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15 Best Tailgating Grills: Your Ultimate List (Updated!)

Tailgating Grills

123rf.com (Sean Locke)

Are you ready for some football? It’s a little ridiculous to drag your full-size smart grill to the party. So consider a portable tailgating grill to cook up some delicious food while sharing a cold one with friends and family. All the flags, decorations, and game gear won’t mean a thing unless you crank up the heat.

Whether you’re into burgers, kabobs, or seafood, there’s nothing that completes a tailgate party like the sizzling and smoke coming from your tailgating grill. We looked specifically at portable gas grills for this list primarily because of safety concerns at stadium facilities across the country; charcoal grills are sometimes not allowed on the grounds.

That’s okay because small gas grills can heat quickly, are simple to use, and are much easier to clean after the party is over. Get ready for kickoff and take a gander at these top tailgating grills to make your sports bash something to remember.

These are the Best Tailgating Grills:

Giantex Stainless Steel 20,000-BTU Portable Gas Grill Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Total 430 stainless steel construction
  • Push-and-turn ignition
  • 20,000 total BTUs on two burners
Price: $139.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Blackstone 22-Inch Tabletop Gas Griddle Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 330 square inches of griddle surface
  • Two independently controlled burners
  • 24,000 BTUs of heat
Price: $149.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Coleman RoadTrip LX Gas Grill Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Use on table or the included stand
  • Compact, sleek design
  • 20,000 BTUs from two independent burners
Price: $287.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Nomadiq Portable Propane Gas Grill Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Weighs just 12 pounds
  • Unfolds to provide a 226 sq in cooking area
  • Two burners and 9,200 BTUs
Price: $299.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Weber Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 8,500 BTUs
  • 189 sq in cooking area
  • Less than 41 inches wide
Price: $180.72 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Megamaster 2-Burner Tabletop Gas Grill Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Completely portable
  • All stainless steel construction
  • 16,000 BTUs for 200 sq in of cooking space
Price: $115.31 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Cuisinart CGG-608 Portable Professional Gas Grill Amazon Customer Reviews
  • One 10,000-BTU burner
  • Easy-twist start ignition
  • Built-in temperature gauge
Price: $132.27 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Coleman 2-Burner Gas Grill Stove Combo Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Use grill and stove at same time
  • 20,000 BTUs
  • Precise temperature control
Price: $129.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Coleman RoadTrip 285 Portable Stand-Up Gas Grill Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 20,000 BTUs of heat output
  • Easy to use scissor stand cart
  • Comes in several colors
Price: $265.06 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Weber Go-Anywhere Gas Grill Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Extremely portable
  • Easy setup and operation
  • Redesigned lid cuts down on wind problems
Price: $88.56 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Cuisinart CGG-059 Grillster Gas Grill Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Locking lid for easy transport
  • Requires no assembly; set up in less than five minutes
  • Weighs just ten pounds
Price: $98.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Cuisinart CGG-180T Petit Gourmet Gas Grill Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Great for quick cooking
  • Fast and easy setup and strike
  • Compact and lightweight
Price: $124.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Char-Broil Portable 240 Gas Grill Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Built to travel
  • Sturdy legs keep the grill stable
  • Lid-mounted temperature gauge
Price: $80.27 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Cuisinart CGG-750 Venture Gas Grill Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Perfect for picnics or the beach
  • Cushioned aluminum carry handle
  • Really cool storage system
Price: $154.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Coleman Fold N Go Propane Grill Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Great price
  • Horseshoe burner provides even grilling
  • Folds up like a briefcase
Price: $89.89 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Giantex Stainless Steel 20,000-BTU Portable Gas Grill

    • Foldable legs and lockable lid for portable transport
    • Fuel efficient
    • Heats up very quickly and stays at temperature for even cooking
    • Grate spacing is a little too wide
    • Temperature gauge can be prone to moisture
    • Interior components don't lock down and will shake around during transport

    You may be surprised by the Giantex Stainless Steel 20,000-BTU Portable Gas Grill right out of the package. It will arrive 95% assembled. Just unwrap the grease pan, flame covers, and grate and you’re ready to grill. The grilling surface measures roughly 22-inches by 18-inches and is large enough to cook for four people.

