Accommodating one of the full-sized grills in the patio or backyard can be a hassle sometimes. They are not that easy to carry around, and it is also quite hard to transport them.
Now, are you looking for a portable version of the ever so famous charcoal grills? And, are you baffled among all the options that are available in the market?
Well, as you have found us, you will not have to worry about a thing anymore. We are going to introduce with the ones that we think are worthy of being called the best portable charcoal grill.
Alongside that, we will also give you a small but informative buying guide. Hopefully, you will be able to choose one that will satisfy you in all your grilling needs by the end.
Best Portable Charcoal Grill Reviews
With the overabundance of units that are from different manufacturers, the choosing process can get quite challenging. To mitigate that, we went through the most popular ones and picked only the ones that stood out the most to us. Have a look at the list of grills that we huddled for you:
1. Weber 10020 Smokey Joe 14 Inches
Among all the manufacturers that offer grills in the market, Weber is one of them that has an extensive lineup of solid offerings. And, this one is the best small charcoal grill that they have in that lineup.
From the label, you might have already guessed how compact and portable the unit is. It is just 14 inches, which is portable enough that you will be able to lift it up and cook anywhere you want to. Alongside that, the lightweight body will make it easier for you to move it around.
But do not let the size fool you because it offers adequate cooking space that will allow you to cook up to five burgers at the same time. With that, you will be able to cook foods for a BBQ party or your family in no time at all.
The bowl and the lid are porcelain-enameled, which does not only look good but adds functionalities as well. It will not only be able to retain heat but also will resist rust and peeling.
Besides that, the dampers that it comes featured with will let you control the overall temperature of the inside. With that, you will be able to control how your food will get cooked.
The cooking grates are plated steel, which is not only durable but also lets the unit retain heat exceptionally well. Alongside that, the handle that it features on the lid will make it easier for you to maneuver the cooker.
2. Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Sportsman’s
While there might be an abundance of options, there will be hardly a few that will come with an easy to access coal doors. One of them is this one that Lodge is offering as the best camping charcoal grill.
Having a coal door in the unit makes it much more comfortable to add coals while you are cooking. As this one comes with one, you will be able to do that at ease. You will not have to stop the cooking process and take off the top to add coals because of the door that it features.
Unlike most of the units that are out there, it comes with cast iron grates on the top. This overall construction of the grid does not only enhances the durability of the unit but also will retain heat for an extended amount of time. You will be able to cook for a prolonged period without having to use that much coal.
The unit also comes featured with a sliding airflow mechanism. It will make it easier for you to control the overall temperature and will also ensure that an adequate amount of air is passing through the grates.
Other than that, the body is quite durable as well. You can expect it to last for an extended amount of time. As it is portable and lightweight, you will be able to transport it from one place to another easily. The handle will make the transportation process feel effortless.
3. Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere
One of the complaints with the portable units is that they cannot usually cook a large amount of food because of their limited capacity. But that is not the case with what Weber is offering with this one.
Unlike most of the compact and portable units that are out there, it comes with a substantially larger cooking area. The cooking space is 160 square inches. With that, you will be able to cook up to six burger patties at the same time. That means cooking for multiple people will not be a hassle anymore.
Aside from offering a large cooking area, it also kept the portability factored in. The lid that the unit comes featured with locks in place and will let you carry it easily. Alongside that, the rectangular body that it features will allow you to cram it in the car trucks.
Besides that, it comes with side handles and a top handle that are comfortable to hold. The lightweight and compact body will make carrying it camping and outdoor adventures feel like taking a walk into the park.
Both the base and the lid are porcelain-enameled. That means it will be able to retain heat exceptionally well, which will lower the use of coals. Furthermore, this enameling will also resist rust and prevent peeling.
The cooking grates that the unit comes with are plated steel, which can retain heat for a long time. Besides that, this plating will also make them durable and easy to clean.
4. The Original Po’ Man Charcoal
Among all the options that are out there, the ones that feature a drip-plate will be able to enhance the flavor substantially. And, a good example such a unit would be this one that is from Po’ Man.
Let us get to the highlighted feature of this unit first. Unlike most of the grills, it comes with a drip-plate that will lock in the flavor inside while cooking. Your food will have all the aroma from all the spices and herbs you marinated it with and will not lose any flavors.
Alongside that, it utilizes a round canister body that is quite easy to move around. It is shaped like a trashcan, and many might feel like it is one at first glance. But they will get the whole story after opening the lid. Because of the shape, you will be able to take out the components and roll it from place to place.
Moreover, the lid features a convenient handle. The handle is secured with the lid, and you will be able to open and close it within seconds.
