Three best portable grills
Living life to its fullest means you're always ready for adventure. Whether it's a tailgate party after the game, an impromptu day trip to the mountains, or a week-long getaway to a far-off place, you're prepared for any excursion. That's exactly how you'll feel after purchasing a brand new portable grill.
But the world of portable grills is vast, and it can feel overwhelming when it's time to make that final decision. Which option is right for you? After reading through this concise guide, you'll have the knowledge to pick your perfect portable grill with ease and confidence.
Considerations when choosing portable grills
It's all about the fuel
The quickest way to narrow down your grill choices is by picking the type of fuel you'd like to use. Each fuel type -- charcoal, gas, pellets, electricity -- has benefits and limitations that make it more appropriate in different situations.
Charcoal grilling provides the best flavor. You do not have as much control over the temperature as other fuels, but charcoal cooks hot and fast. However, bags of charcoal can be cumbersome to transport. And, when you're done grilling, you'll need a place to safely dispose of the used charcoal.
There are different types of gas, but portable gas grills most often require propane. The smallest propane canisters are easy to transport, and they are also disposable. Propane starts effortlessly -- just push the button -- and it offers better temperature control than charcoal or pellets. Although it doesn't provide the robust flavor of charcoal, there is no waste to worry about when you're finished. A small propane grill is a suitable option for almost any situation.
There are only a few portable grills that use pellets for fuel. Pellets produce a flavor that is similar to charcoal, but they are less hassle to start and clean up. The biggest drawback: grills that use pellets are pricier and larger than much of the competition. As such, a pellet grill is not an ideal option for a quick, grab-and-go excursion.
An electric grill is easy to use: just turn it on and it works. You enjoy effortless, precise control of the temperature, and no hazardous waste is left behind. However, cooking on an electric grill does not provide the rich flavor of charcoal, and it can only be used if there is an outlet nearby.
Q. What size grill do I need?
A. Size is a balancing act. The larger your grilling surface, the more food you'll be able to cook, and the better you'll be able to cook it. However, the larger your grill is, the greater the burden it will be to bring it along to picnics, tailgates, and camping trips. Around 200 square inches of grilling surface is a good compromise.
Q. What are the primary safety concerns regarding portable grills?
A. Except with electric, you are cooking with fire, so extreme caution should be used at all times. Be sure the grill is level and does not wobble. Keep it a safe distance from play areas, buildings, and other structures, and do not use it under a roof of any kind. Use the proper tools when cooking, and never leave a hot grill unattended.
Portable grills we recommend
Best of the best: Weber Jumbo Joe 18-Inch Portable Grill
Our take: At less than 20 pounds, this little charcoal grill with a large cooking surface is ideal for picnics, tailgating, and camping.
What we like: This compact and durable Weber unit offers an impressive 240 square inches of grilling space. By using the bottom and top vents, you have a decent amount of control over the temperature.
What we dislike: A temperature gauge on the lid would have been nice.
Our take: A highly portable and versatile gas grill, the Smoke Hollow is a solid choice for almost any situation.
What we like: This grill quickly hooks up to a disposable, one-pound propane cylinder, and it's ready to go. The locking lid, foldable legs, and convenient carrying handle make it an effortless travel companion.
What we dislike: The heat can be uneven, so you may have warmer and cooler spots on the cooking surface. Be aware of where these locations are so no meat is undercooked.
Choice 3: Weber Q2200 Liquid Propane Grill
Our take: This is a pricier portable grill for the serious user.
What we like: There are many ergonomic features that make this Weber grill a joy to use. The split grates, high lid, and built-in thermometer help make it a precision tool that can be used to cook a variety of foods.
What we dislike: It is a little pricey for a portable grill, and its unconventional shape can make it a little awkward to carry.
Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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