Editor's Note: Products featured on Wide Open Eats are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
There's something wonderful about a summertime picnic: grilling up hot dogs on skewers, eating watermelon, sitting at a picnic table, and enjoying your meal completely outdoors is a great way to enjoy an afternoon with the family. If you don't have any fire pits to cook over, investing in a picnic grill is a great way to enjoy outdoor cooking at your leisure, so you can cook up everyone's favorites and throw a BBQ anywhere. There are even various types of grills to choose from -- like propane and charcoal -- so you can pick one that you like using at home already.
These portable picnic grills are perfect for tailgating, outdoor cooking, and camping (because every chef needs a small grill to bring to the campsite). You'll love how easy grilling is when you can take your tabletop grill with you anywhere. Not only will these picnic grills come in handy for days at the park or campsite, but they'll also come in handy for emergencies. Even if you're not much of a grill master, these are ideal for keeping in the garage, just in case you need to cook meat in the event of a power outage. Check out our top picks for picnic grills here:
1. Best Propane Grill
This propane grill is a must-have for a picnic at the beach, the lake, a backyard, or a camping weekend. It's made by Coleman -- one of the must trusted outdoor brands -- and it has tons of bells and whistles that make it well worth the price. It'll give you 225 square feet of grilling space (which will cook about a dozen hot dogs or eight hamburgers at a time), has push-button ignition which means no match when you need to light it, and it completely folds down when you're done. It also has wheels for easy transport and two independently adjustable temperature zones so you can cook two things at once. The grease tray is easily removed for clean up, too. It is absolutely the best pick for families and groups: it's basically a slightly smaller version of the grill you have at home.
You'll need to purchase a separate 16.4-ounce propane tank to start this up. Make sure you add a two-pack of these Coleman tanks to your purchase -- they're under $25.
2. Best Charcoal Grill
Our best overall pick for charcoal grills comes from Giantex. This 20-pound grill is compact and constructed of heat-resistant cast iron -- and that durable cast iron sets this grill apart from other charcoal options and will ensure it lasts for years to come. It's perfectly suited for the charcoal enthusiast, so if you're the type of person who thinks that there's no better taste than burgers over an open flame, this is the pick for your camping trips. It only needs a few handfuls of charcoal to get to work, and reviewers say everything from T-Bone steaks to chicken drumsticks taste great on this grill. We recommend spraying it down with Pam or Olive Oil spray before you start using it to season it well, and to keep it covered in a garage or basement so it doesn't rust.
3. Best Budget Pick
This tabletop portable charcoal grill by Cuisinart is perfect for a tailgate or picnic. The 150-square inch cooking rack can cook everything for a small family all at once. There's a dual venting system for temperature control, allowing you to get your food cooked to your liking while heat is evenly and efficiently distributed. It also features a coated firebox and a mess-free ash catcher for safety. Still, be sure to make sure you're allowed to grill in your area, whether it be a balcony or park. Overall, this tiny grill is perfect for travel. It's super compact and weighs under five pounds. The alloy steel grill has secure lid locks for easy transportation, too. This is an affordable grill that does exactly what you need it to. If you want something simple and affordable, this will be your pick.
This piece was published on July 14th, 2021.