Portable Grills That Go the Distance: The Best Portable Grills of 2019
We all know a meal cooked in the Great Outdoors trumps almost anything that can be produced in a home kitchen. For you, maybe the quintessential experience is scavenging wood on the beach or at the terminus of a satisfying hike for a life-sustaining campfire. But the truth is, campfires are not legal in many parts of the country. Happily, there are many portable grills on the market (charcoal- or wood-burning, propane, and even electric) that can assure the culinary success of your outdoor adventure. Here is a short list of some of our favorites.
The Best Portable Grills of 2019
If you’re in the market for a grill that’s always up for a road trip, you couldn’t do better than the Weber Jumbo Joe. Built like its big brothers, this portable kettle grill (18.5 inches in diameter and 240 square inches of grate space) can accommodate enough food to serve eight, making it one of the most commodious grills in our line-up. It’s just big enough to indirect grill; corral the coals on one side with a brick or small log. Vents on both the top and bottom help you control the heat. A sturdy bail for carrying the 18-pound Jumbo Joe is a nice feature. At home, it’s a great “auxiliary” grill when you’re entertaining a larger crowd than usual, and is a good choice when you want to crisp chicken wings or sear a steak after smoking.
Pellet grill enthusiasts seem to suffer separation anxiety when deprived of their favorite cooking method. So GMG introduced the Davy Crockett model, one of few pellet grill manufacturers to do so. At 77 pounds sans pellets, it’s a bit hefty for true portability, but a two-man team can manage it. (The legs on the Davy Crockett fold up and act as handles.) Among its features is a dual read-out LED display that’s Wifi compatible so you can monitor the cook while you tend your fishing line or toss a ball with the kids. Electricity is required, of course, but the Davy Crockett comes with adapters for three power sources including 110V or 12V. Because of its weight, we recommend this grill for tailgating, RVing, or car camping.
A stalwart on the set of Project Fire is this rugged hibachi-style grill. Constructed entirely of pre-seasoned cast iron, the Sportsman’s Grill is a workhorse, deserving of a place in any serious barbecuer’s stable of equipment. (Lodge, headquartered in South Pittsburgh, Tennessee, has been making high-quality cast iron cookware since 1896.) It’s the perfect size for two to three people. A sliding draft door and reversible grate give the user some control over the heat, and coals can be accessed through a flip-down door on the side. When cool, the 27-pound grill can be carried by its bail.
The most diminutive grill in Big Green Egg’s line-up is the Mini. Its 10-inch diameter cooking grate provides 79 inches of cooking space (about the same size as a dinner plate), making it ideal for one or two people. Like its siblings, it is capable of pizza grilling or steak searing temperatures—750 degrees—but can be set up for low and slow barbecuing. It has all the features of the big boys. At 39 pounds, it will give you a workout (hey, that ceramic’s heavy!), but is suitable for tailgating, car camping, patio use, etc.
Since 1900, Coleman has been a respected name in outdoor recreation products. Its popular “RoadTrip” supplies 20,000 BTUs of power and an ample 285 inches of cooking space. (It’s fueled by a 1-pound propane canister. Always bring an extra.) Its cast iron grill grates can be swapped for a griddle insert—handy for outings that include breakfast—which is sold separately. Foldable legs tipped with rugged wheels and a locking lid mean the grill is as easy to maneuver as a suitcase. The cooking area has three separate temperature zones (all controlled by knobs) and matchless push-button ignition. Two side tables are a plus.
Solid steel construction and rugged look give this wood- and charcoal-burning tabletop grill gravitas: It’s a perfect companion for your outdoor adventures, whether they involve camping, fishing, back country skiing, etc.
Imagine it’s 250 inches of cooking space loaded with fresh-caught trout! (There was even talk in the office of using it as the foundation of an improvised cold smoke set-up.) Two vents provide heat control, and the cast iron grill grate guarantees great grill marks. Easy to clean.
Cuisinart, founded by an MIT graduate who loved French cuisine, has been in the food appliance business since 1971. So it’s no surprise its eminently portable tabletop gas grill have earned thousands of good reviews. With briefcase styling (you can lock the lid and carry it by the handle) and 145 square inches of cooking space, you can easily grill for 4 to 6 people. Twist-start ignition makes it easy to light. The grill runs on propane canisters, and weighs less than 14 pounds.