Charcoal grills are the most preferred BBQ grills for seasoned grillers because of their portability and exceptional smoky flavor. Although they take more time to get the job done, anyone who desires a properly cooked meat will understand that a charcoal grill is their best option. They are very portable and great for camping activities.
They also provide perfect temperature control, which is important to get the best grilling result. Interestingly, they are very affordable compared to other types of grills. If you’re looking for the best charcoal grill for camping and other outdoor activities, you’re certainly at the right place. We provide an in-depth review of the best portable charcoal grill in the market right now.
They are compact, lightweight, durable, and provide the best smoky flavor any grilling enthusiast will love. At the end of the review, you will have enough information to select the most appropriate one for your needs.
- 1 Best Quality: Weber Smokey Portable Grill
- 2 Pros
- 3 Cons
- 4 Hibachi The Best little girll: Lodge Sportsman’s Charcoal Grill
- 5 Pros
- 6 Cons
- 7 Top Quality: Weber Premium Kettle Charcoal Grill
- 8 Pros
- 9 Cons
- 10 Weber Original 22-Inch Kettle Charcoal Grill
- 11 Pros
- 12 Cons
- 13 Weber Jumbo Portable Grill
- 14 Pros
- 15 Cons
- 16 Blackstone Charcoal Grill
- 17 Pros
- 18 Cons
- 19 Portable 18inch Charcoal Grill
- 20 Pros
- 21 Cons
- 22 Char-Broil Kettle Charcoal Grill
- 23 Pros
- 24 Cons
- 25 Sougem Portable Charcoal Grill
- 26 Pros
- 27 Cons
- 28 Cheapest yet best portable charcoal grill for camping
- 29 Folding BBQ Charcoal Grill
- 30 Pros
- 31 Cons
- 32 DoCamp Outdoor Charcoal Grill
- 33 Pros
- 34 Cons
- 35 Things to consider in portable charcoal grills for camping purpose
- 36 How to Choose The Right Grill For Your Needs?
- 37 Portability
- 38 Temperature Control
- 39 Number of burners
- 40 Cooking space
- 41 Design
- 42 Types Of Charcoal Grills
- 43 Kettle grills
- 44 Smokers and Barrel Grills
- 45 Ceramic Grills
- 46 Benefits of choosing portable charcoal grills
- 47 They retain moisture
- 48 They are great for camping and other outdoor activities
- 49 They are less expensive
- 50 More nutrition
- 51 Do’s and don’ts of charcoal grills
- 52 Things to do when using charcoal grills
- 53 Things not to do
- 54 Why are charcoal grills good for camping?
- 55 They are very portable
- 56 They are smaller
- 57 Lightweight
- 58 How to use charcoal grills for best results, taste, and aroma?
- 59 Putting on the grill
- 60 Getting the right flavor
- 61 Maintaining the juiciness of the meat
- 62 Conclusion
Best Quality: Weber Smokey Portable Grill
Weber Smokey portable grill is probably the best charcoal grill you may see in the market right now. It has unique features unmatched by none in the industry. The grill is designed with premium quality enameled coating to prevent fading and rust. The cooking grates measures about 14 inch diameter while the glass reinforced nylon helps users effortlessly remove the lid.
It’s ideal for car camping, tailgate parties, and cookouts. Despite its small size, it has enough cooking space to cook different types of meat. But its most alluring feature is the steady temperature capability. With this grill, you won’t have to worry about temperature fluctuations prevalent in many other grills.Moreover, the grill is quite durable even under heavy and continuous use.
To provide assurance to users, the company offers an amazing 10 years warranty on the product. That’s really a statement of intent from them. If you’re looking for the most ideal grill for camping and other outdoor activities, you may not find a better option than the Weber Smokey grill.Additionally, assembling this unit is pretty simple as it comes with easy instructions anyone can follow. Although it’s a little more expensive than some other models, this portable grill will surely give you value for money.
