Campsite Cuisine: 5 Portable Grills that Actually Cook a Great Steak

Cooking with fire!

Is there anything more sublime than time spent away from it all? Than time spent out in the mountains or forest, or by the lake or riverbank? Is there anything better than time spent without the frenetic hum of modern life?

Why, yes… yes there is: time away from it all with awesome meat. Time is always better spent with a burger (or three), with the perfect steak, or with freshly grilled fish. Or hey, grill some veggies if you want, this is America. The point is nothing makes a great camping, fishing, or RV trip better than great food cooked right on the grill.

There’s a glut of diminutive grills on the market today, and few meet the challenge of being both truly portable and truly capable. But hey, that’s why you came to us, right? Don’t go wading into that grill market morass alone: the experts are here to show you the way.

Related: Base Camp Cooking

If you love camping and (manly) cooking, then you’ll love these five portable grills.

The Texsport Heavy Duty Camp Grill
There’s no manlier way to cook than with an open fire. This rugged grill folds flat for storage and opens up into a sturdy, durable cook surface that perches atop the flames of your campfire charcoal bed. Its 24″ by 16″ cooktop will accommodate several steaks, up to eight burgers, or plenty of roasting veggies. Unfortunately, with its rugged design comes a hefty ten-pound weight, making this grill a bad choice for backpacking.

The Coleman RoadTrip LXE Propane Grill
If you want a gourmet grilling experience even when far from home, consider the Coleman RoadTrip LXE. It’s far too bulky for the hiker or mountaineer, but for RV travels or for the campsite pitched near your vehicle, it brings the comforts of a standard gas grill out into the country. It has two fully adjustable burners, side tables for tools or foods, and it folds down small enough for the trunk of most any car.

The Weber Smokey Joe Charcoal Grill
Ah, the little grill that could. If you’ve never cooked using a Weber, you’re missing out on a classic slice of American life. This little grill is every bit as a capable as its iconic larger cousin, the Kettle Grill. The Smokey Joe, however, weighs less than ten pounds and will fit in your compact car’s trunk. Just don’t forget the charcoal. And maybe some lighter fluid. Oh and the meat, don’t forget the meat.

The Cuisinart Chef’s Style Tabletop Grill
Well hello there, Mr. Fancypants! Why no, we’d never poke fun at a gent who wanted to cook a perfect lil’ steak while out there at a campsite! We’d never have a laugh at the fellah who chose a pint-sized stainless steel grill with twin burners putting out a total of 20,000 BTUs! Like… we actually wouldn’t. This little grill is powerful and capable, and can be fueled using a full-sized propane tank or a propane cylinder. It’s not cheap, but it is high quality.

The UCO Grilliput Portable Camping Grill
Design nerds and outdoor cooking enthusiasts unite! The UCO grill is brilliant and capable: each piece of the grill slides into a steel tube when disassembled, and assembly takes just a few minutes. The result is a 10″ by 9″ grill surface that perches above your campfire, cooking perfectly seared meats. At less than 20 ounces in weight, this clever, compact grill is light enough to carry during days of trekking. Great food and the great outdoors, together at last.