Top 4 Best Portable Charcoal Grills

1. Weber Smokey Joe 14-Inch Portable Grill – The Perfect Grill for Two!

Our rating:

Cooking surface 147 square inches
Lightweight grill  [usr 5]
Triple nickel-plated grate  [usr 4]

It’s incredible that Weber managed to pack such a compelling product in such a small size. If you are looking for a lightweight, portable, and long-lasting grill, Smokey Joe 14-Inch is the ideal system for you. The kettle design and the black color provide a traditional, yet a modern-looking product that can perfectly fit on any back deck or be packed for the road.

The dimensions of the item are 9 x 15.5 x 15.5 inches, and it weighs less than 10 pounds. Can you imagine a grill that has less than 10 pounds? That seems too light even for a portable grilling system, but it’s true. If you are planning to spend a day at the beach or you are heading for a camping trip, Weber Smokey Joe will be your best travel bud. Placing it in the trunk is a piece of cake and if you want to carry it around – no sweat. Just lock the lid using the Tuck-N-Carry feature and take it to the intended spot. If you’re going to add extra comfort for carrying it around, think about purchasing a bag designed for this product. It is UV-resistant and waterproof, and it has a shoulder strap so that your hands can be free.

While we are talking about the lock for the cap, let’s mention another convenient thing. When you need a lid holder, it lowers to serve as one, and it can act as a windshield in that position. That means that you can also grill with this system during the windy weather.

The product is made of metal, and it features a kettle with a stand that can easily be placed on all surfaces. The cooking area has 147 square inches, which is modest, but still enough to pack up to six burgers or three steaks at once. If you are not cooking for a large crowd, there is no need for extra grilling surface. But if you like to have more options, you can also check out the Weber Jumbo Joe 18-Inch Portable Grill. It has somewhat similar design with a couple of extra features and a more significant cooking area.

Now back to our Smokey Joe which will cost you less than $40 on Amazon and for that price, it deserves to be among the best portable charcoal grills. The cooking grate is triple nickel-plated for extra durability and to prevent sticking. The porcelain-enameled bowl in combination with dual aluminum dampers delivers perfect airflow and ensures even heat across the entire grilling surface. The dampers are located both on the pot and on the lid for more natural temperature control. The cover is also porcelain-enameled to keep it from rusting, and the nylon handle is reinforced with glass. That way you can safely open the top without being scared of getting burned.

Pros

It has less than 10 pounds making it the both the easiest and best traveling grill available. Assembling and disassembling is a piece of cake, and you can get it ready for the road in a matter of minutes. It is incredibly durable for a portable grilling system, and there is no reason not to use it every day on your back deck or patio. Controlling the temperature inside the fire box is simple thanks to the dual aluminum dampers located on the bowl and the lid. Particular components have a 10-year warranty, and you can’t neglect the affordable price either. Some may argue that $40 is not a small sum to give for a small charcoal barbecue, but getting a Weber product for that price is something that’s worth the money. The manufacturer also included a cookbook with instructions on how to prepare various foods on their item.

Cons

The grilling area is less than 150 inches, and there is no warming rack, which means it is a bit tricky to serve parties bigger than two at once. However, the most significant complaint is that there is no system for ash management. You can consider adding a pan on the bottom to catch the ash, but you will probably won’t avoid having to turn the product upside down and clean it properly after using it every time.

2. Cuisinart CCG-100 GrateLifter – Keep Your Hands Clean!

Our rating:

Cooking surface 240 square inches
Direct and indirect heat options  [usr 4]
Easy access to coal bed  [usr 5]

First of all, let me ask you to pay attention to the last word in the name of the product. GrateLifter describes perhaps the most convenient feature of this model. Cuisinart CCG-100 has a cooking grate that you can just lift whenever you want to access the charcoal. We all know that making a perfect steak is both art and science on charcoal grills. You want it to keep the food juicy and tender and maximize the charcoal flavor. Even experienced chefs know that it is vital to pay attention to the temperature and make adjustments as needed.

