Best Tailgate Grills for 2020 – Tailgate & BBQ Party Selections

Best Tailgate Grills for 2020 – Tailgate & BBQ Party Selections

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There’s nothing better than tailgate grilling!

From being able to cook out while camping or at a sporting event to enjoying the convenience of your favorite grilled foods on the go, the best tailgate grill can make mealtime a cinch. It can make it easy for you to host an impromptu social event and to truly make the most of your summer days.

They’re not just for summer, either. Barbeques of all kinds are getting more popular year-round throughout the United States.

If you love a good hot dog or burger and are ready to make the most of your parking lot party, it’s time to consider one of the best tailgate grills of 2019.

What to Look for in a Tailgate Grill: A Buying Guide for Your Next Parking

Lot Party

Here are the top factors you need to consider when you are planning on investing in a new tailgate grill.

Fuel Choice

Fuel choice is a matter of personal preference when it comes to purchasing a tailgate grill. There are plenty of options for powering grills, with the main ones being charcoal, gas, and electric.

Unfortunately, if you are planning on using a tailgate grill for its specific intended purpose - tailgating - then you are probably going to want to cross electric off the list. Both charcoal and fuel have their own distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Charcoal produces food that has a light smoky flavor, giving your food the panache it needs to be truly out of this world. As a result, many grilling aficionados prefer charcoal to propane.

Portability

Regardless of the fuel choice of your chosen tailgate grill, it’s important that you select one that is highly portable. It should be lightweight and easy to use so that you can take it out whenever there’s an opportunity to grill.

Not only will you be less likely to use a heavy tailgate grill, but you are more likely to break it, too. You can also injure yourself trying to move and transport a bulky grill - and don’t you want to get your money’s worth out of grill?

No matter how big your vehicle might be or how much storage space you might have, a compact tailgate grill will always be more economical and wise for you to purchase.

Capacity

Think carefully about how many people you plan to serve while cooking on your tailgate grill. If you have a large family or a big group of friends, you will want to purchase a tailgate grill with a large capacity. You don’t have to sacrifice its compactness, either, to be able to serve a lot of people - many of the best tailgate grills strike a perfect balance between the two.

Temperature Control

Propane gas grills are considered easier to manage than charcoal grills when it comes to temperature control. A propane grill is easier to clean and it also lights up instantly and heats your grill quickly, meaning you won’t have to wait around as long for your food to be done.

Gas can be easier to cook on, too. Propane is easier to control because you will just have to twist a dial to adjust the temperature - with charcoal, you will need to starve the fire of oxygen to change the temperature. You will also have vents to help adjust the heat. If you choose a charcoal grill, choose one with multiple vents and adjustable height grates for maximum control and convenience.

Features and Design

Always look for a tailgate grill with a high-quality design. These grills tend to have a lot of parts and pieces, so you want to make sure they are all made out of durable materials so you don’t sacrifice the functionality of your grill if one of them happens to break.

The best tailgate grill will be one that breaks down easily for quick cleaning. You shouldn’t have to use your entire toolbox to do this, either. It should also be built on a sturdy foundation with feet that keep the heat far away from the ground or table for safety purposes.

The grill should also be stable - you don’t want everything to wobble every time you flip a burger. The best tailgate grills have wheels for easy transport - but make sure these have locking mechanisms to prevent movement when you are actually grilling.

Some tailgate grills even come with lids so you can slow-roast your food as well as grill it. This should have the ability to close snugly. Some also have extendable sides for cooking utensil storage.

If you decide to go with a gas grill, make sure you check to see how many BTUs it is rated for. This will tell you how much heat it can produce. Other factors, like extra safety features, should also be considered.

Bonus Accessories

No matter what kind of appliance you might decide to buy, bonus accessories should always be included when you are making your purchasing decision. Some models come with protective covers, carry bags, or even cleaning brushes. The bonus accessories included with a tailgate grill shouldn’t make or break your decision, but they can certainly help make it easier if you’re stuck between two options!

