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The Best Portable Grills for Cooking Your Freshly Caught Fish

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Top Choice
Coleman Propane Grill | Roadtrip LXE Portable Gas Grill
Weber 51010001 Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill, Black
Cuisinart CGG-180 Petit Gourmet Portable Gas Grill with VersaStand, Red
Giantex Propane Tabletop Gas Grill Stainless Steel Two-Burner BBQ, with Foldable Leg, 20000 BTU, Perfect for Camping, Picnics or Any Outdoor Use, 22” x 18” x 15”, Silver
Masterbuilt Smoke Hollow PT300B Propane Grill, Tabletop (Newer Version)
Our Rating
4.8
4.6
4.5
4.3
4.0
MSRP
Price not available
$209.00
$121.89
$154.99
$113.34
Heat Output
20,000 BTUs
8,500 BTUs
5,500 BTUs
20,000 BTUs
10,000 BTUs
Weight
43 lbs
31 lbs
17 lbs
20 lbs
24 lbs
Cooking Surface
285 sq in
189 sq in
160 sq in
266 sq in
305 sq in
Top Choice
Coleman Propane Grill | Roadtrip LXE Portable Gas Grill
Our Rating
4.8
MSRP
Price not available
Heat Output
20,000 BTUs
Weight
43 lbs
Cooking Surface
285 sq in
More Information
Weber 51010001 Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill, Black
Our Rating
4.6
MSRP
$209.00
Heat Output
8,500 BTUs
Weight
31 lbs
Cooking Surface
189 sq in
More Information
Cuisinart CGG-180 Petit Gourmet Portable Gas Grill with VersaStand, Red
Our Rating
4.5
MSRP
$121.89
Heat Output
5,500 BTUs
Weight
17 lbs
Cooking Surface
160 sq in
More Information
Giantex Propane Tabletop Gas Grill Stainless Steel Two-Burner BBQ, with Foldable Leg, 20000 BTU, Perfect for Camping, Picnics or Any Outdoor Use, 22” x 18” x 15”, Silver
Our Rating
4.3
MSRP
$154.99
Heat Output
20,000 BTUs
Weight
20 lbs
Cooking Surface
266 sq in
More Information
Masterbuilt Smoke Hollow PT300B Propane Grill, Tabletop (Newer Version)
Our Rating
4.0
MSRP
$113.34
Heat Output
10,000 BTUs
Weight
24 lbs
Cooking Surface
305 sq in
More Information

Enjoying time outdoors is always gratifying, whether with friends or family.  

And being able to prepare an amazing meal can bring a whole new level of appreciation to your adventures in the open air.  

Good food is even better when enjoyed outside.

That’s why we bring you our take on the best portable grill for camping. 

We know that rocking the grill in the great outdoors will crank-up the fun dial.

When you spend a day on the water or in the woods, firing up your portable grill back at camp is a huge asset.  

You can cook a huge variety of food on a grill, and make some truly mouth-watering meals.

Here are some of the best portable camping grills:

Coleman RoadTrip LXE Portable Gas Grill

When Coleman was developing the RoadTrip LXE Portable Gas Grill, they wanted to create a product that would work in practically any outdoor environment.

What’s interesting is that Coleman doesn’t market the LXE solely as a camping grill – it’s also for RV living too. 

But you can easily see how much more convenient the unit makes staying under canvas, thanks to its large grilling surface and even heat distribution.

The RoadTrip LXE doesn’t require a lighter or a match to fire up. Instead, it uses an inbuilt sparking mechanism and pilot light to ignite the burner.

The size of the grill means that it’s probably only suitable for camping on a fixed plot, not wild camping, but the fact that you don’t need to light it yourself manually means that you’re able to grill even in poor weather conditions. 

With the LXE you can still “glamp” so long as you’ve got adequate shelter.

Collapsibility was crucial for Coleman on this product. The company markets the LXE as a product that you can take with you on a road trip – so it wanted to make something that would fold away in the trunk neatly. 

For campers hauling the grill across fields, the collapsibility and convenient carrying handle make it easy to take out of the car and move to your tent pitch.

The grill comes with an easy-clean porcelain-coated grilling surface. 

So long as you take precautions and use porcelain-friendly cooking utensils, the low-stick surface should remain intact, leading to less washing up – always a good thing on camp.

There’s no doubt that the RoadTrip LXE is a heavy-duty camping grill. 

It is not a portable charcoal grill. It is a product for people who want luxury and flexibility under canvas, and don’t want to fiddle around with matches in the wet.

Features

  • Portable propane grill ideal for tailgating, picnicking, and camping
  • Delivers 20,000 BTUs of heat across 285 square inches of grilling surface
  • Swaptop interchangeable cooktops allow you to switch grill grates out for griddle and stove grates (sold separately)
  • Instastart button ignites grill without the need for a match or lighter

Weber Q1200 Portable Grill

The Weber Q1200 Portable Grill takes the idea of portability a step further than the RoadTrip LXE. 

