Game day means a few things: 1) Friends, 2) Beer and 3) Barbecue.
The friends and beer we leave to you, but for the best grill to make tailgating a party, I got you.
Whether you’re an every-weekend rain or shine kind of tailgate legend or a 2 or 3 times a year maybe newbie, these grills will serve up dog after dog after dog.
This list is a compilation of our favorites with a complete spec breakdown to help narrow the field so you can become the tailgating king.
For those seeking nothing but the best – full of convenience, ease and a quality cook – for premium tailgating, Weber has to be the top pick.
Weber is an industry favorite for quality components and reliable ease of use. The good news is that extends to their smaller range of grills, like the tabletop Q2200.
If you’re going to invest in a portable grill for regular tailgating and want to buy once and once only, then this is your grill. You’re not going to need to replace it season after season and the grill experience is so good, this one can even double as your regular backyard grill hub if you’re cooking for a smaller group.
The cooking area on the Q2200 is a solid 280 square inches with the stainless steel burner output at 12,000 BTUs – among the most powerful for this size. The cooking grates are the same as on Weber’s bigger grills: porcelain-coated cast iron for even heating and a long cook life.
Ignition is push button electronic for a quick and easy start and the lid features a built-in thermometer.
Weber gets that grilling is an experience, no matter where you are, so the Q2200 has two folding work tables, one on each side for prep and to hold a pile of hot dogs fresh off the grate while you finish off some burgers for a hardcore group of sports fans.
Construction is cast aluminum, which keeps it light and portable, perfect for loading into your trunk when it’s time to hit the stadium for the main event.
I also appreciate that you have the option to purchase and switch in an optional griddle, which is a great add-on if you’re also a camper and want to use the Weber to bust out some pancakes and eggs to start the day.
For tailgating, I also recommend adding the optional cart base so the grill can stand along and doesn’t need to be placed on a tabletop or actual tailgate.
The Q2200 is a solid grill that performs like it’s bigger Weber counterparts and is a reliable, no regrets pick if ‘re seeking something you can depend on for a consistent, easy cook at your favorite events.
Just because you’re away from your backyard doesn’t mean you can’t feel at home tailgating your favorite events with friends and fam.
This grill, known for its reliability and at-home experience, doesn’t sacrifice functionality for its portability. Be the star at your tailgate when you pull this one out and grill just as well as you would on your own patio.
With up to 20,000 BTUs of grilling power and 285 square inches of cooking area, the Coleman RoadTrip makes a great option for people on the go. Its size means you can grill a lot of food at the same time, perfect for hungry pre-gamers.
It also has three independently adjustable burners, compared to most portable grills that only offer one or two. It also has an integrated thermometer for regulating the temperature to achieve that perfect sear. Also useful is the Coleman’s push-button ignition that lights the grill without matches; just one less thing to worry about when you’re packing for a trip.
As any griller knows, one of the most important aspects in a portable is that it’s easy to clean. The RoadTrip has a water pan to catch cooking grease, which is removable for quick, hassle-free cleaning, no involved scrub down either.
Just because you’re in a parking lot doesn’t mean you should feel cramped in your grilling set-up. The Coleman RoadTrip has two side tables that slide out for your utensils and drinks so it really offers that great portable kitchen experience.
What I really love about the Coleman is that it’s sturdy. Just because something is portable doesn’t mean I want it to feel like it could collapse mid-barbecue.
But that’s exactly what it can do: when you’re done grilling and cleaning up, the Coleman folds right up and can be stored upright to fit tight spaces until your next trip. From there, it’s easily portable on its two wheels. The scissor legs mean you can just fold it up and roll it out like a suitcase. Boom, done.
For those seeking a regular size grill made for tailgating, the Napoleon TravelQ should be a serious contender.
When unfolded, the Napoleon stands up to waist height and lets you enjoy basically the same grilling experience you’d have on a stationary set-up. The side tables help expand your space for food prep or utensils.
When it’s time to pack up, this grill is super compact to enhance portability. The Napoleon has a locking lid, legs, and side handles, and comes with a cart to let you wrap this thing up and go.
The Napoleon is also powerful for a portable grill. Two stainless steel burners let you do both direct and indirect grilling with a total of 12,000 BTUs. It’s not as strong as some of the other grills on the list, but the size, power, and dual burner system give you a little bit more temperature control, as opposed to some other portable grills that are known for getting too hot too fast.
A major issue with portable grills is that it’s hard to get an even heat across the surface. Not a problem with the Napoleon. The Napoleon’s heavy-duty porcelain-coated “wave” cooking grids and 285 square inches of cooking area let you achieve the perfect grill while away from home. It distributes heat evenly across your food and provides a non-stick surface.
This particular grill operates on portable propane cylinders, but can be converted to use a 20 pound propane tank like a regular sized grill. However, the conversion kit does need to be purchased separately.
I need my grills to be sturdy above all else, especially when I hit a game with family and want to set up and take down cooking gear quickly. Sometimes they just take a beating. The Napoleon is made with stainless steel and aluminum, so it can handle some bumps and bruises while on the road.
I call this grill from Giantex the “baby beast” – it is powerful and compact and offers a really easy cooking experience.
So what are you getting? The Giantex is almost as roomy as the top spot grills at 266 square inches of cooking space. It offers 2 stainless steel U-shaped burners, a little unusual for a table top, with 20,000 BTUs of combined power.
The dual burners offer a little more flexibility and fine-tuning than some of the other options on our list, which is why it snags a top spot.
