A grill is an indispensable tool for a barbecue and a useful one for summer-time recipes. You can find multiple types including gas grills, charcoal grills, electric grills, and more. Owing to ease of use and transportation, portable grills have gained popularity over the past few decades. They have gotten more and more useful so having one at your disposal is a huge boon.
Grills are for those who want to indulge in grilling food while they are on the go; or, they can be for those who do not have enough space for a big grill. They open up a realm of recipes that can't be made with a standard kitchen. In this article, we will talk about our favorite grills, such as the Coleman RoadtrTrip LXE Portable Gas Grill, and discuss the points you should keep in mind while buying a portable grill so that the one you choose meets all of your needs.
Any grill that can easily be moved is considered portable. This takes into account weight and movability. Portable grills can be tabletop types or wheeled cart types that can be easily rolled away. Whatever you purchase, ensure they are lightweight and are easy to maneuver, if portability is in your requirements.
If you constantly picnic, camp, or love to tailgate, you wouldn’t want to carry a bigger grill around. Go for a portable grill that can comfortably sit in your car’s trunk or your camping bag. These grills, being smaller and lighter, create a perfect tabletop or standing grilling experience.
If you lack the space to store a stationary grill, portable grills are invaluable to ensure you have the option for grilling out. This also applies to people who live in a neighborhood that doesn't allow for big grills, often due to lots of smoke. City-dwellers especially have issues with this.
You can go with stand-alone types with wheels that can be rolled away after use, collapsible grills that can be easily stored, or an electric one for grilling that doesn't require the use of propane. Think about your cooking space and where the grilling will take place. Tabletop grills are especially useful for those without balconies or yards.
Take a look at the list below and find the portable grill that fits your needs best!
|Material||Cast iron grill grates and blended construction|
|Support||Standalone (collapsible with wheels)|
|Cooking power||20,000 BTU|
|Temperature control||3 adjustable knobs|
|Grilling surface area||285 sq. in.|
|Material||Stainless steel grill grates with non-stick coating|
|Cooking power||1200 watts|
|Temperature control||One temperature dial to adjust heat setting|
|Grilling surface area||118 sq. in.|
|Material||Non-stick coated grill plate|
|Support||Standalone with removable stand|
|Cooking power||Not provided|
|Temperature control||1 adjustable knob with 5 heat settings|
|Grilling surface area||240 sq. in.|
|Material||Stainless steel burner and porcelain-enameled grate|
|Cooking power||5,500 BTU|
|Temperature control||1 adjustable knob|
|Grilling surface area||145 sq. in.|
|Cooking power||10,000 BTU|
|Grilling surface area||205 sq. in.|
|Material||Plated steel grates and porcelain-enameled lid and bowl|
|Cooking power||Not provided|
|Temperature control||Via adjusting the dampers; no gauge|
|Grilling surface area||363 sq. in.|
|Cooking power||6,000 BTU|
|Temperature control||Adjustable knob|
|Grilling surface area||105 sq. in.|
|Material||Porcelain-enameled lid, nickel-coated steel grates|
|Cooking power||Not provided|
|Temperature control||2 adjustable vents for temperature control|
|Grilling surface area||160 sq. in.|
|Material||Nickel-plated grill grate|
|Fuel type||Propane, charcoal, or wood|
|Cooking power||19,500 BTU|
|Temperature control||Adjustable vent|
|Grilling surface area||144 sq. in.|
|Material||Stainless steel and Cast Iron Grill Plate|
|Fuel type||Charcoal and USB Cable or AA batteries (not included)|
|Cooking power||Not provided|
|Temperature control||Battery-operated fan|
|Grilling surface area||16 in. diameter|
Best Choice Products
RoadTrip 285 Portable Propane Grill
Electric Indoor Searing Grill
Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill
Petit Gourmet Portable Tabletop Gas Grill
Smoke Hollow Tabletop Propane Grill
Original Kettle Charcoal Grill
Fold N Go + Propane Grill
Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill
3-Fuel Portable Camping Stove/Fire Pit
Electric Tabletop Charcoal BBQ Grill
Try The Most Powerful Portable Propane Grill for Your Road Trip
