The 10 Best Tailgate Grills

Best Tailgate Grill

Tailgating is a popular social gathering in the US where food is served from the trunk of a parked car when camping or when about to watch a game or concert.

A crucial component that makes this event possible is a tailgate grill, which is basically a portable grill that can easily fit in your car’s trunk. This grill lets you serve hot and delicious meals such as steak, burgers, sausages, etc. straight from the fire.

However, there are many varieties of these products to choose from in the market but this article lists 10 of the best tailgate grills that you should consider buying.

You can also read other product reviews of cast iron hibachi grill, george foreman grill, kamado grill.

IMAGE

​PRODUCT

​FEATURES

Char-Broil 465133010

1. Char-Broil 465133010 (Affordable Tailgate Grill)

  • Affordable
  • Gas-powered with a 187 square-inch cooktop
  • Chrome-plated cooking plate
  • Heat-resistant carrying handles
Cuisinart CGG-180T

2. Cuisinart CGG-180T (Best Portable Tailgate Grill)

  • Gas grill with a 145 square-inch cooking surface
  • Lightweight with a portable briefcase design
  • Porcelain-enameled grate
  • Foldable aluminum legs
Blackstone 1650

3. Blackstone 1650 (Easy-to-Clean Tailgate Grill)

  • 260 square-inch griddle top
  • Built-in grease catcher
  • Propane gas powered with an H-shaped burner
  • Electric igniter
Weber 1211001

4. Weber 1211001 (Porcelain-Enameled Tailgate Grill)

  • Charcoal grill with a porcelain-enameled surface
  • 240 square-inch cooking surface
  • Tuck-N-Carry lid lock and holder
  • Aluminum ash catcher and dampers
Lodge L410

5. Lodge L410 (Hibachi-Style Tailgate Grill)

  • Hibachi-style charcoal grill with a seasoned grate
  • Heavy-duty cast-iron construction
  • 2 adjustable grill heights
  • Convenient carrying handle
Coleman 2000020945NP

6. Coleman 2000020945NP (Tailgate Grill with an Interchangeable Cooktop)

  • Gas grill with a 285 square-inch cooking surface
  • Interchangeable cooktop
  • 2 sliding tables and 3 utensil hooks
  • Collapsible stand with wheels
Blackstone 1555

7. Blackstone 1555 (2-Burner Tailgate Grill)

  • 2 independently controlled burners
  • Grill and griddle with a total of 512 square inches
  • Gas-powered
  • 4 independently adjustable legs
Masterbuilt PT300B

8. Masterbuilt PT300B (Stainless Steel Tailgate Grill)

  • Gas grill with a 205 square-inch cooktop
  • Stainless steel construction
  • Chrome-plated warming rack
  • Built-in thermometer
Cuisinart CCG-100

9. Cuisinart CCG-100 (Tailgate Grill with a Dual Venting System)

  • Charcoal grill with a 240 square inch cooktop
  • Dual venting system
  • Heat resistant lid and side handles
  • Lid mounted thermometer
Coleman 2000017444

10. Coleman 2000017444 (Collapsible Tailgate Grill)

  • Gas grill with a collapsible wheeled stand
  • 285 square-inch interchangeable cooktop
  • 2 side tables
  • Instastart button ignition

PRODUCT

1. Char-Broil 465133010

(Affordable Tailgate Grill)

Char-Broil 465133010
  • Affordable
  • Gas-powered with a 187 square-inch cooktop
  • Chrome-plated cooking plate
  • Heat-resistant carrying handles

2. Cuisinart CGG-180T

(Best Portable Tailgate Grill)

Cuisinart CGG-180T
  • Gas grill with a 145 square-inch cooking surface
  • Lightweight with a portable briefcase design
  • Porcelain-enameled grate
  • Foldable aluminum legs

3. Blackstone 1650

(Easy-to-Clean Tailgate Grill)

Blackstone 1650
  • 260 square-inch griddle top
  • Built-in grease catcher
  • Propane gas powered with an H-shaped burner
  • Electric igniter

4. Weber 1211001

(Porcelain-Enameled Tailgate Grill)

