The Patio Pro is a perfect choice for apartment dwellers, campers, hikers, or anyone in need of a small grill that’s easy to store and transport. Many full-sized grills tend to take up plenty of floor space, but if you’re looking for a grill that can handle cooking for three or four people, then a full-sized grill can be overkill. The Patio Pro is a great alternative and one that’s not lacking in power, features, and style.
Overall, considering the price and the lightweight design, this grill would be a great option for patio use, camping, caravanning, and travel.
Overview and Features
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly charcoal grill, then the Patio Pro fits the bill. It may not be as flashy as the other models we’ve reviewed, but it does feature a durable construction, a stand complete with a storage bin and wheels, a storage shelf, and a simple design that makes it easier to use and maintain.
This grill is designed primarily for camping and tailgating, but it’s also a great option if you live in an apartment or duplex and don’t have much space on your patio to work with. Additionally, it’s very beginner-friendly, especially for those who have experience with charcoal grills.
The size of the cooking surface is pretty small, considering the compact design. It measures in at two hundred and fifty inches, so you won’t have much space to work with, especially if you’re cooking larger cuts of beef.
The grates are made out of cast-iron, which is a much better alternative than stainless steel. When cooking, you can add vegetable oil directly to the grill’s surface to prevent food from sticking. Over time, doing so will season the grates and give them a natural nonstick surface. Cast-iron is also more durable and energy efficient compared to stainless steel. However, scrubbing the grates down can be just as challenging. Routine cleaning before each use is recommended in order to remove burnt on food. For cast-iron grates, cleaning can be as simple as using a large bristled grill brush.
The thickness of the grates provides fast, even heat dispersion throughout the cooking surface. This material also won’t break down the meat’s moisture barrier. The grill’s barrel-shaped cooking surface helps to improve cooking efficiency and retains heat almost as well as ceramic grills, although maintaining a certain temperature can be difficult at times.
The grill comes equipped with a small shelf on one side that can be used to hold your grilling supplies. In terms of storage, this is all you’ll get. But while small, the shelf will work well to hold grilling tools and food.
Powered by Charcoal
This is a basic charcoal grill. The charcoal will give your food a nice full, rich smoky flavor that you just can’t get with a gas or electric grill.
Cleaning the grill is pretty simple considering its small size. Right after use, use a grill brush to scrub off any food that’s stuck to the grate. The grate should still be hot when you’re scrubbing it down. The heat will make it easier to scrape off the burnt on food. To remove the grill to clean out the bottom, use the included leather strap and hook.
If it’s been a while since you’ve thoroughly cleaned the grill or you want to clean it before storing it for the winter, a deep clean is a must. To clean, remove the grate, scrub it down and thoroughly dry the grate in order to prevent rust. Empty out the ash catcher, and wipe down both the grill’s exterior and interior.
The grill weighs in at just fifty pounds. It rests on a large stainless steel stand which comes equipped with four small wheels. The wheels make it easy to transport this grill from one place to another. However, the smaller design of the wheels will make it difficult to push over uneven terrain. This is something to keep in mind if you plan on taking it hiking or camping.
The manufacturer has marketed this model as the perfect option for hiking and camping, however, considering the small wheels that struggle over rocky terrain, this isn’t exactly the best choice for hiking long distances. If you often hike for several miles to a campsite, use a dolly to transport the grill.
Charcoal Drawer and Storage Rack
On one side of the grill, you have a small shelf. On the other side is the charcoal drawer where you can store charcoal. Directly below the grill is a small wire rack that you can use to store a bag of briquettes.
The stay cool handle is a great safety feature. When you grill, you run the risk of burning yourself if you accidentally touch the grill too soon after you’ve finished grilling. The stay cool handle allows you to handle the grill during use or soon after, without getting burned. This is a pretty basic safety feature, but most grills don’t have it, so it was great to see it on this lower priced model.
The grill comes with a large side vent, which controls how much smoke and air will exit the grill and how much air will enter it. Most grills come with two to three vents, which allows for more precise temperature control. The fact that this model only comes with one large vent tells us that maintaining a certain temperature will be pretty difficult. However, this simple design is to be expected from a grill in this price range.
The bottom of the grill features a double steel design, which improves the grill’s durability. Over a period of several months, the bottom of a grill can fall out. Fortunately, the bottom of this grill is reinforced with an extra layer of steel, so you can expect it to last season after season.
- Wheels make it easy to transport
- Lightweight design
- Double steel bottom
- Cast-iron grates
- One vent makes temperature regulation difficult
- Small grilling surface
Does this Grill Come with a Built-in Thermometer?
No, it doesn’t. You can purchase a grill thermometer from a local hardware or home improvement store and attach it to the lid of the grill. We also recommend using a basic meat thermometer, especially if you’re grilling steak. Checking the meat’s doneness is important when grilling, in order to avoid overcooking it.
Can This Grill Be Left Outdoors in Rainy Weather?
No. If left uncovered in the rain, it will rust. You can purchase a waterproof grill cover or store the grill for the winter. Most models of kamado grills can be left outdoors year-round. If space is a concern of yours, the Char-Griller E06614 AKORN Jr, Red Charcoal Kamado Grill is a compact, space-saving model that can give you the best of both worlds. It offers superior temperature regulation and a durable design that allows it to easily withstand any type of inclement weather.
Can I Use this Grill for Veggies?
Yes. As we covered earlier, regulating the temperature of the grate is difficult, however, for most veggies, you can use a foil packet to steam the veggies in a matter of minutes, at the same time you cook meat. Other vegetables such as cauliflower or corn can be cooked directly on the grate, however, you’ll need to keep a close eye on the grate’s temperature in order to prevent overcooking them. If you’d like to learn more about veggies and vegetarian and vegan grilling options, click here to read our guide on vegan grill recipes.
Conclusion and Rating
While it may not be the best portable charcoal grill, it’s definitely a great option for the buyer on a budget who doesn’t have the room to accommodate a full-sized grill. It’s also a great choice if you’re looking for a compact grill you can take hiking and camping. Despite it’s compact and basic design the grill does a decent job of grilling your favorites. However, because it only features a single vent design, temperature regulation can be both difficult and frustrating. If you’re looking for a lower priced grill that can handle regular use, one that’s designed to last, and available at a reasonable price, then you can’t go wrong with the Patio-Pro. However, keep in mind that this grill is best used for burgers, chicken breasts, and hot dogs, and can struggle to cook a thick steak to perfection. Overall, despite its lack of features, we felt that this model was still a steal for the price. We gave this grill a rating of four and a half out of five stars.