Instead of mounting the central grill unit on a set of collapsible legs, the Q1200 prioritizes a small form factor instead.

The grill does come with legs of a sort, but they support the grill while it’s on the ground or a table. 

You can’t cook with it standing up unless you purchase the accessory cart which you can see here.

Whether this is a good or a bad thing depends on your perspective. 

For those with limited trunk space, an ultra-compact grill is a godsend: you can pack it along with the rest of your camping gear, and you’ll hardly notice it taking up any additional space. 

The bad news is that if you do decide to opt for this grill, you’ll have to cook crouched down unless you buy Weber’s detachable stand or a table which will take up additional space in your boot.

Like the RoadTrip LXE, Weber includes an easy-start ignition on the Q1200. 

While lighting a fire can be fun in the summer when the weather and kindling are dry, the Weber is for people who want to camp out-of-season or don’t want to go to the trouble of having to light a fire by hand. 

The grill fires up instantly, putting out more than 8500 BTUs per hour.

There’s a considerable amount to say about the Weber Q1200 grill, but the main takeaway is that this is a product for those who want to camp with the convenience of a grill, but don’t want the thing taking up all their trunk space. 

The Weber comes with a quality hood and in-built grease management.

Features

  • Stainless steel burner produces 8500 BTU-per-hour
  • Porcelain-enameled cast-iron cooking grates and cast aluminum lid and body
  • Easy-start electronic ignition and infinite control burner valve settings
  • Big Capacity and Big Preformance

Cuisinart Petit Gourmet Portable Gas Grill

Cuisinart clearly understood the limitations of current portable grills before coming up with the concept of their Petit Gourmet. 

The company recognized that existing grill stands were too big for the needs of most campers and people needed a smaller, more compact alternative.

The Cuisinart Petit isn’t the largest grill on the market, as you might guess from the name, with a grilling area of 160 square inches. But it is one of the most innovative.

The grill comes with foldable, detachable legs which allow you to set it up for either standing or table-top cooking. 

There’s also a large, briefcase-style carrying handle that pops up and will enable you to lug the grill from your car to your pitch without a hassle.

While the grill comes with a host of portability advantages, it’s not the largest. 

Although Cuisinart claims you can make food for up to eight at a time, realistically you’ll struggle to cook for more than around five people at a time due to the limited surface area of the grill.

Not uncommon to camping grills, there are no ‘keep-warm’ plates. 

So once you’ve finished cooking you’ll have to figure out some way to keep the food warm which can be an inconvenience if you’re cooking for multiple people or doing more than one round of cooking.

On the plus side, the small size of the grill means that it heats up rapidly, allowing you to get on with cooking quickly, without having to wait for the heat to distribute evenly throughout the unit.  

While some might see a lack of accessories compared to a large grill, others will find exactly what they need in this streamlined portable grill.

Overall, this grill is for those who want a grill that is not only budget-friendly, but that also gives them plenty of extra trunk space. 

With that said, it’s not ideal for larger parties.

Features

  • 160-square-inch porcelain enameled cooking grate
  • 5,500 btu burner
  • Compact enough to take anywhere
  • Use as a freestanding or tabletop grill
  • Fast and easy setup and breakdown

Giantex Propane Tabletop Gas Grill

The Giantex propane tabletop gas grill stands out from the crowd, thanks to its full stainless steel design. It looks like a piece of kit you’d expect to find in a professional kitchen, not a campsite.

With that said, it makes sense to choose stainless steel for outdoor use: it can resist corrosion and the rain. Stainless steel doesn’t rust, and it doesn’t harbor the growth of bacteria which could damage your health.

The most impressive thing about the Giantex is not the fact that it has stainless steel construction, but the fact that the firm managed to keep the price down. 

The unit is considerably more affordable compared to other full stainless steel products on the market, making it a more compelling purchase.

The quality and the fact that this grill is easy to clean, make it ideal for camping, although Giantex doesn’t really market it as such. 

Campers will love the fact that a simple wipe down is enough to ensure the cleanliness of the product before packing it away and bringing it under shelter.

Are there any disadvantages? 

The main issue with the grill is the lack of extendable legs. 

The unit does come with four legs, but they’re short and not extendable, meaning you’ll either have to put it on a table or perch it on the floor.

The other issue is the size of the grill. It’s just about large enough to cook for four people, but you’ll have to cook in batches if you have more people than that in your party.

So who is this grill for? 

Giantex market the grill as the kind of thing you’d take with you to the park for a BBQ. But it doubles up perfectly as a camping grill, thanks to the all-stainless steel construction (including the grill) and its portability. 

Be warned, however: if you want to cook standing up, you’ll need to bring your own table.

Features

  • Giantex tabletop grill
  • Easy to operate
  • Foldable design
  • Light-weight & safety use
  • Widely use

Smoke Hollow 205 Camping Grill

The Smoke Hollow 205 is another stainless steel camping grill, attempting to appeal to the outdoor market in general. 

The grill has a stainless steel hood and body, and steel clips which keep it closed while you carry it.

