I don’t know about you, but I am crazy about grills. And it’s not only about the food. It’s about the entire experience. To make myself more clear, I find garden or backyard grills boring. For me, it has to be an experience. I am willing to drive 100 miles just to find the perfect spot where I can cook the best grill I can. It’s more than cooking in my opinion.
The best way to do that is to get yourself the best portable charcoal grill you can find. Some people prefer gas grills, but not me. And there are a lot of individuals who agree with me. It seems too…modern, to say the least. And very limiting. You can burn charcoal anywhere, but carrying a can of gas around is a hassle I can live without.
The benefits of a charcoal grill
A lot of people, myself included, prefer charcoal over gas or electric. And that is because of multiple reasons. I don’t know how you feel about it, but here is why I will always go for charcoal instead of anything else.
- ü It gets hotter – that means I can cook a beef steak in less than 10 minutes. A charcoal grill can heat up to 700 degrees. Did you ever try to cook beef with less than that? It’s a complete nightmare. But charcoal can give you a perfect, crispy exterior with a pink interior. Not to mention that other kinds of meat will be done even faster than beef.
- ü It gives the food a tasty flavor – when I say tasty, I am referring to the smokey flavor you cannot get from anything else. The taste depends on the charcoal as well, but you can usually get it from any brand you may choose.
- ü It’s more portable – from my point of view, it’s a lot easier to throw a sack of charcoal in the trunk of your car than carrying around a can of gas. I am not referring to weight. I just think it’s a lot easier to make a fire than to install the gas can, check to see if the connection is properly made, take all precautions, etc. And then there is the danger of explosion, which is not something I am excited about. But charcoal…that is easy. Just burn it up, and you are done.
- ü It’s cheaper – you can buy a bag of charcoal just for a few bucks, whereas a can of gas is more expensive. It’s still affordable, but when you have a better solution at hand, why not take it? Also, charcoal grills themselves are cheaper than the ones that run on gas or electricity. That is because they don’t need a complicated mechanism. It’s just a metal container in which you can burn charcoal and has a grill on top. Simple as that.
- ü It’s a lovely experience – I mentioned it before, but it’s worth mentioning again. It’s an entire ritual. You burn the coal, your wait for it to settle and burn at the right temperature, and in the meantime, you drink a beer, talk to your family or friends. For me, it’s an experience. And it’s the same for many people.
There isn’t a thing in this world that has advantages alone. There must be a few cons as well. Here there are.
- ü It’s a dirty job – charcoal isn’t exactly the cleanest source of fire. It’s black, you can get dirty easily if you touch it. But as long as you use tongs and gloves you should be okay.
- ü It takes longer to warm up – that may be true, but I think it’s worth the wait. I gladly give 15-20 minutes for a richer flavor.
- ü You cannot control the temperature very well – that is also true. However, when you gather some experience, you learn when it’s best to cook certain foods. You can learn how to play with the charcoal as well. If you learn to position it properly, you can make yourself two cooking zones with different temperatures.
- ü You have to deal with the ash – yes, you need to empty the ash and clean the grill. But if you choose a grill that has a removable ashtray, your problem is half solved.
What to look for in the best portable charcoal grill
Fortunately, you have where to choose from. There are so many models and manufacturers out there that it makes your head spin. However, that doesn’t mean your choice needs to be random. Quite the contrary. You need to consider a few things before making a purchase. Establish some criteria and take it from there.
- ü Size – it depends on how many people are usually present at your barbecues. When you have a stationary grill in your backyard, size is not an issue. You can buy the biggest one you can find. But a portable grill must be smaller. Take into consideration the fact that it needs to fit in the trunk of your car, and that you may have to carry it from your car to the campsite. The point is that a portable charcoal grill should not be too large.
- ü Weight – again, this is an issue of portability. It needs to be lightweight. After all, the whole point of a portable charcoal grill is to be…portable.
- ü Material – all grills are made of metal, that is clear enough, but not all metals are the same. Some are more durable than others. The thing you need to remember is that the sturdier the metal, the longer you will have the grill.
- ü Construction – some grills are beautifullymade and have solid welding. Some … not so much. The quality of the construction will dictate how long your grill is going to last. Everyone wants their investment to last, so it’s better to spend a few extra dollars now than to buy a new portable charcoal grill in a little while, isn’t it?
