Meta: Check out our list of the best charcoal grills that you can take anywhere and find out which one is right for you.
Few things scream summertime like the smell of a charcoal grill on the weekend. Arguably, charcoal is one of the best fuels to use when you grill anything. There’s a case to be made for gas grills, but it’s hard for us to get behind their logic. Food cooked over charcoal just tastes better. That said, cleaning up after using a gas grill may be a little easier.
Part of the focus of this article is portability, and charcoal grills are easier to move around, and you don’t have to risk hauling a propane container around in your vehicle or camper. Most gas grills and their fuel tanks are pretty safe today, so this isn’t an argument in favor of charcoal over gas grills. Both types are safe and fairly easy to transport.
Charcoal Grill FAQs
1. Do I need special charcoal?
Advertisements make choosing most things a little more complicated, and ads for charcoal and grills always claim their product is the best or offers some unique feature. However, the only thing you may encounter if you use different types of charcoal is flavor since each brand adds a slightly different flavor to whatever you cook.
2. What’s the difference between charcoal and briquettes?
The only difference between these two things is their names. Some people call the briquettes charcoal while others may call them charcoal briquettes, but they’re pretty much the same thing. That said, you can buy some brands that include added flavors like oak or mesquite. Some types of charcoal include a little bit of wood in the briquette that add smoke and flavor to your food as well.
3. Are charcoal grills safe?
Grills get hot, and you can burn yourself if you don’t pay attention and follow the safety precautions set by common-sense and the grill’s manufacturer. High temperatures and fire add some safety concerns to grilling, but overall charcoal grills are safe if you use them correctly.
4. Are charcoal grills easy to move?
Charcoal grills come in a variety of sizes and styles from large behemoths you can cook 30 chickens on to small ones designed for use on your tailgate. Whether or not the grill is easy to move or haul to a new location depends on the type of grill you buy.
5. What can I cook in a charcoal grill?
You can cook almost anything on a grill that you might cook in your kitchen. Meat is the most common thing people grill, but vegetables taste amazing cooked over charcoal. Get creative, and you may find that grilling meat and vegetables is the best way to cook them.
How We Chose the Best Charcoal Grills
For this list, we focused on grills with good brand reputations and excellent customer reviews. We only wanted grills that you can move easily or pack up and take with you to the beach or camping for this list as well. So, every grill we picked needed to be easy to clean up and pack up.
The final list got comprised of the best charcoal grills for traveling. You can pack them up and take them with you to the beach, camping, or tailgating at sports events. We didn’t focus on the cost of each grill because the goal was finding the best charcoal grills you can take with you. That said, most of the grills on our list are budget-friendly.
What Should I Pay for a Good Charcoal Grill?
You can expect to pay between $25 and $50 for most of the grills on our list. A couple of the grills cost more than $100, but there are plenty of budget-friendly choices on the list as well. Determine how much food you may need to grill and how much room you have to store the grill.
Top 10 Best Charcoal Grills for Traveling
Keep in mind that this list is all about finding the best charcoal grill that you can take with you. Because the grills are portable, you can’t put a lot of food on them at one time. Most of these grills will hold four to six burgers or maybe a whole chicken at one time. If you plan well and place everything on the grill correctly, these grills can cook enough for a family of three or four in one shot.
You can get this grill on Amazon for $54.00. The cooking surface is coated for easy cleanup and to help prevent food from sticking to it. It uses dual vents to help regulate the temperature while you grill, and the dome-shaped lid helps keep the air moving and the temperature consistent across the surface of the grill. It only weighs about three pounds so that anyone can move it around quickly.
People that own this grill claim it’s perfect for most travel grilling jobs. You can take it on picnics, to the beach, camping, or tailgating for quick and easy grilling on the go. The material is a little thinner than some of the other grills which may cause it to break down over time.
You can get this charcoal grill on Amazon for $24.48. The cooking surface is coated, and you can fit six to eight burgers on it depending on the size of the patties. The lid vented for easy temperature control. It has a dome-shaped lid which helps keep the temperature even inside the grill. The lid locks in place when you get ready to move the grill.
People that own this grill love it for quick family trips to the beach or the lake. The grill is only 15 inches across which means it will fit on a picnic table or a tailgate easily. It weighs about two pounds and you can disassemble it for longer trips to make packing more efficient.
