The Best Charcoal Grill That Is Perfect For Camping Or Tail Gate Parties

Getting out in the wild is easy nowadays. However, getting a delicious meal is getting tough


It used to be that when you went camping, you took a frying pan, some grub, and some basics along with you camp gear and way you went. You found a likely place set up your shelter and started a campfire. Nowadays and open fire can get you in hot water.

So, instead, people are taking cooking grills and stoves with them, as the fire is restricted to the confines of the grill itself. This helps stop the spread of wildfires that have devastated Alberta Canada's tar sand capital. Open fires have started many a forest fire in California and other parts of the country.


Therefore, today, we chose 5 of the best camping grills out there and are going to highlight them for you today. They are economical, and you'll find them versatile as well.


Once you have finished, you will want one of them for your next camping trip or even that next tailgating party you were going to throw. You might even give up cooking in the kitchen and start grilling and cooking out in the backyard.

5 Best Charcoal Grill

**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.


Weber offers you a variety of Weber has many solutions for camping BBQ, but the Smoky Joe is the one many take with them out into the wild

When you are looking for an outdoor camping grill, you will want to get one that can be carried with your gear and Weber has a number of contenders for being the start of your campsite. Their old favorite, the Weber Go-Anywhere-Grill comes to mind.

But is weight is a factor as it weighs around 14 lbs. The other is their Jumbo Joe 18" grill.

It gives you the size of the cooking area you want at 240 sq inches. Again, it is a mite heavy at nearly 18 lbs.


Youwant fuel economy, and though most of us think charcoal when we think Weber, it actually can be used with a variety of fuel sources. Leaves, brushwood, and even plant husks from corn, wheat, and corn can be used. Wood pellets are an easily man-portable fuel that gets things going until you secure a supply of the other fuels.

It has a 14" triple coated nickel grill that can be cleaned easily. You can cook everything from a BBQ meal of that fish you caught earlier in the day to grilled burgers from meat you have in a cooler. Like all Webers, it is Porcelain coated to prevent rust and focus heat.

From there it only gets better as the legs breakdown for backpacking with a little help of a multi-tool that is probably already part of your outdoor gear. So, as we mentioned earlier, it could fit into a knapsack that if you are car camping, you can carry it fully assembled in the trunk and then just plop it onto the ground where you've decided to make your meals.

Remember to take along some Fatwood tinder along with your firestarter, and in a short time, you can have your coals hot and ready to cook with.


  • Small and lightweight it is just the right size to boil water for DIY MREs or the real ones
  • I use mine for tailgate parties off the truck, and it does up a couple of burgers, brats, and dogs with no sweat. The secret is in using the right tinder to get things started
  • This has got to be my 3rd or 4th Smoky Joe now, as I have been going out with one in my car for eons now as I love to cook and I don't want to make Smoky the Bear unhappy when I am in his forest. So, I don't tear up the ground making a fire pit or dump my ashes. I pack the ashes out, and the Smoky Joe makes it convenient
  • I like my fish fillets grilled. The SJ does the job right, and it is a snap to clean the grill plate
  • You can slap it together in a couple of minutes and then you are up and cooking. I have one in my bass boat and one in my car. It then lets me catch and cook near the water's edge or back in camp. It all depends on my mood.


  • I wish the grate were a tad larger to let me cook larger fish. But it is perfect for pan frying
  • You need to duct tape the lid in place when transporting it from place to place as the cover gets jostled off


ast Iron is the best surfaces for grilling and cooking imaginable. When this reviewer id roughing it there is a Cast Iron Fry-Pan in the backpack and I am ready to go as I bike from place to place buying the food in villages and towns along the way as I tour the byways and back roads of Asia. I set up camp and I know Cast Iron will make short work of preparing the perfect meal.

However, when I am at my mundane job here in the states, I cannot just build a fire Willy-nilly where I like. So, instead of my bike, I use the car and I take along Lodge Sportsman's Grill. It too is made of cast iron and it holds up to hard usage.

