Portable Charcoal Grill

There are many reasons to appreciate summer and the ability to enjoy a good barbecue.  Some people just can't get enough reasons to get outside and grill.  Other people have more than one excuse of why they can't - they don't have a covered patio, their deck is too small, don't have the room, etc.  Well, now there are more than enough reasons to go for it if you have a portable charcoal grill.  

Recent grill article and review guides have been showing a growing interest in charcoal grilling.  It has spiked in the past several years.  Not only that, but the amount of interest in learning how to grill using charcoal has grown as well.  There is just something special about that taste and style of grilling that you don't get from a propane fired grill.

These barbecue coals are ready to go.  Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/16869306@N00/199135253/
These barbecue coals are ready to go. Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/16869306@N00/199135253/

Why Use A Portable Charcoal Grill

Well, the answer to this question has more to do with your reasons for cooking on coals instead of open fire. You see, there is a camp of coal purists versus the propane cookers.  The charcoal grillers think (we know) that the food made over charcoal bricks just plain tastes better.  In fact, some charcoal even has flavoring that can be added to make it have a mesquite hint to it.  Once those coals turn grey, it is time to put on the meat or veges of your choice and start sizzling.

Charcoal also has the advantage of beign able to create a more consistent barbecue temperature.  It seems counterintuitive as you think that a flame would be easier to control.  However, in order to keep your temperature in that 'barbecue zone' charcoal maintains better than propane. 

One reason why you might choose propane pertains to the clean-up or shutting down process.  It is much quicker and cleaner to cook with propane.  Once you finish cooking, you simply shut of your gas, let the flame burn out and turn off your knobs.  Done deal and you can go inside.  With coals, you have to make sure they burn all the way out, which could take hours, then dispose of properly to make sure they don't have any potential heat to cause a fire left in them.  You get dirtier cleaning out a charcoal grill too.  In the end, it is a matter of personal taste.  And to me, things taste better over charcoal!

Portable Charcoal Grill Prices

There are a wide variety of portable grills available online. You can search Amazon or Ebay (see below for some examples) to get a sense of what you would like in your grill. They range in size, quality and materials used. Then, the price is dependent upon these factors.

A basic Weber portable charcoal grill could cost as little as around $30 USD. This is for the most simple style of charcoal grill with the classic clam shape, grill screen and stand. It is from Weber, a trusted company in the business, but don't expect many bells and whistles from this one. You may see it listed as the "Weber Smokey Joe Gold".  Another 'entry level' charcoal grill is the "Weber One Touch Silver".  This one sells for about $100 USD and is the classic charcoal grill.

Other Weber models sell for as much as $150+ USD for more substantial models with larger work areas, wheels and a more firm base. Then, you might opt for a stainless steel portable grills and pay more like $250+ USD. Some even sell in the range of $2,500 USD for a charcoal grill. If this is your first go at using charcoal grills, start with a cheaper one and work your way up if you choose. 

One of the best reasons to own a portable charcoal grill is tailgating season.  Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/asymptotedesign/2162232235/
One of the best reasons to own a portable charcoal grill is tailgating season. Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/asymptotedesign/2162232235/
You can imagine even camping with one like this grill.  Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/ginyu/37957532/
You can imagine even camping with one like this grill. Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/ginyu/37957532/

Other Portable Grills

Having said all of this, there are portable gas grills as well.  Now, I'm more of a purist in the grilling department, so I will always favor the robust flavor and manner of cooking over coals, but propane certainly has its pluses.  If you are trying to cook something in a pinch or have a certain time crunch, propane is definitely the go to fuel source. 

For example, you are planning on tailgating at the game and are either running late or the stadium might not allow charcoal fires.  This is the perfect scenario for using a portable grill that uses propane.  Think of it like those Coleman camping stoves.  They have lasted many years and served many fine meals.  Many times, in the case of camping, you may be just heating things up in pots.  This does not require flavor and it would take you much more precious time and weight (not to mention bulk) to pack charcoal.  Propane is much quicker and easier in this case.  However, if you are camping at an improved campground with facilities, then using a portable charcoal grill for your brats or burgers could be your heaven sent blessing on that food scrimped day.  Your food always tastes better camping, imagine it being grilled over coals now. 

It must be a portable grill judging by his location, but not the easiest to move.  Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/emyrpugh/2961073427/
It must be a portable grill judging by his location, but not the easiest to move. Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/emyrpugh/2961073427/

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