Grilling Guide

8 Great Portable Grills to Fit Any Budget

Football season means it’s time for tailgate parties. While the Coronavirus has limited partying in the parking lot at the game this fall, homegate parties with a handful of friends are in full swing.  So, when loading up your vehicle with all your game day gear, don’t forget the portable grill, because your tailgate grill is way better than the sorry excuse for a grill that your friend has at his house.

Portable grills are perfect because you can set them up on the tailgate of your truck, or in your friend’s backyard, and cook some great food without lugging around a big, heavy, full-sized grill.

While there are literally hundreds to choose from, we’ve narrowed it down to a few of our favorite portable grills for tailgating:

Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Grill and Smoker

This little grill packs a lot of high-tech punch and is the go-to option for tailgaters, campers and RVers.  Its smartphone app is available on Apple and Android and lets you control the cooking temperature right from your phone. The Davy Crockett is electric and can run on 12V or 120AV, perfect for on-the-go. Its peaked lid allows you to cook chickens and turkeys while keeping the grill small and portable. It also has many useful features, like a continually monitoring thermometer (Sense-Mate), a rack with hooks for all of your spatulas and tongs, and foldable legs so it will fit in any trunk.

Big Green Egg MiniMax

Big Green Egg makes a mini tabletop version of its iconic grill. It’s built for travel with a sturdy carrier and can cook four burgers at one time. It can also cook a rack of ribs, a 12-pound turkey, or one whole chicken! As much as we love the classic Big Green Egg, we adore this little version for tailgates and camping. The MiniMax is proof that great things come in small packages.

Weber’s Jumbo Joe

This is a mini version of the classic charcoal Weber we all know and love. It fits perfectly on your tailgate or table and can cook up to eight burgers at one time. The Jumbo Joe also features a carrying handle for easy maneuvering and a Tuck-and-Carry lid lock that doubles as a lid holder when you’ve got the grill open.

BioLite Fire Pit

When used with firewood, the BioLite Fire Pit is a mini, portable fire pit perfect for s’ mores and keeping warm. But toss in some charcoal, and it transforms into a hibachi-style grill. You can control the flame size with their smartphone app. BioLite offers a wide range of accessories for this little guy, including a carrying case, grill lid, and fire poker. We love its dual-use capability as it easily transforms from a warm, glowing fire to the perfect tailgate grill with ease.

Oklahoma Joe’s Rambler Tabletop Charcoal Grill

Don’t let its size fool you; Oklahoma Joe’s Rambler is just as good as any full-sized grill out there. It’s super durable, made of high-quality steel with cast-iron grates that sear perfectly. It can cook up to six burgers at once and has an easy to clean ash pan. The charcoal tray is height-adjustable, letting you get the perfect amount of heat. It also has side handles to make toting it around easy.


Perhaps the most portable grill on the market, this guy folds down so small you can fit it in a backpack. It’s the perfect choice if you don’t actually have a truck to tailgate with; it fits perfectly in cars and can be set up just about anywhere. It’s even TSA friendly for when you’re traveling across the country to see your team play. There are no tools needed; it comes fully assembled and has a 14-inch by 14-inch cook space, plenty of room to grill for the whole crew.

FireDisc Portable Propane Cooker

The FireDisc is an excellent option for those who like to cook with propane but don’t want to lug their backyard grill to the tailgate with them. The short version that we’ve linked is 24 inches tall and has a cooking space of 380 square inches. Its flexible stand helps it stay sturdy on uneven surfaces, and it folds up flat to fit in your trunk. It’s wide, yet shallow disc cook space allows you to serve lots of food without taking up any extra space.

Char-Broil Grill2Go Infrared Gas Grill

And the last one for today, Char-broil’s Grill2Go makes tailgating easy. Its Tru-Infrared design gives nice, even heat, and prevents flare-ups. It’s super compact and portable, and getting it started is as easy as pushing a button. The Grill2Go also includes a lid-mounted temperature gauge, so you always know how hot your food is cooking. It has handles for easy carrying and is made from super sturdy aluminum.

These are just eight of the countless portable grill options out there, but they’re some of our favorites for tailgating. Whether you prefer propane or charcoal, there’s something for everyone without having to worry about how you’re going to get your big backyard grill flavor to the tailgate parking lot.

We receive commissions for purchases made through links in this post.