You can grill the food you have scored before you've reached the camping area or that which you bought on the way a sufficiently broad. Local markets in small towns have vegetables and fruits that are different from those pale imitations you find in the chain stores.

The meats, fish, and veggies are fresher and healthier for you.

The Sportsman is perfect for burgers, fish, and poultry with or without a Fry pan. Once you've tasted Cast Iron cooking, you will never go back to the way you used to cook.


Oval in shape it of the almost 18 X 9-inch Hibachi grill is height adjustable to two positions for ease of cooking or grilling. It has a D-shaped Carry handle that lets you pick up the entire grill with one hand. But, you will want to have it sitting in one place before you load it with charcoal.

It has a draft door that allows for adding more coals and getting the airflow the way to want it for that,hot fire you want for grilling and searing meat. You then can grill, on the grate or in your fry pan.

Fish fillets come out golden brown, and if you like your chicken fried steak and grits, you can do that famous roadside dish quickly and easily. But, the heat control that cast iron provides is this grills secret weapon that lets you get the right and keep the temperature to cook everything to perfection.

With its small size, you can pack it up and take it in your vehicle anywhere the wanderlust takes you, and you will save by sleeping out under the stars with a Tarp Shelter and this grill to cook with. You save a ton of cash on hotel and restaurant costs.


  • It is a bit heavy at thirty pounds. Therefore, you would be backpacking it in. However, aside from that, it makes the best tailgate Bulgogi on a hoagie you ever tasted. I smother mine with onions that I grill on the side until they are soft.
  • If you want to get that char flavor on your burgers, brats, and hot dogs, you have the portable grill that will do the job. It heats fast and cooks your food to a "T."
  • I like my burgers and steak "Well Done" My Sportsman Grill gets everything done just so.
  • I do steak, eggs, and hash browns in the same pan and it comes out the way I like it. I have a hearty breakfast just before I start the hike to see the scenery and animals that I came to this place to see. When I get back I know I can rustle up a tasty meal from my cooler and flavor the meal with the wild herbs and berries I've gathered in my wanderings
  • I take some sauces in squeeze bottles when I hit the wild. When I do a fillet of fish, it is grilled hibachi style and flavored better than any restaurant, as I caught it in the nearby stream and cooked it myself.


  • It is heavy. So, it is best to set it up after you have your camp laid out. You want to set it up once and then forget about it
  • With no top, you have to be careful smothering the coals. Bring a large metal can with you and use heat resistant gloves to move the coals you want to save in the can and then tamp the lid down. The ash and debris can be scooped into a bag later to carry out of the campgrounds when you leave


One of the significant problems of portable grills is that they are too close to the ground, which means you have to have a rock, convenient log, and a camp stool to sit on while cooking and grilling. If you are tailgating, this is OK, and the tailgate puts it at the right height for ease of cooking.

However, in a camp environment, it can put a crank in your back. That's why the new generation of portable camping grills take a leaf from Asian Street cooks who minimize the coal costs by using narrow trough grills that makes them perfect for skewers and kabobs and this puts the coals closer to the food. This saves them fuel costs and profit margins are tight in Asia.

In America, we prefer more surface area, but the concept of putting the coals closer saves on materials for building the grill and thus on the cost of production.

This also makes the grill easy to transport and setup once you get it to your favorite sports venue for a tailgate party. It also makes it useful in the camp environment as well. Everything is at the right height to cook, grill, and do skews as well if that is your thing.


This grill collapses down to a flat little bundle that all slides into its own carry bag. You can then put it into the SUV or car with ease. Those with pickups will find that it is perfect to setup for your tailgate party in the bed of your truck. Two side trays hold cooking condiments, spices, and utensils.

On the right side you have, the first cooking grate is made with wide slats that do not allow anything to fall through. It is black nonstick and you'll find it is perfect for fish, steak, pork cutlets, and veggies. The next section is a double silver grill with handle, which you can lift to load in more charcoal.

