Be it at the end of a hike, a tailgate, or even a different area of your backyard, when you think about it, there's really no reason not to enjoy grilling wherever you are.
Well, there can be one impediment: Mobility.
Traditional grills are often bulky, heavy, and difficult to lug from place to place. Even those on wheels are more of a permanent fixture.
That's where portable grills come in – compact, lightweight, and easy to carry, they are designed specifically for on-the-go grilling.
However, not all portable grills are created equal. Many are meant for utility and not made to be the grill you'll grow old with. What's more, many portable grills are limiting.
So where do you turn for a portable grill that checks the most important boxes, which include durability, longevity, and versatility?
This portable grill comparison is a great start. We look at our TG Series Grill against other portable grill types.
What is the Best Portable Grill?
If you've ever been in the market for a portable grill, that's a question you've probably wrestled with. The question isn't just about what's top of the line, but also what's the best portable grill for you?
And there are plenty of companion questions that deserve some consideration, too:
- How big a portable grill do you want? Are you actually in the market for a portable grill, or would a bigger grill that's easier to move be more your speed?
- What's your weight limit for it? Is your new portable grill something you'll be taking along into the wilderness or something you'll put in the back of your truck for tailgating?
- How does your definition of portable match up with those of grill manufacturers? Do you mean portable as in something that you can easily relocate, set up, and pack up, or something that you can move around even if it requires some effort?
- What kind of lifespan are you expecting from it? Is your portable grill one that you hope to pass down to your grandkids or are you looking to get a few seasons out of it?
Go online or to your favorite big box retailer, and the questions only become harder to answer.
The options out there are great and many, and narrowing things down takes time.
To the original query (we'll revisit this one again later) – What is the best portable grill?
To us, the best portable grill is one that offers both durability and performance. Often, portable grills are seen as short-term investments that are easy on the wallet, losing functionality after just a few seasons. The quick failure of cheaper portable grills can be attributed to inferior materials and construction. They may have thin metal components, poor welds, or inadequate coatings that succumb to rust and wear quickly, particularly under the harsh conditions of outdoor use and high-temperature cooking.
However, a well-made portable grill breaks this mold, providing reliable service and consistent cooking results during its entire useful life. It’s not just about having a grill that’s easy to transport, but one that will be a dependable companion for any culinary adventure, ensuring your investment goes the distance.
Portable Charcoal Grill Comparison | 6 Ways the TG Stacks Up
If we may ... we have another answer to, “What's the best portable grill?” The TG Series Portable Grill.
The newest member of the Smokin' Ugly family, the TG is designed to change perspectives on what you should expect from a portable grill.
What sets the TG apart from other portable grills? These six factors. Let's dig in:
We'll start with the first thing most people look at when comparing similar products, answering another question: How much does it cost?
To be sure, the TG is not like the portable grills that you pick up for $30 in an outdoor display at a discount store in between the pool noodles and ice freezer.
To be direct, the TG costs more than most portable grills, and for good reason(s). It's made from higher quality materials and has several features other grills simply don't (which we'll discuss below) What's more, the TG is designed to be the portable grill you'll use the rest of your life.
As we like to look at it, buying a TG is an investment in the best value you can get for a charcoal portable grill. Plus, you get a cooking implement that you'll enjoy for countless meals.
Think for a second about that grill we mentioned that you might buy at a discount store. You've probably seen them in use – and there's a good chance you may have owned one.
That grill has a few standard features that don't bode well for it.
Its metal is a thin sheet of iron or steel that rusts quickly – and the same goes for its hardware.
Speaking of hardware, cheap portable grills are often flimsy and require their nuts and bolts to be retightened after every few relocations. And if that wasn't enough, their insides (burners, grease shields, & even grates) don't often stand up much past a season to two to the rigors of use.
That's not the TG.
American-made, the TG is manufactured from robust stainless steel that withstands high heat (if you use the pizza oven attachment, you'll get temps upward of 900℉) as well as the byproducts of cooking with charcoal (the potential corrosive lye from when the ash gets exposed to moisture). And unlike the more ... cost-effective ... options out there, you don't need to worry about the TG taking an accidental hit – its body and lid won't crumple and render it unusable.
This one goes hand-in-hand with durability.
Put simply, the TG is made to last.
With just some normal TLC – cleaning it after each use, making sure to remove spent charcoal and ash, and protecting it from the elements when not in use – you'll have no problem enjoying the TG for many years.
Again, we ask you to think of that grill from the discount store. Or take things a step further, think of a slightly more expensive portable grill. Beyond grilling, what else does either do?
The short answer: nothing.
The vast majority of portable grills on the market are made to do one job, and one job only.
Not the TG.
In fact, we've dubbed the TG as a triple threat. In addition to being a grill, the TG is easily transformed into a griddle or pizza oven.
With its multifunctionality, you'll have no problem cooking everything from steaks and burgers to pancakes, breakfast potatoes, and even wood-fired pizza.
Speaking of functionality, the TG's lid helps you do even more with the grill. Boasting a spring-assisted hinge, the TG's lid can stay in any position you set it.
How does that help you?
First and foremost, when you need both hands, keeping your lid up or down won't get in your way. Simply just let it go. You'll never worry about it slamming down. Additionally, the lid becomes a vent of sorts – being set in position, you can use it to trap or release heat.
Charcoal grills are often praised by BBQ aficionados for their ability to impart a distinct, smoky flavor to food, a characteristic that is hard to replicate with other types of grills.
The secret behind this unique flavor lies in the combustion process. When charcoal burns, it creates a more complex flavor profile due to the production of woodsy, smoky compounds that are absorbed by the food being grilled.
Furthermore, charcoal grills offer the flexibility of smoking meats, a process that further deepens the flavor profile – just toss some smoker chips or chunks on the bed of coals. The smoke generated envelopes the meat, infusing it with a rich, smoky flavor that is the hallmark of traditional barbecue. This slow cooking process also tenderizes the meat, enhancing its texture and overall taste.
On the other hand, propane grills, while convenient and easy to control, burn cleanly and do not produce the same smoky flavor. They often require additional equipment to attempt to mimic the flavor produced naturally by charcoal grills.
Yes, you read that right.
The TG brings an element of sustainability to the grill game that other portable options don't.
Its durable construction ensures a long-lasting grilling companion, reducing the need for replacements as seen with less robust models. Why? Its core material – stainless steel – is a more sustainable choice over iron due to its longer lifespan and resistance to corrosion without the need for chemical treatments or coatings.
Unlike many grills, the TG is unpainted, eliminating the risk of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or other toxins being released during cooking, making it a safer and more eco-friendly choice.
The TG's fuel source – charcoal – also presents a benefit over portable propane grills that require propane tanks. Disposing of empty propane tanks can be tough due to their hazardous nature – they're not just something you throw in the trash. Charcoal, however, is considered a more natural substance and has a reduced environmental footprint.
And your leftover ash? That can go in your garden to enhance your soil profile.
The TG Series Portable Grill: No Comparison
So again, what is the best portable grill?
From where we're sitting, it's the one that's designed to do the most and last the longest. More simply, it's the portable grill that gets you the most for your money.
And pardon our bias, that's exactly what the TG is designed to do.
Curious to Learn More About the TG?
Check out our article on TG FAQs