Upgrade your tailgating game with the best tailgate grill on the market today! But wait, what makes a tailgate grill "the best"? Today, we've looked at some of the most popular and crowd-pleasing grills on the market. Let's go through five and see which one caters to your tailgating needs!
What Is A Tailgate Grill?
A tailgate grill is basically any type of grill that you use at a tailgate party. But what is a tailgating party? A tailgate party originated in the United States. It's a social gathering where people grill around the tailgate of their vehicle.
Picture backyard grilling, but with vehicles parked close together so that vehicle owners can grill together and socialilze. Alcohol and barbecue, usually, are the main "hosts" of this gathering.
The grill you use at a tailgate party can be of different types; depending on your personal preference, type of food you're grilling, and your accessibility to resources.
Not sure what a tailgate party is? Watch this fun video here.
Types Of Tailgate Grill
Charcoal grills are a favorite at tailgate parties. Not only are they traditional, but it requires starting charcoal fire which gets the men even more excited for barbecues. Charcoal grills are relatively inexpensive compared to other grill types. Most barbecue competitions use charcoal grills as they're after the smoke flavors too that these grills give.
Charcoal grills can take on all types of meat. Although you'll be hard pressed in cleaning up ash and used coal, you'll find that the smoke flavors will compensate. It can be tricky to use one, though, as charcoal grills can get hot quickly burn the meat if you can't control the flame.
A barrel grill is a used 55-gallon steel drum sliced lengthwise in half. The hinges attached on one side of the sliced steel allows for the top half to serve as lid. Because the meat and the smoke is trapped inside, you'll get that good old smoked barbecue flavor everyone loves.
Pellet grills are perhaps the coolest grills in this day and age, by milenialls' standards. How does a pellet grill work? Compressed wood pellets are thrown into the burning area of the grill by an electric auger. A thermostat controls the auger.
You only need to set your thermostat and light the fire. The machine will then load the pellets in. Once the fire gets too hot, it'll automatically slows down. The thermostat will prompt the auger to load in more pellets once it senses the grill needs to heat up again.
What about the flavor? Pellet grills impart a stronger smoke flavor into your food than charcoal grills do, as the latter uses wood. Pellet grills are much pricier, though, than the other types of tailgate grills. Also, it's not designed to tolerate heat higher than 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
To get an idea how a pellet grill works, watch this video here.
Brazier grills are small and shallow grills. It's the same size and shape as a regular PC tower laid on its side. Because of its height and form, the coal bed will be so close to the grate, making it real tricky to control the heat. What's the upside? It's cheap and portable.
Affordable and easy to operate, portable gas grills are a family's favorite backyard grill. However, you'd find it difficult to get it hot enough for good searing. And the smoke flavor you might get from grilling meat on a gas grill may really just be the smell of burnt grease. It's undoubtedly the most logiacl choice, though, if you're after the convenience.
If you're going for a gas tailgate grill, your best bet will be the portable ones. Just make sure you get one with thick metal components that will help direct heat evenly.
Are you a beginner in grilling? Watch this quick video here for some excellent tips!
Most Recommended Tailgate Grills
**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
The Weber Q grill is compact and portable, making it your perfect companion during road trips or tailgate parties. You'll find that the well-balanced cast aluminum grill will cook meat to perfection. Enjoy the Weber Q's precision controls and weather-resistant feature. This grill's burner runs at 8,500 BTU, but will work like a pressure cooker during operation.
What are the materials used? The cooking grates are porcelain enamled steel, porcelain enameled cast-iron, and stainless steel. That makes the grill durable and low maintenance. This tailgate grill comes with a durable Weber vinyl grill cover, and is covered by a 5-year warranty.
