How to select the best small, outdoor portable charcoal grill for camping, tailgating, RVing, patio and backyard. Find reviews about Coleman, Weber charcoal grills...
Portable grills using electricity, gas or charcoal, are in general easy to transport and simple to use, but only for small groups of people.
Many people decide to buy portable charcoal grills as they cook food faster and generate more heat, while portable propane grills are traditionally low performing and built with less cooking space and made of low quality materials.
Find also reviews of the top manufacturers and models of outdoor portable grills, including Coleman, Master Chef, Weber...
The greatest advantage of all portable charcoal grills is its compact design. The small size makes these grills perfect for picnic, tailgating, your backyard patio, camping, RV users and outdoor lovers.
Here are some considerations to keep in mind when buying a portable charcoal grill:
When looking for the portable charcoal grill, choose the grill that has a solid construction, and it doesn't rattle or squeak when you shake it gently. Joints should be firmly welded to each other with the welds polished smooth for safety, rather than being held together with nuts and bolts or screws (doesn't apply on cast iron grills).
Your new charcoal grill should be made of thick and sturdy parts and not thin and flimsy. Buy a grill which has a thicker hood and preferable if it is enameled so it protects the metal from discoloring.
Before you buy the grill and right at the store, test several portable charcoal grills; roll the grill on the floor of the showroom (if applicable) and see how it moves. Select the grill which has large wheels so it can turn easily and traverse uneven ground. The area around the handles should have enough space so that your hand will fit through easily and safely. Handle should be made of wood so it won't heat up during the cooking.
Cooking grates should be strong and heavy, preferable made of cast iron, stainless steel or porcelain-coated stainless steel, to resist the rust and is easy to clean. In order to provide enough grilled food for your meal make sure that a grill surface is big enough, which is usually 12" by 16".
Good portable charcoal grill should have an adjustable grate so you can change the height or the distance between the heat source and the food.
Before buying the charcoal grill, keep in mind that the grill is fueled by natural lum charcoal or briquettes, and pick one with the dip firepan.
Locking lid on grills is what you should aim for. It allows moving your grill around and prevents ashes and coals from spilling.
There are two popular types of portable charcoal grills:
Small charcoal kettle grills
Hibachi type portable charcoal grills are mainly used for quick grilling and small pieces of food, like burgers and kebabs. Usually, they are small and compact, made of heavy cast-iron with a heavy iron grate, making it very durable and resistant to weather conditions.
Food is located directly over the charcoal. Cast iron hibachi grills don't have lids, they are designed open, which allows plenty of air for your fire.
Hibachi grills are usually consisted of a rectangular or oval firebox, with one, two or three metal grates to store even more food. This and multiple position for crates allows Hibachis grills to be used for high-heat cooking.
Hibachi grills are the best portable grills for tailgating and camping as they are portable and very easy to use. This mini charcoal grill cannot be used for barbecue, but it is great to make the grill fast. It is a good choice for grilling outside, and if you don't have enough space in your backyard. One of the drawbacks is the limited amount of food you can cook at one time and the low performance in bad weather.
Kettle grill type was introduced to the market by Weber-Stephens Co. Kettle grill is round, deep grill with the lid, cooking chamber, charcoal chamber, venting and foldable legs. It uses a charcoal or briquettes.
Some kettle grills are equipped with the pan for collecting the ash and wheels for easy transfer. The price can be in a range from $30 for simple one to over a hundred for high quality ones.
Grills with the lid are giving you an option not only for fast grilling, but to grill larger cuts of meat, like beef roast and steaks.
Portable charcoal grills are also available with a stand and wheels, making it great for patios and picnics. Between the grill legs, you can mount an additional shelf for barbecue accessories.
Some of these compact charcoal grills are equipped with the
fold away to hold the lid in the position for carrying and storage. Lid
can also be used as the windshield.
Cost. Charcoal grills are cheaper, the price is from $30 up, while gas is around hundred. Portable charcoal grills are less expensive than gas grills, because they are less complicated, and they have a simpler designed. Portable grills that are using charcoal need only a container to hold charcoal and a rack which is above the charcoal, so it can carry your steak, for example.
Flavor: My opinion is that food from the charcoal grill taste much better as there is a real smoke flavor (for better flavor you can even add some wood to the fire).
Food is cooked faster when using the charcoal as it can produce higher temperatures, for the average grills.
Fire on the charcoal grill is hard to start.
Coals can take even 20 min. to reach the cooking temperature.
Desired temperature or heat is hard to control.
You depend on a supply of charcoal, which has to be replenish for longer cooking items.
Ash has to be cleaned regularly for good drafting.
Depending on the quality of the grill charcoal this kind of grilling is more expensive than using the propane grill.
Clean your grill properly after every cooking, and before storing it, make sure it is cool, and it will last longer.
Always oil the grill grates before using it for the first time and after storing it for the longer period of time, like during the winter.
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