- ü Lids – not all grills have one, but you should go for a one that comes with a lid. That is because it’s easier to transport when you have coal and ashes in it. That way it will not spill. A locking lid is even better, so if you find one of those to your liking, go for it.
- ü The grate – this is more important than people give it credit for. I say that because grill grates are usually difficult to clean. That is why a cast iron grate is to be preferred.Cast iron is durable, and as long as the coating doesn’t peel off, it should be just fine.
- ü Price – portable charcoal grills are not very expensive, but I don’t recommend you go for the cheapest one. A low price means low quality, and that translates into buying a new grill in a few months.
What are the best portable charcoal grills?
From all the sea of portable charcoal grills, you need to choose the best. Since there are so many, it can get confusing. All you need to do is follow the criteria I mentioned above. You can add some more if you like. But if you still find yourself in difficulty, I picked out three products that I believe you will find suitable for your needs.
Cuisinart CCG-190RB Portable Charcoal Grill
I suppose you have heard about Cuisinart before. The manufacturer makes high-quality kitchenware and other cooking accessories, such as grills. Usually, brands that are specialized in cookware tend to be very good at it, and the portable grill I am talking about is no exception.
This portable grill measures 14 inches in diameter, which is the perfect surface if you ask me. It’s not too big, but not too small either. It’s just right. It has a surface area of 150 square inches, which is more than enough to cook a barbecue for the entire family. The surface is chrome plated, so there will not be any damage anytime soon. The only thing you need to be careful about is not to scratch the chrome. Otherwise, the grate will lose its coating.
The firebox is coated with durable enamel. It will keep its shine for an extended period of time. That is as long as you take care of it properly. The ash is easy to get rid ofthanks to the mess-free ash catcher. The grill features a dual venting system that helps you control the temperature and manage the charcoal with ease. The three locks on the lid are meant to make transportation easy and safe. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
Moskus Gear Portable Charcoal Barbeque
The Moskus Gear portable grill has a multi-purpose design. It is perfect for outdoor grills, you can take it with you anywhere because it’s small and lightweight (only 3.1 pounds), but it can also be used as an insulated, portable cooler. It can keep food warm or cold, whichever you need at any given moment. Honestly, I have never heard of such a feature, but I find it amazing.
You will also receive an insulated cooler. It’s a travel bag for the grill, but it doubles as a storage space. You can store snacks, condiments, drinks, meat, or whatever you think it’s necessary. The bag is adjustable and makes carrying around the grill more than convenient.
The grill can be taken everywhere you like. You can take it camping, to the beach, take it with you when you go on picnics or fishing trips. Since its lightweight, you can carry it anywhere. But just because it’s small and light, that doesn’t mean it’s fragile. The Moskus Gear portable charcoal grill is made of heavy duty materials. The legs are foldable for optimal storage ability, and the base is deep. That will allow you to burn a lot of charcoal at once. There is no need for multiple rounds of cooking. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill
The first thing that I noticed about the Weber grill is the design. It was the first thing that attracted me. It looks elegant and fancy. Just take a look at it and tell me that it doesn’t look cut out of a magazine.
The plated steel box that makes this portable grill provides a cooking grate with a surface area of 160 square inches. It’s more than enough for an entire family. The safety features are not something you should overlook. For example, the legs of the grill can be maneuvered in such a manner that they can secure the lid in place during transport. The cover itself features a glass-reinforced nylon handle. That means it will not get hot during cooking.
The Weber portable grill also comes with two adjustable dampers that regulate the air flow inside the cooking space. Each of those dampers has three vent holes. The grill is easy to maintain, and the porcelain-enameled coating will prevent rusting and fading. The product will look as good as new for a very long time. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
I like all three products. I think they are all capable of great grilling. However, there is one that I like better than the other two. I am referring to the Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill. It looks amazing, it has useful safety features, and it’s perfect for camping and picnics. That is why I consider it to be one of the best portable charcoal grills on the market. I strongly recommend it.
I like a barbecue in my backyard, but I have to admit that it’s more pleasant when it’s away from home. My favorite spots are anywhere where there’s a forest nearby. Or maybe in the woods. For that, you need a portable grill. It needs to be small and lightweight. Each of the three products I described above meetsthe criteria. So consider buying one. You will not regret it. Click here to buy on Amazon
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