Weber 1211001
  • Charcoal grill with a porcelain-enameled surface
  • 240 square-inch cooking surface
  • Tuck-N-Carry lid lock and holder
  • Aluminum ash catcher and dampers

5. Lodge L410

(Hibachi-Style Tailgate Grill)

Lodge L410
  • Hibachi-style charcoal grill with a seasoned grate
  • Heavy-duty cast-iron construction
  • 2 adjustable grill heights
  • Convenient carrying handle

6. Coleman 2000020945NP

(Tailgate Grill with an Interchangeable Cooktop)

Coleman 2000020945NP
  • Gas grill with a 285 square-inch cooking surface
  • Interchangeable cooktop
  • 2 sliding tables and 3 utensil hooks
  • Collapsible stand with wheels

7. Blackstone 1555

(2-Burner Tailgate Grill)

Blackstone 1555
  • 2 independently controlled burners
  • Grill and griddle with a total of 512 square inches
  • Gas-powered
  • 4 independently adjustable legs

8. Masterbuilt PT300B

(Stainless Steel Tailgate Grill)

Masterbuilt PT300B
  • Gas grill with a 205 square-inch cooktop
  • Stainless steel construction
  • Chrome-plated warming rack
  • Built-in thermometer

9. Cuisinart CCG-100

(Tailgate Grill with a Dual Venting System)

Cuisinart CCG-100
  • Charcoal grill with a 240 square inch cooktop
  • Dual venting system
  • Heat resistant lid and side handles
  • Lid mounted thermometer

10. Coleman 2000017444

(Collapsible Tailgate Grill)

Coleman 2000017444
  • Gas grill with a collapsible wheeled stand
  • 285 square-inch interchangeable cooktop
  • 2 side tables
  • Instastart button ignition

1. Char-Broil 465133010 – Affordable Tailgate Grill

Char-Broil 465133010
  • Fuel: Gas
  • Cooking Surface: 187 square inches
  • Dimensions: 24 x 12 x 15 inches
  • Weight: 10 pounds

If you are on a tight budget, Char-Broil’s 465133010 is an affordable tailgate grill that you should consider buying. That said, you get a 187 square-inch cooking surface that can fit up to 8 hamburgers and an easy-to-clean chrome-plated cooking grate that is dishwasher safe.

The grill is sturdily built using high-quality steel, which is coated by a high-temperature finish that helps to prevent rust for durability purposes.

More features include an 11,000 BTU burner, supportive legs that fold over the lid so as to lock it in place and heat-resistant handles for comfortable carrying even when hot.

However, the unit lacks a thermometer for monitoring the internal temperature and has no side tables for holding ingredients.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Easy-to-clean chrome-plated cooking grate
  • Rust-resistant high-temperature finish
  • Heat-resistant carrying handles
  • Supportive legs and a locking lid

Cons:

  • No built-in thermometer
  • No side tables

2. Cuisinart CGG-180T – Best Portable Tailgate Grill

Cuisinart CGG-180T
  • Fuel: Gas
  • Cooking Surface: 145 square inches
  • Dimensions: 16 x 16.5 x 13 inches
  • Weight: 13.5 pounds

Though it has a relatively small 145 square-inch grilling area, Cuisinart’s CGG-180T is easily portable due to this small size and has a briefcase design with a handle on the size for comfortable one-hand carrying.

The grill is very lightweight, coming in at only 13.5 pounds, and has aluminum legs for raising the cooking surface to a more comfortable cooking height. These legs are easily foldable after use, making it very compact for easier transportation.

Other features include a spill-resistant drip tray, a 5,500 BTU stainless-steel burner, a porcelain-enameled grate for even heating, a lid latch for securing the lid in place and a piezoelectric igniter for quick starting. However, no thermometer is built-in for monitoring the temperature. 