The fact that you can just lift the grate and take out or add more coals makes your job easy and keeps your hands clean. Another convenience that you get with the lifting cooking grate is that you can adjust the charcoal bed to ensure indirect heating. The only thing you need to do is to move all the coals to one side and place the food you want to smoke on the other side of the grate. It lifts automatically whenever you open the lid, and it doesn’t affect the cooking process, which means that you can make adjustments while the grill is already packed and in use. Cuisinart CCG-100 GrateLifter can secure both direct and indirect heat at once, which is why it deserves a place among the best portable charcoal grills. Of course, there is no need to open the cover every couple of minutes. There is a built-in heat gauge on the lid that shows the temperature in the fire box.

When it comes to design, it’s your classic tabletop grill. It weighs around 27 pounds, which makes it heavier than Weber’s grill we previously recommended, but you do get a spacious cooking surface. The grilling area rounds to 240 square inches, which should be enough to fit the needs of modest-sized crowds. Just like any other charcoal grill, we do not recommend grilling on small balconies, but you can use CCG-100 for any outdoor use. That includes organizing a barbecue for the neighborhood or tailgating before the football game begins.

Perhaps the crucial advantage of this model is the easy maintenance and cleaning. Cuisinart included an ash bin mounted on the bottom of the item. It catches the ash and prevents it from flying around. The size of the container is enough to grill several sets of burgers without emptying it, and the only cleaning you need to do is to remove the pan, remove the ash and place it back in its place.

The base and the lid of the grill are made of enamel-coated steel, and the lid’s green color contributes to the positive visual impression of the product. The handle is of stainless steel that is resistant to heat, which means you can safely use the lid without worrying that you will burn your hands. The item features a dual venting system that contributes to the efficient temperature control.

Although it is a tabletop grill, you may also consider purchasing the original grill stand from the same manufacturer. The model itself is of sturdy construction, but the foldable cart can increase the stability and provide additional space in the form of tool hooks. You should also consider purchasing a grill cover for $20 to protect your product from severe weather.

Pros

The automatic lifting grate gives direct access to the charcoal bed without needing to get your hands dirty. That offers complete control over your grill – it’s easy to switch from direct to indirect heat or use both of them simultaneously. The size of the item is 26 x 19 x 18 inches, which means that it can fit in any car trunk. Although it is a portable grill, it’s probably one of the more prominent specimens in that category with a cooking surface that falls just short of 250 square inches. However, you can still serve a modest-sized crowd on any occasion with this product. The model comes with 3-year warranty.

Cons

You can choose whether you want to grate to lift automatically when you open the lid. However, the knobs that regulate this are low-quality, and several users complained that it fell off after several uses. Some customers also complained that the assembly is tricky and that the product wobbles, which is especially noticeable on flat surfaces. The price of the model is something you should consider. Although you get a durable product, it still costs more than $100.

3. Char-Broil CB500X Portable Grill – Cast-Iron Cooking Grate – Check!

Our rating:

Cooking surface 240 square inches
Sturdy but lightweight  [usr 4]
Ash management system  [usr 5]

There is a reason why we include the same brands over and over again when we review grilling systems. It’s because they are the most excellent combination of quality and performance. Char-Broil is a renowned brand and deserves to have a representative among the best portable grills.

Char-Broil C500X costs $100, but you can consider getting it together with a 360 brush intended for cleaning your grill. That will increase the price for less than $10, but you will get rid of extra trouble when it comes to maintaining the model. While we are on the subject of cleaning, let’s start by mentioning that the model has a removable ash bin. In fact, it’s more of a drawer that is placed at the bottom of the construction and correctly manages all ash residues. As usual, the only thing expected of you is to remove the drawer and empty it whenever it gets close to filling.

The product weighs 34 pounds, and although that makes it one of the more robust products on our list, you should also keep in mind that that provides extra stability. The ample cooking space of 240 square inches is enough to place eight chicken breasts or steaks or up to 10 burgers on it. The charcoal goes in a special pan, and it doesn’t matter whether you use lump coal or briquettes. The fire grate is adjustable, and there are multiple preset positions for placing it. That enables total control of the level of heat inside your fire box. If you do need to lower the temperature, you can close the damper for a bit. On the other hand, if you want your grill to be hotter, make sure that the damper is entirely open. The control of the heat is in your hands but keep your eye out on the temperature gauge just in case. It is mounted on the lid, and it accurately monitors the temp inside the fire box.

