10 Best Tailgate Grills of 2016 (and 2017)- Most Under $400


4) Cook-Air Wood Burning Grill (EP-3615, discontinued) EP-3620BK

cook-air ep-3620bk

Cook-Air might be unusually small with a height of 12 inches, but it packs one heckuva wallop. Its been regarded as near the best of searing portable grills, tearing up the maximum range of small gas-lit burners in just minutes with superlative ease taking no more than 5 minutes to see it heating to 700F.

It burns wood pellets the size of hockey pucks or any small fruitwood, nutwood, or hardwood at the bottom of a firepot while a five speed, internal, fan ensures an upward force of hot air so your grub sizzles on the grate.

[quote_box_right]DON’T take your eye off this heat-infused Tasmanian Devil because it grills real fast, real hot.

The internal temperature of your meat SHOULD be checked often and early with a highly rated digital, instant read thermometer.[/quote_box_right]

While you can get temperatures low to high going through the five fan settings of the Cook-Air to grill foods much different from each other, it has some serious searing mojo with thin steaks like skirt and flank, perfectly browning the crust on the surface of your meat while keeping an interior that’s juicy pink.

Red meats particularly suit the unique, special flavor delivered by the wood, but Cook-Air has been found to be less than thrilling with white meats. But if you’re going to cook burgers, fajitas, and steaks, this tool may be the one on your shelf better than the rest.

It can power up on the included cigarette lighter 12 volt adapter, batteries, or an electric outlet.  Read the full review here, or buy now at Amazon.com


5) Char-Broil Grill2Go X200

This aluminum, heavy cast sizzler is a Char-Broil you won’t see rusting. It’s little, but a hoot, and it’s good for retaining heat. With the lid, you snap it shut using two locks on the front, keeping the stainless grated steel held in place so it can be carried (similar to a brief case) by the handle and not have it flopping around.

[quote_box_right]Without the variable of an open flame, the X200 won’t flare-up, making it a forgivable, easy to grill with Char-Broil.[/quote_box_right]

The TRU-Infrared design is one trademark Char-Broil uses in the X200. Underneath the grated sheet of solid steel is a gas burner. Cranking her up to High and the burner diffuses heat for the grate to absorb, producing infrared searing temps.

The temp can also be dialed moderately back for foods like sausage and chicken where less heat is required. The TRU-Infrared adds the benefit of low consumption of fuel which is a thumbs up for a portable that won’t run without the propane, 16.4oz cylinder.  Amazon probably has the best price on this right now.

6) Weber Q Portable Gas Grills (50060001 Q 1000)

weber50060001 grill

The big hit success of Baby Q’s launch several years back was enough influence for Weber to go head first with a whole fleet of large, medium, and small-sized Q Series gassers.

The smallest among them are the Q 1200 and 1000 (being the best to carry). At one size bigger- the Q 2200 and 2000 aren’t on the light side, but the mobility is still there. The Q 3200 is the largest and shouldn’t be anywhere else besides your backyard.

You can get the Weber 50060001 Q 1000 for $189, but you’ll be better off periodically checking Amazon.com for a discount.

For $40 more, the following Q 1200 upgrades are added: side tables that fold out, an (inaccurate) heat indicator on the lid, and ignition (battery powered). (You’ll do much better with a reliable digital thermometer.)

Our full review here.

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