Best Portable Gas Grills for Tailgating

If you were a part of a tailgate party ever before, you know that you can have a fantastic time at these events. Whether you are waiting for the game to start or you are celebrating the victory of your team, you can enjoy spending time with friends and fans of your team. However, an essential condition to enjoy a tailgate event is that there is food.

We dug deep, and we selected the best portable gas grills for tailgating after careful consideration. But before we reveal our choices to you, we want you to take a look at the tips on how you can make the event more memorable. We also prepared a small guide on selecting the appropriate BBQ system for your needs to ensure that you will make the right choice.

Tips to Make Your Tailgate Grilling Memorable

We are not party experts so we won’t teach you about how to make an excellent tailgate gathering. However, we believe that grilling can be an essential part of the overall success of the party. Take a look at some tips that will ensure nothing goes wrong with the food during the event:

Don’t Let the Game Come Too Fast

In other words, you need to plan ahead and prepare yourself for the party. Although it might seem that there are hours until the game, time flies by when you are having fun. That is why you want to plan the menu a couple of days ahead. If any meat needs to be marinated, do that the night before. The same goes for making burger patties. On the game day, make sure that you load up your grill with fuel and ensure you have enough of it for the entire duration of the party. If you want to go the extra mile, you can even make little Jell-O shots in the colors of the team you are supporting.

Did You Pack Everything That You Need?

Before you leave for the party, make sure that you have everything that you need. The top priority is the meat and the ingredients for side dishes (if there are any). Next, check once again that there is enough fuel for the entire day. Aside from that, the other grilling equipment you want to bring might include tongs, utensils, spatulas, sauces, and spices. We also suggest bringing a cooler with a cold beer and other beverages. Just don’t drink alcohol if you are driving.

Additional equipment may also include plastic cups for drinks, as well as napkins and paper plates. Don’t forget to bring garbage bags, too, because you don’t want to leave a mess once you are done.

Come to the Event Early

Since you are in charge of the food, you want to make sure to come to a location on time. In fact, it’s a good idea to get there at least an hour earlier. That way you can unpack your grill and meat and get yourself familiar with the ambiance. You can even contact the neighboring party and join forces in making a truly memorable event. From our experience, you can’t go wrong if you have a beer pong table.

Don’t Forget to Clean Afterwards

We are talking about the general cleanup, too, but make sure to focus particular attention on your grill. If you cooked a lot of food during the day, don’t let the grease ruin your cooking grate. Make sure to clean the unit nicely once you are done so that it can serve you adequately the next time.

Best Portable Gas Grills for Tailgating for the Money

We divided our list of suggested units into three categories. It seems natural that we start with models that are considered more premium or high-end. They will require a substantial investment, but rest assured that you will get more than enough in return. The first in the line of the best portable gas grills for tailgating for the money is Party King Grills PKG-VJV-6412 Swing’N Smoke. The unit can be mounted on the back of your trailer or RV, but if you don’t want to use that option, it can also sever as a tabletop grill.

The hood and the body of the grill are entirely designed of stainless steel. That justifies the price since you will get a durable product that you will use for years. The cooking surface is around 210 square inches, and it is powered by one burner. You have the control valve and thermometer to help you set the desired heat level. The shelves on the sides are foldable, which saves a lot of space during transport. The product weighs 52 pounds and uses small propane tanks as fuel.

Napoleon TQ285X-BL Portable Propane Grill is a premium portable grill coming to us from Canada. Unlike most mobile grilling system, this one features two burners. That enables equal heat distribution across the entire cooking surface of 285 square inches. In practice, it is a beneficial feature that prevents cold or hot spots on the grilling area. The power of the burners is in total 12,000 BTUs which means the chances to burn the food are slim to none. There are separate control valves to enable complete control over the heat. The wavy cast iron cooking grates are another excellent addition to this impressive product.

When you see that a product is named tailgater, it’s only natural that you think it’s suitable for tailgating. While some other items disappoint, Blackstone Grills Tailgater makes sure to deliver a fantastic performance to justify its name. With this product, you get two separate cooking surfaces. One of them is a classic grill, while the other one is a griddle. Each one has its own burner that can also be used for pans or pots because the grates are removable. The manufacturer claims that there are over 500 square inches of grilling space in total, but they had us at versatility already. On top of that, the product is not expensive at all, and it’s an incredible value for money. We suggest you purchase a carrying bag and you can also consider the professional grill kit.

