Tailgating events are known as a time to gather with friends and family, usually involving drinking, and always grilling. The grilled game food that comes before a big sporting event is half the fun, so you’ll definitely want to pick up a portable gas grill for your next tailgating trip.
Gas grills are ideal because of their size and shape, which makes them easy to transport to your tailgating location, and because the majority of events will allow gas grills whereas others may ban the use of open-flame or charcoal grills for health and safety reasons.
To help you find the perfect portable gas grill to suit you and your tailgating needs, we’ve reviewed five of the best options that are currently available for online purchase.
We’ve also put together a buyer’s guide to help you determine which features you most value in a grill. Plus, there’s a frequently asked questions section in case we missed anything else out!
The 5 Best Portable Gas Grills for Tailgating
Weber is a brand that’s well-known for producing high-quality, durable gas grill cook boxes and this liquid propane grill lives up to this reputation. Manufactured using some of the best materials possible, you can expect quality cooking results for years to come.
It’s the ideal choice for tailgating due to its size, shape, and weight, yet the highly portable gas grill still provides plenty of room for you to cook food for the whole family. So, while it may be little in size, it’s big on performance, and it has a BTU output of 8,500 to match.
You’ll also have complete control over the heat output thanks to the burner valve settings which allow you to adjust the temperature of the burner tubes, and the grease management system makes for easier cleaning – simply remove and replace the disposable drip pan.
- High-quality materials: It features porcelain-enameled cast-iron grates, a cast aluminum lid and body in black, and a glass-reinforced nylon frame.
- Portable: The size and shape make it easy to transport and there are carry handles on either side of the grill as well.
- Additional features: There are two extendable warming racks, an easy-start electronic ignition, and an effective grease management system.
- Easy set up: Enjoy effortlessly setting up as it comes with 3D interactive assembly instructions and minimal maintenance is required to keep it in its prime condition.
- Lead exposure: It’s recommended that you wash your hands after handling this product to avoid lead exposure due to the brass material it contains.
Next up, we have the Coleman RoadTrip portable propane grill. As the name suggests, it is perfect for traveling with and, therefore, for tailgating. It even comes with its own stand-up table that converts into a carry handle with two wheels attached at the bottom.
There are two carry handles on each side and the spacious grill rack spans 285 square inches. In terms of performance, it has a total BTU output of 20,000 spread across three adjustable burners that give you greater temperature control for more even grilling.
Our favorite feature of this portable gas grill is the integrated thermometer which is designed to provide accurate temperature tracking and monitoring so you don’t under- or over-cook your food. Plus, it features a push-button ignition for instant, matchless lighting.
- Convenient cooking: Included with this grill are two Swaptop interchangeable cooktops so you can choose between a griddle or stovetop.
- Additional features: The grill has numerous useful features such as an integrated thermometer design, push-button ignition, and adjustable temperature control.
- Warranty: It offers a three-year limited warranty to protect your purchase against faulty parts or manufacturing issues.
- Storage: When not in use, the grill can be stored vertically meaning it takes up less room.
- Grill weight: Although the wheels mean you can still easily transport this grill between locations, it’s one of the heavier options we’ve included in this list.
The Char-Broil Grill2Go is similarly suitable for use when you’re on the road, making it the next contender if you’re looking for a portable gas grill to take tailgating with you. The 20-lbs, die-cast aluminum grill is built to travel and it’s highly durable to suit this purpose.
With a 200 square inch grilling area, you can cook a range of foods on the high-quality, stainless steel grate. It also features a TRU-infrared cooking system that prevents flare-ups for juicier, more flavorful food, and it’s hugely convenient thanks to the push-start ignition.
Other features boasted by this portable gas grill include a lid-mounted temperature gauge so you can see what heat you’re cooking at. However, it lacks any further temperature control settings meaning you’ll have less accuracy than with some of the other grills we’ve included.
- Affordable: Compared to the other grills we’ve looked at so far, this is one of the more affordable options included in this list of reviews.
- Durable: The high-impact frame is designed for durability as are the sturdy legs and carry handles, so it can withstand tougher travel conditions and tailgating use.
- Even cooking: Hot and cold spots are eliminated thanks to the TRU-Infrared cooking system and uses less gas whilst facilitating faster cooking times.
- Limited temperature control: The stainless steel grates do a great job of maintaining even heat but there are no specific temperature control settings.
Next on our list is this Cuisinart portable propane gas grill. It’s the best budget option we came across during our research retailing at less than $100, so it’s great if you’re looking to spend a little bit less on a grill for tailgating. It also weighs a mere 10-lbs making it ultra-light!
To ensure the grill’s lightweight and compact, portable design, there is a smaller grill area than some other options, with an enameled steel cooking grate of 146 square inches. The BTU output is also lower totaling just 8,000, but this is more than enough for a smaller family.
For such an affordable price, it’s super convenient and is incredibly fit for purpose. The grill requires no assembly and has many features like a lockable lid, a grease drip tray, and gas regulator monitors. The grate is also dishwasher safe for easier cleaning up after the party.
- Best budget option: This is the most affordable grill we’ve found that doesn’t force you to compromise on quality!
- Portable: It’s the smallest and most lightweight grill we’ve looked at so you can easily take it with you on your next tailgating trip.
- Warranty: It offers a three-year limited warranty to protect your purchase against faulty parts or manufacturing issues.
- Less cooking power: Not only is there less space to cook your food on, but the grill also has a more limited BTU output of 8,000 which will take longer to heat up.
- Lid handle: As it’s made from metal, the handle on top of the grill lid can become hot-to-touch so you should take care when opening or closing the grill.
