The history of grilling food can be traced back over 500,000 years. This cooking process has become quite popular over the years because of the aroma and delicious taste it brings out in specific dishes.
To enjoy the full benefits of this cooking method in modern times, using the best portable charcoal grill is essential.
Because of its compact and lightweight design, you can easily move a portable grill from your backyard to the campsite or the tailgate party.
The best grills feature innovative design for precision cooking and food prep, along with simple controls for smooth operation.
How to Choose the Best Portable Charcoal Grill
It may seem quite tricky to make the right choice when it comes to the best portable charcoal grill. However, with the right information, you should be able to settle on something that satisfies your needs.
How far can it go?
The weight of any particular grill should play a role in your decision-making process. Some grills may be relatively heavy but feature ergonomic handles and robust wheels to simplify movement. There are also those that are quite lightweight and compact to fit in the trunk of any car.
The right capacity
When picking the best portable charcoal grill, remember to consider the amount of food it can handle. Grills that are exceptionally lightweight and compact may be ideal for two or three people because of their limited cooking area. However, those with a seemingly heavy build may make up for it by offering larger cooking areas.
Keep it under control
Without proper heat control, you may end up either overcooking or undercooking your food. That is why you should pick a grill that features precise control mechanisms.
The best portable charcoal grill should ideally have innovative dampers for heat management, a built-in thermometer for temperature monitoring, innovative grates to distribute heat evenly, and a lid to trap heat for efficient charcoal use.
The wind can be a bummer
The last thing you want is to go out on a picnic only to end up frustrated by a grill that is not working as it should. This can often happen on windy days.
Too much wind will either cause a spike in heat production or blow dirt onto the food you are preparing. The best portable charcoal grill integrates a wind management mechanism to prevent such unfortunate occurrences.
It’s not just a cooking appliance
While the primary purpose of a charcoal grill is to cook, that doesn’t have to be the only thing it can do. Grills that incorporate additional features such as prep tables, tool holding hooks, and storage shelves should be at the top of your list.
About the grease and dirt accumulation
The best portable charcoal grill should not be too difficult to maintain. Its parts should be relatively easy to clean and repair in case of damage. Ash collection trays and stain-resistant coating are among the things that make for easy grill maintenance.
How We Reviewed the Best Portable Charcoal Grill
In compiling this list of the best portable charcoal grills on the market, we considered the above criteria. All the products on the list below feature a durable build, impressive customer ratings, and are easy to use and maintain.
Top 8 List of the Best Portable Charcoal Grills
Our list of the best portable charcoal grills is in no particular order.
1. Weber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill
- Travel with taste, or grill up a quick meal on your patio with the Jumbo Joe portable charcoal grill. The compact size with larger grilling area and convenient carry handle is perfect for any weekend getaway or spontaneous day at the beach. Combustion by-products produced when using this product contain chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.
- Holds up to eight burgers made with a Weber burger press
- Compact and lightweight for grilling on the go
- Porcelain-enameled lid and bowl retain heat, and won’t rust or peel
- The Tuck-N-Carry lid lock doubles as a lid holder to avoid placing the lid on the ground
This grill features robust heavy-gauge steel construction that helps it withstand rugged use and the elements to remain durable.
The sturdy base with steel legs makes for easy placement on different surfaces, while an aluminum ash catcher ensures tidiness throughout the grilling process.
A porcelain-enameled bowl offers spacious room to hold charcoal and retains heat to ensure efficient cooking. This grill also features a rust-resistant, porcelain-enameled lid to help lock the heat in. This helps in saving the amount of charcoal you use in every grilling session.
The lid features a heat shield to keep you safe from the hot surface. A robust steel cooking grate offers plenty of room to hold up to eight burgers, which is enough to feed as many people.
Carefully designed dampers let you control the temperature so that you achieve the most desirable results depending on the dish you are preparing. This grill’s stainless steel carry handle and the lightweight, compact design simplify portability and placement.
With reviewers on Amazon giving it a rating of 4.7 out of 5.0 stars, the Weber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill certainly ticks most of the boxes for the best portable charcoal grill.
2. Lodge Cast Iron Sportsman’s Grill
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This particular grill is characterized by rugged cast iron construction to ensure longevity even with frequent use. A sturdy base with four legs makes for stability and secure placement on various surfaces.
