It’s never too early to plan for a winter barbecue, more so when you’re envisioning multiple outdoor gatherings, this festive season. Whether the family is picnicking at the park, in the company of desert dunes or by the shore, you cannot go without a hearty BBQ dinner straight from the grill. These are not your conventional bulky stations, but portable mini grills that can easily fit inside the boot of your car, everywhere you go.
A reliable grill accounts for just one of the many barbecue essentials, so check out this list of grill must-haves. When we spoke to our expert, Jerome Fares, a private chef who runs Meat The Fire in Dubai with a specialty in fire cooking, he tipped us off on the best kind of grills, too.
Your choice boils down to a portable gas grill or a charcoal-powered grill. Both perform well, but the difference lies in the flavour and texture. Fares said that a charcoal fire is great for searing meat and infusing the food with a smoky taste, which is at the heart of barbecuing. However, consider the need for lighters, careful ventilation and the time that goes into cooking on a charcoal grill.
If you want to start grilling as soon as you arrive at the picnic spot, then a gas grill might be more suited for this. With a handy butane can or two, you'll be able to ignite the unit instantly and control the heat using a dial. It all depends on how fast you're looking to serve hungry family and friends.
Based on reviews, we picked a handful of portable grills from Amazon, so that you’re all set for enjoying yourself outdoors in the upcoming holiday season. Get your new grill delivered to you today or tomorrow with Prime.
1. Best Overall: Weber Smokey Joe Premium, Black, 14-inch
- Lightweight at 4.7kg
- Lid lock holds the lid on the unit
- Sufficient cooking area
- Sturdy, durable quality for long-term use
- Easy to assemble
- Ventilation is tricky, say reviewers
If you prefer the smoky flavour of barbecued meat and vegetables, then bring home Weber’s Smokey Joe Premium charcoal grill. The 14-inch round portable grill prepares six burgers at once, most suitable for a small family, though it performs just as well in batches. Weighing under 5kgs, the metal grill is easy to assemble and carry around, with a smart design that keeps the lid from touching the ground. Both the lid and bowl are porcelain-enamelled, which helps the grill retain heat for longer and promote longer use. Enjoy smoked cuts anywhere, but make sure to bring along a charcoal chimney starter. Reviewers say they've grilled chicken tikka, steaks and other tasty treats by the beach and on campsites, with success.
Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh52.14 for 12 months with select banks.
2. Best Rugged Grill: Char-Broil Grill2Go X200 Portable TRU-Infrared Liquid Propane Gas Grill
- Large grilling surface
- Latched stainless steel lid with temperature gauge
- Easy carry handles on the sides
- Sturdy and rugged for on the road
- Needs a little tweaking to get the temperature control going
A more rugged option is this Char-Broil Grill2Go that runs on propane gas. Built for the road and uneven terrain, this portable unit balances on a high-impact frame with sturdy legs and doesn't require any assembly. The firebox is made of cast aluminium, and while the attached lid doesn't come off, it's always within reach for cover and comes with a temperature gauge on the top. The 200 square inches of cooking area grills up to eight burger patties. All you have to do to get the fire going is to push the ignition button, but do note it gets hot very quickly, say reviews. Make sure to reset the gas regulator with a wrench tool to control the heat. They also note that the grill doesn't flare up.
Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh83.25 for 12 months with select banks.
3. Best Budget: Kenluck, Buddy Grill, 22.5cm
- Small enough to carry in one hand
- Weighs only 1.74kgs
- Attractive design
- Value for money
- Serves only one to two persons
Kenluck’s suitcase grill is a one-hand carry-on, perfect for solo or couples’ outings. Coming in a hammertone gloss blue, the mini unit not only makes your favourite BBQ treats but also warms your coffee and other packed meals. It opens up like a briefcase and supports a stainless steel grid over a detachable charcoal grate, with just enough space for a couple of skewers and sausages to go on top. This grill is so compact that it slips right into a backpack. Reviewers say setup is very easy and so is the clean up.
Warranty: The manufacturer offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
4. Best Versatile Grill: Kamado BONO Picnic BBQ Grill, Black
- Cooks an entire meal for a small family
- Grills with indirect heat, too
- Performs like a grill, oven and smoker
- Temperature gauge included
- Heavy unit
This domed charcoal grill offers ample BBQ space for a small family cookout, on the terrace or at picnics. It's a three-in-one wonder - the unit grills, smokes and bakes. The 26cm cooking grate grills skewers, steaks, burgers and chicken wings under 20 minutes on direct heat. Using a deflector or a secondary rack, you can char other meat cuts on indirect heat, too. Its smoker box function adds complex flavours to, say, a rack of ribs. Don't be afraid to bake a pizza or a pie inside the Kamado Bono, either. The lid has a temperature gauge to help you keep an eye on the food inside. Do note that despite its compact size, the ceramic grill is quite heavy, at 25kgs.
Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh71.36 for 12 months with select banks.
Warranty: The manufacturer offers a lifetime warranty for the ceramics.
5. Best Gas Grill with Stand: Cuisinart Propane Petit Gourmet Portable Gas Grill with VersaStand, Red
- Comes with a stand that has foldable legs
- Mini-sized but cooks eight burgers
- Temperature control knob
- Briefcase design with handle
- Paint can come off
Another briefcase-style grill, the Cuisinart portable gas grill uses propane to cook your food, so while your burgers may lack the smoky flavour, your post-BBQ cleanup will be quick and hassle-free. A 150-square-inch porcelain-enamelled cooking grate sits inside, which can cook for up to six people at once. Stretch out its legs for a freestanding grill, letting you cook at a comfortable height wherever. You can control the temperature easily using the central knob to suit your degree of doneness. Reviews say the unit works brilliantly for tailgating and the legs collapse neatly into the trunk. There is a small grease catching tray for minimising mess, note buyers.
Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh83.70 for 12 months with select banks.
Warranty: The manufacturer offers a three-year limited warranty.
Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.