How to Shop for the Very Best Small Charcoal Grill
- How to Shop for the Very Best Small Charcoal Grill
Why should you use a tiny charcoal grill? What's wrong with using a bigger unit? What's wrong with a gas grill?
Well, if you look back at your childhood, you remember how much fun it was for your parents to go to a camping spot, whip out a small metal grill, plop some charcoal briquettes in there, get a fire going and the barbecue starts to roll off the grill. Sure, it can be messy. Sure, it can be smoky. Sometimes it takes a long time to get the fire going, but none of that really matters.
Your memories center on the fact that you are enjoying some premium-grade barbecue. This might not be the very best barbecue in the world cooked by the biggest name chefs, but that's beside the point. You look back at this very particular time and period in your childhood, and it fills you with such pleasant memories.
That's how powerful a great charcoal barbecue can be, and you can recapture a lot of those memories. You can create even better memories with your own grill. It's small. It's portable. It's easy to use. It's easy to fill up. If you use the right model, it's easy to take apart and clean.
Of course, the big disadvantage that you have with a small grill compared to larger units is that you are limited by the amount of food you can prepare at one time. The good news is that people who are looking for this type of grilling equipment usually know that already. They're looking for just a small meal, or they only have a small party. They're not looking to prepare barbecues and baby back ribs and all sorts of grilled delicacies for all their neighbors on the block. They're probably going to be grilling up something for a few friends. In this case, a tiny grill has your needs covered although it has a small footprint and a relatively small cooking space.
Our top picks for 2019
Our Top Picks for 2019
This Black colored portable unit introduced by Weber is the perfect choice for outdoor cookouts, camping, and even tailgate parties. Available at a very affordable price of less than $40 on Amazon, this Weber original is similar to their Kettle grill series. With the capacity to cook up meals that can serve about six people, the Smokey Joe consists of many features that are beneficial in outdoor cooking.
The 14 1/2" diameter cooking grate which is triple nickel plated can easily cook three steaks or about six burgers at a time. The bowl and lid of this charcoal grill are porcelain enameled so that it can resist rust and also deliver even heat throughout the food that you are cooking. The lid can be easily lifted and put down since it consists of a glass reinforced nylon handle. The unit also includes an aluminum ash catcher.
Item dimensions with the lid closed measure at 17" H x 14.2" W x 14.5" D while the total cooking space measures at 147 square inches. The bowl and lid are offered a ten-year company warranty with no rust and burns while the one touch cleaning system and plastic components are offered five years which excludes discoloration.
Many customers who purchase this charcoal grill claim that they prefer it due to the unique ash catcher tray at the bottom as well as the holes in which the air flows through. A slight problem might be the ash residue getting stuck at the bottom which can be avoided if you empty the ash regularly. A tip to keep the coals hot would be to open up the vents.
Cuisinart Portable Charcoal Grill
Lightweight and perfect, this inexpensive charcoal grill is a beautiful piece of equipment that you can use in your backyard or even at a picnic or party where you want a simple barbecue. The machine weighs only about 2 pounds but offers you the unique feature of over 150 square inches of cooking surface. The reason being its firebox which is enamel coated making it durable with the ability to cook food at very high temperatures.
Available in a vibrant red and midnight black colors, this coal model does not leave a mess once it's used for a cook which is what most campers and barbecue lovers want. The product consists of a mess-free ash catcher which allows you to keep your grilling space clean and residue free. It lessens the time taken when cleaning up.
The cooking surface which boasts of a diameter of 14 inches is similar to the Weber and is also chrome plated allowing users to cook up at least seven burger patties at a time. The charcoal flavor is all yours for less than $40 which is indeed a great find on Amazon. The unit is also easy to transport since it's lid consists of three locks. Product dimensions measure at 14.5" x 14.5" x 15".
According to many customer reviews, the Cuisinart Portable 14" is easy to assemble since it comes with instructions. It is one of the most compact grills that you will come across on the market today. It is also quite stylish and will be ideal for a backyard barbecue party that you are planning to throw for your family or friends.
Char-Griller 1515 Patio Pro Charcoal Grill
Consisting of a much larger surface than the previous two models, the Char-Griller 1515 offers 250 square inches of cooking space. This compact model boasts of a heavy steel construction and a double steel bottom and weighs approximately 50 pounds. The apparatus is also powder coated making it durable. Cast iron grates also help in the durability factor of the unit. The wheels make it easy to transport the unit from one location to another. The Patio Pro is 44 inches in height, 31 inches wide and 21 inches deep.
The easy dump ash pan makes cleaning away the residue stress free and efficient since you do not have to tip over the entire machine. You have only to pull out the pan and get rid of the ash. A side air vent allows air flow to regulate the grilling of the meat while the lid is closed. You can have your uncooked meat patties and condiments on the side shelf until you need them while even your bag of coal can be kept in the storage rack in the bottom. You won't have to worry about walking to your kitchen or vehicle back and forth to get these extras.
A question that many of you faced before purchasing is the exact length of the cooking area excluding the side shelf. The grilling area is about 18 inches while the shelf alone measures up to 11 inches. The Char-Griller 1515 requires assembly, and it certainly is not a difficult task. Some claim that the instruction manual is difficult to comprehend, but once you get the hang of it, it's quite easy to put together. Many users love its practicality and its worth the price which is about $90 or less on Amazon at the time of this review. Altogether, it's one of the sturdiest grills that you will find online which is ideal for a small family.
