Living in homes with limited outdoor space can pose a challenge for grill enthusiasts who yearn for the flavors of flame-cooked food. Whether you have a small patio, a tiny balcony, or a cramped backyard, you might feel that the dream of owning a grill is out of reach. However, that’s far from the truth. The market is teeming with compact grilling options that cater specifically to spatial constraints, ensuring that you can still enjoy flame-grilled steaks, burgers, and other delights all year round.
Small grills come in two primary categories. The first includes standard grills that are scaled-down versions of their larger counterparts, designed to fit snugly in the corner of your limited outdoor space. These grills can serve as semi-permanent fixtures, bringing the outdoor grilling experience to your doorstep.
The second category encompasses portable grills that are engineered to collapse and pack down into an easily transportable bundle. This feature is a double-edged sword. While it offers the advantage of easy storage, tucking your grill away in a closet when not in use, it also means you have to go through the process of unpacking and setting it up each time you’re in the mood for grilling. Nevertheless, both categories provide viable options for grilling in restricted spaces.
Below are some of the best small grills that can bring the joy of flame-cooked goodness to your limited outdoor spaces.
The Cuisinart CFF-608 Portable Grill offers an optimal solution for those who are particularly limited in outdoor space, yet prefer the quick heat and convenience of a gas grill. Despite its compact size, this single-burner grill provides a generous 184 square inches of cooking surface, thereby ensuring you won’t have to compromise on your grilling ambitions due to space constraints.
The grill is equipped with a potent 10,000 BTU burner that can produce substantial heat for your grilling sessions. The twist-start ignition system ensures a quick and hassle-free start, thereby saving time and eliminating the need for matches or lighters. One of the standout features of this grill is its ability to heat up swiftly, particularly with the lid down. Unlike the time-consuming preheating process associated with traditional charcoal grills, this feature allows you to start cooking your food without a lengthy wait.
However, it’s worth noting that the temperature drops quickly once the lid is lifted. But don’t worry; the grill compensates for this by swiftly regaining the lost heat as soon as the lid is closed again. The real challenge comes when cooking at low temperatures. Even when the burner is set to low, the temperature gauge tends to hover around 400 degrees. Therefore, if you wish to cook your food at a lower heat level, you might need to keep the lid open.
This grill is also aesthetically pleasing, thanks to its minimalist and robust stainless steel construction. This not only makes it durable and weather-resistant but also adds a modern touch to your outdoor space. All in all, the Cuisinart CFF-608 Portable Grill is a reliable choice if you’re looking for a compact grill that does not compromise on power and functionality.
The Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill is a compact grilling solution that still delivers big in terms of performance. Its small footprint, measuring just 26 x 26 inches, makes it an excellent choice for smaller spaces, while its spacious cooking surface provides a generous 360 square inches of grilling area. This is enough to accommodate up to 18 burgers at once, ensuring you can easily cater to gatherings of family and friends without your limited space holding you back.
Despite its size, the Kettleman doesn’t compromise on functionality. It employs a traditional charcoal cooking system, but with an innovative twist – the inclusion of Char-Broil’s TRU-Infrared technology. This unique technology is incorporated directly into the grill’s grates, creating a barrier between the food and the flames. The result is a grill that distributes heat evenly across the entire cooking surface. This even heat distribution allows for better temperature control and eliminates the risk of flare-ups, resulting in consistently cooked and flavourful food.
The grill also comes with an adjustable grate, which you can move closer or further away from the charcoal depending on your cooking needs. This feature gives you even more control over your cooking temperatures and helps achieve perfect results every time. Monitoring and controlling the temperature is further simplified with a built-in thermometer on the hinged lid and a large adjustable vent on top for controlling airflow.
Additional features include integrated vents around the kettle for continuous airflow, which ensures the charcoal burns efficiently, and a removable ash pan, which makes cleaning up after your barbecue a breeze. The Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill, therefore, offers a seamless blend of compact size, high performance, and advanced features, making it an ideal choice for grilling enthusiasts with limited outdoor space.
The Kamado Joe Joe Jr. is an ideal choice for those who want to enjoy the unique experience of Kamado-style grilling but are short on space. It stands apart in the small grill category due to its compact design, ceramic construction, and superior temperature control capabilities.
Measuring just 13.5 inches in diameter, it might seem petite, but it’s more than enough to handle a variety of dishes, capable of grilling seven burgers or roasting two whole chickens at the same time. Its design maximizes the grilling area, ensuring you don’t waste any space.
The grill’s structure, made of thick ceramic walls, is a significant advantage, as it facilitates heat and smoke retention. This is one of the defining characteristics of Kamado grills, which allows it to effectively cook and impart a deep smoky flavor to your meals. Cooking with such high heat efficiency means it requires less fuel, which will save you money in the long run.
The Joe Jr. comes with a cast iron air vent and built-in thermometer on the lid. These features allow you to manage the airflow and maintain your desired temperatures precisely. With a temperature range that can go from low-and-slow 225 degrees Fahrenheit to a steak-searing 750 degrees, it offers a wide spectrum of cooking possibilities. This precise temperature control is one of the highlights of this grill, allowing you to grill, smoke, sear, bake, and even make pizza.
A significant feature that comes with the grill is the ceramic heat deflector. This allows you to cook with an indirect open flame, a method that ensures your food cooks thoroughly without drying out, giving you juicy, flavorful results every time.
The grill comes with a cast iron stand, raising the grill off your table or countertop, providing an additional layer of safety. The stand ensures the hot ceramic body of the grill does not come into contact with any surfaces, preventing potential heat damage to your outdoor furniture.
In summary, the Kamado Joe Joe Jr. grill is a powerful, versatile, and compact grill, perfect for those who have limited space but do not want to compromise on the quality of their grilling experience.
