Whether it’s a trip to the beach, a tailgating get-together, camping trip, or a lazy Saturday spent at a local park, bringing a grill along is a great way to transform your outdoor gathering into a true summer experience.
Picnics are nice, but there are many portable grills on the market that are light enough to carry from the car to your picnic spot. Read on to find everything you’ll need for a lazy summer day grilling on the go.
1. Choose the right grill
When it comes to purchasing a portable grill, the single most important thing to consider is weight of the grill and the location where you’ll be picnicking. You don’t want to lug a heavy grill down a steep embankment, so look for a lightweight grill with a carrying bag or easy-to-grip handles.
- Choose charcoal. If you’re a charcoal grill aficionado, you can find many portable grill models that can be carried in an airtight bag. This makes it possible to use the charcoals again.
- Go gas. If you’d rather go with the convenience of a gas grill, the portable versions come with compact, disposable propane bottles. They have handles for easy carrying and some come with collapsible legs.
Don’t forget to check for coupons and deals at your local home supply store before you shop. Coupons.com offers coupon codes for Home Depot, Sears, and more stores where you can find a selection of grills.
Looking for a full-size grill to keep at home? Check out our Grill Buying Guide!
2. Plan and pack ahead
Any away-from-home cooking experience is always better with a little careful organization. Spend the evening before your grillin’ getaway prepping the food and supplies you’ll need.
- Food prep. Seal raw meat in plastic bags for worry-free, no-mess transport. If necessary, thread meat on skewers and place in a plastic bag with marinade beforehand.
- Store cool. Make sure to pack foods that can spoil in a cooler or thermal bag with ice, so it stays cool on the road. Pack raw meat and ready-to-eat foods like fruit in two separate coolers to ensure zero cross-contamination.
- Get Saucy. Don’t forget the sauces! Every barbecue needs basting and dipping sauces, so pack some in non-breakable containers to bring along.
- Smart serving ware. Disposable plates, silverware, and cups make for easy clean up, but you can also bring along non-breakable dishware if you’d rather re-use. If you decided to go green and bring glassware, pack an extra plastic trash bag to keep dirty dishes from soiling your car on the trip home.
- Don’t forget clean-up. Pack antibacterial wipes for easy clean up after cooking.
3. Travel safely
Though portable grills are made for toting, there are a few tricks that will ensure safe travels. If you use a gas grill, store the gas canisters upright and keep them in a well-ventilated area. If you use a charcoal grill, pour water over the coals to cool them down after use.
Your grill probably has handles, but you can still burn your skin on the main part of the grill. Consider buying an airtight bag made specifically for transporting portable grills while they’re still hot.
4. Portable food for portable grillin’
Choose foods wisely when prepping for an on-the-go grilling station. Since portable grills tend to produce less heat than your at-home grill, it’s best to bring along thinner cuts of meat that will cook quickly, such as chicken tenders, skewered strips of beef, and shrimp. Portobello mushrooms and other veggies are great on the portable grill too. Here are four mini-grill friendly favorites:
Grilled Shrimp with Garlic and Herbs
Shrimp take minutes to cook on the barbie. Thread them on skewers, toss in a plastic bag with garlic and herbs, and bring enough to share. What a perfect way to celebrate summer!
Grilled Portobello Mushrooms
Barbecues don’t always have to be about burgers. These easy Portobello mushrooms taste amazing on the grill, and they can be prepped at home with no messy clean-up.
Grilled Skirt Steak
Source: Simply Recipes
Steaks normally require high heat on the grill, but these grilled skirt steak skewers are cut thin for quick grilling, and work beautifully on a portable grill. Prepare these at home and have them ready when the grill gets hot. You’ll be glad you brought these skewers along!
Blackened Chicken Breast Tenders
Source: Gold’n Plump
A thick chicken breast takes forever to cook on a low-heat grill. Instead, use chicken tenders, which are thin enough to cook quickly without drying out. These grilled blackened chicken breast tenders are perfect for your portable barbecue, and can be dipped in a tasty sauce or enjoyed as is!
9. Portable BBQ packing list
Now that you’ve got the 411 on portable grilling, use the checklist below to ensure you’ve got everything you need for your portable BBQ. If you don’t have certain items stashed away at home, check Coupons.com for ways to save on everything from your barbecue food to beverages and more.
- Portable grill
- Gas tank or charcoal
- Lighter fluid (if needed)
- Grill tools: metal spatula and tongs
- Grill-safe gloves
- Cooler with ice for chilled foods
- Serving spoons/knives
- Garbage bag
- Antibacterial hand wipes
- Water for cleanup
Your Turn! What tricks and tips have you discovered to make on-the-go grilling easier than ever?