Aside from that, as the overall construction is of metal, it will be able to retain heat exceptionally well. You will be able to save charcoals in the prolonged cooking sessions.
Lastly, you will also receive two skewers and one round grate that is of steel. The grate offers adequate cooking space that will let you big chunks of meat easily.
5. Cuisinart CCG190 14Inches, Black
While looking for the best small charcoal grill, you might think that you are not going to get that much cooking space with them. But this one that is from Cuisinart will surely prove you wrong.
Firstly, the unit comes featured with a small, compact, and lightweight body. It measures 14.5 x 14.5 x 15 inches, and the overall weight is only 2 pounds. That means carrying it around and transporting it with you for camping and tailgating will not be any problem at all.
Alongside the compact body, it comes with a cooking grate that is comparatively large for the overall size of the body. The cooking space that you are going to get is 150 square inches, which means you will be able to stir and move around your food on the grate with full freedom.
Besides that, the grate features a chrome plating, which will let it retain heat for an extended amount of time. While accommodating a large amount of food, it will also distribute the heat efficiently and evenly. Your meals will be fully cooked and ooze with flavors.
In terms of the heat, it comes with dual vents that will let you control the overall cooking temperature. It will also allow you to manage the charcoal and flow of the heat efficiently.
Moreover, it also comes with a lid that has three locking mechanisms. After looking it in place, you will be able to move it around without having to worry about damaging the unit.
6. Char-Griller E6714 Akorn Jr Kamado Kooker
Are you tired of the traditional design that most of the grills come with? Want something that is unique, different, and portable? Then you should have a look into this Kamado that is from Char-griller.
This unique looking unit comes featured with grates that are of cast iron. The overall cooking space that they can offer 153 square inches, which is more than enough to stir and move your food around. You will not have to worry about running out of space.
It comes with an insulated design that will let it retain heat for an extended amount of time. With that, you will not have to use that much charcoal just get juicy and evenly cooked meats.
Other than that, it comes with an ash pan that is easy to dump. This will make it easier for you to clean the unit up when you are done cooking with it.
The body of the unit is quite durable too. It is 22 gauge steel. You can expect it to last for an extended amount of time.
Design-wise, the interior coating is of porcelain steel while the exterior has a powdered coated finish. With these finishes, it will surely look apart. Alongside that, the compact body will make it easier for you to transport it.
Other than that, it comes with a dual damper mechanism that will let you control the overall temperature. It also comes with a temperature gauge on the lid that will allow you to monitor the temperature closely.
7. Fire Sense Black Notebook Heavy Duty 14 Inches
While going through all the units that we have in our recommended list, you might look for the best tabletop charcoal grill. In that case, you should put this one into your consideration list.
Primarily, unlike most of the portable units that are out there, it comes with a large cooking area. The grate will be able to offer you a staggering 228 square inches of cooking space. With that, you can cook multiple dishes at the same time.
It comes with an innovative compact design. The foldable design that it features will let it stand to 13 inches tall when unfolded and will make it lay 1-inch flat when you fold it. You will have no trouble at setting it up on a table, and carrying it around will be easy too.
The setup process is quite straightforward too. After unfolding and putting it on a surface, all you have to do is install the grates that it comes with. The folding body features a durable construction as well. It is of stainless steel, and the exterior coating is of heat resistant paint.
Other than that, the grill rack and the charcoal rack that the unit comes with are of stainless steel, which is quite durable as well. You can expect it to last for seasons after seasons.
Overall, this is an excellent pick if you are looking for something that is low profile and features a sleek overall design.
8. LotusGrill G-AN-34, Regular, Anthracite Grey Portable
Traditional grills depend on the natural flow of air for combustion. But this one that LotusGrill is offering is a bit different. It depends on fans instead of the natural flow of air through air vents.
As we have mentioned above, the unit does not come with any sort of air vents that will let you control the overall temperature of the cooking process.
Instead, it comes with a battery-powered fan that will control the overall rate of combustion of the coals. There is also a power knob on the body that will let you set the power of the fan.
Other than that, unlike most of the units that are out there, it features a round design. There are rubber feet on the bottom that will let you put it on top of a table. You will also be able to set it up outside and on top of any flat surface.
The unit is quite lightweight too. It weighs less than 4 kilograms, which means you will not have any trouble at all while carrying it around from one place to another. You will be able to take it with you for camping, tailgating, and other BBQ parties at ease.
Furthermore, the overall diameter of the grill grid that it comes along is 32 centimeters. With that, it will be able to offer you adequate cooking space that will let you cook up to 5 burger patties at the same time.
9. UCO Flatpack Portable Stainless Steel, mini
We are going to finish off our review section with this foldable unit that is from UCO flatpack. If you were in the lookout for something that will fit in your backpack at ease, then you should have a look into this one.