The Weber Traveler Portable Gas Grill is an innovative solution for those who love to grill but have limited space. The grill’s unique design, high-powered burner, and easy portability make it an ideal option for small outdoor areas, camping trips, tailgating, and other on-the-go activities.
Boasting a substantial 320 square inches of cooking space, this grill provides enough area to cook 15 burgers or 20 sausages at once. This makes it perfect for entertaining, as you can easily handle a variety of dishes for your guests in one go. To make the grilling process even more comfortable, it also features a small workspace adjacent to the grilling area, providing a convenient spot for your grilling tools, sauces, or seasonings.
What really sets this grill apart, however, is its collapsible design. When not in use, it can fold down into a compact form similar to a small hand truck. This feature allows for effortless storage and mobility, making it perfect for those with limited outdoor space. With the simple flip of a lever, it can be transformed from a full-size grill to a compact, easily transportable unit.
Under the hood, the Weber Traveler houses a 13,000 BTU burner system that can quickly heat the grill to 400 degrees Fahrenheit in just over three minutes. This speedy heating capability ensures efficient cooking, allowing you to start grilling almost immediately. The grill’s heat control system also allows for even cooking across the entire grilling surface, preventing hot or cold spots and ensuring all your food is cooked evenly.
The Weber Traveler Portable Gas Grill is a great solution for those who need a grill that can be easily stored and transported. Its blend of functionality and portability makes it an excellent investment for people who enjoy grilling but have limited outdoor space. Its fast heat-up time and generous cooking area also make it an attractive option for those who enjoy hosting gatherings or grilling for large groups. This is the grill to consider if you need something versatile and portable, without sacrificing the benefits of a full-size grill.
The Fuego F21C-H Element is an elegant, high-performance gas grill that manages to blend power, convenience, and a sleek design into a compact footprint, making it an excellent choice for grill enthusiasts who have limited outdoor space.
One of the standout features of the Fuego F21C-H is its integrated gas tank compartment located at the base of the unit. This thoughtful design not only enhances the grill’s stability but also provides a tidy and uncluttered grilling setup. This small grill manages to maintain a premium and stylish look while offering excellent performance.
Despite its compact size, occupying just 21 x 21 inches of floor space, the Fuego F21C-H Element provides a substantial 346 square inches of cooking surface. This sizeable cooking area is capable of accommodating up to 14 large burgers simultaneously, making it a reliable companion for small gatherings or family meals.
The grill comes equipped with a robust 22,000 BTU dual-zone burner system that is capable of achieving temperatures of up to 650 degrees Fahrenheit. This powerful heat output, combined with the grill’s ability to preheat to 500 degrees in just over five minutes, means you’ll spend less time waiting and more time cooking.
The Fuego F21C-H Element also stands out for its heavy-duty, 15-pound grates. These hefty grates can absorb a large amount of heat, allowing you to achieve a beautifully seared exterior on your grilled foods.
Additional noteworthy features include an easy-clean residue tray, a secure clasp door closing system for the gas compartment, durable metal handles on either side of the unit for easy transportation, and four sturdy casters at the base for enhanced mobility. All these features make the Fuego F21C-H Element not only a powerful grilling machine but also a highly practical one, catering to all your grilling needs in a tidy, compact package.
If you want a more sustainable grilling solution, electric is the way to go. Weber, of course, has embraced this, too, with this compact electric option, which mimics the way traditional gas grills work. Instead of putting your food on a hot plate like other electric grills, it uses cast iron grates on top of an electric heating element to ensure your food develops those pretty grilled char lines. Even better, it’s able to achieve hot cooking temperatures of up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit, which it reaches in around 15 minutes of preheating. This compact version comes with 180 square inches of cooking surface, which should be enough for small family meals, although they also make a slightly larger version with a cooking surface measuring 242 square inches. On its own, the grill is designed to set down on a tabletop, although Weber also offers a dedicated stand, along with other accessories such as a griddle, a smoker, a steamer, and a food warmer.
The Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill has been a classic in the outdoor cooking arena for years, thanks to its innovative design, powerful grilling capabilities, and the combination of space efficiency with ample preparation space. Even with newer models flooding the market, this grill continues to hold its own as one of the best options for those seeking a compact, yet fully-featured grilling solution.
Unlike many small grills, the Weber Performer Deluxe stands out for its extensive workspace adjacent to the grilling area. This additional countertop-like area can be used to keep food items ready for grilling, place utensils and supplies, or serve dishes. Beneath the workspace, there’s a rack for added storage. Although the extra features make it slightly larger than other compact grills, the added functionality might make it an appealing choice for many.
This charcoal grill boasts a generously sized grate that can fit up to 13 burgers at once, striking an optimal balance between grilling capacity and compactness. It’s a perfect option for small gatherings, enabling you to cook a sizable amount of food without occupying too much space.
One of the remarkable features of the Weber Performer Deluxe is its propane-powered ignition system. This design means you can easily light up your charcoal without the typical hassles of manual ignition—all with just the push of a button. This feature alone can make the grilling process far smoother and more enjoyable.
The Weber Performer Deluxe doesn’t skimp on other helpful features either. It includes a thermometer integrated into the lid for easy temperature monitoring, adjustable dampers to regulate oxygen flow to the coals, and a built-in timer for effortless tracking of cooking times. For added convenience, there’s also an incorporated charcoal storage area, saving you from trips to the shed or garage during your grilling session.
In summary, the Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill offers a unique blend of functionality, size efficiency, and time-tested reliability, making it a strong contender in the realm of small grills.
Remember, living in a space with limited outdoor areas doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the joy of grilling. With the right small grill, you can savor the flavors of flame-cooked foods from the comfort of your patio, balcony, or small backyard.