    Push-and-click burner knobs ignite the burners the first time reliably. Be warned: this little grill heats up quickly and cooks hot. Make sure to keep your foot off the gas! It will reach 550 degrees F in no time at all. Because of this, you should find that you will use a lot less fuel than you might think while cooking.

    The entire unit is stainless steel including the grilling grate. Most of the body is magnetic which means it’s a lesser quality than the grates and burners but that’s not the end of the world for a grill for this price. The lid is lockable and the legs fold up for transport, a nice feature, however, the grates and flame covers don’t so you will find they move and bang around if the grill is tipped on its side. Be careful.

    This Giantex tailgating grill is a really great little powerhouse that will be a welcome addition to the cookout. And the price is exceptionally nice as well.

  2. 2. Blackstone 22-Inch Tabletop Gas Griddle

    • Rear grease management system makes cleaning up easy
    • No flare ups or flavor loss
    • Griddle top made of cold-rolled steel
    • Hood, stand, and cover all sold separately
    • Drip tray could be larger
    • Windy conditions will affect cooking performance

    Blackstone produces some excellent griddles and their 22-Inch Tabletop Gas Griddle is no exception. This tailgating grill is powered by two burners for a combined 24,000 BTUs of heat over 330 square inches of griddle space. Bacon, burgers, and eggs will taste amazing after being cooked on the cold-rolled steel surface.

    There is a seasoning process for the cooktop but once you learn to take care of it properly (like a cast-iron skillet), you’ll find it will last for many years of high performance. The tabletop gets warm on the sides when cooking but the bottom stays cool enough to set on a table with no issues. It heats up fast, drains grease out the back well, and is completely portable.

    Clean up is incredibly easy; simply wipe down and empty the drip tray. That’s it. There are hot and cold spots over the surface of the griddle however they can be used to the chef’s advantage to move food around to keep warm without as much cooking.

    The Blackstone 22-Inch Tabletop Gas Griddle isn’t as light as other tailgating grills however that rolled steel cooktop will last you for a very, very long time. Blackstone offers a hood, stand, and cover to purchase for the 22-Inch model (all sold separately) and also offers a 17-Inch one-burner version of the grill.

  3. 3. Coleman RoadTrip LX Gas Grill

    • Legs and side tables fold in for easy transport and storage
    • Includes a grill and griddle cooktop; other varieties sold separately
    • Pressure control fuel delivery results in more consistent performance
    • Expensive
    • Tedious grease/water pan clean-up
    • Runs hot; pay attention

    Show off at your tailgating party with the Coleman RoadTrip LX Gas Grill. This grill has some full-sized power with two individually adjustable dual burners that can deliver a large 20,000 BTUs of heat. The “Swaptop” interchangeable design provides an opportunity for you to switch out the grill grates for a griddle top or stove grate (both sold separately).

    If you’re tailgating somewhere chilly, this little grill excels with something Coleman calls “PerfectFlow technology”, a pressure-controlled fuel delivery system that helps ensure steady heat output. The 285-square-inch cooktop will handle all the burgers, steaks, and kebabs you can throw at it. The side tables and legs fold up and in for easy transport; the tables also feature tool hooks for your spatula collection.

    Use the Coleman RoadTrip LX Gas Grill with its collapsable stand or on a camping table, it’s up to you. The lid also features locking hardware for extra security. The grease tray should be filled with a little water for easier clean-up and a great tailgate grilling experience all around.

  4. 4. Nomadiq Portable Propane Gas Grill

    • Takes less than a minute to set up with three moves to unlock and open
    • Dishwasher-safe, non-stick grates
    • Included strap for simple carrying and transport
    • As expensive as a full-sized economy grill
    • No lid during cooking
    • You're going to need a container to keep the grill and other components together

    The first thing you’re going to appreciate about the Nomadiq Portable Propane Gas Grill is how much fun it is to grill with this much power in that little tiny package. With three actions, this tailgating grill unfolds like a transforming robot in less than a minute. It’s lightweight (just 12 pounds) yet it sports a large 226 sq in cooking space; that’s about 10 hamburgers.

    The grates are non-stick and rust-resistant and can be washed in the dishwasher. The Nomadiq Portable Propane Gas Grill features two tube burners that punch out 9,200 BTUs fueled by propane. There’s no lid option for this gas grill but the portability benefits might make you forget about it. The drip trays and exterior shell can be wiped clean when done. Pop the carrying strap after folding it all up and you’re on your way.