Just like the name suggests, this unit folds down to a flat 1.5 inches sheet. After folding it, you will be able to pack it up and carry it in your backpack. With this, camping and tailgating will be filled with smoky and flavor enriched food.
Moreover, it also comes with a storage bag that will let you easily store the unit away when you are not using it.
Apart from the compact and portable body, it will be able to offer you adequate cooking space too. The mini version that we are focusing on comes with grates that have 9 x 6.75 inches of cooking area. With that, you will be able to cook for up to three people at the same time.
Additionally, the base that the unit comes with folds and unfolds easily. You will be able to set it up within 30 seconds. The sides of the body will act as a wind-break that will block the winds and keep the coals burning vigorously.
Other than that, the body features durable stainless steel construction. It is sturdy and will last for an extended amount of time. Alongside that, it also has an appropriate coating that will let it resist rust and corrosion.
What To Look For Before Buying?
You might already have a general idea about what you can expect from one of the competent units after going through our recommended list. To solidify that even further, we are here to introduce you to some points that you need to look for before you make a purchase. These are:
Most compact units that are out there come with a flimsy overall construction. Those will not only be able to last for an extended amount of time but also might deform because of the extreme heat.
Alongside that, you are not going to get a consistent performance from them too. For this reason, you should factor in the overall durability of the units before you make a purchase.
You should also factor in the overall weight of the units. If the one that you are shooting for is not lightweight, you are going to have a tough time trying to carry it around with you. Besides that, heavyweight does not even fit in the category of being portable in the first place.
Alongside the overall construction and the weight, you should also keep the overall design into mind. The ones that do not have a portable friendly design will be hard to transport.
On the other hand, the ones that come with compact and small design will make it easier for you to carry the unit with you for camping and tailgating.
Most of the compact and portable grills skimp on the overall cooking area. While trying to shrink the overall size, they tend to shrink the cooking space too. If the one that you are planning to buy comes with a cooking space that is less than 150 square inches, you will not be able to cook for multiple people at the same time. You are going to finish one serving at a time.
On the other hand, the ones that come with a large cooking area will not only let you cook multiple servings at the same time but also will allow you to stir and move the food around.
Heat retaining capacity
Other than all the above factors, you should also consider if the unit can retain heat properly or not. With one that can retain heat for an extended amount of time, you will be able to cook for a prolonged time without having to use that much coal.
Besides that, the ones that can retain heat well will also distribute the heat evenly and efficiently to your food. With those, your food will be cooked appropriately and will be tender and juicy.
Not all the units in the market will come with valves. But the ones that do will provide you the ability to control the overall temperature of the cooking process. With those, you will be able to control the airflow and will be able to control the temperature inside.
Lastly, if the one that you are shooting for has a lid, then you should make sure that it comes with a comfortable handle. Otherwise, it will be hard for you to maneuver the cover when you are cooking your meals.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How much charcoal can portable units hold?
Most of the small and compact grills will be able to hold about 30 to 45 briquettes easily. However, the capacity of the charcoal will depend on the tray that the unit comes with.
- Why doesn’t my grill doesn’t get hot enough?
There might be many reasons behind this. One of them might be that you are not using enough charcoal. For smaller grills, you should at least use thirty briquettes. Other than that, if the unit comes with a lid, you should close it up when you are cooking.
Also, make sure that the airflow is not too much that it is making the temperature inside drop.
- Is it OK to add charcoal while cooking?
Yes, you can add charcoals while cooking if necessary. But do make sure that you do not trip over the grates while doing so.
- How long should I let the charcoal burn before I start cooking?
Before you start cooking, you should let the briquettes burn for at least 10 minutes. The proper way to know when you should start cooking is by noticing if there is gray ash covering the coals or not.
- What is the proper way of storing the grills?
You should not leave the grills out in the open after you are finished cooking on them. First, you should let them cool off for a while, and then you should cover them up with a cover and store them in a shaded region if possible.
- Is it possible to grill without a lid?
Yes, it is possible to grill without a lid. But in that case, you are going to lose heat and the smoky flavor that most of the lidded units can offer. Alongside that, your grill will not also be able to retain heat for a long time if you use it without any lid.
- How long does a portable BBQ last?
The lifespan of the portable units will entirely depend on the overall construction. If they feature durable construction and have durable components, they will be able to last for more than ten years.
Investing in the best portable charcoal grill will let you grill meat, prepare burgers, and cook other food at any given place. And, we hope that we were able to narrow the overall options to a certain point that it is now easier for you to choose one.
We would like to end it here by wishing you good luck and hoping that all your meals are juicy and full of flavors.