Coleman can also be proud of its portable grilling systems. Although they are all impressive, there is one that we particularly like. It’s the Road Trip Grill LX in dark blue color. The beautiful design of the product entirely complements its superb performance in this case. The product has a cooking surface of 285 square inches with two burners that can provide 10,000BTUs each. Thanks to the dual heaters, you can mix and match your cooking any way you like. We suggest checking out extra accessories, such as the stove grate or the full-size griddle. You won’t be wrong if you get a carry case with wheels because transport will be child’s play then. The entire unit is on a collapsible stand, and the side tables are also detachable. By default, the product uses 16-ounce propane cylinder to operate. However, you can adapt it to an LP tank of 20 pounds, but you need to buy the conversion equipment separately.

Top-Rated Portable Gas Grills for Tailgating

Don’t go anywhere because we’ve got a lot of high-quality grilling systems for you. We selected four top-rated portable gas grills for tailgating. It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that Party King is the name of the company that designed yet another one fantastic barbecue for tailgating parties. Meet PKG-RZ17 Red Zone, a grill that you can mount on your trailer in a matter of seconds. That way you will get that right tailgate feeling, but if you are not up for that, you can convert it to a regular grill. In fact, it has a sturdy base of welded steel and a powder coat finish for extended durability. The wheels are made of solid rubber which means that there is no surface they cannot tackle. Gravel or dirt cannot do any damage to them, and you can reach any desired location with this unit. The cooking surface has about 290 square inches of space. The burner doesn’t seem to be that strong with 2500BTUs per hour, but the manufacturer claims that it can reach 500F if you give him a little time.

Stok Gridiron Portable Gas Grill is one of the models that consumers from around the world love to use. For a portable tailgating grill, it offers an ample cooking surface of just below 350 square inches. It’s a shame to see that the product uses only 1-pound propane bottles by default. That issue can be resolved with a conversion kit, and we suggest making that additional investment as you will save in the long run. The stand of the grill is collapsible, and the side shelf is foldable. When it comes to the interior, we feel the need to praise cast-iron cooking grates with the porcelain-enamel finish. Regardless of how long you cook, there is no chance that the food will stick to the surface. The product weighs only 25 pounds and measures 40 x 12.5 inches for transport.

Blue Rhino has a wide array of products, but they managed to find their way to the grilling market thanks to the Blue Rhino GBT1508B Dual Fuel Portable Grill. The cooking area is spacious enough to fit up to 18 average-sized hamburgers, and there is a convenient warming rack included, too. Getting the grilling system up and running requires you just to push the “On” button. You can also use charcoal with this model, but 1-pound propane bottles are its primary fuel source. The design is classic tabletop, but the manufacturer painted it in the attractive black color. The product has four legs for increased stability, and the lid is lockable for convenient transport.

Coleman NXT100 might not be as popular as the Road Trip series from the same manufacturer, but that doesn’t mean that this grill isn’t worth your attention.  In fact, it offers a lot for the price, and we are especially talking about performance. It provides up to 15,000 BTUs of heat output. With that much power, it’s not a problem to reach high-temperature levels and heat up 321 square inches of the cooking surface. The built-in heat gauge is mostly accurate, and you can regulate this mighty beast with the control valve on the front panel. Aside from strength, versatility is another brilliant feature of this unit. You can remove the grill grates and add a stovetop or a griddle instead (any surface manufactured by Coleman will work). The side table is somewhat small, but it can still be used for your convenience.  When it comes to portability, NXT100 weighs 55 pounds, but the two wheels on the collapsible stand can be used to move the unit around.

Best Portable Gas Grills for Tailgating Under $200

If you are not an experienced tailgater or you don’t know your way around grills, perhaps it’s not a bad idea to start with an affordable unit. You might want to take a look at the best portable gas grills for tailgating under $200, such as Char-Broil Grill2Go X200. We know this company has been producing reliable standard units for years, but this model proved that they can also design an impressive portable grill. The 9,500BTUs burner powers a cooking surface of 200 square inches. The grilling grates are of stainless steel, and the unit uses infrared technology to ensure even heat throughout the entire cooking area. That means you don’t have to deal with hot or cold spots and the risk of flare-ups is minimized. The cook box is of cast aluminum for increased durability and superb heat retention. As a result, you will get incredibly delicious meals for up to four people. Grill2Go has a tabletop design with a lockable lid and carry handles for convenient transport.