Pros:

  • Easily portable briefcase design
  • Very lightweight (13.5 pounds)
  • Foldable aluminum legs
  • Spill-resistant drip tray
  • Even heating porcelain-enameled grate

Cons:

  • Small grilling area
  • No built-in thermometer

3. Blackstone 1650 – Easy-to-Clean Tailgate Grill

Blackstone 1650
  • Fuel: Gas
  • Cooking Surface: 260 square inches
  • Dimensions:17.5 x 18 x 8.5 inches
  • Weight: 21 pounds

By being a griddle, Blackstone’s 1650 is very easy-to-clean and maintain, with the tabletop requiring to be simply wiped off using a paper towel after cooking.

Additionally, the unit has a built-in grease catcher that collects all the excess fluids via a hole on the tabletop for mess-free cooking.

A convenient and lightweight 1-pound propane can is used to provide the fuel, powering up an H-shaped stainless-steelburner that distributes heat evenly under the cooktop and provides up to 12,000 BTUs of heat.

Other features include an easy-to-use electric igniter anda 260 square-inch cooking surface. However, the grill does not have a stand to raise it to a comfortable cooking height when standing and the cooktop is not pre-seasoned, which means food might stick.

Pros:

  • Easy-to-clean griddle top
  • Built-in grease catcher for mess-free cooking
  • H-shaped burner for even heat distribution
  • Powered by a lightweight 1-pound propane can
  • Convenient and easy-to-use electric igniter

Cons:

  • Lacks a stand
  • Not pre-seasoned

4. Weber 1211001 – Porcelain-Enameled Tailgate Grill

Weber 1211001
  • Fuel: Charcoal
  • Cooking Surface: 240 square inches
  • Dimensions: 19.7 x 19.7 x 20.5inches
  • Weight: 18 pounds

Weber’s 1211001 is characterized by a porcelain-enameled surface on the lid and bowl, which helps to retain heat and won’t peel or rust, making the grill very durable.

The unit’s lid also has a Tuck-N-Carry lid lock that doubles up as a lid holder. This ensures you don’t have to place the lid on the ground as you turn your steak or burgers.

Since it is powered by charcoal, controlling the heat can be quite difficult but the grill is fitted with aluminum dampers on the lid for adjusting the airflow, which regulates the temperature inside.

Other features include a 240 square-inch plated steel cooking surface that can hold up to 8 burgers, an aluminum ash catcher and an insulated nylon lid handle for comfortable use.

On the downside, the grill lacks side tables for holding sauces and other ingredients, and starting it up can be quite difficult because charcoal does not fire up as easily as gas.

Pros:

  • Rust resistant porcelain-enameled surface
  • Tuck-N-Carry lid lock that also functions as a lid holder
  • Aluminum dampers for airflow control
  • Aluminum ash catcher for maintaining cleanliness
  • Comfortable heat-resistant lid handle

Cons:

  • No side tables
  • A bit difficult to fire up

5. Lodge L410 – Hibachi-Style Tailgate Grill

Lodge L410
  • Fuel: Charcoal
  • Dimensions: 10.25 x 8.25 x 19inches
  • Weight: 27 pounds

This L410 is built to have a traditional Japanese hibachi-style design, with an oval-shaped grate that is seasoned using 100% vegetable oil, which adds some flavor to your food while also preventing sticking.

The grill has a rugged, heavy-duty cast-iron construction that is very sturdy and also gives superior heat retention for quick cooking while also making the most out of the charcoal fuel.

Other features include a convenient metal carrying handle, 2 adjustable grill heights for setting the food close (high heat) or far (low heat) from the coal and a flip-down door for accessing the coal compartment.

However, this piece has no lid cover and lacks a side table for placing ingredients within close reach.

Pros:

  • Non-stick seasoned grate
  • Sturdy heavy-duty cast-iron construction
  • Carrying handle for easy transportation
  • 2 adjustable grill heights

Cons:

  • Lacks a side table
  • No lid

6. Coleman 2000020945NP – Tailgate Grill with an Interchangeable Cooktop

Coleman 2000020945NP
  • Fuel: Gas
  • Cooking Surface: 285 square inches
  • Dimensions: 47 x 19 x 34 inches
  • Weight: 49.8 pounds

This tailgate grill from Coleman is quite unique because it has an interchangeable cooktop that allows you to switch the included grill grate for a griddle or stove grate, depending on what or how you want to cook.