The grill features a robust cast iron grid capable for accommodating whole fish and significant pieces of meat. With two adjustable heights, you can control the amount of heat that reaches dishes to prevent overcooking or undercooking.
Additionally, you can control heat output by either opening or closing the draft door. A flip-down door lets you add or take out some charcoal depending on your cooking preference. Wash the grill with soap and water after use and then hand or store in a dry place.
3. Char-Griller Table Top Charcoal Grill
- Removable ash pan for easy coal clean up
- Offset for Texas style smoking
- Attaches to all Char-Griller barrel grills (#2123, #2828, #2137 and the #5050 Duo Gas and Charcoal Grill)
- Use as a table top grill or horizontal Texas style smoker
- You can go from a grill to a side fire box, once done you cannot go back to the grill
This comes across as the best portable charcoal grill for individuals that want more than just a grill. Heavy-duty steel construction helps it withstand the elements to remain durable. The unit features robust cast iron grates capable of accommodating significant amounts of food.
A sliding drawer design lets you add charcoal or remove ashes conveniently, while an ash pan collects any debris that falls from the grill for effortless cleaning. Additionally, a Stay Cool handle helps guard against burns that may otherwise cause burn injuries.
This grill has two adjustable dampers to help you keep heat under control. With a total of 250-square inches of primary cooking surface, this is undoubtedly one of the best portable charcoal grills to add to your cooking appliance collection.
This grill can also connect to the Char-Griller charcoal barrel grills as a side firebox. Reviewers on Amazon give the grill a rating of 4.2 out of 5.0 stars.
4. Weber Original Kettle Charcoal Grill
- Holds up to 13 burgers made with a Weber burger press; Built-in lid thermometer. Rust-resistant aluminum dampers
- One-Touch cleaning system with high-capacity ash catcher provides hassle-free ash cleanup
- Porcelain-enameled lid and bowl retain heat, and won’t rust or peel
- Use the lid hook to avoid placing the lid on the ground while grilling
- Cooking grate is hinged for easily adding charcoal while grilling
This particular grill features a sturdy build to ensure it can withstand rugged use. It has a porcelain-enameled bowl and lid that retain heat to provide better fuel consumption.
A plated steel cooking grate withstands high temperatures and offers room for you to organize food while cooking.
This grill has dampers that let you control temperature conveniently. An angled hook keeps the lid off the ground to avoid getting dirty, while a lightweight design and two wheels make for effortless portability.
The lid’s handle has a heat shield to prevent it from getting too hot and consequently posing a danger to you or any other person. To shut this grill off, close the dampers to cut off oxygen from getting to the coals.
An ash catcher is situated at the bottom to simplify the cleaning process.
5. TACKLIFE Charcoal Grill
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Heavy-duty steel construction helps ensure this grill remains in good condition even with frequent use. It features a porcelain glaze bowl and lid to retain heat for efficient charcoal use. This high-quality surface design withstands high temperatures, resists rust, and prevents flaking.
A galvanized steel cooking rate also retains heat for even cooking results, while at the same time being relatively easy to clean after use. For the ideal cooking temperatures, make use of the adjustable rust-proof ventilation damper.
This TACKLIFE Charcoal Grill comes with a large ash catcher that makes light work of the cleaning process. Additionally, it features two large wheels that allow you to move the grill from one point to another without breaking a sweat.
A double-layer shelf provides room for foods that need to thaw, while an innovative shelf just underneath the cooking area offers enough room to hold cooking items and ingredients.
This grill’s reinforced four support legs and compact design make it easy to position when cooking or while in storage.
6. Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill
- Holds up to six burgers made with a Weber burger press
- Compact and lightweight for grilling on the go
- Porcelain-enameled lid and base retain heat, and won’t rust or peel
- The lid locks for easy portability and dampers allow you to easily control the temperature inside your grill
- Durable plated steel cooking grate retains heat and is easy to clean.Primary cooking area (square inches):160
This charcoal grill features robust construction to help enhance the durability even with rugged use. It has a porcelain-enameled cooking box and lid to retain heat and promote better charcoal usage. This finish also ensures that the unit doesn’t rust or peel.
