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If you’re anything like me, you probably prefer the taste and aroma of food prepared over charcoal. To achieve this, look no further than a charcoal-based grill. Personally, I love tailgating with charcoal grills rather than their gas and electric counterparts, as I find them easier to transport, operate and clean.
Whether you’re smoking, searing, BBQing or roasting your meats, charcoal grills provide unmatched taste and aroma, which will surely leave you satisfied. With that said (and now that your mouth is probably watering), here, at Simply Tailgating, we have compiled our list of the Top 8 Best Portable Charcoal Grills for Tailgating.
Top 8 Best Portable Charcoal Grills for Tailgating
Check Out Our Top Picks!
Weber Master-Touch Charcoal Grill
Weber is a household name when it comes to barbecues and grills. This Weber Master-Touch Charcoal Grill is a modern version of the classic kettle grill that started it all. We love the round design and so did our parents and grandparents. Why? Probably because this design has been around for decades with no significant changes.
The circular shape creates a convection heating system although cooking with direct heat is equally great. You can get that smoky taste to your vegetables or meat effortlessly. The grill offers 363 square inches of grilling space at the same time being easy to move from location to location thanks to the two wheels and one peg leg in its tripod design.
It may be uncomfortably large to tailgate with, but it is super easy to clean thanks to its three-blade ash sweeper and it’s removable ash catcher. To clean it, simply pop out the ash catcher and safely dispose of the ashes without creating a huge mess.
Broil King Steel Keg
Our choice for a high-end unit is the Broil King Steel Keg charcoal grill. The construction of the Keg 5000 is impressive offering double-weld steel with an insulation layer in between. The design locks the heat inside the grill more efficiently than other designs while allowing the exterior of the unit to remain cool to the touch.
In addition, thanks to its removable ashtray, cleanup is super easy. This grill features a generous 480 square inches of cooking space. You have 280 square inches on the primary cooking grate and 200 square inches are in the secondary cooking grate.
The base is sturdy with two wheels on one side and a two-legged base on the other side. With a simple re-configuring, you can mount this unit to your vehicle’s trailer hitch and tow it anywhere.
Weber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill
This portable grill is solidly engineered with no nuts or bolts. It has an ample round cooking area and fits nicely in a tight space. It’s a quality Weber grill ready to go where you want. The lid and base are constructed of premium grade steel coated with porcelain enamel both inside and out for durability and easy cleanup.
The handle is glass reinforced nylon designed to withstand the elements for the life of the grill. They included a no-rust aluminum damper for adjusting the amount of heat that charcoal creates in the base. The plated steel cooking grate features an ample cooking area of 240 square inches. Heavy-duty plated steel legs pivot to lock the lid in place for easy transportation with no messy clean ups.
Lodge Cast-Iron Sportsman’s Grill
If you love getting some serious searing, then this Hibachi-style grill should be your pick. With 120 square inches of cooking space you can comfortably feed a dozen tailgaters. The whole grill is made of cast-iron so heat retention shouldn’t be a problem. Just control the temperature with the available sliding vents at the bottom.
Remember to always season the grill with a heavy coating of vegetable oil before storage. It weighs a little under 30 lbs and measures 19 x 8.2 x 10.2 inches so it’s considerably portable. This is the most durable grill on the list, in addition to the even and consistent heating properties synonymous with Hibachi-style grills.
Weber Performer Charcoal Grill
Compact and portable, this 22 inch charcoal grill is perfect for tailgating, camping, picnics and for anyone who doesn’t have space for a full-size grill. It features a nickel-plated steel cooking grate that gives you 363 square inches of cooking space and a glass reinforced nylon handle that stays cool while it cooks. So you can lift the lid without needing a mitt.
Dampers also help you control the heat during cooking. The body of the grill is made of porcelain-enameled coated steel that resists rust and looks attractive. The steel stand is lightweight and features compartment shelves for storing your tools and spices.
The stand has two wheels for easy transport and you can dismount the grill from the stand for even better mobility. Since it’s so light and compact, it’s also easy to clean. Just wash the grates in the kitchen sink and tip the grill to empty the ashes or give it a quick wash and scrub with the garden hose.
Portable Kitchen Grill and Smoker
This grill is a remake of traditional smokers dating back to 1905. But make no mistake, the script and architecture makes it look sleek and modern. A round, rectangular shape gives you enough space for roasts, racks of ribs or plenty of burgers, steaks and sausages on the 300 square inch cooking surface.
The shape also makes it great as a smoker, probably why it’s one of the best portable charcoal grills for tailgating. All you have to do is simply arrange the fuel for slow indirect cooking to the top. The bottom vents let you regulate the cooking temperature. When you’re done cooking, simply close the vents to extinguish the coals. Made from cast aluminum, the grill is lighter in weight than similar steel grills.
Best part is, you can leave it outside in any weather without worrying about rust or corrosion. You also have two legs to work with while moving the grill and it can fit at the back of a regular-size trunk laying horizontally.
Cuisinart CCG-190RB Portable Charcoal Grill
Whether the whole family is over at your place or piling into the car for another fantastic tailgate, no challenge is too great for this charcoal grill. Weighing in at a slight super easy to manage 2 lbs you’ll wonder how something so lightweight can have over 150 square inches of grilling surface.
Well, this is because the enamel coated firebox is durable and able to withstand high grill temperatures while remaining extra lightweight! This superbly portable charcoal grill has the familiar look of the traditional round saucer-shaped grill but in a more compact size. The grill surface is enough for about 6 burgers at a time.
The grilling surface is chrome-plated so it won’t rust and the firebox is enamel coated to resist corrosion as well. This also makes cleaning easy just like larger grills in not forgetting the ever-important ash catcher. It also has a dual venting system for temperature control unlike larger grills, making it just about perfect for tailgating.
Weber Smokey Joe Charcoal Grill
Weber grills combine traditional design with innovation in production. Made of steel and coated with porcelain enamel, the bowl and lid are constructed exactly right to allow heat circulation inside of the grill for even cooking. The porcelain enamel is baked on at approximately 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit, ensuring that your grill will not only withstand extreme heat but also resist rust and burn-through.
In addition, the smooth, hard-to-wear surface makes cleanup easy. The One Touch cleaning system makes cleanup hassle-free. As you rotate the handle, the three blades in the bowl move ash through the vents in the bowl and down into the ash catcher. Then, the aluminum ash catcher lifts out for easy ash disposal and cleaning. This not only makes cleaning out the bowl a breeze but also helps keep you cooking longer by preventing ash build-up that blocks vents and suffocates the fire.
Remember, you can never go wrong with a lightweight, easy-to-clean, charcoal grill made of either porcelain-enamel or cast iron body. Size should also compliment weight unless space is no object to you. All the same, picking any one of these grills should be a breath of fresh air if you’ve had moments to forget with any other grill.
Seen anything you like? These top portable charcoal grills for tailgating are all available on Amazon.com, where you should get the best price for them, plus deals like the FREE Guaranteed 1-3 Day Delivery if you’re a Prime Member.
Did we leave out your favorite charcoal grill? If so, or if you have any other thoughts, please don’t forget to chime in in the comments section below.