That said, the unit gives you a 285 square-inch cooking surface that can fit about 8 burgers, as well as 2 sliding tables on the sides for keeping sauces and ingredients within close reach.

You also get a collapsible stand with wheels for easy movement, 3 utensil hooks on the sides and an instastart button for hassle-free ignition of the 20,000 BTU burner underneath the cast-iron grates.

However, these grates are not pre-seasoned, which means they might be a bit sticky on first use.

Pros:

  • Interchangeable cooktop from a grill grate to a griddle or stove grate
  • 2 sliding tables for holding sauces and ingredients
  • Collapsible stand with wheels for easy transportation
  • 3 utensil hooks
  • Instastart ignition

Cons:

  • Non-seasoned grates

7. Blackstone 1555 – 2-burner Tailgate Grill

Blackstone 1555
  • Fuel: Gas
  • Cooking Surface: 512 square inches
  • Dimensions: 52 x 24 x 38.5 inches
  • Weight: 75 pounds

Though quite costly, Blackstone’s 1555 is equipped with 2 burners that are independently controlled, with a 15,000 BTU H-tube burner heating up a 256 square-inch multi-purpose grill and grill box.

The other one is a cast-iron 20,000 BTU burner, which heats up a similar-sized 16 x 16-inch griddle on the other end.Combined, these give a 512 square-inch cooking surface, which is quite large.

This entire setup is held on 4 adjustable legs that can be raised or lowered to your comfortable cooking height, or adjusted independently so as to level the grill when placed over uneven ground.

On the downside, the grill is very heavy (75 pounds), which makes it a bit difficult to transport.

Pros:

  • 2 independently controlled burners with a total output of 35,000 BTUs
  • Large 512 square-inch cooking surface
  • Grill and griddle in 1
  • 4 independently adjustable legs for stabilizing the grill over uneven surfaces

Cons:

  • Relatively expensive
  • Heavy

8. Masterbuilt PT300B – Stainless Steel Tailgate Grill

Masterbuilt PT300B
  • Fuel: Gas
  • Cooking Surface: 205 square inches
  • Dimensions: 27 x 17 x 12 inches
  • Weight: 21.1 pounds

The first noticeable thing about this Masterbuilt grill is its silver finish all round, and this is due to a full stainless-steel-builtouter shell, which is rust-resistant for durability purposes. Also included are strong stainless-steel legs that are foldable for compact storage and transportation.

On the inside is a 10,000 BTU stainless-steel U-shaped burner that heats up a 205 square-inch cooking surface on which a non-stick chrome-plated warming rack is used to grill your food.

Other features include a stainless-steel drip tray for collecting grease and other fluids, a built-in thermometer for temperature monitoring and a handle for raising or lowering the lid with ease.

However, there are no side handles for easy carrying and no side tables for holding ingredients within close reach.

Pros:

  • Strong and rust-resistant stainless-steel construction
  • Foldable legs for compact storage and transportation
  • Non-stick chrome-plated warming rack
  • Built-in thermometer for internal temperature monitoring

Cons:

  • No side tables
  • Lacks carrying handles

9. Cuisinart CCG-100 – Tailgate Grill with a Dual Venting System

Cuisinart CCG-100
  • Fuel: Charcoal
  • Cooking Surface: 240 square inches
  • Dimensions: 26 x 19 x 18 inches
  • Weight: 28 pounds

Cuisinart’s CCG-100 is a charcoal tailgate grill that features a dual venting system for temperature management and control. A thermometer mounted on the lid helps to monitor the heat level inside so that you can adjust the ventilation accordingly.

The grill gives a 240 square-inch cooking surface with a large collection tray below the coal compartment for collecting ash cleanly while a sturdy 1-piece welded base stabilizes the piece when in use.

Other features include a heat-resistant stainless-steel lid handle, a durable enameled steel lid, side handles for easy carrying and a porcelain-coated cooking grate that is easy to clean. On the downside,you get no side tables and the base is not foldable for compact storage.