As for the design, Char-Broil CB500X is another portable tabletop grill. The fire grate is of steel, and the door for accessing it is on the front panel of the item. The manufacturer used the best possible material for cooking grates, which are made of cast iron. That ensures you won’t have any trouble when it comes to the food sticking to the grilling surface.

Pros

The sturdiness of the unit secures that it doesn’t get affected by the wind. Even high winds cannot knock the product over. The rectangular tabletop design has its advantages because it provides an ampler cooking surface than the circular kettle grills. The cooking grate is made of cast-iron and will probably outlast all other components of the system because it’s the highest quality product in its category on the market. Cleaning and maintenance are easy thanks to the removable ash drawer and obtaining a unique brush make your job even more comfortable. The exciting thing is that Amazon offers a far better price on the model than the manufacturer’s official website!

Cons

The thermometer might not last long, or it might stop giving accurate data if you are not careful when moving the grill around. Although the product looks attractive in the beginning, there is a chance that the paint will wear off after a while. Also, the legs have plastic caps that will probably melt from the heat the first time you use it, but that shouldn’t affect your overall grilling experience.

4. Son of Hibachi Combo with Snuff out Pouch – A Different Grilling Concept!

Our rating:

Cooking surface 170 square inches
Extremely lightweight  [usr 5]
Simple and quick storing away  [usr 4]

Hibachi is a name for a traditional coal-fueled cooking bowl in Japan. However, in America and other parts of the world, it is related to charcoal grilling systems. Mr. Flame used the inspiration to introduce a specific concept of grilling on a unique product called Son of Hibachi Combo with Snuff out Pouch.

The item features carrying handles that double as legs for the product to stand on and it’s nice to see that the system works. The construction is stable, although you should be careful not to knock it over because it weighs only 17 pounds in total. Placing the charcoals will be no sweat if you ever used a grill of this type, but the lighting concept has that wow effect that will surprise you.

First of all, you will notice that you have two separate cooking surfaces. The entire grilling area is 170 square inches and enough for two, maybe even three people at once. After you finish arranging the charcoal beneath the cooking grates, you need to fold up the grilling system. Yes, you’ve read that correctly, you need to fold it UP despite how unusual that might seem. Next, use the drawer in the bottom and fill it up with newspapers or other material that will burn. Make sure to use the starter fluid to saturate it and ignite the fire. According to the specifications, in about 10 minutes the Son of Hibachi will be ready for cooking.

When you think that the model achieved proper temperature, unfold the two sides of the barbecue and arrange the food on them. The cooking grates are made of cast-iron, and that guarantees that there will be no sticking of burgers or hot dogs to the surface. Once you are done the cooking, just fold the barbecue again and allow the lack of air to smother the fire. The model features a fuel-efficient solution because it saves the charcoal that didn’t burn so that you can use it in the future.

Although the product doesn’t leave a big mess behind, you should make sure to clean it after using. The “Snuff out Pouch” is nothing else than a heat-proof pack for the grill. You can place the item in it while the charcoals are still hot and get ready to go without waiting for the device to cool down. There is a model that comes without the storing away pack, but we believe that the combo kit provides the best value.

Pros

The unique concept of charcoal grilling provides an entirely different experience than other products. If you want to be that friend that has a cool grill, there is no doubt that the Son of Hibachi can secure that. The product weighs just over 15 pounds, and that ensures incredible portability. The fuel efficiency provided by the fact that it keeps coal for future use means that you will be spending less money on fueling this grill. Packing the product up while still hot guarantees that you don’t have to spend any extra time with this item while waiting for it to cool down.

Cons

Although it’s an exciting concept, the execution is prone to going faulty. Some users complained that it took over 20 minutes to get the heat to the required level. The fact that the charcoals roll over when you turn the product so that you can place it in the bag can lead to problems when putting the grill away. Come to think of it, perhaps the most significant issue of this grilling system is that you need to use it for a while until you become adept at preparing food.

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