The grill offers up to 160-square inches of cooking area, which is enough to prepare a delicious meal for about four or five people. A plated steel cooking grate provides the ideal place to arrange the foods under preparation. This grate retains heat and helps distribute it evenly for better cooking results.
Dampers on this grill give you control over the temperature output, while two side handles make it easy for you to carry the unit from one place to another. This particular grill has built-in lid hangers that allow you to hang the lid on the side for effective wind blocking.
Additionally, the grill features four plated steel legs for easy placement while cooking or in storage. The Tuck-N-Carry lid lock design combined with the compact, lightweight design makes this the best portable charcoal grill for just about anyone.
7. Royal Gourmet Charcoal Grill
- Ample Cooking Space: A total of 823 sq. in. cooking surface includes 443 sq. in. porcelain-enameled steel wire cooking grates, 191 sq. in. chrome-plated warming rack and 189 sq. in. offset smoker.
- Great Performance: With a firm combination of offset smoker, this charcoal grill delivers excellent performance. Experience grilled and smoked meat at the same time with no hassle.
- Heat Control System: 2-level height-adjustable charcoal pan creates better heat control. Cooking chamber maintains internal temperature and prevents air loss.
- Preparatory Space: Front shelf offers room for seasonings and bottom shelf provides extra storage space.
- Easy to Move: Two wagon-style wheels make this grill easy to move around, the side spring handle allows for extra convenience for transport.
This grill is a heavy-duty steel construction that helps enhance longevity. It features 393 square inches of porcelain cooking grates and 205 square inches warming rack, which is enough to prepare a meal for up to 10 people.
The porcelain wire cooking grates retain heat and help in even distribution to ensure that food cooks properly. A height-adjustable charcoal pan with a Stay Cool handle lets you change the distance between the hot charcoal and food. This ultimately offers controlled cooking temperatures depending on the type of dish you are preparing.
An access door right at the front of the grill lets you add charcoal as you deem fit, while an adjustable vent gives you control over the air flow. The charcoal pan features holes that allow air to flow easily, thus making the charcoal light faster.
This grill comes with a drawer-ash pan for effortless cleaning and a lid-mounted temperature gauge to let you monitor the temperature. Two side tables provide ample room for food prep, while robust wheels make for effortless transportation.
This grill is available on Target with a customer rating of 4.4 out of 5.0 stars.
8. Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill
- Electronic Touch-N-Go with Propane Gas powered ignition system (propane tank not included)
- Dimensions - Lid Closed: 43.5"H x 48"W x 30"D | Weight: 91 lbs
- 22-inch diameter porcelain-enameled bowl and lid with a cooking area of 363 square inch
- Aluminized steel One-Touch cleaning system with removable, high-capacity, aluminum ash catcher
- Removable LCD cook timer and built-in lid thermometer
This grill features robust construction to ensure it can withstand rugged use. The porcelain-enameled bowl and lid effectively lock the heat in to promote efficient charcoal use while at the same time remaining resistant to rust and flaking.
This Weber grill has a 363-square inch cooking area, which is enough to accommodate a significant amount of food.
An electronic Touch-N-Go ignition system simplifies startups, while a removable LCD cook timer takes the guesswork out of the cooking process.
What’s more, a built-in lid thermometer lets you keep a close eye on the temperature. You can control the temperature within the grill by adjusting the integrated dampers. This is possible even without removing the lid.
A heat shield on the lid’s handle guards against burns, while innovative hooks on the side create room for hanging cooking tools such as spatulas and tongs. The top can slide to the side and open up to act as a wind barrier if that’s what you want.
This grill features a spacious work table for food prep and tool or ingredient organization. A removable ash-catcher at the lower side of the grill facilitates effortless cleaning, while four sturdy legs with wheels uncomplicate transportation.
Make Your Pick of the Best Portable Charcoal Grill for Delicious Barbecues
All the grills on the list meet the bare minimum requirements for an exceptional cooking appliance. They are lightweight, compact, and easy to use. They also get positive reviews by most people who have had a chance to use them.
The choice of the best portable charcoal grill boils down to your own needs and preferences. Use the information above to guide your decision-making process and discover the one that ticks all your boxes.
Is there any other portable charcoal grill you believe should be on this list? Go ahead and let us know in the comment section below.