For those of us who are openly intimidated by grilling, now’s the time to try your hand at running the cookout. If you’re cringing at the mere thought of playing chef for a day, the aversion to grilling is totally understandable. There’s something about grappling with a huge, heavy contraption outfitted with knobs, handles, racks, and temperature gauges that causes me to sweat—and that’s before any mention of lighting charcoal. But when I came across this Char-Griller Portable Charcoal Grill on Amazon, the act of grilling felt decidedly less scary. Perhaps grilling on a smaller, less complicated apparatus would be more manageable, thus reducing the likelihood of my guests gnawing on overcooked meat and veggies charred beyond recognition.  

Char-Griller AKORN Jr. Kamado Portable Charcoal Grill

Unlike its larger counterparts, the AKORN Jr. Kamado is a relatively lightweight 39.65 pounds, plus its built-in handles and locking lid make for ease of mobility. And at 20.5″D x 21.5″W x 25.3″H, the iron grill fits nicely into 153 square inches of cooking space: think shared porches or yards, small patios, and campground areas. Also, its $168 price tag appears to be on par with similar designs like Oklahoma Joe’s $179 Rambler Portable Grill. 

In an effort to diminish any singed brows or any other grilling-gone-wrong horror stories, the AKORN Jr. Kamado has cast iron cooking grates that prevent flame flare-ups. Dual dampers help to fuel the fire and an accompanying heat gauge to ensure food is cooked at the proper temperature. And no worries about who’s going to clean the leftover ash: the AKORN Jr. has a dump pan you can easily clear out before the next use. It’s almost cute, plus it comes in a fancy array of colors like sapphire blue, red, orange, ash, and black.

Among those who use and are satisfied with the AKORN Jr. the most glowing praise relates to its ability to retain heat, short assembly time (an average of 20-45 minutes), ease of storage (reviewers have stashed it in their basements and RVs), and how simple it is to prepare food for small groups. Most importantly, though, you don’t have to be a grill master to successfully (and safely!) operate it.

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