1) Weber Char Q Charcoal Grill
(The barbecue fanatic)
$189, weber.com for stores
UPSIDE Large grill surface; porcelain-enameled cast-iron grates sear well; adjustable vents and damper for airflow and heat control; sturdy cast-aluminum body and lid; removable drip tray; charcoal "basket" makes dumping ashes a cinch.
DOWNSIDE Expensive; coals are a little too close to grates; heavy and unwieldy to carry without the rolling cart/stand (sold separately).
2) Bayou Classic Fold & Go Charcoal Grill
(The frequent tailgater)
UPSIDE Inexpensive; large grill surface; folds flat for easy storage; carrying bag; legs adjust for stability on uneven ground.
DOWNSIDE No lid; flimsy construction; rusts if left out uncovered.
3) Cobb Premier Grill & Cooking System
UPSIDE Extremely light (10 pounds); stay-cool, kid-friendly base; domed lid is tall enough for roasts; vents allow smoking; recessed "moat" for filling with flavoring liquids; cooking grate drains fat into moat, reducing flare-ups and smoke; dishwasher-safe elements; carrying bag.
DOWNSIDE Small grill surface; grills best with lid on; flat grate sold separately; not compatible with liquid fuel (starter).
4) Lodge Logic Sportsman's Charcoal Grill
(The weekend griller)
UPSIDE Extremely sturdy; cast-iron grates sear well; adjustable cooking-grate height; sliding draft door regulates heat; flip-down door for adding charcoal.
DOWNSIDE No lid; heavy; difficult to transport and to dump ashes; long cooling period; no lip on grate to prevent food from rolling off.
USE YOUR PORTABLE GRILL TO MAKE THIS RECIPE
*Prices and other details were accurate when we published this article in June 2009.