- Portable and ideal for camping
- Porcelain protected bowl
- Large cooking space
- Glass reinforced nylon
- Provides steady heat levels
- A bit more expensive
Hibachi The Best little girll: Lodge Sportsman’s Charcoal Grill
Lodge has been around for a while in the industry. The company is determined to produce premium quality charcoal grills that are easy to use. This model is rated among the best in the market, and there are very good reasons for that. Top on the list of benefits is the heat regulation ability of the charcoal grill, which is the priority for most grillers. The grill surface measures about 17 ¼ x 9 inch, which is ideal for most grilling tasks. It also comes with soft shell green cover and sturdy hibachi-style cast iron for durability. A great charcoal grill should be able to maintain a steady level of temperature in all sections. Lodge provides the right temperature level for all types of food.
It’s ruggedly designed with premium steel material to ensure long-lasting use. Moreover, the charcoal grill is very portable. This makes it ideal for anyone who intends to go for camping or other outdoor activities and still want to enjoy their favorite meals. With the grilling space, users are able to grill just about any type of meat they want. Lodge Charcoal Grill has a handle for easy carriage and a detachable draft door that helps to regulate heat. With this grill, you can smoke anything as long as they are edible. The design of the grate makes it possible to raise or lower the level of heat, giving users the confidence to grill. Overall, those looking for an affordable charcoal grill with the right temperature regulating features will love this model.
- Comes with heat regulating draft door
- Easy to setup and use
- Designed with rugged and durable cast iron
- Designed to stand the test of time
- Portable and ideal for outdoor use
- Takes a lot of time to clean
- Front flap opens easily
Top Quality: Weber Premium Kettle Charcoal Grill
This is another excellent charcoal grill from the Weber brand. It comes with glass-reinforcedhandles and rust-resistant damper to keep the grill durable and easy to carry. Although the charcoal grill it portable, the 363 sq inch diameter makes it ideal for cooking any type of meal. With this cooking space, there will be enough meal to go around. Weber premium charcoal grill has plated steel with the high capacity one-touch cleaning system. The charcoal grill has 22” diameter and it comes with assembled dimensions of 38.5” by 27” by 22.5”
Charcoal grills are usually difficult to clean because of their functionality and constant use. But features like ash catcher in the Weber charcoal grill make it possible to easily clean the grill. With this grill, you don’t have to bother about inconsistent temperatures. It has superior quality heat control where users can easily adjust the dampers.
It comes with an angled lid that enables users toeasily hang their lid beside the grill. It also has a lid shield, which is important for preventing the handle from being too hot. There are several other positives about this grill that so many grillers love.
- Rust resistant aluminum damper
- Comes with durable wheels
- Convenient lid placement
- Effective temperature control
- Easy to setup and use
- The cover does not sit tight
Weber Original 22-Inch Kettle Charcoal Grill
Kettle 22-inch grill has great features that will make seasoned grillers proud of their grilling efforts. The product has a spacious cooking space for all kinds of smoking activities. Whether you are looking to organize a BBQ party or looking to have a great camping fun, this grill is suitable for such purposes. It measures 22” by 25” by 38”. That’s portable and spacious enough for a family meal.
The cooking grate is made of durable steel for long-lasting use. How about its temperature control rate? Well, Weber Kettle charcoal grill has a top ranking in that regard. You will also love the aluminum ashtray and one-touch cleaning system that helps users to easily clean up the grill after each use.
And when it comes to portability, this grill is one of the most portable grills around. That’s why it’s ideal for camping and other outdoor activities where BBQ will be one of the side attractions. But the precise heat control is the most talked about feature of the grill.
You don’t have to lift the lid to maintain a considerable level of temperature needed to properly cook your meat. As long as you can adjust the dampers, the heat will remain intact until your meat is properly cooked.