This is your more traditional grilling surface and here is where burgers, dogs, and brats get to be cooked to their penultimate taste. Doing veggies and meats for pulled pork is on the non-stick, black, grill grate. While corn, potatoes, and ordinary BBQ fare are done on the silver double grill.

Your charcoal is closer to the grill plates, so you need to pay attention to cooking time and the hotter heat. This can be disquieting to those who are used to kettle style grills like the Weber.


  • I can do steaks on the non-stick side while getting my burgers well done and their buns toasted as well
  • I was burning things until I learned how to control the heat. There is no kettle lid, so everything is done like at one of those corner diners you see in downtown Chicago where the short order cook is doing eggs, toasting bread, frying bacon all on the same surface. It requires better timing to do all that without burning things. However, once you get the hang of it, it is a snap to do.
  • I run a sponge with vegetable oil across the grates to help thing move along. Brats and onions for steak go on the two different surfaces along with a fillet or two of fish for the wife. The kids clamor for their dogs and the mustard and ketchup are in easy grabbing distance
  • I've taken to this grill like a duck to water. The kids love the food when we are out in the forest preserve. The food cooks quick and easy. Cleaning happens fast over at the facility area as the grates pop off quickly
  • Great bargain for the camping cook who is tired of crouching over an open fire


  • Check everything over when it arrives. Some of them coming from Amazon have missing parts. Check it against the parts list and call it in if anything is missing
  • You need to set the vent right or else you can watch your food turn crispy


Built along similar lines as our last grill, But you can see differences right off the bat. It has a set of large skewers that come with it and you can do corn, Satay, and kabobs. The unit is sturdy and you are having fun while doing it.

Your choice of meats, veggies, and even fruit provide you with a wide canvas to work with and this plethora of ingredients, spices, and condiments mean that you can always make a meal that will please almost everyone who comes to your camp or tailgate party.

It is shallow, so the heat is closer to the food, which makes for fast cooking times. The less wait between the request for food and its delivery is in direct proportion to a person's happiness with the outdoor chef and their ultimate enjoyment of the meal.

You can do burgers and dogs easily as well. Throw an eggplant and grill it with garlic you have a piece of heaven on earth. Squid and prawns along with some season salt makes for a salt & pepper squid or prawns that will garner praise and accolades from everyone who loves good food. This is the grill for cooking not only the basics but the exotic as well.


You can make your favorite tailgate dishes like Italian Beef sandwiches and a hoagie. Put a pot of marinara sauce and some precooked meatballs on this grill, and you have meatball sandwiches from the gods.

However, aside from that, you can grill up some spicy Italian Sausage and then with the same marinara sauce have an Italian Sausage sandwich that has no other name except delightful. After the feasting is over, whether you are in camp or your favorite sports arena, you can pop out the coal tray to dump into the appropriate containers for disposal.

It all cleans in a flash and then compresses down to a size that fits into a compact carry bag that also holds the 20 BBQ tools you'll appreciate having as well. You then pack it all up, and you are ready to roll home after the game, or your camping outing is complete.

The tools you get with this grill have the items most needed and forgotten, when many pack up for a camping trip. Coal Tongs are one of the most forgotten about things you need to get everything set right for perfect cooking. Along with that,a heat resistant glove to protect your hand while doing the moving about of hot coals as well as inpreparing the meal.

The all-important cleaning brush ensures you have everything shipshape for your next outing or tailgate party.


  • Everything pops into place like a jack-in-the-box. From there starting the coals is simple using tinder made from a pine tree's core. This resin rich material will catch even when it is wet, or the wind is blowing across the coals
  • Cooking on this grill can be covered in one word, Fast!
  • If you've never cooked on a grill like this one, you will first notice you have a hotter fire, and so you need to be vigilant while grilling. A spray bottle water helps by drawing off some of the heat if some of the food is cooking that others
  • The Miady is made from 440 Stainless that lets you clean it fast and easily. However, it also means food doesn't stick as easily either. But you should always use an oil sprayer or oil wipe to make sure the grill is well lubricated
  • The food that comes off this grill is tasty, and the twin shelves or if you swap one out for the basket lets, you hold all your spices within easy reach. So like a Pro Wok Chef you can add the flavoring you want and use the fast cooking times to your advantage


  • Temps are higher than you may be used to
  • This is a grill isplain and straightforward. It don't slow cook or smoke


This is the writer's favorite of the 5 grills we have looked at for you.