    You’re going to need a bag or carrying case that will keep your tailgating grill, fuel bottles, and hoses together as the Nomadiq Protective Pouch (sold separately) is just for the grill itself to protect it from scratches.

  5. 5. Weber Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill

    • Easy-start ignition
    • Infinite control burner valve settings
    • Glass-reinforced nylon frame
    • A little difficult to line up and attach small gas cans
    • Gas regulator and knob located immediately against the grill handle; awkward
    • It's expensive for a tailgating grill but it's Weber quality

    The Weber Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill is the highest-rated tailgating grill available today and there are a few reasons why people love this little BBQ so much. First, this gas grill gets up to temperature in no time at all and performs how you think a Weber grill should. The grates are non-stick and easy to clean. Assembly takes next to nothing to accomplish; snap on the ignition device and you’re ready to go.

    The Weber Q1200 can handle burgers, steaks, veggies, and more with aplomb. The fold-out tables are sturdier than you might think and the cook box and lid is made of cast aluminum which means no rust. And even heat for cooking? You’d better believe it.

    Grease management consists of an angled grease tray and drip pan. The tray slides out for easy cleaning and when the catch pan is full, simply dispose of it and replace it. This tailgating grill is perfect for cooking on the road either at the big game, camping, or on the road with your RV. Or if you live in an apartment with a balcony or patio, this could be a great day-to-day grill.

    The bottom is insulated so that it won’t scorch, melt, or otherwise damage your bed liner or table. But you might want to think about picking up the Weber Q Portable Cart to match. It’s foldable and offers up some places to hang your tools. The Q1000 compatible griddle is great for cooking up some breakfast if you get to the parking lot early, too!

  6. 6. Megamaster 2-Burner Tabletop Gas Grill

    • Legs that fold up for easier portability
    • Push and Turn Ignition
    • Can be set up on any table surface without damage
    • Adapter to use small fuel canister is sold separately
    • Good for high heat applications, not so much for low heat like slow-cooking ribs
    • Lid handle gets hot; be careful

    The Megamaster 2-Burner Tabletop Gas Grill is made of stainless steel and by that I mean the entire thing is made of stainless steel: burners, heat diffuser, lid, cook box, everything. It makes for some impressive durability and nice heat retention. This tailgating grill measures just 21″ wide by 19″ deep so it will fit just about anywhere on your folding table at the big game.

    Inside you’ll find 200 square inches of cooking space. Under the stainless grates are two stainless steel burners controlled independently with a push and turn ignition system; as I said, everything is stainless on the Megamaster. Each burner supplies 8,000 BTUs combining to offer up 16,000 BTUs. That’s some serious heat to cook up burgers and dogs. Because of its size and purpose, slow-cooking food like ribs doesn’t work as well with this little grill.

    The lid can be locked during transport to the tailgating party, a nice feature. Carry the Megamaster by the handle to your grilling space then unlock the handle to get going. Simple. The two legs are foldable which means you can grill wherever you have a level surface then conveniently fold away again for easy transport and storage.

    Megamaster provides a hose and adapter that fits a standard 20-pound propane bottle but if you want some serious portability for 16oz bottles, you’ll need to pick up this adapter for your next tailgate.

  7. 7. Cuisinart CGG-608 Portable Professional Gas Grill

    • Everything on this grill is made of stainless steel
    • Uses 16oz propane canisters
    • Legs fold and lid locks for portabilty
    • Burns hot; this isn't for slow cooking anything
    • Folding feet edges can be sharp; be careful
    • Gas line sticks out when transporting; when removed, there's nowhere to store it

    The Cuisinart CGG-608 Portable Professional Gas Grill is entirely made of stainless steel and the cookbox and lid feature a dual-panel construction. It looks and feels premium as you would expect a Cuisinart product to.

    There is one large knob to push and twist to ignite the unit; very intuitive for anyone using it. The one burner can put out 10,000 BTUs which, for a cooking surface less than 200 square inches, is a serious amount of heat. You’re not going to slow cook any food on this little guy but burgers, veggies, or dogs? It’s awesome with those grilled items. 

