Disposable barbecue grills have been around for a lot longer than you think, they just haven’t had much traction until now.
They’re instant barbecue grills that usually weigh under ten pounds, and you can carry them anywhere.
But are they actually viable?
Is there a reason you haven’t heard much coverage of them over the past years?
It’s hard to say, and it depends on your perspective on what good barbecue should be.
We’re going to discuss the good and the bad of disposable barbecue grills, and why they might deserve a spot in your griller’s arsenal.
Are Disposable BBQs Any Good?
Disposable BBQs are good for what they were designed for, which is tailgating.
If you’re trying to tailgate with some friends on game day, but you don’t want to haul you 75-pound propane grill with the triple burner unit, then what are you to do?
A disposable barbecue grill gives you the chance to grill even when your grill is at home.
It’s great for trips to the park, cross country or across state line trips to celebrate with your friends or family, and specific occasions.
But if you were to just get a handful of disposable barbeque grills for your house, then that would be a waste of money.
If you’re the type of person who can see yourself going through five of these in a single summer, then it’s more than likely that you would benefit from investing in an actual grill for your backyard.
If you want a medium quality gas grill with two burners, you can spend between $200 and $300 for one.
On average, you’ll spend $100 to $150 on five disposable barbecue grills. Seems like there’s an obvious choice here.
Can You Boil Water on a Disposable BBQ?
Water boils at 212° F, and any charcoal grill can easily climb to temperatures above that.
Yes, you can boil water on a disposable BBQ grill, which is really just a charcoal grill. It will take longer, though.
With most standard charcoal grills, you have about five to ten pounds of charcoal burning at a time.
These portable units come with two, maybe three pounds tops.
There’s also an absolute ton of accelerant in them, and while that’s good for getting things going, it means you’re going to start off with a bang, and it’s only going to downhill from there.
As the temperature drops, keeping a consistent 212 underneath that pot is going to be tricky.
When is it Useful to Use a Disposable Barbecue?
There are a few times where you might actually find some use out of a disposable BBQ grill. Those would be:
As mentioned before, it beats bringing a 75-pound grill with you on the bed of your truck.
That’s not really what I would call convenient.
However, since you’ll be tailgating for hours on end, you will need four disposable BBQ grills just for an average day of grilling.
Trips to the Park
You’re spending three or more hours at the local park with your kids, or you’re stopping at the halfway point on a long car trip, and they need to stretch their legs.
Either way, nobody wants to pay for drive-thru food that’s just going to ruin all of your stomachs anyway.
You can pull out a portable BBQ grill, so long as you’re aware of the park and state laws, and just grill up while you’re in the park.
The best part? It’s disposable, so you just toss it in one of those old, beaten-up trash cans they have, and call it a day.
If Your Grill Breaks
Gas line sprung a leak? Charcoals got ruined by the recent rainstorm and they won’t light?
Well, you could always pull out one of these like an emergency ration.
It’s not going to be the best, but it’s going to get the job done.
Once you have a disposable barbeque grill in the house, you can just pop it open to cook your food instead of jacking up the electric bill.
Not only that, but some of the best food hacks in the world come from using a grill in place of the stove when you want to make bland foods exciting.
Just you and the boys all weekend.
It sounds like a good time, but nobody should be shaking a pan over a campfire that may or may not actually be cooking that fresh fish you just caught.
A portable barbeque could be good to batch cook a ton of freshly caught food and then stow it away in the cooler once its internal temperature comes down.
We’ve seen more week-long blackouts across this country in the last decade than we had in the previous twenty years.
It’s insane. What if it happens to you?
Having a portable barbeque can help you with heat in the middle of the winter, or to cook food in your fridge before it goes bad.
The electric stove isn’t working, so what are you to do? Get cooking.
Flip the Script: Why You Actually Shouldn’t Use Disposable BBQ Grills
While those all sound convenient, I personally wouldn’t buy a portable barbeque grill.
Not for any reason.
I’m not going to tailgate, and if I do, I’m going to do it right.
I’m not going to barbeque at the park, I’m going to pack cold cuts if I’m on a road trip.
Those practical reasons I gave you are applicable, they are true, they’re just not worth the hassle to many men like me who grill all the time.
There’s plenty of other reasons why you shouldn’t use a disposable BBQ grill.
These grills light up instantly with a single match, right?
That’s great, but then they only burn for 90 minutes before they go out.
That’s like paying someone $13.33 an hour, but you have to be the one to cook the food.
I’m not saying there aren’t expenses associated with grillings at home, such as charcoal and gas.
There are. But at least at home, I can keep the fire burning for hours on end.
That’s a lot of tin foil to throw away. Not only that but tossing out charcoal like this isn’t good.
Some charcoal can be recycled, and if you don’t recycle it, you’re just depositing straight-up carbon into the environment that could do a lot of damage.
I think we’ve all struggled with getting our charcoal to heat up before.
With 90 minutes on the timer, the clock ticking down, it’s not feasible to get your temperature up high enough (not consistently anyway) before it becomes useful.
90 minutes is already a really short amount of time to start with.
These grates that they include portable, disposable BBQ grills are just laughable.
They’re ultra-thin, and while the design side of that is to make them very susceptible to indirect heat, they’ve been known to break.
Yeah, just like that.
They don’t leave clean grill marks on your meats, either; it’s a weird, wide grill mark that isn’t aesthetic and tastes burnt more than it does lightly charred.
Find any disposable BBQ grill, and they’re going to boast about quick ignition.
You can light a fire in the time it takes to strike a match, and it keeps burning on.
I can’t just throw food down on that.
You have a ton of accelerants rising up into the air, which is going to get on the food.
You have to wait a few minutes before the flare-ups die down, and you can safely put your meat on the grill without burning the outside, and undercooking the inside.
Lack of Quality
These are basically disposable 9×13 pans that you get because you don’t want to make extra dishes on Thanksgiving, and then they’re just filled with charcoal.
The edges are sharp, the stands are weak and have low weight limits, and you have minimal surface space to actually cook on.
If You’re Going to Barbecue, Commit to it
At the end of the day, portable barbeques aren’t really worth it.
You can look at some of the best possible portable barbeque grills, the best sellers with the most ratings, and find some pretty alarming stuff.
They can get expensive, and they last for a max of two hours at a time.
Not really enough time to slow cook anything, you know?
Invest in a solid barbeque grill, one that isn’t too pricey, but that isn’t going to fall apart on you in the next two to three years, either. Here are some good electric choices. But if you want to be portable for camping or outings, then read the review for the Country Smokers Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker. Or consider this Weber, quite possibly the best portable grill for camping and tailgating.