Pros:

  • Dual venting system for temperature control
  • Lid mounted thermometer for temperature monitoring
  • Large ash collection tray
  • Heat-resistant stainless-steel lid handle

Cons:

  • The base is not foldable
  • No side tables

10. Coleman 2000017444 – Collapsible Tailgate Grill

Coleman 2000017444
  • Fuel: Gas
  • Cooking Surface: 285 square inches
  • Dimensions: 32 x 35 x 19 inches
  • Weight: 44 pounds

Rounding up the list is this piece from Coleman, which is characterized by a collapsible wheeled stand for easy transportation and easy setup before use.

The grill is also equipped with interchangeable grill grates that can be replaced with a griddle or stove grates depending on how you want to cook.

With either of these cooktops, you get a 285 square-inch cooking surface and a 20,000 BTU burner underneath, which is very hot. Other features include 2 side tables and instastart button ignition.

However, this piece is very expensive and has no built-in thermometer for temperature monitoring.

There is a new version of this model though, which is the Coleman 2000033052RoadTrip 285. It has similar features to this one but adds on 3 adjustable burners with accurate temperature control and a lid-mounted thermometer. However, this is even more expensive.

Pros:

  • Collapsible wheeled stand for easy movement
  • Interchangeable cooktop to a grill grate, griddle or stove grate
  • 2 side tables for holding ingredients within close reach
  • Instastart quick button ignition

Cons:

  • Lacks a built-in thermometer
  • Very expensive

How to Buy the Best Tailgate Grill

How to Buy the Best Tailgate Grill

1. Gas or Charcoal

Gas tailgate grills are quite common because they are easier to transport, easy to ignite, easy to regulate (temperature) and burn cleanly.

On the other hand, charcoal grills are recommended for one particular reason; they impart a distinct smoky flavor, especially to meat.

Therefore, if you want that smoky flavor, go for the charcoal type. Otherwise, the cleaner, easy-to-use gas type is better.

2. Cooking Surface

It is very important to consider the size of a grill’s cooking surface because it should prepare enough for the people in attendance. Most 180 – 250 square-inch grills can cook about 8 burgers at once, which can feed 3-5 people.

If you have a big party to feed, consider buying Blackstone’s 1555, which has 2 cooking surfaces with a total area of 512 square inches. These can prepare lots of different foods at once.

3. Side Tables

When cooking, it is very convenient to have ingredients and sauces within close reach. This is where side tables come in.

Extending from the sides of the grill, these surfaces provide a platform to place all that you need close by so as to simplify the cooking process. Otherwise, you will need to look for an additional table, which would complicate your setup.

You should also check for utensil hooks on the side for convenient hanging of your cooking tools as you cook.

4. Lid

Some tailgate grills come with covers while others do not. These covers are important because they help to trap heat inside so that food can cook much faster. They also protect the internal components from corrosion due to harsh weather conditions.

Therefore, a covered grill is definitely better to buy. However, ensure that this lid has a heat-resistant handle so as to prevent you from burning your hands when hot.

5. Ash Collection Tray

This feature is only found in a charcoal grill and it is important for cleanliness purposes. Without it, ash from the burnt-out charcoal will fall to the floor below, creating a mess.

As for gas grills, ensure the one you buy has a grease collection tray for trapping all the excess fats and fluids that are produced as your food cooks.

6. Ventilation

Vents or dampers are very vital in charcoal grills because of temperature regulation and control. For the best results, the grill should have at least 2 vents for improved airflow. As for gas-powered grills, temperature control is done by simply using the adjustable knobs.

7. Portability

Small, lightweight and compact tailgate grills are easily portable but their small size means they have limited features, such as a small cooking surface.

If you want a large tailgate grill, you must factor in its ease-of-movement. With that in mind, collapsible designs with wheels are recommended. A good example is Coleman’s 2000020945NP.

Conclusion 

To summarize, tailgating cannot be complete without a proper tailgate grill to serve up some hot, fresh meals. These grills must be easily portable for hassle-free movement into and out of your car’s trunk.

All in all, the buying guide above lists all you need to check so as to pick the best tailgate grill that suits your needs.


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