The Best Tailgate Grills of 2019 to Get Things Cooking ASAP

1. Weber 10020 Smokey Joe 14-Inch Portable Grill

The Weber Smokey Joe tailgating grill is one of the best tailgate grills for people who are already fans of this award-winning grill brand. It’s highly effective despite its small size. It has a patented design that consists of a triple nickel-plated design, making it long-lasting throughout many years of use.

Easy to clean, all of the grill’s essential parts are coated with porcelain.

This also makes it mostly weatherproof. The handle is made out of reinforced nylon to keep it nice and cool even when the grill is piping hot. 

What We Liked:

  • Grill comes with a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty 
  • Weatherproof and easy to clean 
  • Handle is nylon-coated to prevent burns to the hand

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Sits too low to the ground

2. Coleman Roadtrip LXE Portable Grill

A compact and foldable portable grill, Coleman Roadtrip LXE packs a serious punch, coming in at 20,000 BTUs of heat. It has tons of features and bonus accessories to help make it an easy choice as your next tailgate grill.

This grill is powered by propane, and it’s highly efficient. You can get more than an hour of cooking timeout of just one 16.4 ounce cylinder. A versatile, convenient option, it has side tables and a wheeled base that allow you to draw the entire grill completely together - a plus if you have a small car.

Moving the grill is equally painless. All you need to do is unfold it from the base, push it to the desired location on its well-oiled wheels, and connect it to your propane tank. The grill is remarkably easy to move because the wheels have treads.

You won’t have to worry about any separate parts of pieces once you’ve got the grill assembled - all you will need to do is lift the base and lock it in. no matches or lighters are needed, either - simply touch a button and then the burners will ignite, quickly warming two burners beneath cast-iron grates.

One of the coolest (or should we say hottest?) features of this grill is that the burners can each be controlled independently - you can cook indirectly or even operate two heat zones. If you have foods to be grilled that require different temperatures, this grill is second to none. It even comes with two bonus side tables so you can keep your beer at hand while you’re grilling.

What We Liked:

  • Comes with a removable grease tray 
  • Easy to transport with smooth-moving wheels
  • Consists of cast iron and porcelain-enameled surfaces

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Burners are not covered so grease can drip into them and cause flashes

3. Blackstone Grills Tailgater Grill & Griddle

The Blackstone Grills Tailgater Grill and Griddle is more than just a grill - it also offers a versatile and convenient way to cook pancakes, bacon, fried eggs, and more.

One of the most adaptable grills we’ve ever seen, this product can be used as a charcoal or propane burner. You don’t have to choose between charcoal or propane anymore - you can even use both at the same time.

The grill has two burners for gas (one is made out of stainless steel and the other is cast iron). These can be operated independently from each other. There are also two standard burners that allow you to make pancakes, boil water, or anything else. It’s a great option for camping or tailgating, too.

The Blackstone Grill has four adjustable legs that can accommodate any height. It has feet to prevent it from wobbling, even when you have it standing on a rough surface. Since the charcoal side has cast-iron grates, you’ll get a lot of grilling power, particularly if you close both the vent and the lid.

This grill requires minimal assembly and comes with a clear, easy-to-follow user manual. It also has instructions for maintenance and a guide to help keep things in tip top shape. 

What We Liked:

  • Has a durable build 
  • Comes in at 60,000 BTUs when using propane 
  • Backed by a 90-day manufacturer’s warranty

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Can be tricky to transport

4. Broil King 911470 Charcoal Barbeque Grill

This tailgate grill was designed specifically for tailgating and is equipped with a unique attachment that allows you to connect it to the transport hitch on your vehicle. A keg-shaped gill, this one has an impressive capacity - it can serve a ton of people with its 480 square inches of cooking space.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a truck to haul this grill around, either. It also has a wheeled base that allows you to roll it wherever you want to place it. It comes with an adjustable stand that can be leveled to keep things steady, which is an important feature in such a big grill.