It’s constructed of 430-stainless steel for maximum durability and longevity. It’s easy to clean and offers foldable legs with a locking lid so you can carry it suitcase-style by the handle.
The cooking grates are heavy-duty stainless steel and heating is even and consistent. It cooks like the big boys, looks shiny and professional like the big boys, but can easy be stowed in a cabinet in your RV or popped in a trunk for tailgate parties.
The baby beast is a solid pick for grill enthusiasts with a regular weekend line up of tailgating events.
Blackstone is killing it in the flat top grill game and this smaller, 22’’ model ranks in the top 5 on our list for overall value and quality of experience.
This grill is light – and comes in two size choices: 17 inches or 22. It offers a massive 330 square inches of cooking space, which is just about perfect for a standard number of hungry game fans.
This little Blackstone is a roomy, solid performer and its 2 H burners are controlled independently. You can have one burner grilling some veggies and the other cooking up a few juicy burgers or brat dogs.
This grill is a griddle-style, but I have found the advantages of this style of grilling mean there’s less risk of flare-ups and flavor leaks. If you’re cooking up a lot of meat, you’re less likely to overcook your meal and end up with a charred mess, especially if you have a lot going on.
This model comes outfitted with a rear grease management system, that will draw the grease away from your food with easy clean up afterward.
Consider this little powerhouse the carry-on version of Blackstone’s 36 inch 4 burner with a price tag that is is super reasonable. It’s a great pick if you’re looking for something compact to take along for easy tailgating.
Got a need for speed? This grill uses infrared technology to heat up in just three minutes.
When I’m at an event, I often have better things to do than wait for dinner to cook. Vistiting with friends and getting excited about the main event tops the list. The heat of this grill makes it perfect for searing on the go. Its fast, intense heat lets you grill up just about anything in very little time.
The high heat also means that the Solaire stays clean, since any residue basically gets incinerated into ash. How convenient is that?
It’s also ideal for grillers who don’t want the hassle of assembly. All you need to do is attach the handles and bolts, and you’re done; the Solaire is made for grilling on the go.
The Solaire is on the smaller end of products on our list, so it’s better suited to individuals or couples that plan to use it away from home. It can be used for large groups since it does cook so fast, but it’s more work on your part to keep the food moving.
The downside is that its price tag is a little steeper than some of the other grills with more bells and whistles, but it consistently provides high-quality, fast sears, and a small size makes it easier to travel with.
The styling on this grill from Char-Broil reminds me of some kind of heavy-duty military storage container.
It stands out and is built to take a beating, a better choice than some of the all- stainless options on this list if it’s going to see some serious road time.
Total size is 200 square inches of cooking space with a single 9,500 BTU burner and stainless steel cooking grate.
It features a no flare-up TRU-Infrared cooking system to improve heat distribution and comes with push-button ignition and top-mounted temp gauge.
Overall construction is die cast aluminum with a locking lid and side handles. It’s easy to throw in a trunk and totally road-worthy so you don’t have to worry about it getting knocked around.
Designed to be the perfect grill buddy when you’re away from home, this little single burner Smoke Hollow from Masterbuilt is a favorite for active grill lifestyles and is the perfect tailgating staple.
Equipped with a single stainless steel U burner pumping out 10,000 BTUs of power and about 288 square inches of cooking area (enough space for about 15 burgers), this is all you’ll need in terms of space and power at your favorite events.
The cooking grates are stainless steel and the adjustable warming rack is chrome plated. The temperature range hits that sweet spot and can be adjusted between 500-700 degrees.
Standard features include a quick start push button ignition, folding legs and a locking lid for ease of transport, as well as a lid-mounted temperature gauge for monitoring internal heat levels.
The overall construction is stainless steel and designed to take a bit of a beating when on the road. This grill is intended to sit on a table top or other surface, it doesn’t have extendable legs to stand alone, so keep that in mind when making your grill selection.
We love a full-size Napoleon grill, so it’s not a shock that their mini 2 burner makes our list for best tailgating companions.
Any time you can snag that second burner in a portable grill, do it. You won’t be sorry for the upgrade.
This model offers two stainless steel tube burners at 12,000 BTUs across 285 square inches of grilling surface. This gives you enough space for roughly 19 burners at one time, so you’re not missing out when it comes to churning out the meat pre-game time.
The cast iron cooking grids are a nice upgrade and conduct heat both evenly and efficiently.
Folding legs and a cast aluminum design make the Travel Q infinitely portable – its lightweight enough to carry, but sturdy enough to handle life on the road. It’s a great companion for setting up at events and using in the back of your truck or SUV bed.
When it comes tot able top grills, this basic go-anywhere from Weber is a classic.
Let’s be clear: this is a no-frills grill. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have it’s place in the tabletop world. If your budget is a top concern and you don’t mind getting a little old-school, this is a solid pick.
The overall cooking area is 160 square inches with one stainless steel burner at 6,500 BTUs. The cooking grate on this is porcelain enameled steel (not quite the cast-iron of our top pick), and overall construction is porcelain-enameled to match.
Ignition is push-button and simple to use. If you’re just getting into tailgating, this is a great starter grill.
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I am a grill freak! It's hard to pick my favorite thing to grill, but if I had to choose... it is still a tie between pork ribs and a juicy beef burger. I am currently grilling on a Weber S210(I live in a small space) but my dream grill is definitely a summit. Those things are bad ass. Anyways I would love to hear from you, leave a comment or question below!