Portable grills are essential for tailgating because, let’s face it, you’re not going to eat sandwiches with your beer and bringing your Weber grill from home is not an option. So if you’re going to invest the bucks to get a sweet portable grill for tailgating, you want get some knowledge so you can get the best damn grill for the money.
As with any purchase decision, buying a portable grill is going to come down to preferences and options and if you want to have the baddest tailgate grill on the block.
So here are some questions to ask yourself:
What fuel are you going to use? Your options are basically gas (propane) and charcoal as these are the only real portable fuel options. Each has its advantages and drawbacks. With charcoal grills you get the great taste and texture but you’re going to have to figure out the logistics of cooking with charcoal (it takes time to heat up and cool down and you’re going to have to put the ash somewhere). With propane grills you get a lot more control over your grilling temps and you get instant grilling gratification but it sucks that you don’t have a gas gauge and running out of fuel mid-cookout is a recipe for pissed off friends.
- Recommended Charcoal Grill:
- Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill – This grill will give you the most bang for your buck in terms of cooking area, ease of charcoal use and features (such as adjustable vents and convenient cover hanger for resting the cover on the side of the grill)
- Recommended Gas Grill:
- Coleman 9949-750 Road Trip Grill – This portable gas grill is a collapsible, 2 burner system that has a 285 square inch cooking surface. The fold out tables on each side and the sturdy stand make it an all inclusive system that gives you everything you need for tailgating and easily collapsible for travel.
How much are you cooking? Answering this question will give you an idea of your BTU and cooking area requirements. The “bigger is better” mentality certainly rings true for portable tailgate grills but remember that you’ll have to pack up and move a larger grill and that bigger grills consume more gas. The best advice is to get the biggest surface area you can afford but make sure it has the BTU to back it up. Remember that BTU alone doesn’t make the grill, but how much surface area that BTU has to heat up.
- Recommended Portable Grill with Large Grilling Surface Area:
- Char-Broil Grill-2-Go Portable Outdoor Gas Grill – This grill edged out the Coleman Road Trip Grill (above) because it has a superior 308 square inches of grilling area and with 16,000 BTU still has enough power to back it up. In addition, there are a ton of helpful features incorporated into the design such as: detachable LED flashlight, folding shelves, tool hooks, team flag holder, garbage bin and paper towel holder.
How portable do you want your tailgate grill to be? The biggest components to this is the size of the grill once it’s been packed up and it’s ready to travel and how heavy of a grill do you want to lug around. Both of these are difficult because there’s competing interests for each. A compact grill that is easy to throw in the back of a vehicle is going to have a smaller grilling surface. The same thing happens with weight: You want to have a solid, sturdy grill because it will hold heat longer and won’t be in danger of tipping over but then you have to move it around and if your grill weighs upwards of 60-70 pounds it’s difficult to do by yourself. Experience will tell you what the best answer is for you and if you can, try out a friend’s grill. This will give you an idea what you like and probably a few things you hadn’t thought of.
- Recommended Portable Tailgate Grill that’s Lightweight:
- O-Grill 3000 Portable Gas Barbecue Grills – This grill has an incredibly innovative design in that it folds up like a clamshell to reduce its size to just 8 inches thick. It has decent BTU for its size and the O-Grill 3000 weighs only 25 pounds, making it an extremely portable gas tailgate grill.