The Easiest, No-mess Indoor Grilling Experience
This is the Perfect Outdoor-Indoor Electric Grill
A Petite, Solid, and Smart Grill Big Enough for a Family
The Whole Family Will Love This Stable Tabletop Grill
For a Traditional Charcoal Grill on the Go
A Lightweight and Portable Gas Grill for a Small Group
The Best Charcoal Grill for Your Tabletop
Huge Versatility for Campers, Backyard Grillers, and Tailgaters
A Battery-Operated Charcoal Grill for Less Smoke and More Flavor
|Material||Cast iron grill grates and blended construction||Stainless steel grill grates with non-stick coating||Non-stick coated grill plate||Stainless steel burner and porcelain-enameled grate||Stainless steel||Plated steel grates and porcelain-enameled lid and bowl||Enameled coating||Porcelain-enameled lid, nickel-coated steel grates||Nickel-plated grill grate||Stainless steel and Cast Iron Grill Plate|
|Weight||46.67 lbs.||8.14 lbs.||21 lbs.||13.5 lbs.||20.9 lbs.||33 lbs.||8 lbs.||14 lbs.||25 lbs.||12.8 lbs.|
|Fuel type||Propane||Electric||Electric||Propane||Propane||Charcoal||Propane||Charcoal||Propane, charcoal, or wood||Charcoal and USB Cable or AA batteries (not included)|
|Support||Standalone (collapsible with wheels)||Tabletop||Standalone with removable stand||Tabletop||Tabletop||Standalone||Tabletop||Tabletop||Tabletop||Tabletop|
|Cooking power||20,000 BTU||1200 watts||Not provided||5,500 BTU||10,000 BTU||Not provided||6,000 BTU||Not provided||19,500 BTU||Not provided|
|Temperature control||3 adjustable knobs||One temperature dial to adjust heat setting||1 adjustable knob with 5 heat settings||1 adjustable knob||No||Via adjusting the dampers; no gauge||Adjustable knob||2 adjustable vents for temperature control||Adjustable vent||Battery-operated fan|
|Grilling surface area||285 sq. in.||118 sq. in.||240 sq. in.||145 sq. in.||205 sq. in.||363 sq. in.||105 sq. in.||160 sq. in.||144 sq. in.||16 in. diameter|
This portable grill buying guide is should help you understand the different aspects you should be looking for when shopping for a portable grill. There are many variables that play into what is best for you.
Portable grills are of various types including gas grills, charcoal grills, and electric ones. The type you should get depends on your situation and your desired grilling experience.
Gas grills use natural gas or bottled propane to run. They are easy to set up and clean after grilling, unlike the charcoal types. While at home, you can use your building’s natural gas line which could end up being less expensive and more convenient than refilling a propane bottle.
However, the smoker box that comes with this type of grill is small. You will not be able to smoke your food as much as a charcoal grill. So, gas grills aren't ideal for those who are insistent about the smoke flavor in their grilled goodies.
You need charcoal briquettes to fuel a charcoal grill. They burn at higher temperatures than gas and are ideal to sear meat to your desired texture and flavor. However, charcoal grills need time to set up and pre-heat, unlike the gas grills that facilitate fast grilling.
They can also turn messy and require a lot of cleaning up and disposing of ashes. Although charcoal can be inexpensive, you will have to buy heavy sacks of charcoal frequently for your grilling needs. But in the end, charcoal grills are the best at giving you an authentic smoked barbecue flavor.
There are also portable electric grills if you are going to an area that does not allow gas or charcoal grills. They are good for those who cannot accommodate a charcoal grill or gas grill in their patio or balcony; they're also great if you live in an area where you experience a lot of wind or stormy weather.
Despite the downside that they need an electrical outlet to connect and operate, they still appeal to those who are uncomfortable with using charcoal briquettes or propane. They can also cut down on natural gas emissions!
The materials used to make the grates and the grill body affect the grill's ability to heat up fast and to retain the temperature inside it. Here's what you should look for.
Cast iron grill grates might take a long time to heat up, but they retain the heat and can stay hot longer. They also render a better finish to the grilled meat and veggies. However, the enamel on the cast iron grates can crack or chip over time, resulting in degradation and rusting of the grates.
