For years, quality portable grills were a tough find. A lot of the products that supposedly catered to this niche failed to tick the essential boxes of being both easily movable AND being a solid, reliable grilling machine.
Just because you are halfway up the Rocky Mountains, on a beach in Maine, or in a stadium parking lot in Pennsylvania, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to still grill a half dozen burgers, a couple of steaks and some juicy polish dogs. We’ve put people on the moon, surely grilling a piece of chicken on the go isn’t beyond our collective capabilities?
Not any more. There are dozens of grills claiming to be both portable and exceptional barbecuing machines. While not all of them live up to the hype, there are some stand outs that are able to provide the enjoyable, tasty grilling experience of full-size grills while on the go.
When looking into the portable market, you do need to bear a couple things in mind:
First of all, set your expectations. If you are used to cooking at home on a giant 6 burner grill that you have started to consider as a part of the family, you aren’t going to be able to recreate that camping out with your family in the backwoods. What I’m saying is, be realistic. Keep in mind the grilling space is smaller than the behemoth at home and you may not be able to cook everything at once.
Secondly, gas. If you are going to be using the grill for several days on end, be aware you will need more than the one tank. Like a boy scout, be prepared!
Anyway, mini lecture over, let’s take a look at what is out there that makes my picks the best portable gas grills in the market.
OK, I know what I said about setting your expectations, but you can almost totally disregard that when it comes to the RoadTrip LXE. It is easy to forget that the thing you’re cooking your 12 lb filet steak on, was unloaded from the back of your Cherokee just half an hour ago. This baby is powerful and the cooking space – 285 square inches means that as long as you’ve remembered the beer, you’ll be the most popular tailgate party in the lot.
Grilling on the LXE is a walk in the park. Seriously. The two large side tables add to the sense of size that this grill gives you. You certainly don’t feel cramped, so you should be able to demonstrate all your grilling skills without the usual excuses that tend to come out when you leave your own zip code.
Some basics: the LXE hooks up to a 16.4 ounce propane cylinder (there are accessories available to allow you to affix it to a 20 pound tank). How long does that last, you ask? Well, depending on your cooking style, that’s going to provide over two hours on high, and 4.5 hours on low. Unless you’re looking to incinerate something, you are going to be more on the low to medium setting than the high.
And that brings me to an important point when cooking on the LXE, and similar set-ups. Those who are used to the grills with the flame set back several inches from the actual grill plate, you will more than likely whack the heat up high and keep it there. Not on one of these. The flames are a mere 2 to 3 inches from your meat. Veteran griller tip: get the heat up high, then bring it down.
So, it cooks like a champ. How portable is it? The RoadTrip LXE collapses easily to 36 x 22 x 13 inches with wheels on the one end and a nice big handle on the other so you can tow it with ease. It weighs in around 60 lbs, so you may need help lifting it in and out of a vehicle, but this means that when it’s up, it does give the impression of being a sturdy piece of grilling machinery. This is important. Portable grills get a hell of a bashing compared to the one you have set up in your back yard, so bear that in mind. Durability will not be a concern with the LXE.
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A new addition to the Coleman range, the LXX, improves on the already impressive LXE. It has a slightly larger cooking area, and is even more powerful – this beast provides the potential for another 2,000 BTU’s, which at 22,000 is bigger than several non-portable grills. Coleman obviously designed this little powerhouse to provide a cooking experience that is more akin to home grilling and takes us a million miles from the experiences of the old days when you were trying to extract as much heat from the equivalent of a large candle in order to provide sustenance for your nearest and dearest. If the weather turned even the slightest bit inclement… well forget it.
As I said, those days are long gone with machines like the LXX on the market, and the good times are here to stay. The beauty of this grill is that you don’t have to compromise when it comes to what you are going to grill. Everything that you do at home, this bad boy will do equally as well, but just be aware of the need for a change in approach as detailed in LXE review if you are used to cooking with the larger grills where the heat is coming from a considerably further distance.
The LXE comes with interchangeable grill, griddle and stove grates, which is perfect for a camping trip as it means you can do breakfast, dinner and lunch with minimum of fuss in between.
Anything this sturdy and powerful, isn’t going to be something you just pick up and sling over your back, but the LXX is designed in such a way that it is easy to transport, put together and put away again. Do be aware that it is going to take up a fair bit of your trunk space, however.
Finally, the standard pound gas tank is going to give you around a dozen meals for two people, which for something that is so enjoyable to cook on, is very impressive.
If you have never cooked on a Solaire before, you are in for a treat. This Infrared grill is a game changer. It is not only portable, but it’s also of the best tabletop gas grills out there. For pure power and speed, this grill is not going to be beaten. Period. It really is phenomenal how hot this little guy gets, and that’s not even the best of it. It’s going to be up to top temperature in under a minute. I’ll say that again. Under a minute. It’s almost like turning a light switch on and off.
The cooking is also very even, all 155 square inches area as as good as the next, essential as every inch is vital in this category.
Next on the list of things to be blown away with? Efficiency. It doesn’t seem to use any fuel. A 20lb tank is going to last you several months, even when used frequently.
One of my other favorite features about the Solaire is that you don’t even have to clean the grill. The temperature means that it self-cleans. Anything that does the post-grilling jobs for me gets extra marks.
The only downside with this option is that it has no wheels, so has to be carried by hand. This isn’t a huge concern as long as you aren’t planning on going long-distance trekking with it.
All three of these grills have changed the face of the best portable gas grills and would be a solid wingman on any outdoor adventure.
I am a grill freak! It's hard to pick my favorite thing to grill, but if I had to choose... it is still a tie between pork ribs and a juicy beef burger. I am currently grilling on a Weber S210(I live in a small space) but my dream grill is definitely a summit. Those things are bad ass. Anyways I would love to hear from you, leave a comment or question below!