- Durable wheels and strong construction
- Excellent temperature control
- Durable cooking grate
- Comes with Porcelain Enameled Bowl
- Glass reinforced nylon handles
- A bit difficult to setup
Weber Jumbo Portable Grill
Weber jumbo is a larger grilling accessory for those looking for more grilling space. The taste it gives your meat is another strong benefit of the grill. It produces real smoky flavor taste to give grillers great satisfaction on their smoking BBQ task. It comes with 18.5” diameter with assembled dimensions of 19.75” by 20.5” by 19.75”.
It is designed with reinforced nylon handle to help you easily hold the grill when smoking. Just like its sister models above, Weber jumbo has a great heat retention capacity, which keeps your meal warm for a very long time.
The grill is very easy to use as the simple instructional manual is provided to users. If you’re still learning how to properly grill with a charcoal grill, this model is the right option for you. Its simple design and features make it stand out when it comes to usability. Moreover, the grill is quite affordable compared to some other models. Although the grill is portable, it has enough cooking space for all sizes of meat for grillers, campers, and tailgaters.
Overall, Weber Jumbo charcoal grill provides the right features for grilling enthusiasts looking for the most efficient way to make BBQ.
- The durable aluminum ash catcher
- Lid Handle with a protective shield
- Porcelain-enameled lid and bowl
- A bit pricey
Blackstone Charcoal Grill
Grilling is always fun when you make use of the right device. And Blackstone has a simple design that will be understood by all types of grillers. But despite its simplicity, it certainly delivers more than it promises. The grill is the ideal camping stove for those looking for more portable grills. However, portability is not the grill’s only positive attributes. It retains good temperature. Grilling enthusiasts looking for the right grill to prepare their favorite smoked meal will love the heat retention capacity of this model.
What’s more? The grill is uniquely designed with a matching lid that keeps heat intact for a long period of time. In addition, you don’t need to worry about the temperature levels of your food because Blackstone maintains a steady temperature level throughout the cooking process. Maintaining the right temperature has always been the major flaw in most Charcoal grills, but not this model.
It comes with 2 burners that help grillers quickly and easily prepare their food. With these burners, it’s possible to smoke different types of meat with different heat levels. This will come in handy when you want to provide different meat options for your guests. Interestingly, the grill is also very affordable.
- Comes with dual burners
- Strong and solid design
- Designed with adjustable legs
- Maintains the right temperature level
- Slightly heavier than other models
- A bit difficult to setup
Portable 18inch Charcoal Grill
This charcoal grill has all the features to give you an enjoyable BBQ camping experience. The grill has perfect heat retentioncapacity. It comes with a strong vent damper that ensures proper heat control without any need to lift the lid. You will also love the strong steel design that protects the grill from heavy heat. Camping grills are meant to be portable to allow users easily carry to their camping destination. This grill comes with strong wheels that allow you to easily move it to any destination without many hassles. With a rust-resistant porcelain design with aluminum coatings, you are likely going to use it for a very long time.
The grill surely provides value for money when you consider its moderate pricing along with the usability. For the inexperienced griller looking to learn how to effectively smoke their ideal meat, the simple design and ash catcher provides simplicity and an easy way to maintain the grill. This Portable charcoal grill also comes with step-by-step instructions on setup and use. But it’s most alluring feature is the perfect heat retention capacity.
You can grill like a professional and provide the perfect meal for you and your family when camping. Additionally, if you love your meat to have sweet smoky flavor, you’re surely going to get that with this grill. It’s ideal for shrimp, asparagus, summer squash, turkey, chickens, sticks, and burgers. So, there’s unlimited option on what you can cook with the grill.
- Strong design and high-quality construction
- Rust-resistant coated design
- Strong heat retention capacity
- Very affordable and portable
- Comes with porcelain coated bowl for durability
- Takes more time to assemble
- Not enough cooking space
Char-Broil Kettle Charcoal Grill
Char-Broil has made some of the best cooking grills in the industry. Their experience has been used effectively again to produce one of the best camping grills you will ever see. This portable kettle model was designed for seasoned grillers looking for a portable but spacious grilling machine. Its 540 sq inch cooking space is enough to have a small party with friends and family. And when it comes to heat retention, you may never find a better alternative than this grill.