Stainless steel grates take less time to heat up and facilitate fast cooking. They are impervious to heat, salt, and rust, and are durable. Although the stainless steel ones show signs of discoloration, it will not affect the grilling performance of the grates.
Stainless steel and coated steel are commonly used to make the body of a grill. Stainless steel grills are expensive as they can last longer and are resistant to corrosion or rusting (though they may discolor). Coated steel grills are available in a multitude of colors. However, the coating in coated steel types can chip or crack, leading them to rust.
You can also find grills with ceramic or similar materials for their body. They can retain the heat well, heat up quickly, and keep the temperature stable when checking on the food or adding in ingredients. However, they can get pretty heavy, making them a bad choice for portability. The Kamado grill is a good example of a grill with a ceramic body.
Portable grills can have up to 350 square inches of grilling surface. If the grill has a surface area of up to 150 square inches, it can accommodate the grilling needs of one or two people. Bigger groups between four to six members, though six is pushing it, need a grill that has a surface area of 250 to 350 square inches.
Keep in mind that most formulas for grill size are focused on stationary grills. They are sacrificing portability and compactness for a larger cooking area. Typically, the rule of thumb is around 72 square inches per person though it is possible to stretch that a bit if you practice batch cooking.
A grill with a bigger surface means you can also grill a large variety of food at once. If you have a grill with a smaller capacity, you will need to grill in shifts to serve for all, which makes it difficult to have food hot and ready at the same time.
Besides the material used to make the grilling plates, burners, and the grill lid, there are other features that can give way for a wonderful grilling experience each time. Features like temperature control, multiple burners, high power, and wind resistance are other notable properties to consider.
Grills with multiple burners are great as they are easier to control. This is ideal when you are grilling something small and you only need to heat just one side of the surface. They're also ideal when you are grilling different types of food items that need varying levels of temperature for grilling.
Go for grills that have covers or heat shield plates placed over the burner tubes. This ensures grease from the meat does not drip onto the flames and cause flare-ups or affect temperature control. Only by using a grill can you analyze its burning control, so it's also important to read multiple reviews on the grill before buying it.
Wind affects the grilling process when you're cooking outdoors. But, it can be a bit tricky to find a grill that does not get wind directly into the flames. Reading reviews might help. Some reviews suggest that wind resistance is better with grills with a higher power.
A better way to resist wind is to have narrow grills or to have burners that are not so exposed. Having heat shields or burner covers can help resist the wind to a greater extent.
Like lots of other equipment, grills are also given a British Thermal Unit (BTU) energy rating, which is a measurement of their power and heat output.
A higher BTU indicates that the grill produces more heat by burning more fuel, but that doesn't always mean it's a better choice. The material used to make grill grates and body can also affect the power and heat output.
Some grills come with impressive features such as an integrated thermometer or a temperature gauge that displays the inside temperature of the grill at every stage. This helps to ensure your food is getting grilled at the right temperature. It can be a great accessory to help you with your grilling experience.
To keep your grill clean, invest in a few cleaning supplies such as a good grilling brush, a cleaner liquid, a pair of durable gloves, a big bucket, and a few disposable sponges. For stainless steel and iron grates and parts, use a stainless steel brush; for brass burners, use a brass brush.
In the absence of a liquid cleaner, you can use dish soap, baking soda, and vinegar to get the grills and other parts shiny and new. Subject your grill and all its parts to thorough cleaning once every month, or depending on the frequency of usage to maintain its efficiency.
With your new grill purchased, it's time to begin learning some recipes to impress your dinner guests. Watch this video from Tasty and start your grilling adventure on the right foot! Here is our favorite recipe of the bunch, the Grilled Potato Volcano.
Now that you started your journey into grilling, check out these other products that can come in handy during your next cooking spree. You may find something that strikes your fancy!
The smallest grill won't always be the best to take along while you are camping or picnicking. Learn about the differences between portable grills and understand which one serves your purposes. Make your choice only after analyzing what you want, understanding the product features, and reading some authentic reviews.
Author: Biji Bella Ravindran
The proper tools are necessary to get the most out of your new grill. Check out these tongs recommended by Sara Tercero, blogger and chef, that will help you get that perfect sear on whatever you are grilling up!
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