If you prefer to have large, robust tailgating sessions, this grill is the one to consider. Although it's a charcoal grill, ti uses very little charcoal. It has exceptional insulating properties so it’s easy to keep the temperature consistent. It also has a tight seal and is a kamado-style cooker that can be used for smoking, too.

The Broil King 911470 has two separate cooking surfaces - one is a cast-iron grate while the other is a secondary chrome surface. There is a lid thermometer to let you know what the internal temperature at all times, too.

Despite the fact that the body of this grill heats up quickly, it’s exceptionally safe to use. The outside warms up, too, but never to dangerous levels - it remains simply warm to the touch and not scalding.

Still not convinced? This grill even comes with two pop-out end tables. You can put everything from plates to drinks on these tables, which include hooks for your cooking utensils, too.

What We Liked:

  • Can choose between cast iron and chrome cooking surfaces
  • Has a removable ashtray 
  • Has a hitch and wheels for maximum portability 

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Can take a long time to adjust the temperature

5. Solaire Anywhere Portable Stainless Steel Grill

True to its name, the Solaire Anywhere can truly be used...well, just about anywhere! Designed for use while tailgating, it can fit easily into your vehicle no matter how much trunk space you might have - it comes in at a measly 20 lbs and 12 inches tall.

A rectangular grill, it ships to you almost completely assembled with the exception of screwing the lid handle it on. Once you attach the lid to the body, you can carry this grill wherever you need to go. It operates via propane and uses just a single one-pound cylinder - however, the grill comes with a handy carrying case so that you can bring three cylinders with you on one trip.

Despite its minute size, this grill really packs a punch. It has infrared burners that are powerful and produce a ton of heat. Although you won’t get as much cooking capacity on the buyers, the ability of the grill to heat up food quickly will make a world of difference.

The grill can come to full temperatures in just three minutes. It has spark ignition, too, so you don't need to pack a lighter. The heat is concrete, too - it doesn’t matter what kind of temperature it is outside. 

What We Liked:

  • Has even and powerful heat distribution
  • Rugged ceramic and stainless steel build
  • Comes with a one-year manufacturer's warranty

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Has a small cooking capacity

6. Weber 51040001 Liquid Propane Grill

Another propane grill for you to consider is the Weber 51040001. This option is powered by tiny propane tanks of just 14.1 or 16.4 ounces. This grill is energy-efficient despite the fact that it performs like a larger grill. Usually, just a single tank will give you five hours of grilling time.

The Weber 51040001 comes with a built-in thermometer. This will allow you to exercise optimal control over your heat and the food you are cooking. Since it lights automatically - no lighter required - it also heats up rapidly.

Although this grill is not equipped with a stand, it can easily be placed on a foldable table or the truck bed. It does not scorch the surface and it has side tables on either side to hold cooking utensils or plates.

This is the best tailgate grill for people who hate cleaning up when they’re done. It has a state-of-the-art grease management technology as well as a disposable grease pan. Once you’re done cooking, all you need to do is toss the pan and put a new one in.

With cast-iron and porcelain-enameled parts, this grill is not only durable, but it’s rust-resistant, too. No more tedious, time-consuming maintenance. Even the burner tubes, made out of rugged stainless steel, are easy to keep clean!

What We Liked:

  • Heat safe no matter what kind of surface you put it on
  • Easy to clean
  • Comes with a large handle for portability

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Does not come with a stand

7. Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill

If you haven’t noticed yet, Weber is the name to know when it comes to the best tailgate grills. This “go-anywhere” grill is designed perfectly for tailgating, regardless of whether your party is taking place at a stadium or in your very own backyard.

This product ships ready to go right out of the box. All you have to do is screw the handle to the lid and get going. It has slim aluminum feet that offer additional height and support, allowing it to be placed on grass or on a folding table.