It comes with a damper that regulates the grill temperature. To reduce the temperature, you just need to slightly open the damper. But you need to close the damper when you want to increase the heat intensity.
Just like every other high-quality grills, Charbroil has porcelain coated grates that make them easy to clean and rust resistant. This makes it suitable for both experienced and inexperienced users who are trying out grilling for the first time. In addition, tending the coal in the firebox is not an issue as it comes with charcoal access door.
Char-broil is lightweight but has heavy duty steel construction that makes the grill a great value for money. It also comes with removable ash pan to easily keep the grill clean after cooking. Overall, charbroil is certainly a great choice for those looking for a portable grilling option with good smoky flavor.
- Comes with strong wood carrying handle
- Porcelain coated grates
- Portable and lightweight
- Large cooking space
- Comes with the removable ash pan
- Too small for commercial use
- Unsteady grill grates
Sougem Portable Charcoal Grill
Sougem is a relatively new grill with superior quality features like other models mentioned above. Although it hasn’t been around for a long time, there’s a strong indication that this drill will become one of the top rated in the industry.
It has a unique design that any stylish individual will be proud of. But the grill’s main special feature is the perfect temperature regulating capacity. It has mortar boards and airflow holes that allows for easy temperature control.
Whatever you need to smoke with this grill, it will provide the right temperature to effectively cook your food. Although it may look small for a large family, the portability and lightweight design make it the right grill for camping and outdoor use. Sougem can be used for a wide range of purposes, including outdoor parties, camping patio, tailgating, and picnics.
It is designed with stainless steel material which keeps it sturdy even on heavy usage. Durability is one of the most important things to consider when buying a grill. With this strong design, your grill will stand the test of time and give you great value for your money.
- Solid stainless steel construction
- Portable and lightweight design
- Excellent heat retention capacity
- Can be used for a wide range of purposes
- Easy to set up and use
- Small for large grilling task
Cheapest yet best portable charcoal grill for camping
If you are low on budget but still want great features from the best charcoal grills, you’re in luck. You can pay less for the grills below and enjoy your favorite smoked meals.
Folding BBQ Charcoal Grill
If you are looking for a very affordable grilling unit with durable features and heat retention capacity, this charcoal grill is a great choice. It is far cheaper than most other premium quality models but has almost the same features as them.
The grill is made of premium quality still and provides all-around quality. It is also one of the easiest grills to use as it comes with simple grilling instructions. If you’re still learning how to set up a grill and how to put the right temperature, you should select a smoker with easy to use features. And when it comes to ease of use, this portable grill is up there as one of the best.
It’s relatively new in the market, so you may want to cash in when the price is considerably cheaper. As it becomes more popular (which is inevitable), the grill will be more expensive than its current price. The BBQ stainless steel grill is perfect for travel, party, picnics, and outdoor camping. It comes with excellent abrasive and rust resistance, which makes it suitable even under extensive use.
Overall, those on a low budget who are looking for a high-quality charcoal grill will definitely love the features of this model.
- Suitable for different grilling tasks
- Maintains good smoky flavor
- One of the cheapest
- Premium still design
- Great for outdoor camping
- Average heat retention capacity
DoCamp Outdoor Charcoal Grill
Docamp is a small size charcoal grill with the basic features you’ll need for smoking any type of meal. It’s one of the most portable and lightweight models you can see. Despite its small size, the grill can serve up to five people, which makes it suitable for a small party. DoCamp’s foldable design gives users the confidence to carry it easily wherever they want to go camping. And setup is pretty straightforward as there are simple instructions anyone can follow to start grilling immediately. One other thing you will love about this charcoal grill is the excellent smoky flavor it generates. No matter what you’re cooking, it provides a great smoky flavor that allows smoked food lovers enjoy their day. But the design of DoCamp may lack a bit in quality when you compare with other drillers with premium quality steel. We considered its low price and overall usability features. The grill is perfect for the occasional user who wants to get the same level of grilling experience as they would with other premium quality models.