Lastly, we looked at the MARTIN portable gas grill which has a unique U-shaped burner and can produce up to a total of 14,000 BTUs. Lowering the stainless steel lid will trap and further increase the heat, whilst also displaying the temperature on its in-built thermometer.
Whether you’re planning on slow-grilling or searing, you can fire up the grill almost instantly and set the precise temperature you’d like to cook at. You won’t need to worry about dripping grease from the meat, either, as a convenient drip tray catches this for you for a cleaner grill.
It’s great for tailgating and would suit a larger party size thanks to the spacious 354 square-inch porcelain grill area. Despite this, it can be transported without difficulty thanks to the inclusion of two sturdy handles and foldable legs in its design, making it easier to carry.
- Portable: Although slightly larger and heavier than some models, the grill comes with two heavy-duty carry handles and foldable legs for convenient portability.
- Adjustable temperature: Enjoy accurate and precise temperature control by adjusting it to suit the required cooking temperature for different meats or dishes.
- Additional features: The grill includes a number of features such as a retractable warming rack, a heat indicator, a Piezo igniter, and a grease drip pan.
- Trickier to set up: The lack of instructions and customer service means it could take you a little while to get going as it’s tricker to set up than other grills we’ve looked at.
So, now you’ve seen the 5 best options for portable gas grills that Amazon has to offer, which are perfect for tailgating – but how do you know which is the right choice for you?
We’ve put together this buyer’s guide to walk you through some of the key considerations you’ll need to look out for when you’re purchasing a grill to help you ensure that it’s fit for purpose; because when the purpose is tailgating, you’ll definitely want to get it right.
Size, Weight, and Overall Portability
When you’re traveling to or from your tailgating destination, or as you’re weaving through the crowds to set up your stall, the last thing you want to be carrying is a clunky, weighty grill.
Portability is one of the most important factors to consider when you’re looking for a gas grill for tailgating use, so pay particular attention to its weight and size.
You’ll want to find a good balance between being small enough to travel with, yet also big enough to fit enough food on the grill to feed the whole family as well as friends.
Another feature that to keep an eye out for when you’re shopping for a grill to take tailgating is carry handles or a unique shape that will make it easier to transport between locations.
Number of Burners
The number of burners your grill has will dictate how much food you can cook; having a higher number of burners means you can set them to different temperatures, and this allows you to cook multiple different types of meat without waiting for another dish to finish.
For example, if you have a couple of vegetarians in your party, you would be able to make use of the additional burners to cook their food separately at its own required temperature, rather than trying (and usually failing) to cook it alongside the rest of the meat.
BTU Outputs to Outperform the Rest
It doesn’t matter how many burners your grill has if none of them are powerful enough to reach the desired grilling temperature for your food, so its BTU output is also important.
BTU measures the amount of heat that the burners on your grill are able to produce, so a higher BTU means a higher temperature can be reached during cooking. Not only this, but it also means your grill will heat up faster so you won’t have to wait long to start grilling.
The BTU output level won’t affect the size or weight of your gas grill, but it will increase the amount of fuel you use whilst grilling which can increase the costs associated with using it, so this is something that you might want to consider when you’re browsing different BTUs.
Additional Features to Look Out For
When you’re in charge of grilling at a tailgating party, there’s a fair amount of pressure to get it right. You’re the person responsible for making sure everyone gets to eat, after all!
Luckily, some of the higher-end models come with an array of useful features that can make it easier for you to retain your reign as the King or Queen of the grill. These can include:
- Warming rack: Keep finished food warm while the rest cooks with a warming rack.
- Good grates: Grilling on quality, stainless steel or coated cast-iron grates will help you achieve the perfect sear and maintain even cooking temperatures across the grill. Of the two types of material, it’s worth noting stainless steel is the more durable.
- Fuel gauge: Knowing how much fuel you have left in the tank will be a lifesaver during tailgating trips as you’ll be able to clearly see when you need to top up, meaning there’s less risk that you’ll run out forcing everyone to go hungry.
- Long warranty: Whether it’s for the whole grill or for the individual burners, a longer warranty will definitely come in handy if parts begin to break down over the years.
Budget and Cost
Last but not least, it’s important to think about how much you’re willing to spend on a gas grill for tailgating, preferably before you start shopping around and looking at different models.
While it’s worth investing in a portable gas grill that will be able to withstand frequent use at future tailgating parties, you probably won’t need one as high-quality as your home grill, and portable gas grills tend to be a lot cheaper than large, midsize, or even small gas grills.
There are a number of factors that will influence the cost of a grill, including its size, the number of burners, BTU output, and whether or not it has additional features. So, essentially, all the factors we’ve just looked at in this buyer’s guide.
You’ll need to think about which of these is most important for you and your tailgating needs, then weigh them up against the budget you’ve decided on to determine a maximum cost.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are you always allowed to grill when tailgating?
Grilling and enjoying the best BBQ food has come to be synonymous with tailgating, but you will need to check to see if there are specific rules for the tailgating party you’re going to.
Some events may ban the use of open-fire charcoal grills and deep frying or oil-based cooking to reduce the risk of a fire starting.
Can you use a portable gas grill indoors?
No, you should never try to use a portable gas grill indoors. They are not safe for indoor use.
These are designed for outdoor use, and typically do not feature the necessary insulation or ventilation that would make them suitable, and more importantly, safe for use indoors like a gas stove is, due to the increased risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
What foods are best to grill when tailgating?
There are no rules when it comes to what you can or should eat on a tailgating trip, but some of the classic grub includes grilled sausage and apple slaw subs, fried chicken, grilled buffalo chicken sandwiches, pulled pork sliders, and your traditional meaty beef burgers.
If in doubt, check out the hundreds of recipes online to see if that sparks inspiration, or ask around your friends and family to see what their favorite food is and put that on the menu.