The Bottom Line
Once the little backyard hibachi grill ruled. Constructed of heavy cast iron, durable, and punished these grills were a mainstay of college parties, beaches, and parks across the country. As this kind of metal work moved overseas, these grills got cheaper and virtually disappears. Fortunately, Lodge Manufacturing has remained in business and actually thrived in the cast iron world.
The Lodge Sportsman Grill is the best selling portable grill on Amazon and for around $100USD you too can have this powerful yet simple portable charcoal grill. Just remember that since it is cast iron, it will require care.
- Heavy cast iron construction
- Hot and powerful
- Can last literally forever
- No lid
- Bare cast iron requires special care
- Small cooking area
- 120 square inches of cooking space on a nickel plated steel cooking grate
- 33-pound total weight
- Complete cast iron construction
- Front door access to fire
- Sliding bottom vent for temperature adjustment
- Steel swing away handle
- Made in the United States by Lodge Manufacturing
Guide Review - Lodge Sportsman Charcoal Grill
The Lodge Sportsman is a classic hibachi style grill. There is no lid, making this charcoal grilling at its purist, food, and fire in a heavy cast iron body. There is a small sliding vent along the bottom of the grill that will give a slight adjustment to the heat, but this is the kind of grill that requires a little (and I mean a little) fire building skill.
There is also a door in the front of the grill that allows the addition of charcoal or wood to the fire while cooking.
It is important to note that while preseasoned, this grill is made of bare cast iron. Left to the elements or uncleaned it will rust and while rust doesn't mean it is broken, it will eat away at the body over time.
Care is required and if you are the sort of person who doesn't tend to take care of their investments then I would suggest buying something else. However, with proper care, this cast iron hibachi can last for years, even decades. You might just be leaving it to your kids someday. Make sure that it is properly seasoned, frequently oiled, and stores in a dry location.
While heavy (33-pounds), this is a small grill. It has 120 square inches of cooking space which is enough to handle about six burgers or two large steaks at a time. Perfect for a small trip to the beach, this isn't going to handle a party of any real size, so be aware of this limitation before making the investment.
One last note, this grill gets very hot on the exterior surfaces so keeping it away from children is very important. It should be placed on a non-flammable surface for grilling and watched carefully while hot. Because of the sheer mass of the unit, it will retain heat for a long time and since cast iron can crack with quick temperature changes it shouldn't be doused with water while hot. Aside from these care and safety issues, this is a great little grill that is a lot of fun to use.