Barbecued food is the ultimate comfort food. Whether it’s a chargrilled medium rare steak or some delicious skewered vegetables, the smoky flavor goes straight to the soul. Now you can go out to a great barbecue restaurant, but there is just something so much more satisfying about grilling your own food. Not to mention, it always tastes great.
You can get a barbecue grill installed in an outdoor kitchen, or get a massive grill set in your garden, but none of them are as convenient as a portable grill. Whether you have a barbecue in your backyard or you’re headed to a family reunion, you can keep your portable grill with you. If you ever move out of your house, you won’t have to worry about lugging a massive grill with you. The portable one will be compact and easy to carry.
The Different Types of BBQs
Barbecues are of different types with different heating systems. The basic categories include:
These are connected to the main gas pipeline of your house. Not only do they take less time to heat up, but they’re also more reliable because the gas supply doesn’t run out and your food cooks evenly.
These grills have a propane gas tank attached to them, which once empty can be swapped out for a full one. They are easy to use and heat up quickly so it won’t be long till your meal is ready! The only factor to consider here is that you need to keep an eye on the propane tank and have a backup in case you run out of gas.
If you want the true taste of the campfire in your food, a charcoal grill is what you’re looking for. They may not be as easy to use as others. They take their time to heat up and can be a bit erratic when being lit. The heat distribution needs to be carefully monitored as well. However, the smoky, charred flavor left on your meat or vegetables is definitely worth it.
Whether it’s a weekend hike or a trip to grandma’s this grill can ride in the backseat of your car wherever you go. This grill provides you the taste of the barbecue no matter where you are.
Basic Features of a BBQ Grill
Here are the basic functions of a standard BBQ grill:
- Burners: Connected to the gas supply to produce the flame which heats up the BBQ.
- Starter: The button that sparks the fire and gets the ball rolling.
- Cooking Grills: These iron and steel racks are what the meat is placed on during cooking and they also provide those char marks which are signature of barbecued food.
- Warming Racks: If you’re barbecuing a large quantity of food, you’ll have to do it in batches. To avoid losing the freshness of the food that was grilled initially, it can be placed on a warming rack.
- Hood: The BBQ hood helps keep the heat in the grill so that your meat cooks evenly and quickly.
- Gauges: Every BBQ grill comes with a temperature gauge to monitor the heat level of the grill and a fuel gauge to help you keep an eye on how much gas is left so that you may get a refill if necessary.
- Storage Space: Grills have closed storage areas to keep your accessories such as tongs, spare coals, skewers and so on.
What to Look for When Buying a BBQ Grill
No one goes to the store and buys the first grill they see and like. There are a number of factors to consider before making your purchase:
- Size: How big your grill needs to be, depends on the number of people you’re grilling for and whether you plan on taking your grill with you when you go out, or cooking at home.
- Taste: If you’re looking for a charred, campfire taste, go for the charcoal grill.
- Heating Capacity: Again, this depends on how much food you’re grilling and how frequently you use your grill.
- Cooking Grids: Here, there are generally two options: stainless steel grids or matte iron grids. The steel ones are better for providing a more even cook to your meat, but if you want those delicious, black, crusty char marks, then you need an iron grid.
- Mobility: This is where your portable grill comes in. If you’re looking for a massive grill for daily use at home, get a large grill, but if you’re looking for something which can accompany you on a summer road trip, then go for a portable grill.
- BTUs (British Thermal Units): the higher the BTUs, the more heat your grill can provide to cook your meat better and faster.
Our Top Picks
Here are our top 5 picks for the best portable grill you can take to every garden party, bonfire or beach bash.
1. Best Portable Gas Grill: Weber Q2200 Gas Grill
Forget everything, pack up your stuff and get ready to head to the beach with your Weber Grill. This grill gives you everything you’re looking for and more:
- It has a wide surface area so you can cook a feast for all your friends (or a feast for one if you’re really hungry).
- It’s a gas grill so it’ll provide your food with even heat so you’re not left sitting around, waiting for your food.
- There are even two side tables which can be folded over so you have a space to keep your plate and any sauces you might be brushing on to your meat and vegetables.
When you’re ready to get going, just pop on the lid, wedge it in the backseat of your car and hit the road. This grill is a bit heavy on the pocket, but it’s worth it!