    The lid locking hardware works great and the handle is made for both lifting the lid and for transporting the grill. The four legs fold up to make a more compact unit. The cooking grate is dishwasher safe and the rest of the grill can be easily cleaned. Like other gas grills of this size, the drip pan is a bit shallow. Be careful of sloshing any mess around in the back of your vehicle.

    The CGG-608 uses 16oz propane cylinders (sold separately) for fuel and you may find the gas line sticks out and catch things when moving the tailgating grill around. It can be removed, however, there’s no place on the grill to secure it to.

  8. 8. Coleman 2-Burner Gas Grill Stove Combo

    • Heavy-duty clasps keep lid securely closed for transport
    • Wind block panels help shield burners or fold down to use as tables
    • Burners operate using pressure control to keep heat steady
    • Do not put pans or pots on the grill; it may melt
    • Griddle accessory for this grill is unavailable
    • Grill rack is not recommended for high heat for an extended time

    The Coleman 2-Burner Gas Grill Stove Combo is the classic camping cooking tool of choice but it can also handle your tailgating party. Two burners with a combined 20,000 BTUs of cooking power will have you and your guests rooting on your team while enjoying delicious grilled munchies. You can saute up some veggies while grilling burgers or maybe you have some chili on the stove while cooking up some sausages.

    The gas grill is made of durable steel and features panels that can be stood up to block the wind or laid down to use as side tables. This model uses pressure control to keep the heat steady for consistent cooking. When you’re ready to clean up, the non-stick surface that helped out with cooking makes clean-up just as simple and quick.

    It folds up into a really compact package for transport and heavy-duty side clasps keep that lid secure. This little grill can be used anywhere and operates using 16oz camping fuel bottles (sold separately).

    One note: a griddle accessory for this tailgating grill is not available and maybe for a reason; there are online reviews that claim (and show photos of) the grill melting under high heat conditions. Coleman’s instructions clearly state that pots and pans are not meant to cover the grill grates as they interfere with airflow and will affect the grate. Operating this tailgating grill using the manufacturer’s clear direction is completely safe. Like any grill, they should not be left unattended while active!

  9. 9. Coleman RoadTrip 285 Portable Stand-Up Gas Grill

    • Three independently adjustable burners
    • Rolls to and from your vehicle like a rolling suitcase
    • Comes with grill grates but griddle accessory available
    • Expensive for its size and capability
    • Water tray must be completely level to avoid spilling
    • Danger of stripping out gas bottle threads

    The Coleman RoadTrip 285 Portable Stand-Up Propane Grill definitely fits the definition of a tailgating grill. Like a rolling suitcase, it can be rolled to and from your vehicle. It features sturdy quick-fold legs for an easy setup and strike.

    Once unfolded, ignite using a push-button start and you’re in business. The RoadTrip 285 features three independently adjustable burners with a range of grilling power from 3,250 to 20,000 BTUs and 285 square inches of porcelain-coated, cast-iron grill grates. The grill heats up fast (especially with the lid closed) and can accommodate a number of foods.

    The cooktops are interchangeable with Coleman’s griddle top or stove grate (both sold separately) so you can plan some variety into your next tailgating party like breakfast, seafood, or a pot boil. The two sliding side tables keep utensils and sauces close by.

    The convenience of cooking with the Coleman RoadTrip 285 extends to storage as well since it may be stored upright to fit tight spaces until the next big game. Speaking of storage, you might think about the RoadTrip cover to protect your new favorite little cooker.

  10. 10. Weber Go-Anywhere Gas Grill

    • Porcelain-coated painted steel construction in and out
    • Nylon reinforced handles designed to withstand the elements for the life of the grill
    • Legs pivot and secure lid for transport
    • Flavorizer bar can improve grill quality and that's sold separately
    • Push-button ignition start can be hit or miss
    • Cooking grate design makes this grill more of a broiler

    Weber’s Go-Anywhere Gas Grill has been around a long time and has a large fan following. It’s gone on camping trips, tailgating parties, beachcombing expeditions, RV journeys, and a myriad of more adventures. This tailgating grill was redesigned in 2014 that resulted in detractors however the redesign also won some new fans but both sides agree that if you’re cooking in the Great Outdoors, the Go-Anywhere Grill is one to have at your side.