The 205 is not strictly a camping grill. And given the high weight of the product at 20.5 pounds, Smoke Hollow clearly designed it for use on your tailgate or a picnic table at the campsite.

With that said, the 205 does come with all of the portability features you’d expect from a grill designed for use at camp. 

There’s a large handle on the hood, the hood itself is lockable, and the unit’s small legs fold away neatly underneath, allowing you to carry and transport the whole thing a little bit like a suitcase.

The standout feature of the 205, however, is the temperature gauge on the outside of the grill. 

What’s nice about the indicator is that it takes some of the guesswork out of cooking while camping. 

You could almost follow a recipe with this grill, without having to cook everything by eye. The gauge tells you the ideal grilling temperature for various types and cuts of meat.

Smoke Hollow also included a helpful secondary grill above the cooking surface for keeping items warm before plating up. 

The storage space isn’t enormous, but it’s enough for keeping eight patties or a dozen corn cobs.

Are there any downsides? 

Aside from the fact that you’ll need a table if you want to grill standing, the 205 doesn’t come out of the box with propane gas; you’ll need to buy that separately. 

But other than that, it’s unlikely that the Smoke Hollow will disappoint. It comes with practically every feature that a camper would need, without explicitly marketing itself as the best camping grill. It also comes with a removable grate pan.

FAQ

Meat On Portable Grill

What type of grills is best for camping/backpacking?

When choosing a grill for camping or backpacking you should look for the following features:

Temperature ControlMany grills will provide you with just one temperature control. This is in order to keep the size of the unit down. However, if your grill has more than one burner, it should provide separate temperature controls for each burner.

Surface Cooking AreaLook for a grill that has an actual surface cooking area of between 265-285 square centimeters. This will allow you to cook bout eight burgers.

Number of BurnersIf you plan on regularly cooking more than one type of food, you should select a grill with more than one burner. But if you’re sticking to burgers and sausages, a single burner will suffice.

GrateA stainless steel or cast-iron grate will do a better job of holding in heat and will be easier to clean.

Can you use the grill outdoors?

Yes, you can and should use grills outside. In fact, it is exceedingly dangerous to use certain types of grills inside. 

Those that use charcoal or gas produce carbon monoxide. This can kill you in a confined space.

When using a grill outdoors, make sure that the grill is clean. Concentrate on burning on the unlit side if you have more than one burner. 

If your grill doesn’t have a built-in thermometer, use an external one so that you know the temperature inside the grill. 

You also need to choose your cooking tools carefully, ensuring that they are able to withstand the heat.

Preheat the grill about 25 degrees higher than the recipe calls for. Don’t start cooking until you have consistent heat. 

Keep the lid on throughout the cooking process and check the temperature often.

How to start a fire for your grill?

Portable Grill Fire

Follow this process to start a charcoal fire for your grill:

  •       Remove the lid and cooking grate.
  •       Remove any ash and dirt that is in the bottom grill\
  •       Open the bottom grill vent.
  •       But briquettes on the grill
  •       Add some hardwood charcoal
  •       Group the coal and briquettes in a pyramid shape
  •       Pour lighter fluid onto the coal
  •       Carefully light the fluid with a long match
  •       Replace the cooking grate

What type of meat is best for small grills?

Small grills do not produce the firepower to cook large meats in a reasonable amount of time. 

However, they will allow you to safely and efficiently cook such foods as hamburger patties, sausages and small portions of chicken and lamb such as what you would typically find on a skewer or kebab.

You can also cook chicken meat on a small grill. However, it is best to cut the chicken meat into small portions and ensure that it is thoroughly cooked on both sides.

Portable Grill Considerations

When you spend a day on the water or in the woods, firing up your portable grill back at camp is a huge asset.  

You can cook a huge variety of food on a grill, and make some truly mouth-watering meals.

Which grill will work for you will depend on how you want to use it. What you want to cook, and how many people you want to cook for are just a couple things to consider.

There are some other important considerations to make, and we cover all the details in our portable grill reviews below.  

But you can look at our comparison chart below for quick info as well as our top choice.

Heat Output

Portable Grill and Heat

Even large grills can be a real disappointment if you end up waiting around for your grill to get hot.  

For certain cuts you need to be able to accomplish high temperatures to get a nice char and crust on your meat. 

Finding a portable grill that can really bring the heat is going to open an ability to cook to a much high quality standard.

Weight

Realistically, portable grills need to be somewhat easy to move around.  Getting your camping gear to the campsite is a snap when you are driving it there in a vehicle. 

But once you get to your site, your portable grill has to be an effective tool that you can lift and move into an ideal position by hand.

Cooking Surface

One of the biggest factors you’ll need to consider is how many mouths you want to feed.  

Larger groups are going to require a larger cooking surface and maybe even a couple rounds of cooking. 

But if you want larger cooking surface, that might translate into a larger grill.  

Of course, if you don’t want a large grill due to portability reasons, then you’ll need to find that balance between cooking surface and grill size that will work best for you.

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