Best portable barbecues – on test

Pint-sized, portable barbecues occupy a convenient middle ground between hefty grills and disposable trays. Read the BBC Good Food review of popular mini barbies.

Best blowout barbie

Cobb barbecue on a white backgroundCobb® barbecue cooking system

Best bits: Ultra easy to carry and a multi-tasker. 
Cooks for: 3-4 people
Accessories: Yes – a padded shoulder bag
Price: £109.99

Comments: This is one serious piece of al fresco kit – not only does it barbecue food, it’s also suitable for smoking, roasting and pizza-making. The design is sleek and futuristic, bordering on UFO-like, it requires minimal charcoal and the Teflon cooking plate is really easy to clean. It's worth pointing out that as it doesn’t have traditional griddle grooves, our sausages rolled around and got a bit unruly. Buy from Lakeland
 

Best of the budget barbecues

Landmann Piccolino portable barbecue on white backgroundLandmann Piccolino portable charcoal barbecue

Best bits: Attractive colourway and very lightweight.
Cooks for: 3-4 people
Accessories: Yes – set of tongs and warming rack
Price: £44.99

Comments: This barbecue is light as a feather and easily portable, but pretty solid and durable too. It’s really easy to pack away – the coal sits in a small bowl inside the base of the barbecue so all you have to do is remove this, throw away the remains and give it a quick wipe. Once it’s in the box it would easily sit under patio furniture or could be stored in a small cupboard. Buy from Internet gardener


Best for impatient cooks

Green Lotus barbecue on white backgroundLotus standard grill

Best bits: Super-speedy cooking time and compact shape.
Cooks for: 4-5 people
Accessories: Yes – carry bag and batteries (for the fan)
Price: £145

Comments: If the worst part of barbecuing is waiting for your food, then this is the one for you. The LotusGrill has an in-built fan, which gets the charcoal up to temperature in around five minutes. Compared to other charcoal barbecues, we couldn’t believe the ease with which you could cook – no need to coax the coals, simply fire up and expect good heat for over half an hour. The charcoal is in an enclosed container and with a fan going, you don’t get much in the way of charcoal flavour but the efficiency and generous cooking area far outweigh this. Buy from LotusGrill


Best for longevity

Weber Smokey Joe barbecue on white backgroundWeber Smokey Joe Premium

Best bits: Classic American barbecue design at its finest.
Cooks for: 3-4 people
Accessories: No
Price: RRP £69.99

Comments: Weber don’t just do barbecues – they do epic, Tony-Soprano-friendly contraptions the size of small sheds. For those of us without acres of lawn, they also make a neat, dinky Smokey Joe dome. The porcelain-enameled material is deceptively lightweight and extremely durable, with a handy lid that clips onto the side for protection against the wind, plus it’s a doddle to clean. We left ours outside, uncovered, for an entire winter and it barely diminished, despite considerable pummeling from the British weather. Visit the Weber website.

Buyer's advice

Why buy? 

Portable barbecues make life easier for the space-constrained and gardenless, plus they offer an economical alternative to wasteful, environmentally-unfriendly disposable barbecues that scorch grass and are, ironically enough, difficult to dispose of.  They can be used in parks (although make sure you check your local council website first), on beaches, campsites and backyards.


What we looked for…

  1. How easy it is to put together: Convenience is key here. We looked for models that can be assembled in minutes.
  2. Portability and storage: How easily the barbecue can be carried and how heavy it is, plus how well it can be stored in the long term.
  3. Design: We're suckers for nifty aesthetic flashes. 
  4. How quickly it cools down: We don’t want to be trapped in the park, sat around burning cinders until dawn after all.
  5. Durability and accessories: The quality of the metal and whether it comes with added extras.

Barbecue recipes and tips… 

The best barbecues for less than £100
How to barbecue safely
Our best-ever barbie recipes
How to throw a last minute barbecue
Our barbecue section

This review was last updated in May 2017. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@bbc.com. 

Are you a fan of pick-up-and-carry barbecues? We'd like to hear your product suggestions. Plus, for everything you'll ever need for a flame-side session, visit our barbecue hub... 

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