If you think the Tailgater is too expensive, make sure to check the Blackstone Dash Portable Grill from the same company. It might not be the same range of quality, but the manufacturer secured that the performance remains admirable. The cooking surface has 240 inches of space, but the grilling grates are reversible. On one side, you have a ridged grill, while the other offers a griddle. In theory, that means you can cook virtually anything on this unit. The only downside is that you can’t use the griddle and grill simultaneously. 7,000BTUs is more than enough heat for the cooking surface, so you don’ have to worry whether it will reach adequate temperature levels. The grilling system has two foldable legs and the telescoping leg on the back doubles as a carry handle. The entire unit reminds of a briefcase when it is folded, and there is a good chance nobody will know that you are carrying a grill in your hands.

Smoke Hollow 205 is another model you should consider, especially because it is discounted on Amazon. We don’t like when we notice the word “perfect” in the online store’s title, but this time they are not wrong. Although you can’t mount it on the back of your trailer, this tabletop grill is still excellent for a pre or post-game show. The entire construction is of stainless steel to resist rust and severe weather conditions. The legs are sturdy, and it’s not easy to knock over the unit. It weighs only 20 pounds and has a locking hood for convenient transport.  The grill uses 1-pound propane cylinders to operate. It had 35 square inches of cooking area, which is quite ample for a portable model. However, a portion of that space is reserved for a warming rack, which enables indirect cooking and preparing side dishes.

For all those who insist on mounting their unit onto the trailer, Camco Stainless Steel Propane Grill is a must-see model. It has only one downside – just 125 square inches of grilling area. That won’t bother you if you are cooking for two or three people and, if you can get past that, you will be absolutely thrilled with this grill. The construction is of high-quality stainless steel, and it is powered by a burner that provides heat up to 9,000 BTUs per hour. Starting the unit, as well as keeping the temperature under control is child’s play, thanks to the automatic ignition system and the thermometer mounted on the lid. The handle of the cover is cool to the touch, and there is no danger that you will burn your hand. The legs are foldable for transport and, considering it weighs only 14 pounds, you can easily carry it around.

Things to Consider When Purchasing a Portable Grill for Tailgating

Now you have an idea about what the best portable gas grills for tailgating are and all that sounds nice. However, you still don’t know which one is the most suitable for your needs. So, let’s take a look at the factors you need to analyze when making a purchase.

Mobility

If you are purchasing a portable gas grill, you want it to be truly mobile. Here are a couple of factors that you should consider here:

  • Weight – if you plan to carry around your unit on foot, you should look for lighter units. In general, portable BBQs vary from 10 to 60 pounds
  • Size – can it fit in the storage compartment of your trailer or in the trunk of your car?
  • The shape for transport – many components of a portable grill are foldable for transport. Some of them can be reduced to a briefcase or suitcase-like form.
  • Look for wheels and carrying handles – they will make the transport much more convenient

Cooking Surface

In general, you shouldn’t expect to serve large crowds with a portable grilling system. To comply with the high mobility request that the consumers have, most manufacturers reduced the available cooking surface. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a nice family lunch or tailgate party with your friends. Depending on the size of the grilling area, you can serve anywhere from two to eight people with a portable grill. Think about how many people will be coming to your party and choose a suitable model.

Grates

Cast iron or stainless steel should be your choice in this area. Aside from that, a porcelain-enamel finish is welcome because it will prevent the food from sticking to the surface. These two conditions are mandatory if you want cooking grates with outstanding performance that will last for years. Oh, and you can also pay attention to their design. Drippings will fall from your food while it’s cooking. Where will they go? Is there a grease tray and are there any places that look like they will be a nightmare to clean?

Do You Need a Warming Rack?

The visitors of your tailgate party will be delighted if you can also offer them a side dish along with that burger. A warming rack can serve that purpose, and it can show that you were willing to go an extra mile to make a memorable event.

Do You Need a Griddle or Stove?

You can also consider acquiring a model that allows you to change the cooktop. Some manufacturers offer a griddle and stove as extra accessories but in some units its part of the packaging. In fact, some grills provide a split cooking surface so that you can mix and match any way you like. By rule, those models are the most versatile because there is nothing you can’t cook on them.

The BTU Issue

British Thermal Units (BTU) determines the heat output of the burners. That can affect two things – the maximum temperature your grill can reach and how much time it needs for it. Since portable BBQs have a modest cooking surface, you shouldn’t worry about this. Whatever their power is, it will be enough to heat the entire area, although they might take a minute or two more if they are weak. However, if you have the option to get a 2-burner model, it might be a wise choice because it will secure an even heat distribution throughout the cooking area.

William N. Russell