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9 Best Portable Grills (2021): Charcoal, Propane, Electric, Infrared

May 30, 2021 - Posted in News Posted by:

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Do you know what’s cooler than a grill? One that doubles as a fire pit, with the ability to recharge your phone, and do your bidding via Bluetooth. BioLite’s FirePit is all of these things and more.

The FirePit is a sleek, portable, mesh box with removable legs, a hibachi-style grill, and an ash bin. Biolite recently released the FirePit+ for $250, which features some slight design tweaks to improve airflow and a larger battery that can run the built-in fan for 30 hours on low. Like its predecessor, the new model uses a Bluetooth-compatible app to precisely control the airflow, which in turn controls your cooking temperature. Be sure to read through my colleague Adrienne So’s full review of the original model for more details, but I set out to specifically see how it grills, and the answer is: very well.

It will burn wood or charcoal, though I mainly used wood to test. With the right kind of wood (I used oak and pecan since that’s what grows around my house), the FirePit may produce the best flavor of any grill here. The main drawback when using it as a grill is its size. It’s big enough to cook for four, but it’s long and narrow, which makes some things awkward (I suggest you don’t try a whole chicken). It’s best suited to grilling kabobs and the like. Think “food on a stick”.

Perhaps the best thing about the FirePit is that when dinner’s over, you can lower the fuel rack and turn it into, well, a fire pit.

Biolite’s Firepit+ is $250 at BioLite and REI. 

Best Leave No Trace Option

Primus Kamoto ($160)

Photograph: Primus

This is my new go-to charcoal grill for quick trips. I still love the Weber above, but the Kamoto has the edge when it comes to portability. It collapses down to store flat; the large version that I tested measures about 15 inches by 20 inches. Once extended, it’s big enough to handle 16-inch long logs (or charcoal) with 255 square inches of cooking surface. That’s big enough to handle burgers and veggies for our family of five. After you’re done cooking, the Kamoto doubles as a fire pit, which is handy for campsites where ground fires aren’t allowed (e.g. the beach).

The compact design makes it portable and leaves plenty of extra trunk space, but I’m not crazy about the grilling surface itself. It’s a thin metal grid, and I find heavily marinated meats stick a bit more than they do with wider, thicker grill grates. On the plus side, your asparagus won’t drop through into the coals.