    One of the differences made was a new porcelain-enameled cooking grate designed to eliminate flare-ups. This change meant the removal of a flavorizer bar however if you wish to pick up this Broilmann Stainless Steel Grill Flavorizer Bar, it fits the Go-Anywhere perfectly to accomplish what the old version did. Some folks claim an improvement in performance when installed but your mileage may vary.

    This gas grill gets hot enough to sear a burger or a steak, but can also deliver great results at lower temperature settings if you keep an eye on things. The lid and bowl are constructed of steel with baked-on porcelain enamel inside and out for durability.

    This tailgating grill can be a little tough to clean so be aware when considering this model. It uses standard 16oz propane bottles (sold separately) or can be hooked up to a larger tank with an adapter hose (also sold separately, sorry). What I liked best of all about this little workhorse is how the legs pivot to act as lid security when you’re transporting the grill. That’s a bit of great design.

  11. 11. Cuisinart CGG-059 Grillster Gas Grill

    • 146 square inch cooking space
    • One 8,000 BTU burner with push-twist ignition
    • Compact design with foldable legs
    • Vent cutouts can be very sharp; be careful when unpacking
    • Lid handle can get hot to the touch
    • It's a little fuel-hungry

    How can you not appreciate a tailgating grill with a name like “Grillster”? The Cuisinart CGG-059 Grillster Gas Grill looks sharp, cooks hot, and transports easily. It will be a highlight at your tailgating party.

    It’s got a nice streamlined design that can be taken anywhere you go, especially since it weighs just ten pounds. The Grillster has a locking lid, large carrying handle, and folding legs that collapse for storage. The porcelain-enameled cooking grate distributes heat pretty evenly and can be thrown in the dishwasher (not literally) when it’s time to clean up.

    This little tailgating grill measures just 19″ by 11.5″ so it takes up next to no space on your table and it can be set up in less than five minutes (literally).  Like other smaller tailgating grills, it uses 16oz fuel canisters perfect for times when you don’t need a larger grill. One thing to note: there are many online reviews about how sharp the vent cutouts can be when unpacking this gas grill. Be careful!

  12. 12. Cuisinart CGG-180T Petit Gourmet Gas Grill

    • Push-and-twist ignition
    • 5,500-BTU burner with precision temperature gauge
    • Integrated lid lock and briefcase-style carrying handle for secure transport
    • Can't quite keep up in cold temperatures
    • Drip tray doesn't lock into position
    • Like just about every other portable grill, ignition is tricky

    If Buzz Lightyear designed a grill for tailgating, it might look a little like the Cuisinart CGG-180T Petite Tabletop Grill. It’s got a retro-space age look to it that is fun and cool at the same time. The Petite Tabletop Grill is solid, durable and while it’s small in size, it cooks just as well as a full-size grill.

    Simply push and twist the burner adjustment knob and you should get fired up to cook those brats. This campfire grill is perfect for small decks and balconies, RVs, and camping trips. The compact stature keeps the heat near the cooking surface made of a porcelain-coated cast-iron with ample room for heat to conduct throughout the cookbox.

    The grill features an integrated adjustable telescoping base and thick, sturdy feet for times when you don’t have a table to work from. This gas grill checks all the boxes for what anyone needs for a tailgating party: it cooks well, sets up easily and quickly, and folds up compactly for transport.

    For any of your outdoor activities, you can’t do much better than the Cuisinart CGG-180 Petite Tabletop Grill. Remember to bring along some camping fuel to fire it up and think about a cover to protect your new favorite space toy.

  13. 13. Char-Broil Portable Gas Grill 240

    • 240-square inch cooking surface
    • Push-button ignition system
    • Heats up fast to get things done
    • Gas line and regulator sticks out a bit
    • The handle sticks out too
    • No lid locking mechanism for transport

    The Char-Broil Portable Gas Grill 240 is pretty great for on-the-go grilling whether you’re at the stadium parking lot, a beach party, or camping. It features one 9,500-BTU burner and 240 square inches of cooking space (room for about eight burgers). The body is made of porcelain-coated painted steel and features carry handles for transport. Ten points from Gryffindor for not providing locking hardware for the lid; bungee cords are great but come on!

    There’s a temperature gauge mounted to the lid so you can get a ballpark reading of how hot you’re running. Push-button ignition makes lighting easy and the sturdy little legs work well for the grill to sit directly on a table or the ground. A 16oz propane tank (sold separately) connects directly to the side of the grill for maximum portability.