2. Best for a Budget Portable Grill: Coleman 285 Propane Grill
If you want delicious home-grilled food, get your hands on the Coleman Grill. It’s much lighter on the pocket than the Weber and it comes with a stand so you don’t need to crouch down to see how your food is cooking.
- Whether you’re taking your kids out for a picnic, or going out of town, this grill is perfect for tailgating (serving up food from the trunk of your car).
- It offers a hefty 20,000 BTUs so that you get the perfect steak every time.
- You can cook anything you want, from Lebanese koftas to baby back ribs. The grill comes with different grates such as griddle pans and regular grill grates.
- You don’t even need to go through the hassle of keeping some matches or a lighter with you. Pushing the start button gets the flame going with you having to risk burning your hand.
- The stand can be folded over when you’re traveling, and the entire thing can easily fit into the trunk of your car (depending on how big your trunk is).
3. Best Portable Charcoal Grill: Giantex BBQ Charcoal Grill
If the smoky, campfire flavor is important to you, you’ll love this one. Whether you’re grilling up some filet mignon for a special birthday dinner or having a mini campout in the veranda of your apartment, this grill will give you that delicious, smoky flavor that’ll remind you of being in front of an open fire.
- This grill is versatile and you can either barbecue your food, grill it, or even let it cook low and slow (such as ribs or sticky wings).
- There are foldable side tables to keep your BBQ sauce so you can baste your food with it while it cooks.
- The bottom of the grill has a detachable tray to dispose of soot and charcoal remnants without any extra effort.
- The stand has wheels attached so you roll your portable BBQ grill with you wherever you go.
- An added bonus? There are side hooks to hang your cloth to move your food around so you don’t have to hunt for something last minute while your food starts to burn.
- The entire thing can be dismantled during transportation and rebuilt in no time at all.
4. Best Mini Portable Grill: Best Choice Products’ Portable Smokeless Grill
We couldn’t resist adding another charcoal grill to the mix if you don’t want to splurge on a bigger portable grill. Get the taste of the campfire with practically half the mess, and no effort at all!
- For starters, it’s pretty budget-friendly, so if you occasionally crave some delicious barbecued food, you can take this out of your storage and get grilling.
- Even if you’re in a closed room, you won’t have to worry about the smoke buildup. The cylindrical design prevents the development of smoke.
- You’ll get an even amount of heat through your grill because a heat fan controls the temperature.
- The grill is cast iron for that ultimate charred flavor.
- When you’re ready to go, just put the grill in its travel bag and carry it wherever you go.
- A major bonus with this one is that you don’t even have to clean it out yourself because it’s dishwasher safe! You can have all the fun grilling your food without any of the pain of having to clean the grill later on.
5. Easiest to Haul Portable Grill: Keg-A-Que Toolbox Pro
In case you haven’t already guessed it, we’re great supporters of the charcoal grill. Not only do they make your food taste great, they’re fun to use (albeit a little more complicated than a simple gas or propane grill). Like every handyman with his toolbox, you can’t be a true griller without this toolbox grill.
- It’s easy to move around. All you need to do is pack it up like your toolkit, live it by the handle and get going.
- It has ventilation holes on the side to prevent smoke and heat buildup, keeping your eyes safe from burning and providing an even amount of heat for your food to cook in.
- It’s super easy to carry and because there aren’t any fancy knobs or buttons, even a first-time griller can manage just fine with this one.
Ready, Set, Grill!
While the charcoal grills generally provide a more authentic barbecue flavor, they can be a bit taxing to use because you have to keep an eye on the heat and the smoke emitted from the coals. After that, it’s a personal preference whether you want something that provides a more “clean”, even cook or if you want that true open fire taste.
Whichever portable grill you end up choosing, make sure that it fits your usage. If you move around a lot or live in an apartment, a smaller grill is better. If you have the room in your house (and your car) for a larger one, go for that.
Once you’ve bought our grill, read a quick guide on how to use it. Find your perfect barbecue sauce, whether it’s the traditional sticky sweet one or the mustard-based one and start grilling whatever you want, from fresh-caught salmon to giant heirloom bell peppers. Everything will taste better with that beautifully charred crust on the outside!