Editor's Rating: 98/100
- 189-square inch cooking area
- Runs at 8,500 BTU
- Offers fast ignition
- Robust and easy to clean
- Comes with a storage bag within the cover
- Comes with a 5-year warranty
- Smaller cooking area compared to same-priced grills
Coleman is one of the most popular brands that cater to outdoor events such as camping, picnics, and barbecues. With their tailgate grill, it's no wonder the Coleman Road Trip Grill LX is best-selling. How's that? First of all, it's portable. It has detachable side tables, so you get a work and dining area, plus you get to store it easily.
How are the burners? You get two fully adjustable 20,000 BTU burners that have aluminum grate and griddle. The Coleman Road Trip Grill LX works with a disposable 20-pound propane tank or a 16.4-ounce propane cylinder. This tailgate grill is covered by a 5-year warranty.
Editor's Rating: 98/100
- Fully adjustable 20,000 BTU burners
- Aluminum grate and griddle for mix-and-match cooking surfaces
- Collapsible chassis for easy storage
- Detachable side tables for work space
- 5-year Limited Warranty
- Stands not too stable
The Cuisinart CCG190RB is a lightweight and inexpensive 14-inch charcoal grill perfect for tailgating and camping. It's lightweight at 2 pounds, but has more than 150 square inches of grilling surface. This tailgate grill can accommodate seven burgers at a time, making it more convenient than getting a tiny portable grill which can only cook three patties at a time.
Does cleaning up after grilling seem daunting? Don't fret, because the Cuisinart CCG190RB features a mess-free ash catcher to keep it tidy. The firebox is coated with enamel and can withstand high temperatures while grilling. Worried about the temperature? This grill has a dual venting system to manage charcoal and control the temperature.
Editor's Rating: 87/100
- Bullet Point 1
- 14-inch chrome-plated grill surface
- Can fit seven burgers at a time; saves grilling time
- Features an ash catcher for a mess-free tailgate party
- Dual venting system for temperature control and charcoal management
- Easy to store with 3 lid locks
- Clasps may have sharp edges
The Fire Sense Notebook Charcoal Grill is easy to set up with its simple two-step setup. It's one of the most compact grills on the market today which stands 13" when assembled. For storing, you only need to fold it so that it's only one inch thick. The grilling area is a whopping 228 square inches, enough to cook your whole meal in one sitting.
The Fire Sense Notebook Charcoal Grill is constructed from heat-resistant painted steel. It also comes with a 1-year guarantee, minimum. This is perfect for those with vehicles that have limited carriage space. The grills are proudly designed in the United States.
Editor's Rating: 87/100
- 14-inch tall when fully assembled
- Easy to set up with 2-step setup
- Foldable to 1 inch for easy storage and transport
- Bullet Point 2
- Holes on the bottom lets coal dust fall out
- Painted steel isn't as robust as other grills' coating
The Char-Broil Portable Gas Grill is simple and lightweight at 10 pounds. It's perfect for a cross-country trip or a regular tailgate party. This grill heats up quickly with its 11,000 BTU burner. It can cook 8 burgers at a time on its 187-square inch grilling surface. There's a hook that comes with the grill that conveniently lets you hang the lid.
For disassembly, you only need to fold the legs over the grill's top to lock it in place. Don't worry about the handles getting too hot as they have heat-resistant properties. This tailgate grill uses either a 14.1-ounce or a 16.4-ounce propane cylinder.
Editor's Rating: 87/100
- Bullet Point 1
- Heat-resistand handles
- 11,000 BTU burner heats up quickly
- Easy to clean chrome-plated cooking grate
- Dishwasher-safe cooking grate
- Quality steel construction
- High-temperature finish, prevents rust
- Great for cooking at low temperature
- Lid locking problems
We found the Weber Q100 the perfect grill for our tailgating parties. We are often on the road, even on poor weather conditions, so the Weber's weather-resistant feature is useful for when we want to grill both for food and just to warm us up. The porcelain enameled steel, we find, is durable enough to withstand our barbecue needs. Oh and did I mention they offer a 5-year warranty on the grill?
We hope you found this quick guide useful! Please feel free to share your favorite tailgate grill in the comments below, and don't forget to share this article on Facebook! Thanks!