10 Best Portable Grills | March 2017
- comes with a grease trap
- powered by a 7000-btu burner
- griddle cannot accommodate omelets
- great for smoking meats
- includes a temperature gauge
- ash tray can be hard to pull out
- good choice for small backyards
- can be purchased with a stand
- propane tank is not included
- integrated electronic ignition
- built-in warming rack
- can slow roast or sear meat
- attractive retro style
- adjustable dampers
- grid has hinges for easy removal
- three cooking surfaces
- pull-out serving panels
- built-in tool holder on the side
- available in 14 colors
- ergonomically-designed handles
- high lid accommodates small roasts
How Do I Choose the Best Portable Grill For Me?
If you're in the market for a portable grill, it's safe to assume that you want to be able to transport that grill from one place to another. If you only need to transport a grill within a confined space (e.g., a backyard or an apartment complex, etc.), then your best bet might be a model that comes with an attached stand, and rolling wheels. If, on the other hand, you plan on transporting that grill inside a car, you're better off with a small, standalone model that doesn't weigh anything more than 40 lbs.
By and large, any portable grill should be constructed out of stainless steel. Stainless steel is weather-resistant and it's easy to clean. Given a grill is highly prone to smoke and charcoal damage, you may want to veer toward a black model, as opposed to a silver one. In addition, you'll want a portable grill to feature pull-out trays along both sides, and perhaps even a warming rack above the grates for toasting buns.
One of the most important features of any portable grill is its cooking surface. Any cooking surface that measures more than 2 ft. across may be difficult to fit inside your car. Along those lines, you'll want to consider whether you'd rather have a gas grill or a manual model inside of your vehicle. Gas grills use less coal, which can make a mess out of any backseat. But manual grills can be hosed down or dumped out, and there's no chance of a manual grill ever leaking any propane.
How to Properly Clean Your Portable Grill
If there is one drawback to a portable grill it's that the mechanism tends to get filthy. All-day picnics and backyard barbecues produce set-in grease and charcoal film. The good news is that a portable grill is easy to clean. All you need is some vinegar, a bowl of soapy water, some steel wool, and a wire brush.
You can start by using the wire brush to scour any residue from the top of the grill grates. Once that's done, flip the grates over and scrub along the bottom. Next, remove the grates so you can wipe them down by way of a wash cloth and some soapy water. Hose the grates down, then leave them to dry against a wall.
At this point you'll want to eliminate any leftover charcoal by either sliding out - and dumping - the grill's tray or sweeping it clean. If possible, hose the tray down, then scrub its surface with some vinegar and soapy water. If you come across any stains, use steel wool to file them down.
If your grill operates by way of gas, you'll want to use the scraping end of your grill brush to remove any film that's built up around the burners. It should go without saying that the grill and its propane tank need to be off. Next, inspect the burners to ensure there aren't any clogs or other blockages. In the event that there are, you can use the wire bristles to scratch them off. Take a minute to wipe down the outside panel of the grill, making an effort to scrub free any scorch marks that are dotting either the cover or the finish.
If your grill includes a grease trap, it's up to you to decide whether to replace that trap or simply wash it out. Most grease traps are disposable (and inexpensive), but an exact replacement may not be that easy to find.
How Barbecuing Became an American Pastime
The word barbecue comes from a Spanish term, barbacoa, which refers to the act of cooking meat over a wooden pit. Barbacoa originated in the Caribbean, where 16th Century natives used wooden pits to celebrate after a successful hunt (or catch). The tradition, and its taste, eventually carried north to Florida during the 1800s. The custom of "barbecuing," as it came to be known, extended across the southern U.S. to Louisiana, where creole cuisine seemed custom-made for cooking over the smoked wood of a mesquite.
During the early 1900s, a relative of Henry Ford's named E.G. Kingsford was designated to run a Ford auto parts factory in northern Michigan. Almost immediately, Kingsford noticed that the factory was producing an exorbitant amount of wood chips that were, in turn, being thrown out in the trash. Kingsford proposed that the wood chips be re-purposed into charcoal briquettes. These briquettes could then be sold at Ford dealerships for a profit.
Within 10 years of the briquette, an Illinois welder named George Stephen designed the first "half-orb" barbecue grill. This grill, which has since become iconic, made it simple for almost any American to cook meat over a bed of coals. Shortly after, during the 1950s, the first portable gas grills were introduced, enabling the summer barbecue to reach unprecedented heights.
Today, barbecuing remains a requisite part of any warm-weather climate. Grills have become a multi-million-dollar industry, with model choices ranging from disposable to infrared. Most people associate a barbecue with hot dogs and hamburgers, but a lot of grills are used for cooking sausages, roast vegetables, finer cuts of meat, and certain wraps, as well.