    If you are thinking of using this on an apartment or condo balcony, consider picking up a 4-foot hose and adapter to hook your Char-Broil Portable Gas Grill 240 to a standard 20-pound tank. Simple to use, the Char-Broil Portable Gas Grill 240 heats up fast and is easy to clean. If you’re looking to cook up some burgers and dogs for the crew, this might be the tailgating grill for you.

  14. 14. Cuisinart CGG-750 Venture Gas Grill

    • Grill cover doubles as a cutting board
    • Room for 16oz propane tank in the grill housing
    • 154 square inches of grill space and 9,000 BTUs good for cooking for two
    • Shallow grease tray; sits loose on rails
    • At 20 pounds, it's heavy for such a little grill
    • There's no top so cooking food on a windy day will be problematic

    The Cuisinart CGG-750 Venture portable grill has some good industrial design going for it; it’s small, extremely portable, and has everything you need to cook up some great tailgating fare for two. It looks like a picnic basket and like a picnic basket, it features an aluminum handle with cushioning to easily carry it where you want it to go.

    The stack-and-go design and locking hardware is quite effective when transporting the Cuisinart Venture. There are three components to this gas grill: the base that can carry a 16oz propane tank (sold separately), the footed grill with a porcelain-enameled cast-iron cooking grate, and the solid wood grill cover that doubles as a cutting board.

    It has just 154 square inches of grilling surface which, if you’ve got a party of two, is perfect for a couple of burgers or some kebabs. It weighs 20 pounds, not that heavy but heavier than you would think for such a small tailgating grill. Ignition happens via push and twist with a large adjustment knob.

    This grill is very user-intuitive, well designed, and fun to use but there are some challenges. The grease tray is only about a half-inch deep and fits loosely so you’ll have to watch your output without it spilling over. And because there is no lid, your food may take some time to cook if it’s a windy day. Still, the Cuisinart CGG-750 is a cute little grill that’s perfect for a tailgating party for two.

  15. 15. Coleman Fold N Go Propane Grill

    • Removable grill is dishwasher safe
    • Cook up to three and a half hours with one 16oz fuel cannister
    • 6,000 BTUs over a 105 sq in cooking area
    • No built-in lighter
    • Drip tray edges may be sharp
    • Be careful with grilling surface; it's prone to scratching

    This Coleman Fold N Go Propane Grill is one of the lightest (if not the lightest), most portable grills on our list. It features a 105-sq-in cooking surface lit up by a 6,000-BTU horseshoe-shaped burner utilizing something Coleman calls “PerfectFlow” technology to keep the heat steady. The grate is easy to remove and is dishwasher-safe for simple cleaning.

    There are two versions of this small tailgating grill; this one is painted black with no built-in ignition source and the other is painted red that features a push-button strike igniter.

    The Coleman Fold N Go features a built-in handle for easier carrying and extra portability. It works using 16oz fuel cylinders (sold separately); one cylinder will provide up to three and a half hours of cooking time. Folding up smaller than a briefcase, this compact, portable grill is ideal for cooking for your tailgate party. Coleman has a carry bag available for the Fold N Go but, natch, it’s sold separately.

What Makes The Best Tailgating Grill?

Just because you’re cooking at a remote tailgate party doesn’t mean you have to skimp on your grillmaster A-game. Portable grills run the gamut from a bottle of camping fuel and a hot plate to full-sized gas grills that can fold up like a lawn chair and fit into your trunk or truck bed.

We looked specifically at gas grills that were meant to be used as tailgating grills; cooking units that are full-featured, cook evenly and are small enough to easily transport with the rest of your tailgating gear.

Tailgating grills should be lightweight and compact but deliver great performance without being flimsy. Camping stoves and camping grills don’t include many bells and whistles since they’re typically being carried while backpacking and weight is a key consideration. Since tailgating usually happens in a parking lot or large field that you drive your vehicle to, ultra-portability is less of a concern.

Some things to keep in mind when shopping for a tailgating grill are its size, how many BTUs (British Thermal Units; how hot it can get at what speed), portability, the number of burners it may have, weight, and how much fuel it consumes. All of these may or may not be important to your particular tailgate party setup however all of them will come into play.

