The Bottom Line
Charcoal grills are generally less expensive than their gas counterparts but are more expensive to use because the charcoal used costs considerably more per cookout. This is particularly a problem when you consider the inefficient way we tend to use charcoal grills. A big pile of charcoal, burnt to ash with every cookout can make for a costly cooking method. However, it is possible to save unused charcoal cookout to cookout by snuffing out the fire and preserving the coals left behind.
The raptor grill is designed and built around this method and promises a considerable reduction in the cost of charcoal grilling.
- Good temperature control
- Designed to maximize fuel efficiency
- Uneven heating
- Limited construction quality
- 230 square inches of cooking space on a nickel plated steel cooking grate
- 17.5-pound total weight
- Porcelain-coated steel construction
- Unique charcoal basket for retaining unburnt coals
- Four leg design top and bottom vents
- Nylon lid handle doubles as stand
- Grill closes down to put the fire out so you can save charcoal
- Made in China by Raptor Grilling
Guide Review - Raptor Portable Charcoal Grill
The Raptor Grill is uniquely designed to conserve charcoal and to make handling charcoal clean and easy. This rectangular grill has a removable coal basket into which charcoal is poured and lit (or added already burning from a charcoal chimney.
The cooking grate sits over this basket and everything can be removed by using handles that extend outside the body of the grill. There is even a cut out in the coal basket so that unused charcoal can be easily and cleanly poured out.
The basic process would run something like this: Fill the charcoal basket in the grill with charcoal and light or light the charcoal in a chimney and pour into the grill.
Level it out and put on the cooking grate. Grill as normal, lid on or off. Adjustable vents in the lid and bottom of the grill allow for temperature control while the lid is used. The cooking grate can be lifted off and placed in the lid so that the fire can be accessed. When the grilling is done, replace the lid and close the vents. In about an hour the fire will be out completely. At this point, the unused charcoal could be transferred to a separate container or left in the grill. When it is time to fire up the grill again, add additional charcoal and light.
Overall, this portable charcoal grill works as advertised. The lid has a fireproof gasket which helps seal the unit pretty well though I found some air leaks which meant putting the fire out too longer than it probably should have. The center placed vent in a rectangular body means that the airflow draw is not optimal. Charcoal around the edges of the grill gets a limited supply of oxygen when grilling at lower temperatures with the lid on. This is simply a problem of the shape of the grill. The construction quality is limited and the unit comes needing a good deal of assembly. While simple to put together I found the screws to be cheap and getting the vents to open and close easily was a bit of a challenge.
Ultimately, the problem with this grill is that it is designed to a function other than grilling. While a pretty good portable charcoal grill, there are better. Worse, for the Raptor Grill, there are less expensive charcoal grills that can put out the charcoal just as quickly, and while they don't have the "hands clean" features that this one does, this isn't that difficult of an operation. A good example of this is the Weber Jumbo Joe which has the same cooking area and does just as well at snuffing out charcoal. The Weber also has a lock in place lid so it can be carried away with one hand. The Weber is also less expensive.
So while the Raptor Portable Charcoal Grill is a good option and I am fully in favor of the ideas behind it, there are better options.
Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.