There are a limited number of quality portable charcoal BBQs on the market in Australia.
In recent years, the Everdure Cube has gained in popularity - but is it the best choice? We've pitted it against several options from Weber and the lesser known LotusGrill Portable Charcoal BBQ that we sell.
For a portable BBQ to make this list, it had to be:
- Marketed as portable
- Fuelled by charcoal*
- From a reputable brand (not a cheap knock off!)
The Portable Charcoal BBQ Contenders:
The award-winning, German designed, efficient LotusGrill.
The Everdure CUBE, marketed by celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal (and Bunnings).
Weber's range of portable charcoal BBQs. With the variants being mostly the same, only differing in size and shape, we've grouped them together.
Portable BBQ Weight
|Weber Smokey Joe / Weber Go Anywhere / Weber Jumbo Joe||4.3kg / 6.7kg / 8kg|
When carrying a BBQ to your favourite picnic or camping spot, those extra kilos make all the difference. The Lotus Grill is mostly made of stainless steel, whereas the other designs are made of porcelain enamel, which could explain their extra weight.
Everdure Cube Cooking Area
|Everdure Cube||745cm² (ref)|
|Weber Go Anywhere||
Before we go any further - it is worth checking we're comparing apples with apples. Or in this, similar BBQ cooking areas! The Everdure Cube is slightly smaller than the other two, but still certainly in the same ball-park.
Portable Charcoal Barbecue Start-Up Time
|Everdure Cube||15 minutes.|
|Weber Go Anywhere||15-30 mins, plus 10 mins preheating recommended (according to user manual).|
Other than the LotusGrill, all of these designs are simply smaller versions of a normal-size charcoal grill. This means they take just as long to light up. The Lotus Grill, however, with its innovative design and built-in electric fan, means that coals will be glowing hot within a few minutes.
Is Everdure Cube Easy to Light?
|Name||Easy to Light?|
|Weber Go Anywhere||No|
If you research the FAQs and user manuals of these products, some of them recommend a "charcoal chimney". A charcoal chimney is a way of bunching up the coal pieces together so they light quickly. Weber even has an in-depth blog post on how to use one. But does it come included with the BBQ? No. And it still takes 10-15 minutes to light the charcoal, and then you have to pour the hot coals into the BBQ. Sounds safe guys ;)
Weber's Rapidfire Chimney Starter (compared to the Lotus Grill Portable Charcoal BBQ, it's anything but "rapid").
LotusGrill, on the other hand, has their version of a charcoal chimney. It's the charcoal canister - which is built into the design.
Diagram of the LotusGrill design which includes the charcoal canister.
Portable BBQ Exterior Cool to Touch?
|Name||Exterior cool to touch?|
|Everdure Cube||Handles only. Heat resistant gloves recommended via special order from Bunnings.|
|Weber Smokey Joe / Etc||No|
As you can see from the diagram above, the outside of the Lotus Grill stays cool to touch thanks to its double-layered design. Additionally, the charcoal burns inside a closed mesh container so nothing can fall out - even if you turn it upside down (or kick it over). Want to move the BBQ while the charcoal is still burning? This is no problem with the Lotus Grill - but with the other BBQs, it is discouraged.
A 'Smokeless' Portable BBQ Grill?
|Weber Go Anywhere & the Joes||No|
Normal portable charcoal BBQs have the capacity to create massive clouds of smoke. When the wind is blowing in the wrong direction (i.e. in your face), it's not pleasant. Smoke occurs when the melting fat from food drips down onto the coals. This also causes flame flare-ups.
With the Lotus Grill, the charcoal canister is covered. Fat drips down and is caught in the inner bowl, so there is little to no smoke created. Yet there's still enough charcoal aroma to add that smokey flavour that fans of charcoal grilling love.
With the other designs, the BBQ grill is placed right on top of open coals. This equates to smoke. Lots of it.
Ability to Adjust BBQ Heat Level?
|Lotus Grill||Yes - variable speed dial for the electric fan.|
|Everdure Cube by Heston Blumenthal||No|
|Weber Smokey Joe / Weber Go-Anywhere / Weber Jumbo Joe||Basic - vent in lid controls airflow.|
The heat control on the Lotus Grill is fantastic. The premium lump charcoal is very responsive to the flow of air. With just a small turn of the electric fan speed dial, you can see the coals glowing and dimming before your eyes, just like dimming a light switch.
The others... well... the lids have vents. But what if you're not using the lid?
Is Everdure Cube Dishwasher Safe?
|Weber Smokey Joe / Weber Go Anywhere / Weber Jumbo Joe||No|
Who has ever heard of a dishwasher safe BBQ before? Well, Lotus Grill has now made one!
Does Everdure Cube Come With A Carry Bag?
|Name||Carry Bag Included?|
|Everdure Cube from Bunnings||No (travel bag extra cost from Bunnings)|
|Weber Go Anywhere & Others||No|
Yep, the Lotus Grill is the only portable BBQ with a neat carry bag included. This is also great for storing the BBQ away in the back of a kitchen cupboard when not in use. Heston Blumenthal's CUBE has a bag which you can buy separately (via Special order from Bunnings). As far as we can work out, the others don't have one at all.
The LotusGrill's convenient carry case included with purchase.
Portable BBQ Materials
|Lotus Grill||Stainless steel and powdered coated steel.|
|Everdure Cube BBQ||Porcelain enamel firebox.|
|Weber Go-Anywhere & Co.||Porcelain enamelled bowl and lid, Chrome-plated steel cooking grill.|
The quality stainless steel components of the LotusGrill makes it lighter and dishwasher safe. The others are made of enamel, which is vulnerable to chips. The metal underneath is mostly likely steel, which is heavier and could rust when exposed.
Chipped enamel on an old Weber BBQ.
Recommended Retail Price (RRP)
|LotusGrill Portable Charcoal BBQ||$249.95|
|Everdure / Heston CUBE||$199.00, no extras included (link)|
|Weber Smokey Joe / Weber Go-Anywhere / Weber Jumbo Joe||$109.95 / $129.95 / $169.00, no extras (link)|
Interested? Click here to see the LotusGrill. Happy grilling!