cooking surface of 180 square inches will work just fine for you. 

Storage

If you don’t want your grill to take up much space, look for one that is foldable. If you plan on storing your grill in a small space, such as in your balcony, then it’s best if you invest in a compact design.

During colder seasons, if you want to store your grill outdoors, it’s recommended that you cover the grill with a protective cover. It’s important to keep the propane tank connected to it but make sure that it is switched off. On the other hand, if you are storing it indoors, it’s best if you don’t bring the tank indoors as well. 

Type of Grill Grates

Stainless steel grates are lightweight and heats up quickly. With stainless steel grates, you will be able to access the charcoal in your grill more easily. However, such grates generally have low heat retention and may not work well during low temperatures.

Although the cast iron grill grates are heavier than the stainless steel grates, heat retention is better. Cast iron grill grates also enable even cooking temperature all over the grilling surface. However, due to its heavy weight, accessing coal underneath can become a challenge. Moreover, many consumers have complained about their food sticking to the cast iron grill grates.

Stainless steel or cast iron grill grates that are coated with enamel tend to provide a non-stick grilling surface. Such grates are less likely to be corroded and have a high thermal capacity. However, if not enameled with porcelain, the surface below may rust. 

Gas Grills or Charcoal Grills?

This depends entirely on your cooking style. If you are someone who has a more versatile style of cooking, then investing in a gas grill might be the best option for you. You will be able to cook food that has a pleasant grilled flavour to it. Although gas grills are more convenient, it is difficult to achieve that scrumptious, smoky flavour that you may want in your steak. 

On the other hand, charcoal grills tend to heat up more quickly which results in an unique, flavourful taste. If you prefer a smoky, grilled flavour to your steak, a charcoal grill might be able to deliver the expected performance. However, a charcoal grill is harder to clean since you have to remove all the ashes inside it before you can scrub it. 

Side tables

Grills that have side tables allow you to place the needed ingredients and the food on them for easy access. This also saves you time as you do not have to go to your kitchen frequently to get the ingredients and sauces. 

Grills with side tables give you a greater working space and speeds up your job. You can also place utensils and paper towels on it. 

Legs

It is important that you purchase a grill that has sturdy legs so that it does not wobble or lose balance easily. Grills that have foldable legs are easy to carry and store. On the other hand, you should invest in a grill that can be levelled easily, even on uneven grounds. 

Ash Collection Tray

The ash collection tray is placed at the bottom of your grill and is used to collect the grease and the drippings from the food. It is also used to collect the ash produced by the burnt coal in your charcoal grill. This feature makes cleaning the grill easier. Moreover, a large one will save you from needing to clear the tray frequently. This makes your cooking process easier. 

Look For Easy Setup

You should be enjoying your time with your loved ones instead of struggling to set up your portable grill. Tailgate grills that can be assembled in just a few minutes are the ones you should invest in. Some grills come fully assembled whereas others require you to attach the wheels on and other necessary counterparts. 

Gas grills are easier to set up compared to charcoal grills. Gas grills heat up quickly and there is no startup time needed. On the other hand, charcoal grills require some time to heat up the coal to the desired cooking temperature. You may need to season the cooking grates before grilling your food.

Temperature

If you live in colder regions, it is best to get a charcoal grill rather than a gas grill. This is because gas grills do not function well during colder seasons. Strong winds may hinder performance. On the other hand, charcoal grills have the ability to withstand harsh temperatures. This is because you can change the amount of charcoal inside the grill to achieve your preferred temperature.   

Maintenance

If you are someone who can put in the time and effort to clean the grill regularly, you may choose to invest in a gas grill. On the other hand, if you do not want to spend your precious time on cleaning a grill, then opt for a charcoal grill. It is true that charcoal grills require less maintenance and the cleaning process is a lot easier. 

Conclusion

Tailgating with friends and family is something we all look forward to. It is one of the most enjoyable events of the year. It gives you a chance to relax and spend time with your loved ones. It is vital for you to invest in a good quality grill that is portable, delivers great performance and will result in flavourful food. 

For your convenience, we have listed and reviewed the best tailgate grills that you will find in the market. We hope that you now know what you are looking for in a tailgate grill by reading this article. Do not forget to read all the instructions before cooking your favourite meal.

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