It weighs less than 15 pounds - a feature that’s practically unheard of when it comes to tailgate grills. It is lightweight and substantial despite its size. In addition, it has a surprising level of effectiveness when it comes to its capacity, too. You can easily put six or seven burgers on the grill at once.

The grill does a great job at retaining heat, as it has four vents. Two are located on the sides of the body while the other two are on the lid. These are particularly useful when you are dealing with a charcoal grill!

As far as other bonus features go, this grill also comes with a built-in lid holder on the side of the grill. It has a porcelain-enameled surface that's easy to wipe down, and the grill cools down rapidly once the coals go out, allowing you to clean up sooner rather than later.

What We Liked:

  • Easy to transport and heat safe on most surfaces
  • Has a number of vents for controlling temperature
  • Easy to clean 

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Has a low height

8. Smoke Hollow 205 Stainless Steel Tabletop Propane Gas Grill

The Smoke Hollow 2015 is another durable grill you need to consider. A small and compact product, it folds up easily to make it simple to take with you no matter where you go. The legs simply tuck up into the bottom of the grill, with a grate and warming tray that can be tucked close to the body for travel.

Made out of durable stainless steel, the grill is easy to clean and maintain. It has a removable drip pan for grease and it heats up quickly. The grill also retains heat remarkably well, even if you decide to open the lid.

One of the best bonus features of the Smoke Hollow 205 is that it comes with an additional warming tray. You can put steaks or hot dogs on the tray to keep them warm while you are waiting for the rest of the food to be done. The lid also has a unique catch mechanism so that it stays up in windy weather. This is important for safety reasons.

What We Liked:

  • 10,000 BTU grill 
  • Offers 205 square inches of cooking space
  • Comes with a chrome-plated warming rack

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Comes with a spark igniter that can sometimes be unreliable

9. Lodge Cast Iron Sportsman’s Grill

Another charcoal grill for you to consider is this option by Lodge. It is perfect for a tailgater seeking a simple solution to weekend grilling needs. When cared for correctly, it can last for several years.

Weighing only 32 lbs, this grill has an attached handle to allow you to carry it with ease. There are also attachable legs. Although the cooking surface is smaller than what you might find with other models, it’s still perfect for grilling as it stays hot for much longer than other models.

You can adjust the grill to two different heights, allowing you to grill both closer as well as further away from the coals. Temperature control is simple with the vent that is built into the lower section of the grill. You can leave it open or remove it, depending on how hot you want your food to get. 

What We Liked:

  • Ash is stored easily within the fire pit base
  • Hibachi-style grill that has three table legs
  • Provides 120 square inches of cast iron cooking space

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Needs to be oiled on a regular basis to prevent rust

10. Cuisinart CCG-100 GrateLifter Portable Charcoal Grill

Cuisinart is known for offering phenomenal kitchen products for all users - and this charcoal grill is no exception. A tabletop model, it’s perfect for large and small tailgates alike. The grill offers an impressive 240 square inches of cooking space and has all the temperature control and ventilation you need.

One of the most unique - and best - features of this charcoal grill is that you can access the charcoal without having to actually touch the grill grate itself. This is an exceptional safety feature that really adds to its overall quality. It also has a porcelain enamel coating to help the grill last for many years of use.

Finally, this grill has a compact, portable design that makes it perfect for any setting. 

What We Liked:

  • Comes with a large ash collection bin
  • Sturdy base offers stability and added safety
  • Lift system lets you get to the charcoal bed without burning yourself

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Does not come with wheels

Why Do You Need a Special Tailgate Grill?

If you want to be able to serve your family and friends delicious grilled meat at your next backyard bash - or parking lot party! - you need to have the right tools for the job. Your shopping list should start with the best tailgate grill.

Not sure what to look for? Consider our buying guide before you head to the stores. You’ll be slathering a hot dog in ketchup in no time!

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