The Best Tailgate Grill for Your Cookout
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You'll be the MVP of game day when you show up to the party with the best tailgate grill in tow.
From snappy flame-kissed brats to perfect barbecued burgers, no gameday experience is complete without some mouthwatering tailgate grilling recipes to fuel your team spirit. However, not every portable grill is up to the challenge. That’s why we searched far and wide to find the best tailgate grill for you.
What Makes a Good Tailgate Grill?
Since you’re usually cooking in a parking lot, tailgates grills need to be portable. The grill should be easy to set up, cook with and clean once the celebration is over.
With these criteria in mind, we found a variety of popular tailgating grills that’ll feel like a win, no matter your team’s score is.
Looking for a different style grill? Find more of the best grills, according to our Test Kitchen.
The Best Tailgate Grill: Weber Q 1000 Portable Propane Gas Grill
Don’t be fooled by its compact design—the Weber Q 1000 Gas Grill, also known as the “Baby Q” delivers everything you could ever want from a tailgate grill.
- Portability: Since you’ll usually find yourself tailgating in a parking lot, tailgate grills need to be able to go anywhere. The compact design of this grill lends itself well to being packed up in a car, and Weber has a duffle bag-style carry case that makes travel even easier.
- Convenient cooking: Push-button controls start up the grill and the grates get hot quickly and heat evenly for hot spot-free grilling.
- Easy clean up: As the tailgate wraps up, packing up the Weber Q is a breeze as it has a removable drip pan that catches all the mess and is easy to dispose of or clean. Plus, the porcelain-enameled grill grates are rust-resistant and require minimal maintenance.
- Accessories: As with many products for the brand, Weber has a number of super-handy gadgets that will tailor this tailgate grill to suit your needs. No tablespace? This collapsible rolling cart grill stand lets you grill from anywhere. Have an a.m. game? Turn your grill into a flapjack machine with this perfect-fit griddle top.
- Limited size: While the Weber Q boasts 189 square inches of cooking space, it’s better suited for smaller groups.
- Charcoal grilling: If you’re a fan of charcoal flavor in your grilled foods, you simply won’t get that from a gas tailgate grill like this.
- Cost: $180
- Size: 14.5″ X 27″ X 16.5″
- Weight: 28.5 lb.
- BTU: One 8,500 BTU burner
We Also Recommend…
There are several other top-rated tailgate grills that will serve you and your friends well during parking lot cookouts.
If you don’t have a truck bed or table where you can place a grill, the Coleman RoadTrip 285 is a powerful propane tailgate grill with plenty of bells and whistles, including collapsible legs and built-in shelves for extra prep space.
- Ample grilling space: This grill has an extra-large 285 square inch cooking surface that lets you serve a crowd, and there are even three independently controlled burners, so you can cook steaks on one side and vegetable kebabs on the other.
- Portable design: Probably the most genius aspect of this grill is its convertible design. With wheels on one side and a handle on the other, the legs collapse allowing you to tow your grill around like a suitcase.
- Gas grilling: Like the Weber Q, this gas grill just won’t have the same smoky flavor as a charcoal grill.
- Price: This Coleman model is a bit more expensive than its competitors, but we feel the price is worth the value.
- Cost: $250
- Size: 45.6″ x 35″ x 19.5″
- Weight: 52.5lb.
- BTU: Three adjustable burners with up to 20,000 BTU
For those on a budget, the Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill is an affordable option that incredibly portable. Its lid lock swings around to double as sturdy legs, and you can cook up to six hamburgers at a time on its steel cooking grate.
- Price: This is a great budget-friendly grill that’ll give you a lot of bang for your buck.
- Charcoal flavor: For traditional grillers, the Weber Go-Anywhere grill delivers the delicious smoky flavor that comes from cooking with charcoal.
- Cleanup: The only downside to cooking with a charcoal grill is that proper cleanup takes a little longer, which might not always work for a tailgate. Remember to let your coals cool completely before transporting. And never dispose of hot coals in a paper bag or plastic garbage can.
- Size: This is a smaller grill than competitors, with only 160 square inches. Its compact design makes it easily portable, but it may take longer to cook large portions of food at a time.
- Cost: $60
- Size: 12.25″ x 21″x 14.5″
- Weight: 14lb.
Safety Tips for Tailgate Grillers
Sure, tailgating is all about having fun, but that doesn’t mean you can forget about safety. It’s important to follow grilling best practices while you get excited for the big game, including the following safety guidelines:
- Never leave your grill unattended.
- Keep tailgating games away from the grill during operation.
- Bring along a meat thermometer to ensure your food is cooked to the proper temperature.
- Always keep a fire extinguisher on hand.
- Consume alcohol in moderation while operating a grill.
- When cleaning up, don’t throw hot charcoal embers into a regular garbage can.
- Let your grill cool down before packing it away in your car.
The Best Food to Grill at Tailgates
No tailgate is complete without fan favorites like hot dogs, hamburgers, and corn on the cob. In general, you’ll want to opt for foods that you can eat with one hand, as this leaves your other hand free to hold your drink! However, if you want to get fancy, you can wow your friends with these amazing tailgating recipes.