- Quite affordable
- Easy to use
- Lightweight and portable design
- Provides great smoky flavor
- Not the best material construction
Things to consider in portable charcoal grills for camping purpose
There are different types of grills and a camping grill has to be lightweight and portable. If you’re looking to buy a charcoal grill specifically for camping purposes, here are some things you need to consider.
How to Choose The Right Grill For Your Needs?
This is arguably the most important feature you have to look at whenever you want to buy a charcoal grill for camping. Obviously, you would not want to carry something large or heavy whenever you want to go camping. The best camping grills are very portable and lightweight to carry.
This is a standard requirement for a portable charcoal grill to have a good temperature control level. It may not be 100% but it should be effective enough to hold down the temperature or take it up whenever it’s required. Most high-quality charcoal grills for camping have two different levels of temperature control. This provides grillers the option of coking at two distinct temperatures.
Number of burners
This consideration will depend largely on your personal needs. You will need more than one burner if you intend cooking different types of foods (like vegetables and meat). Here, you can control the temperature from each burner to give you the desired heating result. However, if you only intend using it for a particular group of food (like hamburgers and hot dogs), a single burner will be okay for you.
The cooking area determines the amount of food the grill can hold when in use. Generally, portable grills for camping have small to moderate cooking space. But you should settle for nothing less than 210 square inches, as this will enable you to cook for 2 to 3 persons at a time. If you want a larger cooking space, remember that you have to compromise size and portability a bit to get a grill with a large surface cooking area.
A camping grill will be handled more often than a normal grill because you have to move them often. It will be exposed to all sorts of weather. This is why the grill has to be solidly designed with durable materials. Generally, the best grills are built with premium quality aluminum or stainless steel. Apart from keeping the rust off the grill, it will last long top give you great value for your money.
The above are some of the most important considerations to make when buying a charcoal grill for camping. Just remember to select a compact grill with solid construction, the right cooking space, and an excellent temperature control.
Types Of Charcoal Grills
Charcoal grills come in different types, according to their make and use. The following are the most common types of charcoal grills you will come across in the market.
These are very affordable options. They are also very portable and come in different sizes. They have round shapes with the capacity to retain enough heat. If you’re looking for a very affordable charcoal grill for your grilling needs, a kettle grill can perfectly suit your needs.
Smokers and Barrel Grills
Barrel grills are more versatile and bigger than kettle grills. They are ideal for those who want to go further than just doing the basics when it comes to grilling. They are larger and provide bigger smoking space for users. And of course, they are more expensive than kettle grillers.
If you’re looking for a grill that effectively controls temperature, you may need to consider a ceramic grill. They have excellent heat retention capacity and are ideal for different types of cooking tasks. Ceramics grills are a bit more expensive, but with all their important features, you will understand why you have to pay more
Benefits of choosing portable charcoal grills
Seasoned BBQ grillers understand what it means to cook with a charcoal grill. These grills have numerous benefits and reasons why they are highly demanded. You may know some of these reasons, but let’s still go over them to see why they are highly demanded.
They retain moisture
Let’s forget about their portability, but one important benefit of having a charcoal grill is the moisture retaining capacity. Because they cook meat slowly, the meat is able to retain its moisture without drying out too fast. And most people will prefer a properly cooked juicy meat than a dry one that was hurriedly cooked.
They are great for camping and other outdoor activities
Most professionals love portable charcoal grills because they are easily transported to another destination with no fuse. But a large stationed grill does not have this advantage. Electricity grills will not be ideal for camping because you have to take electricity with you. But for the charcoal grill, as long as you have the right type of charcoal and wood, you’re good to go.
They are less expensive
Because they are lightweight and portable, most charcoal grills are very affordable. Their compact design only means their manufacturers spent less to build them. Moreover, because they are small, charcoal grills tend to be less expensive than gas or electric grills.
Since it takes a slower and steady process to cook in a charcoal drill, the minerals, vitamin, and proteins are preserved in the right order. The meat doesn’t get too much heat, which may likely reduce the overall contents of nutrient.
