I had the chance to play around with a Smoke Hollow tabletop gas grill the other day and was surprised by how much I liked the grill. The grill has a few flaws but given the price point and a few other positive features I think it is a product you ought to look at if you are in the market for a portable gas grill.
Let’s do a quick review of the pros and cons of this grill so you can see if the Smoke Hollow is right for you.
- Grilling Area: 205 square inches
- Burners: Single 10,000 BTU burner
- Materials: Stainless steel grate, burner and body.
- Weight: 18 pounds
The grill comes with a piezo ignition, slide out grease tray, folding legs, lid thermometer and dual lid locks. The grill is designed to burn propane from disposable one pound cylinders.
The single burner has a central tube that transports the propane from the tank to the gas ports on the outside circumference. There are no gas ports on the central tube so all of the heat comes from the edges of the grill.
This burner design is slightly flawed as it results in the left side of the grill running much hotter than the right.
Smoke Hollow is a brand that is owner by Outdoor Living Products (OLP). OLP also markets Smoke Hollow Propane Smokers and Smoke Hollow Electric Smokers in addition to other gas grill models.
What I love about this grill is that while it is budget priced the little guy is actually built to last. This particular grill was salvaged from a trash pile by a friend of mine. It is an understatement when I say that this grill had been abused and neglected.
It took a solid 30 minutes to scrape and scrub this guy back into a sanitary condition. It took another 15 minutes of using a sewing needle to open up all of the clogged gas ports on the burner tube.
Despite the neglect from the previous owner the stainless steel grate cleaned up almost perfectly and there was just a little but of surface rust on the body of the grill.
The only obviously low quality component on the grill is the heat deflector that is directly over the burner. The deflector metal is pretty thin and, while fully intact at this point, probably won’t last more than another year if the grill gets serious use.
I fired the grill up (the igniter still worked perfectly) and added a 13 inch GrillGrate panel. GrillGrate panels are awesome at minimizing flare ups which is always a concern on small portable grills that lack the more sophisticated grease management systems you get on a full sized gasser. You can read my full GrillGrate review here.
I was surprised that it only took about 10 minutes for the grill to get seriously hot!
For the inaugural run on our “new” grill I threw on a bunch of bratwurst. It didn’t take long to notice that the grill runs much hotter on the left than the right. The picture below shows the brats on the left and right side of the grill after 5 minutes of grilling.
The uneven temperature profile is not a big deal as long as you know that it exists and take the time to rotate your food accordingly. To be honest, I kind of liked the “problem” because it gave me a reason to open up the grill and play with the brats 🙂
One other flaw that I noticed is that this grill likes to run hot at all regulator settings. There just isn’t a “Low” temperature range available.
This grill is great for hot and fast cooks but you shouldn’t have any expectations for precision flame management or “low and slow” barbecue.
Smoke Hollow vs Weber Q2200
The comparison the the Smoke Hollow portable gas grill with the Weber Q grills is intriguing as there is a strong case to be made for either one. There are several Weber Q models and just to make things easy I am going to pit the Smoke Hollow head to head against the Weber Q2200.
The most obvious difference between the two grills is price with the Q2200 costing over $100 more than the Smoke Hollow. You can offset the price difference by the longevity of the two products. When the burner tube or heat deflector finally fails on the Smoke Hollow I don’t know if the replacement part will be available. On the other hand, the Q2200 comes with a five year warranty on all major components and replacement parts for Weber grills are always available.
Another win for Weber between the grills is the size. The Smoke Hollow has 205 square inches of grilling space which is less than the 280 square inches on the Q2200.
And finally, when it comes to performance, the Weber Q2200 wins again. The Q2200 has a much more consistent flame distribution and the ability to cook at both high AND low temperatures.
BUT…..when it comes to portability the Smoke Hollow is massively better than the Q2200!
The locking lid combined with the sturdy stainless steel lid handle on the Smoke Hollow are simple features that make a huge difference. You can put your spatula, tongs and burger buns into the grill, latch it up and carry it to the park. The grill was specifically designed to be portable.
The Weber Q2200 is small enough to transport but is not designed to make transport easy.
In addition, the cast iron grates in the Q2200 make the grill extremely heavy. The Q2200 weighs in at 42 pounds compared to 18 pounds for the Smoke Hollow.
You can easily carry the 18 pound Smoke Hollow with a lid lock and over sized handle with a single hand. Carrying the 42 pound Q 2200 takes two hands and is awkward at best.
If what you want is a serious tabletop grill to use on your patio or back porch then the Q2200 is your better choice. If what you want is a portable gas grill that you can take camping to grill burgers and brats then you really ought to take a hard look at the Smoke Hollow.