This portable charcoal grill uses technology to quickly spread the flame

If you haven’t heard the latest numbers, outdoor grill sales have declined significantly since the pandemic. Experts estimate that so many people bought grills during COVID-19 three and four years ago—to distance themselves from restaurants—that there’s simply no need to replace them right now. And maybe people can’t afford the fancy gas grills and smokers that typically cost more than $1,000 these days.

Enter Nature-Grillthat brings an authentic charcoal grilling experience to urban and outdoor environments with its innovative, smokeless, and hassle-free compact design. The 14-inch portable grill combines the aroma and taste of charcoal with the convenience of propane grills, heating up to 800°F in less than five minutes with a built-in battery-operated turbo fan. It is said to be environmentally friendly, using only 10% of the charcoal used by standard charcoal grills, while emitting minimal smoke. It is also durable and can be easily used on balconies, at tailgates, or really anywhere outdoors.

Basically, when you first open the box, you insert the included batteries into the grill. Then you apply some starter gel to the circular plate on the bottom of the grill, light it, add the charcoal chute on top, then place the grill grate on top and let it heat up. Once the fire is going, you turn on the grill’s battery-operated fan. Personally, I don’t use the gel because I don’t know what kind of chemicals it imparts to my food. So instead, I learned the trick of lighting a toilet paper tube filled with dryer lint. Much cleaner and chemical-free.

The Nature-Grill is supposed to reach up to 800°F in less than five minutes thanks to the built-in fan. It ran a little slower for me, probably because of my lint-prone method. But that’s my fault, not the grill. Its dishwasher-safe stainless steel inner bowl has a heat-resistant ceramic coating. The versatile hard-anodized aluminum grate easily switches from grill to griddle mode with a simple flip—a smart design. It’s lightweight and comes with a carrying case, too.

So how does it work? I tried it out on the 4th of July, setting it up on our patio table. At first, I was a little worried that it wouldn’t have the physical capacity to handle all the food I was going to cook on it. But it’s a little bigger than it looks—a good thing. I was able to fit six chicken and apple sausages in there at once, and there was still room for a burger patty or two. But because of the initial caution with Nature-Grill with a house full of people, I opted to cook the burgers on my wood pellet smoker.

The sausages cooked pretty quickly, actually, without flaming. And the flavor was exceptional and smoky, reminding me of my old Weber charcoal grill that we used before we could afford a proper gas grill. And since we’re in California, which is constantly threatening to ban the use of natural gas, I guess this sets us up for grilling for a while.

Overall it works as advertised and takes up a small space.

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