Cuisinart CCG-190RB Portable Charcoal Grill Review
Portable charcoal grills earned a bad reputation in the 1970s and 80s. Many of those old units were made from very thin metal with little to no protective coating. This made them highly prone to rust and problems with firebox burn-through. Many people who bought them ended up with buyer’s remorse, and they soon found their way into a dumpster.
In the 1990s and into the early 2000s the portable charcoal grill seemed to take a downgrade in materials. Many were marketed as being “Disposable Grills” that were only suitable for one or two uses. Most again ended up in the dumpster.
If you have any of these unfortunate experiences, it may have jaded you against portable charcoal grills in a way that simply isn’t fair for the newly designed high-quality units on the market like the Cuisinart CCG-190RB Portable Charcoal Grill
This compact little grill has the quality materials and engineering that you expect from a well-known brand like Cuisinart. The gauge of the metal is thick enough to make it sturdy. Yet it only has a 14.5-inch diameter footprint and is only 15-inches tall.
The firebox, lid, and the large ash catcher tray are all coated in a special porcelain enamel coating. This serves to give it superior rust and corrosion resistance. The lid also has three strong clasps to secure it to the firebox for easy portability. There are also two dampers to give you precise air and temperature control.
The 150 square inch grill grates are chrome plated. This gives them a nice gleam right out of the box, while also giving you more than enough fire-kissed real estate to cook for up to four people at a time.
Construction & Ease of Assembly
Cuisinart is a trusted cooking appliance and gadget manufacturer who has stuck their nose into the grill marketplace with the same quality married to very reasonable price tags.
The CCG-190RB Portable Charcoal Grill has thicker metal than most of the competition, though it still isn’t the thick gauge that you might find in the charcoal kettle grill living on your patio. The enamel-coated lid, fire bowl and ash catcher are also a nice touch that you rarely find in portable grills at this price range.
The fact that it sits on a four-legged base instead of a tripod is also a nice touch. The fact that each leg is tied into the others via the ash catcher also adds to the overall stability.
There is very little in the way of assembly. Unboxing it and installing the legs should take you the better part of ten minutes. The locking clasps might stick a little bit straight out of the box. If they feel a little tight, you might want to give each spindle a little spray with a targeted penetrating lubricant like WD 40.
It’s important to think of the Cuisinart CCG-190RB as a portable charcoal grill. It might look like the sort of thing you can use as your daily griller, but the truth is it’s not designed for that level of use. If you try to dragoon it into grilling two or three meals a week, you will likely be let down. If you use it in the context it was designed for, you’ll likely find it’s one of the best portable charcoal grills in this price range.
The 150 square inch chrome-plated grill grate provides you with enough grilling space to cook for four, possibly six people. You could even set it up to hybrid grill by building a charcoal fire on one side of the grill, then set the meat on the other side of the grill where there isn’t any flame.
In this configuration, you could start enough chicken wings for two, on the low heat side. When they’re done, you simply roll them directly over the flame to crisp and mark the skin without having to deal with the catastrophic flareups that are common when grilling skin-on, bone-in chicken on a smaller portable grill.
The chrome-plated grill grates measure in at 150 square inches.
The three latches on the lid might not look all that special, but they play a critical role when you want to move the grill from point A to point B. They allow you to carry it by the handle. It essentially minimizes the total area the grill takes up by eliminating the need for side handles.
Ease to Clean
There are a few minor foibles when it comes to cleaning up the Cuisinart CCG-190RB. The chrome-plated grill grates have a knack for being very sticky when you grill lean meats. The way around this is to lightly grease the grates with an oil-soaked rag right before laying down the meat. This will also spare you a little elbow grease when it comes to scraping.
The enamel-coated ash catcher which helps make the legs more stable, can’t be easily removed. This means you either have to scrape the ash away to a metal bucket or wait until the entire grill has cooled down to tip it over. Just make sure the lid is latched down before you do so.
The Cuisinart CCG-190RB comes with a 90-day limited warranty. This is about what you would expect for a portable grill in this price range.
The Cuisinart CCG-190RB has a lot more quality to it than a lot of other portable grills that are still trapped in the poor reputation for thin metal. The protective coating and thoughtfully stable base help you see a long-term return on your investment.
The three latches on the lid are also a nice touch for safety as well as convenient portability. They even help save on storage space.
Just don’t let the inherent quality of the Cuisinart CCG-190RB lure you into thinking that it can take the place of your daily griller. It’s meant for the occasional camping vacation, trips to the beach and weekend tailgate gatherings.
- Protective enamel layer
- Stable base
- Interconnected legs
- Durable ash catcher
- Ash catcher is hard to clean
- Grates are sticky
- Latches can feel tight at times