Powerful portable grills are a great idea in concept
Transportable, relatively small and light, quick and easy to set up and clean after using. And powerful enough to cook a dozen burgers or 4 steaks without taking all day or multiple cans of propane. Wait…did I say powerful enough? There’s no such thing as a powerful portable grill that’s powerful enough! Or is there? Is there a world’s most powerful portable grill? Yep, there are a few, and one of them might even be in your price range.
The need for portability arises from and endless array of possibilities depending on how you live your life. Maybe you live in an apartment with limited space, or a fire code that limits you to electric or one pound propane cylinders. Perhaps you’re a serious overnight camper or hiker and want something you can carry with you in you backpack. Or maybe tailgating is more your thing and you just need to park – flip the tailgate down and go.
There’s an endless list of requirements, needs, and desires when it comes to these powerful portable grills and their full-sized relatives. So, it’s just as important with the portables that you keep your wits about you and remember what it takes to make a solid gas grill, and what it takes to cook great food on a gas grill. The same principles apply – including the most important; Power. Specifically BTUs/sq. in. of primary cooking space.
You may have read the post on gas grills for under $200 where we talk about “Heat Flux” or the power a gas grill has. Remember that a 10,000 BTU burner can be more than enough or nowhere near enough depending on the size of the cooking area. It’s similar to power to weight ratio is automobiles. What’s the world’s most powerful portable grill? Heat Flux rating equals power so that’s what we’re looking at in answering this question.
Power rankings for top 8 portable gas grills
You’ll see these rating vary quite a bit – sure spending more money on a portable gas grill generally gives more power, but there are examples of more money actually buying less power or Heat Flux. So, let’s check the numbers.
Pretty amazing results when you look at what it costs to properly power a grill vs. what you can pay for an under-powered toy. A top of the line Weber Genesis II E-610 – which runs $1299 provides a Heat Flux of 78. The entire Genesis II line of grill run between 68-78 Heat Flux.
What’s that mean to you? Well for starters it means that yes indeed there is a world’s most powerful portable gas grill and it’s the Solaire Everywhere which has a street price of about $299. With a Heat Flux of 100 it’s the most powerful I’ve ever seen, and more powerful than top of the line Weber grills – so if it’s in your price range – buy it. The only downside is it doesn’t like to run really cool. It’s a hot grill, not a low and slow cooker.
For half the money, you can have 80% of the performance and plenty to satisfy most needs. There are a couple of grill with Heat Flux rating of 75 and above which will do just fine for camping, tailgating, and RV-ing. After those you can give the Cuisinart CGG-306 a look. Some of you may prefer the grates on the Cuisinart CGG-306 so be sure and consider it. The rest of them are pretty under-powered or overpriced.
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Is power the only thing that matters?
Absolutely not! The question was about world’s most powerful so that’s the first things to confirm. There are many other considerations if you are in the market for one of these. Our top 5 considerations (beside power) are:
Primary cooking area
- These grills can be pretty small. The usual driver for going with a portable is obviously portability – so primary cooking area can really suffer. As you see in the table above, the primary cooking area of these runs from 140-295 sq./in. There are even smaller units from Solaire and Cuisinart that provide even less – barely enough for 2 hamburger patties.
- If you need something that small, power isn’t really a concern anymore. You aren’t expecting much to begin with. Our most powerful portable grill had a Heat Flux of 100 but only 140 sq./in. of primary cooking area. That’s not really enough for 4 people so I’d look to one of the others to get myself into the 250 sq./in. range if possible.
- Will it fit? This one isn’t hard, just pay attention to the folded dimensions. Some of the Solaires for example have different hood profiles so take up different space even with the same primary cooking area. Make sure it’s only as large as you can handle.
- Pretty self-explanatory but the weights do vary quite a bit. 16-26 pounds for the units in the table above. The weight may well be worth it due to better construction, stainless vs. plastic, and cast iron vs. something lighter.
- Are they porcelain covered or are they plain? Are they cast aluminum or cast iron. Take a look and you’ll see some really nice looking grates on the Cuisinart and the Solaire. The others appear to be a bit less chef friendly.
- They are all portable. But, many of them require or allow the use of a 20 lb cylinder. If you plan on doing that – recognize the weight and space it’ll require. This is where the overall BTUs work against you. Remember BTUs are the rate at which a burner can run. So while you get more power, you also consume more fuel.
- Running that 20,000 BTU portable. A 1 lb. cylinder holds 21,500 BTUs. So the 20,000 BTU grills will run for an hour on one cylinder. Unless you go with the smaller 140 sq./in. Solaire, you’re gonna burn a cylinder per hour of cooking – at least plan it that way.
The most powerful portable grill cooking experience
The first job of every portable gas grill, infrared gas grill, or any other type is to get hot fast and stay hot. There are a half dozen grills that meet this standard listed above. Any one of them will suit you just fine and get the job done.
The second job would be to provide even heat across the primary cooking space. This is primarily related to burner design and quality, diffuser design and quality, and grate design and quality. You can’t do much about the design but you can test yours and know where the hot and cold spots are. We didn’t test the grills for this, but didn’t note any customer complaints either.
Third would be the quality of the cooking grates. Better grates make the whole process easier – from end to end. Preparation, the cook, the clean-up can all be miserable with crappy grates. Look at the photos carefully and you can see the difference. Go check some of the models out in person – or in the case of powerful portable grills you could always order two and keep the one you prefer. that’s what internet shopping is all about!
If you ensure you select a grill that provides those 3 things, you’re well on your way o enjoying a portable grilling experience not many folks enjoy. If you look at what sells vs. what provides superior performance you can see that most folks don’t pay as close attention to details as you do. Take a look at some of models above and see if you agree with me. They are the world’s strongest portable grills! Enjoy!