Lodge L410 Pre-Seasoned Sportsman's Charcoal Grill
Manufactured by Lodge which is known for its high quality cast iron product range, this hibachi-style rugged looking charcoal grill is perfect for your patio or even tailgating, picnics and camping. This durable unit is slightly expensive than what we have reviewed so far and sold on Amazon for approximately $90 or more but completely worth it.
The heat is properly regulated throughout the unit due to its draft door while the coals can be accessed through the very convenient flip-down door. Features of the Lodge L410 consists of a cast iron grill-grate which results in superior quality grilled meats and seafood. It also comes with two adjustable heights which allow you to control the cooking speed and temperature of your food.
The product measures 19" x 10.25" x 8.25" while the cooking space measures at 17.25 inches x 9 inches. Ideally washed by hand, you should dry it immediately after washing. For longer use and durability, it is said that you should rub the grate with a light coat of oil, vegetable preferably. It is mainly to keep the cast iron well seasoned and protected from the moisture outside. It also comes attached with a handle for carrying it around.
Weighing about 27 pounds, the L410 is a sturdy grilling apparatus that promises long-lasting use, if taken care of. Many customers claim that it is best that you oil it after every wash so that this becomes easier to use and clean afterwards. Minimal assembly is required when setting it up, and its unique tank shape is one of the main reasons that it is a top contender in this list.
According to these reviews, it's quite clear that you can indeed enjoy a good barbecue with a small yet portable machine rather than opting for a bigger version. If you are constantly on the road and love to travel and go camping, these little versions are the best option to settle. The easiest shopping alternative is to purchase a small charcoal grill on Amazon where you can compare great reviews as well. If you have had other experiences, share them with us.
Enjoy Distinct Joys of Small-Grill Cooking
The great thing about small-grill cooking is that it's quick and easy. You can whip out the grill at your favorite camping spot, put on the charcoal, get a barbecue going, kill the heat, clean it up and get back on your way. It's very portable. There is no unnecessary drama of having to lug it around. It's not heavy. You don't need special equipment to get it from point A to point B.
In other words, it enables you to enjoy the great outdoors at the last minute. You gain a tremendous sense of freedom and possibility when using such equipment. It's not like you're tied down to a cumbersome and bulky piece of equipment that you have to pump gas into and make all sorts of advanced arrangements.
The remarkable thing about the right charcoal grill design is that you can just put it in the back of your car or truck and possibly forget about it until the next time you need to prepare a freshly roasted or grilled barbecued meal. Quick, easy, affordable. What's not to love?
You get to enjoy whatever charms and adventures the great outdoors has to offer at the last minute. There's nothing more impressive than watching the sunset and enjoying some freshly roasted barbecued chicken with your best friends. It doesn't get any better than that. You tilt back a few beers, and you call it a day.
Best Way to Start a Charcoal fueled small grill
As awesome as it is to use such a grill when out in the great outdoors and enjoying magnificent sunsets and/or great sunrises, for that matter, with your friends and family, you still have to take care of that small matter of starting a fire. Whenever we're talking about charcoal, starting a fire will always be an issue. That's right. Even if you're using those self-starter or self-fueled charcoal briquettes, it's not a slam-dunk that they would you know heat up at the right time. It's anybody's guess whether they would heat up at the right temperature.
Considering all these variations, it's no small wonder why gas grills have been designed to ensure that you get the right heat at the right time, and it takes all the guesswork out of getting a fire going.The problem is gas girls also have their own set of challenges. Still, starting a charcoal grill can be an adventure in of itself. There can be a lot of variabilities there. It can pretty much be like rolling the dice or taking shots in the dark. It's anybody's guess whether you would get the results that you want at the time that you want.
To take as much of the guesswork out of the process as possible, you need to follow the steps below. I'm not claiming that this is the absolute best way to start a small charcoal fire. There are many ways, of course, but this is tried and proven. This works in a wide variety of situations, and a lot of the guesswork has been taken out of the equation.
The first step is to pile up the charcoal with lots of open space. This is really important. You cannot create a closed-up pile or a packed pile of coal and expect it to start smoothly. It just won't happen because there's not enough oxygen flowing through the stack. You have to leave open spaces. There have to be enough gaps there for the charcoal to properly catch either on top, on the side or near the bottom.
Next, you have to use a layering technique. You need to find kindling. This can be in the form of paper, cardboard or even twigs and thin branches. You need to use this lighting and layer them around the charcoal if you're dealing with particularly stubborn charcoal. There are many charcoal brands out there that are particularly stubborn. I mean they produce well-textured, roasted meats, but they are a hassle to work with.
In that particular case, you need to use the right kindling. This kindling has to be light. Light the fire over the layered pile and watch it catch slowly. Give it enough opportunity to light up and burn. Don't expect the whole collection to just go up in flames. It doesn't work that way. You're better off with a small fire starting at one end, spreading slowly to the other end.
This way, you can have a nice pile of embers. You have to remember when you are using charcoal for cooking; it's the embers that do the actual cooking. The flames may be all dramatic and everything, but they don't do a thorough job cooking whatever it is you're preparing to eat.
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