Overall, having a portable camping grill is surely beneficial. They are portable, less expensive, and produce the best cooking temperature for all kinds of food.
Do’s and don’ts of charcoal grills
Using the charcoal grill is not a rocket science. But there are certain things you need to do and others you should avoid if you want to get the best results from your grilling tasks. Let’s start with the do’s before moving on to the don’ts.
Things to do when using charcoal grills
- Allow the grill to heat before adding meat. Putting the meat too early will result in grill marks you may not like.
- Clean up the grate after use. Using the grill without cleaning its grate may spoil the taste of the next meal.
- Oil grate before use: Oiling the grate will help the faster transfer of heat and prevent the meat from sticking on the grate.
- Allow the meat to cool off before you serve: Waiting a little bit before serving enables the heat in the meat to circulate evenly, providing you with more juicy food.
Things not to do
- Do not rush when grilling: Allow the grill to cook at its pace. Do not try to fast-forward the grilling tasks for the charcoal grill. Otherwise, the meat will not come out good.
- Do not cut the meat to ascertain its cooking level: That’s what the thermometer is there for. Cutting the meat while it’s still in the grate will allow some of the juice to escape.
- Do not fail to get everything ready before you begin: Allowing your charcoal to finish right in the middle of the cooking process will be a serious grilling offense.
Why are charcoal grills good for camping?
There are reasons why charcoal grills are the best you can have when going out camping.
They are very portable
Unlike electricity grills and those bulky gas grills, charcoal grills can be easily transported. Therefore, those going out for camping activities find charcoal grills more ideal for their needs.
They are smaller
They are easily tucked in a backpack and carried along for the trip. They are the smallest types of grills, which is great for people looking for compactly sized smokers.
It’s always more convenient to carry something that doesn’t drag you back. With the superior quality aluminum design of most of the charcoal grills, you don’t have to worry about their weight.
While a charcoal grill uses wood and charcoal (two obviously lightweight materials), a gas smoker requires you to carry a gas tank, not even minding the weight of the smoker itself. So, a charcoal grill will always be the first choice for those looking for something lightweight.
How to use charcoal grills for best results, taste, and aroma?
One of the reasons why grilling enthusiasts love to use a charcoal grill is that smoky flavored taste it produces. But there are proper ways to the grill to make the flavor even better. Below is the best way to prepare a well-flavored meat using a charcoal grill.
Putting on the grill
Generally, there are two methods of starting a charcoal grill: traditional paper kindling method or electrical coil starter. The former is less stressful but both of these methods are quite easy. Whichever method you decide to use, make sure the fire stays on for some time (about 10-15 minutes) before putting your meat.
Getting the right flavor
You can actually add different smoky flavors to the meat. To do this, add certain types of woods to the charcoal. There’s a good number of woods you can use for this purpose such as cherry, hickory, oak, apple wood or mesquite. To get the best of flavor from these woods, sprinkle water on the wood and wait until the kindled charcoal fire has heated up before adding them to the firebox. Keep adding more fresh wood as the previous ones burn out. It has to be a steady process in order to maintain the right temperature for your food.
Maintaining the juiciness of the meat
To bring out a considerable amount of juice in the meat, you have to maintain the desired temperature level for the meat throughout. Charcoal grills usually take more time to cook meals. It’s important to work at the pace of the grill and not try to hurry things up by increasing the temperature. To get the best result when it comes to taste and flavor, you need to slow-cook the meat at a steady temperature.
Grilling professionals will agree that the most ideal way to get the best smoky taste from meat is through charcoal grilling. Apart from the smoky flavor they produce, these grilling machines are lightweight, compact, and very portable.
With the review of the 12 best charcoal grills above, there’s no doubt you’ve seen one that meets your needs and requirements. Overall, grilling with a charcoal grill is not difficult. As long as you do the right things and follow all the rules, you should be very happy with the outcome of your grilling task.