You can order this grill on Amazon for $121.27. This grill comes with several perks including a temperature gauge, porcelain coating, and a large cooking surface. The cooking surface works like any other grill, or you can fix it to lift when you open the lid. This feature makes it easier to add charcoal or stir the coals a bit, plus it helps keep your hands away from the heat when you flip your food.
People that own this grill like the perks and the size of the grill. The grill is heavy for a portable model since it weighs around 23 pounds. Compared to many portable grills this one is sturdier and made from heavier materials. The grill may last longer than other grills if you don’t mind the extra weight when you need to pack it up or carry it.
You can order this grill on Amazon for $44.99. The cooking surface in this grill is nickel plated which adds life to it and makes it easier to clean up when you get done. It only holds about five hamburgers, but they might be all you need for one meal. The dual vents make regulating the heat simple, and the classic dome lid ensures that your food cooks evenly.
Weber is one of the top grill brands on the market and people that own one love it. The grill only weighs about six pounds, but its short legs make it sturdy. You can use it anywhere that you need a small grill to fit in tight spaces or on small surfaces. Pack it up and take in on any family outing easily and without worrying about using up much space.
You can order this grill on Amazon for $54.99. The grill is rectangular, but both ends of the lid are vented, so you don’t have to worry about the air circulating to keep the temperature even across all of your food. The nickel-plated cooking surface is easy to clean and holds about six average size burgers.
This grill is made with portability in mind. The legs fold over the lid to hold it in place and get the legs out of the way for packing. With the legs folded over the lid, you can lift and carry the grill using the handle on the lid. People that own this grill love the design, and they say the grill is easy to keep clean as well. The legs are thin and may not support much weight.
You can order this grill on Amazon for $86.00. It weighs about 23 pounds due to the cast iron material, but that also means it will last for years if you take care of it. It comes seasoned and ready to grill, so you don’t have to worry about seasoning it. However, you should learn how to properly season cast iron to keep the grill clean and in good shape.
This grill is a hibachi style which means it doesn’t use a lid. You’ll find plenty of uses for it from cooking vegetables to grilling chicken. The grill is seasoned with vegetable oil when it arrives at your door. However, if you don’t take care of it, the cast iron material will start to rust. Make sure you’re prepared to take care of it before you buy this one.
You can order this grill on Amazon for $119.99. This a hibachi-style grill made of cast iron. It comes seasoned but you need to learn how to keep is seasoned if you plan to own one. The grill is heavy but holds about ten hamburger patties.
It’s not ideal for hiking or carrying long distances, but it works well for picnics or camping. Most owners love this grill but wish it was a little lighter. Taking care of cast iron may be more work than most people want, but grills like this one will last a lifetime.
You can order this grill on Amazon for $34.99. The vent in the center of the lid helps force the air inside the grill to rotate and keep things cooking evenly. The cooking surface is easy to clean and holds about six burgers. It comes with an extra cooking surface that folds and lifts with the lid. The legs fold up and the lid locks in place for traveling.
People that own this grill love its portability and lightweight design. Some owners had a little difficulty putting the grill together and taking it apart. However, the grill’s design makes moving it easy, so we’re not sure why taking it apart caught some complaints.
You can order this charcoal grill on Amazon for $24.99. It is a hibachi style grill that’s probably best suited for picnics or tailgating. You can squeeze six or seven medium-size pork chops on the grill or a healthy serving of vegetables. The cooking surface is easy to clean up and rust resistant. The legs fold up out of the way when you get ready to pack the grill up.
People that own this grill use it for everything from hiking to tailgating. The foldable legs and square design make it easy to pack in a vehicle or with your camping gear for a hike. The grill folds up to roughly the size of a small briefcase.
You can order this grill on Amazon for $23.99. This grill only holds three or four burgers, but it comes with a carrying case that doubles as a cooler. You could store meat or vegetables in the cooler for short hikes or use it to carry the grill.
If you need a small grill to cook on for one or two people, this grill may be the one you’re looking for, and it’s easy to carry. If you’re looking for a grill to cook enough for four or five people, there are better choices on our list.
The Cuisinart GrateLifter Portable Charcoal Grill is the best charcoal grill that you can take with you anywhere. If you need a more budget-friendly option, the Weber Smokey Joe Gold Charcoal Grill is the next best choice but only costs a little over $50.