If you’re cooking up simple fares like burgers and dogs, you won’t need much to make that happen. However, if you’re looking to smoke some ribs, grill kabobs, or cook breakfast food (tailgating is an all-affair, after all), you’re going to need a better tailgating grill.

Consider how easy it will be to clean your tailgating grill after the party’s over. Nothing’s worse than having fun all day just to wake up to a greasy mess in the morning. The ability to cool down the grill and clean things up will save you time and hassle in the long run.

What's the Best Smart Thermometer?

It's pretty clear that the MEATER Plus stands as one of the best smart thermometers for tailgating. It touts a range of over 160 feet, so you could probably remain in contact while you're standing in line for the bathroom. The app itself (compatible with iOS and Android) is very easy to use and intuitive. And the guided cook system ensures that even if you're a novice, you'll have no problem cooking up delicious dishes.

The MEATER Plus also uses its Advanced Estimator Algorithm to keep everyone informed as to when food will be ready. And whatever your taste, it likely has you covered, with support for chicken, lamb, steak, or fish.

How Can I Host the Best Tailgating Party With My New Tailgating Grill?

The act of throwing or attending a tailgating party has become a truly American tradition. Although primarily known as a social function revolving around college or professional football, tailgating can be done anywhere in conjunction with a large-scale public event.

“Tailgating” gets its name from hosting the party around the tailgate of an open vehicle, usually, an SUV or a small truck, parked in a parking lot or large field. You don’t actually need a truck; as long as you have space to bring your supplies with you, any vehicle will do.

A lot can go into a tailgating party: flags, decorations, tents, games, clothing but what is most important to a great tailgating experience is the food. Burgers and dogs are most common but you don’t have to stop there! Steaks, chicken wings, shish kebabs, even vegetarian options, the sky’s the limit as long as you try and keep it finger-friendly.

Your guests are going to be mingling and moving around the parking lot so cook foods that don’t need to be eaten sitting down or with utensils. When planning your tailgating party, think about what your grill can handle but also what you want to eat. Don’t forget the condiments like ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and more. Keep it all simple so your setup and teardown are easy and quick.

Speaking of setup, plan for the worst. This tailgating essentials list is very comprehensive and helpful to your planning efforts. It will be good to have a pop-up tent and a foldable table is essential. There are also swing-away, hitch-mounted table frames available so you don’t need a table for your grill. Genius! Consider some folding chairs or an all-in-one table like this Tailgating Table by Camerons Products made especially to accommodate food, drinks, beverages, and ice.

Stuck on recipe ideas for your bash? Check out The Tailgate Cookbook by Beth Peterson for some delicious options that will be tasty and easy to get ready. You may want to have a television to watch the pre-game shows or the actual game itself; if so, you’re going to need a portable power station to make that happen and also to power up small appliances like a blender or charge your phone.

By the way, don’t forget to pack the instant thermometer! Your buddies are going to need something to do while you’re grilling up perfection. So bring along a cornhole set or other tailgating games to keep everyone entertained. 

Make sure that you understand the rules wherever you’re going, whether it’s a stadium parking lot or some field at a music festival. Most of these places don’t allow glass; plastic beverage cups will be mandatory for you and your guests and lucky for you, those cups have handy measurement lines.

We looked solely at gas grills for this article because some municipalities don’t allow charcoal grills however make sure they allow grilling of any kind. When does the parking lot open? Don’t waste time waiting in your car. How much is a parking space? Bring some cash. Probably the most obvious thing to check will be the weather. Grilling in the rain is a real bummer.

One last thing: be a good neighbor. Leave your space better than you found it and watch the trash talking. A little ribbing is fine if that guy is wearing the other team’s colors but you never know when you may have to borrow some mustard!

Can I Use My Tailgating Grill At Home?

Of course! The stadium atmosphere can be an incredible experience but some of us (including yours truly) live far away from our alma maters. Watching a football game at home can be an awesome experience. There’s no line at the washrooms, the beverages are a lot cheaper, and it’s pretty easy to turn your backyard into an amazing place to watch the game.

Televisions have never been lighter, cheaper, or portable. And while your primary grill can whip up the food like nothing else, your tailgating grill can contribute to the stadium experience you’re trying to recreate. Plus, they’re fun to use.