This is the camp grill that the author wishes they had had during the tornado that struck Plainfield years ago because electricity was gone and cooking food and boiling water was a priority.

The Volcano would have fitted right in. It runs off a standard Propane tank, and when that is used up, you can switch over to alternatives. This means no matter what hot food is available and clean water is there for you.

Nowadays campers, outdoorsman, and Preppers will find this the perfect balance of function, fuel efficiency, and versatility. You have a sufficiently broadenough cooking surface that lets you grill, use a frying pan, and even a wok if you like. Placing a kettle on top of it wouldn't bother it in the least. You can then have a hot stew or soup that keeps your warm on the inside. Fish, chicken, and beef come out cooked to perfection, and it will boil and grill veggies as well.

Use metal or wooden skewers you have "Meat on a Stick," and if you remembered to bring your spice kit, you have some of the tastiest meals around. It does not matter if it is in the aftermath of a tornado, tailgate party, the annual campout with the family, and the annual backyard get together with the in-laws.


Use the cooking fuel of your choice, wood in its many forms, charcoal, and of course, propane. In this writer’s estimation, the Volcano is also good to be able to use wood pellets, leaves, plant husks and even grass. That is not on the Volcano's box. However, the design looks to support it. Pellets work well and are easy to store until needed in case of emergency.

The versatility in fuel choices goes hand in hand with the different cooking methods you can employ as well. This writer loves pan-fried walleye, and with a cast iron pan, there is nothing better on this green earth. But, if brats are the order of the day or chilidogs, the Volcano is up to the task.

It comes complete with all the components to allow you to configure it for the fuel you have available.

If you look at the images, we have found for you see how easy it is to change out its insides to make it work with various fuel setups. To get it to work with wood pellets, you need to add a steel wire mesh over the bottom slotted plate to prevent the pellets from falling through.


  • You can even get a smoker attachment to preserve meats with. This for the Prepper provides a broad range of solutions to your off-the-grid living needs
  • When we lost power recently after that last bought of severe weather, I was able to use the propane tank, off a forklift to power the Volcano and boil water for drinking and we had hot food until thing went back to normal. I now have 3 tanks stored out in the shed just in case
  • Camping with the Volcano is a hoot. If you bring the whole, kit and caboodle with you, never have to worry about how to cook a meal. However, if you are going to use charcoal pack yours in a waterproof bag, ours got rained on, and the charcoal in it was ruined
  • Grill, fry, boil, and now smoke your food. You have so many options, and you may move your kitchen our into the backyard
  • Teaching my class in college about surviving in the wild for one section in the lesson plan, we showed how using different fuels can make things easier to survive if the SHTF. We highlighted the Volcano and the Corn Husk stove as two of the best ways to cook a meal out of doors


  • You need to protect the instructions in a clear protective covering and get yourself a carry bag for the small stuff and tools required to configure the Volcano. Missing a screw or two can really mess things up for you

Final thoughts

You've seen out choices of some of the best in outdoor grills for camping. We liked them all and had used many of them ourselves. For the ease, to take outdoors, we loved the Weber. However, the Sportsman takes cast iron grilling to a new level. The two fold up grills are both easy to clean and use for a variety of foods.

But, the Volcano won out with its versatility and its ability to use various fuels equally well. You probably have your favorite, that is what we are here to do in providing you with the products that fill a niche, and then you can choose the one that fits you the best.

Tomothy Jackson

I'm Tomothy Jackson, an adventure, survival writer. I want to help readers by sharing my experiences camping, trekking, hiking and fishing. I hope to inspire others to fully explore the depths of their passion.

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