YOU ARE HERE >> Home » BBQ & Grilling In Depth: Up Your Game With Tested Recipes, Science-Based Tips On Technique, Equipment Reviews, Community » Tailgate Grills, Camping Grills, And Portable Grills Of All Sizes: Buying Guide, Reviews, And Ratings
For the tailgate party, balcony, beach, back country hike, cattle drive, Winnebago trip, or on your yacht, you need a portable grill.
When shopping for a portable, the same rules apply as when you are shopping for other grills. You need to consider price, temperature control, ease of cleanup, ability to smoke foods, high heat, durability, safety, and, of course, size and weight.
Many of the small units don’t have lids. Try to get one with a cover for the best temperature control and to prevent burning thicker meats. Try to get enough surface area so you can set up for 2-zone cooking.
When out and about, I usually look for convenience, and because a small bottle of propane will last a long time and it’s a heckuva lot lighter than charcoal, my favorite portable is a lightweight Weber 1520 Gas Go-Anywhere Gas Grill. But by far, my favorite portable of all is the Cook-Air. It burns only wood!
There are many options, from throwaways, to tried and true Hibachis, to some pretty snazzy rigs. We have not had a chance to work with many of them, so this list will certainly grow.
Click here to see many the portable grills on Amazon.com all at once.
Click here to see my checklist of what you need to take to a tailgater.
Published On: 9/5/2013 Last Modified: 4/22/2021
These are products we have tested, won our top awards, and are highly recommend. Click here to read how we test, about our medals, and what they mean.
A big part of this site is our unbiased equipment and product reviews. We love playing with toys and we have no problem calling them the way we see them. Some companies pay a finder’s fee if a reader clicks a link on AmazingRibs.com and buys a product. It has zero impact on our reviews, zero impact on the price you pay, and the sites never tell us what you bought, but it has a major impact on our ability to keep this site alive! So before you buy, please click our links. Here’s a link that takes you to a page on Amazon that has some of our favorite tools and toys: https://tinyurl.com/amazingribs
Green Mountain’s portable Davy Crockett Pellet Smoker is one mean tailgating and picnic machine. But it’s also gaining popularity with people who want to add a small, set it and forget it pellet smoker to their backyard arsenal. And with their WiFi capabilities you can control and monitor Davy Crocket from your smart phone or laptop.
The flat top does the burgers and the fryer does the fries. Use the griddle for bacon, eggs, and home fries. Or pancakes, fajitas, grilled cheese, you name it. Why stink up the house deep frying and spatter all over? Do your fried chicken and calamari outside. Blackstone’s Rangetop Combo With Deep Fryer does it all!
Char-Broil’s Grill2Go x200 is a super-portable, fun little sizzler made of heavy, rust-proof cast aluminum. The lid snaps shut. Grab the handle and you’re off to the party! Char-Broil’s TRU-Infrared design produces searing heat while reducing fuel consumption. A 16 ounce LP gas canister is enough to keep you flipping burgers for hours.
GrillGrates(TM) amplify heat, prevent flareups, make flipping foods easier, kill hotspots, flip over to make a fine griddle, and can be easily rmoved from one grill to another. You can even throw wood chips, pellets, or sawdust between the rails and deliver a quick burst of smoke.
Napoleon’s NK22CK-C Charcoal Kettle Grill puts a few spins on the familiar kettle design. In fact, the hinged lid with a handle on the front, spins in a rotary motion 180 degrees. It’s hard to beat a Weber kettle, but Napoleon holds its own and adds some unique features to make the NK22CK-C a viable alternative.
This is the first propane smoker with a thermostat, making this baby foolproof. Set ThermoTemp’s dial from 175° to 350°F and the thermostat inside will adjust the burner just like an indoor kitchen oven. All you need to do is add wood to the tray above the burner to start smokin’.
The Thermoworks Thermapen MK4 is considered by the pros, and our team, to be the single best instant read thermometer. The MK4 includes features that are common on high-end instruments: automatic backlight and rotating display. Don’t accept cheap substitutes.
Click here to read our comprehensive Platinum Medal review