Best Portable Grills For Camping

There are so many great portable grills available today that will fit the needs of almost any occasion, but Chef Jimmy Kennedy has made a go-to list for charcoal, propane and wood grills.

Cook
By Jimmy Kennedy
Cook Ambassador

Whether you are looking to purchase a portable grill for camping, tailgating, a family weekend picnic or just to have around the house or apartment, there are many things to consider before purchasing. I would have to say that the first consideration, and perhaps the most important, is whether you want to go with propane or charcoal. They both have their own pros and cons, but when it comes right down to it, it’s just a matter of what you feel the most comfortable with and how often you plan on using the grill. Once you have this important choice made, you can start looking at other needs, such as portability, durability, price and overall effectiveness. There are so many great portable grills available today that will fit the needs of almost any occasion, but here’s my go-to list for charcoal, propane and wood. Regardless of your choice, the most important thing is to go outside and get to grilling!

CHARCOAL

Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill

This little grill has a lot of features that stand out and make it a great choice for a portable charcoal grill. I love the simple, all-in-one design. The legs fold up on top of the lid to lock in place, making for really easy and safe transporting. I also appreciate the fact that the body of the grill is made of enameled cast iron.

The grill is relatively small, but there’s more than enough room for a good bed of coals, and the grate gives you enough room to easily cook for three or four people or even more, depending on what’s for dinner.

3 Favorite Features

  • Superportable
  • Affordable
  • Design

Lodge Kickoff Grill

Lodge has introduced a line of new grilling products and the Kickoff Grill is the centerpiece of this new launch. At first glance, the Kickoff resembles their iconic Dutch Oven in design but it’s actually a two-piece round grill. The coals are loaded onto the top of the flat bottom piece and the grill piece covers the coals creating a very portable and efficient charcoal grill. By simply twisting the grill piece you can control the air flow. It also comes with two steel hooks and carry handles to safely move around the camp or backyard. The cast-iron retains the heat from the coals much longer than any other grills I’ve ever used. With the Kickoff, I like to get the charcoal going in a charcoal chimney starter and add more charcoal as needed. You’ll find that a small amount goes a long way. As with all Lodge products, if you give this grill just a little tender loving care, it will last a lifetime. 

3 Favorite Features

  • Pre-seasoned Cast Iron 
  • Draft adjustment
  • Two-piece no assembly

Big Green Egg MiniMax

Big Green Eggs have been around for over 40 years and they have definitely dialed in the right ingredients for the best, most versatile, fuel-efficient kamado-style grill on the market.  This style of grill and the Big Green Egg’s popularity come in part from the fact that these grills are so incredibly versatile. With the Eggs, you can grill, bake or smoke and do it right and in style.

The first time I used a Big Green Egg was at an open house at a hardware store in downtown Washington, DC. I was there for Cabot Creamery and Mac and Cheese was on the menu, of course. I was immediately impressed at the amount of control I had over the temperature, and the fact that I could actually bake the mac instead of just heating over a grill.

The MiniMax is the smallest and most portable of all the iconic Big Green Eggs. It’s size and handy carrier make it perfect for camping, tailgating, backyard, or even on the boat. The MiniMax sports a 13 inch diameter stainless steel cooking surface and a 19 inch height. It is constructed exactly the same and offers the same limited lifetime warranty as the bigger Eggs, just in a smaller package. It may be smaller, but you can still cook two large steaks, four burgers, a whole turkey or chicken, a rack of ribs or plenty of Mac and Cheese, of course. 

3 Favorite Features

  • Versatility
  • Stainless Steel Cooking Grid 
  • Have to mention the good looks

PROPANE

Weber Q 1200 Gas Grill

This is a grill that I’m very familiar with and have been using for quite some time now. I first used the Weber Go-Anywhere for a cooking demo years ago in a convention center and was so impressed with it, I went out and bought one. I’ve used it for many demos since that first one and on camping trips, for tailgating, at home and even in the boat. It checks all the boxes for a portable grill and can even step in and fill the need for home or apartment use, if need be. The grill seems small but holds more food than seems possible. It cooks with a nice, even heat and gets hot quickly.

One of my favorite features of the grill is that it has porcelain-enameled cast-iron cooking grates. The cast-iron grates are heavy-duty, retain heat well and clean up much more easily. Just be sure you don’t use a wire brush or wadded-up aluminum foil to clean the grates. The porcelain coating is a nice feature but needs a little more TLC when cleaning. Another feature I really like, and I’m not sure if this was intended or not, is the way the hinged lid acts as a nice barrier to wind. I’ve propped the lid open on some crazy, windy days, and the grill worked flawlessly.

The grill has a tray on the bottom that acts as a catch-all for grease and makes for supereasy cleanup.

3 Favorite Features

  • Porcelain-Enameled Cast-Iron Grates
  • Portability
  • Great Cooking Heat


Coleman RoadTrip 285 Portable Stand-Up Propane Grill

This is another grill that I’ve had the opportunity to use for several years. This grill was made for easy transportation, and it certainly does a great job of that, but I’ve used the 285 more for home use than any other. The RoadTrip 285 has a 285-square-inch grilling surface, hence the name, which gives you enough room to include a cast-iron pan in your cooking or room enough for plenty of grilling. The large cooking surface and three independent, adjustable burners help when cooking for larger groups or when you need more control for multiple dishes.

The grill comes with two sliding side tables that come in handy when camping or at home. The side tables are a real bonus when the only other choice is to place things on the ground or cooler top. They also make a good spot to place a bowl- or plateful of whatever you plan on grilling as you’re loading the grill or to rest your tongs.

I’ve come to love the fact that this grill can be rolled around so easily and that it can be stored standing up. It’s also very easy to set up, take down and clean.

3 Favorite Features

  • Portability
  • Huge Cooking Surface
  • Side Tables

Breeo Outpost

While the Breeo Outpost doesn’t fall into the charcoal or propane category, it more than deserves to be put in its own category. I’ve been using the Breeo Outpost for several months now, and it’s easily my favorite way to cook outdoors. The Outpost uses the grill post to secure an anchor (Anchorpoint system) into the ground beside a campfire or pit. The fully adjustable grill is then attached, giving you a very stable grilling surface that can be rotated, raised or lowered for total control during cooking or for serving. The grate, post and Anchorpoint system come with a bag that can be stored flat for easy transport.

Campfire cooking isn’t always feasible on every trip, but if it is, this is the way to go.

3 Favorite Features

  • Adjustable Grill
  • Anchorpoint System
  • Superportable

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