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How to Choose a Small Charcoal Grill

How to Choose a Small Charcoal Grill

While many people have flocked to the convenience and ease of propane barbecues, there are still those culinary holdouts that believe there is nothing to beat the taste of a burger, chicken wing, or bratwurst that has been flame-cooked by real charcoal. After all, who doesn’t love that distinct taste of subtle smoke one gets from a charcoal grill?

Other than the extra work of lighting the charcoals, however, there is one other problem with a charcoal grill. This problem has to do with space. With so many people living in apartments or small condos, not many people have the room for a bulky charcoal grill.

Luckily for barbecue aficionados, however, there is always the option of buying a small charcoal grill. These more compact grills allow people that live in smaller places to still enjoy that rich flavor and taste offered only by charcoal grilling.

Before purchasing a small charcoal grill, however, make sure you have a good idea of just how much you want to barbecue at any given time. If your grill is too small, you might find yourself having to cook food in small batches. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, unless you want to ensure that everyone eats at the same time. Therefore, if you know you’re going to be feeding a crowd at any given time, choose the largest grill that fits the space and your budget.

You should also take into consideration how exactly you’re going to use your small charcoal grill. Will you be using it for casual camping trips? Will it accompany you to tailgating parties? Will it be used exclusively in your home? Deciding how exactly you’ll use the grill will determine which one is ideal for your needs. Camping and tailgating grills, for example, can be significantly smaller than a grill used for everyday home cooking.

The purpose of the small charcoal grill should also be considered in terms of material used. Especially if you’re planning on doing a lot of outdoor work with your grill, it will have to be made of sufficiently durable material that it can withstand weather and any expected abuse from the elements.

As one note of caution, especially if you live in an apartment, always make sure to check with your management and see if a small charcoal grill is allowed. Some complexes don’t allow them, and it will constitute a breach of contract in order to operate one. Even if there is no mention of them in your contract, be on the safe side and double check before purchasing.

And, of course, even with smaller grills, be diligent about watching your food as you cook. Just because the grill is smaller doesn’t mean it doesn’t pose a real threat of starting a fire. The coals inside the grill are still going to be extremely hot, and just as with any grill, anything potentially flammable should be removed from the immediate vicinity. Never leave it unattended, and after the food has cooked, make sure the coals are properly extinguished.

Photo courtesy of ToastyKen.

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