Small Outdoor Grills — When to Use, Products, How to Cook On

Summer is for barbecues, and you can’t have a barbecue without a solid grill. You may have your trusted backyard grill that is perfect for cookouts in your backyard, a reliable gas grill that gets the job done. But what if you want to take your cooking space to a park or a beach? Then, it may be best to obtain a portable grill – think a small grill – that can still deliver the meals you and your family crave.

A portable grill – whether it’s a portable charcoal grill or a portable gas grill – is easy to use, making it a great way to share the grilling experience wherever you choose to go. You may even end up just using a small outdoor grill as your day-to-day cooking surface due to how easy it is to use and clean up.

In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about small outdoor grills and find out which ones are the best for your barbecue needs.

The Best Small Outdoor Grills

There are a variety of small outdoor grills – including gas grills and electric grills – available today. Plus, new ones come out constantly. This can make it difficult to choose the best small grill for your needs. Luckily, we’ve done a lot of the hard work for you.

To give you some ideas, here are some of the top small outdoor grills to take your barbecues on the go.

Cuisinart CCG190RB Inch BBQ — Best Overall

The first small outdoor grill recommendation is the Cuisinart CCG190RB Inch BBQ. At 150 inches, this five-pound grill is the perfect portable companion to get any barbecue started. 

The chrome-plated cooking rack provides ample room to cook your food all at once while still distributing heat evenly and efficiently. You also get optimal charcoal management and temperature control thanks to the dual venting system.

Once it’s time to go home, this small outdoor grill makes cleanup easy with the mess-free ash catcher for safety and ease. Available in a 14-inch size, 16-inch size, and in both black and red, this grill might end up being one of your favorite small grills this summer.

George Foreman Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill — Best Electric Grill

Next on our list of the best small outdoor grills is the George Foreman Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill.

If you’re looking for an electric grill that makes barbecues easy and hassle-free, then this George Foreman grill was made for you. The non-stick coating on this grill makes it durable and easy to clean, minimizing your need for oil or butter.

What makes this grill unique is that it’s ideal for not only outdoor use, but for indoors as well. It’s great for either an outdoor space or inside your house. Thanks to the removable stand, you can take the grill from your patio to your countertop in no time. This is perfect in the event of a sudden change in weather in order to ensure that the party continues indoors.

What’s more is that this grill includes adjustable temperature control with five heat settings to perfectly cook your food every time without worry. This is the perfect grill for those who live in apartments or small spaces.

Weber Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill — Best Charcoal Grill

Next, we have the Weber Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill.

If you’re looking for a classic grill that’s still compact and portable, look no further than this Weber Original Kettle Charcoal Grill. This might be the best portable charcoal grill.

It has an ultra-durable, porcelain-enameled lid and bowl that retain heat and allow for thorough heat distribution and even cooking. It also includes precise temperature control and a one-touch cleaning system for easy cleanup after a long day of grilling.

One convenient feature of this kettle grill is the lid hook, which eliminates the need to put the lid on the ground while you’re grilling. Beyond that, there’s no need to worry about ease of construction as this product comes with 3D interactive assembly instructions.

Mueller Portable Charcoal Grill and Smoker — Best Foldable Grill

The Mueller Portable Charcoal Grill and Smoker is a great option for those who want both a grill and a smoker in one compact, foldable size.

The unique folding design of this grill saves space and ensures easy setup for your festivities. There’s also minimal building required — all you have to do is unfold the legs of your grill and your stable and lightweight grill is ready for use.

One of the best features of this grill is the large cooking area that extends to 166 inches. This allows you to cook enough food for everyone at once and provides even heat distribution to everything on the grill. What’s more is that the sturdy heat-resistant frame also features side air vents to get your charcoal burning better.

This grill is durable, won’t rust, and can also be cleaned in the dishwasher for a hassle-free cleanup no matter where you go.

Masterbuilt MB20030819 Portable Propane Grill, Stainless Steel — Best Propane Grill

The last small outdoor grill on the list is the Masterbuilt MB20030819 Portable Propane Grill, Stainless Steel.

This small outdoor grill’s cooking surface is as much as 288 square inches, yet it still remains compact and portable enough to stash into your vehicle and bring to the park. With a 10,000 BTU U-shaped burner made of stainless steel, this grill has as much heat distribution as you need for even cooking.

It’s easy to move around with this small grill thanks to its locking lid and folding legs, and the stainless-steel cooking grates and construction ensure durability. Experience the joy of grilling whether you go, and easily clean up when done.

Small Outdoor Grills — The Basics

Small outdoor grills work in a similar way to full-sized grills, although they are easier to clean and even sometimes easier to use, depending on the type of grill.

Just as with full-sized grills, there are several different types of small outdoor grills, the main ones being propane, charcoal, and electric. Each one has their advantages.

Many people prefer the flavor of charcoal, but propane and natural gas tend to burn cleaner. Electric grills are the best choice for easy cleanup and may work best for settings with strict fire regulations.

Regardless of which type of small outdoor grill you choose, there are a few factors that you should consider when choosing the best for your needs. Some of these factors include:

  • Quality of the build
  • Size and potential available workspace
  • Whether you want a stand or not
  • Accessories

When Should You Use Small Outdoor Grills?

Small outdoor grills are a good choice for a variety of reasons.

Small outdoor grills cook basically anything that you can cook in a full-sized grill. You can use small outdoor grills to cook steaks, chicken, vegetables, burgers, or anything else that you typically have at a cookout.

You should have a small outdoor grill for whenever you want to take your barbecue outside of your home. There are several places where you can bring a small outdoor grill for your barbecue. These places include:

  • The beach
  • Parks
  • Camping

That said, there are other circumstances where you would choose a small outdoor grill. If you plan on grilling food for four people or fewer, you may want to opt to use a small outdoor grill instead of a full-sized grill to minimize cleanup.

What’s more is that small outdoor grills are the perfect size for small spaces, such as the balcony if you don’t happen to have a backyard. They are also often landlord-friendly due to the minimal damage they can potentially do to a balcony, allowing for those who live in apartments to enjoy the joys of grilling.

Recap: The Best Small Outdoor Grills

Small outdoor grills are practical, convenient, and a great way to extend your grilling possibilities. Whether you get one to take your barbecue on the go or need something that fits in small spaces, there are a variety of different small outdoor grill options for you to choose from.

Make sure that wherever you choose to grill — whether it be a public space or the apartment that you rent — that you are following all fire regulations and grill safely.

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