How Does A Disposable Barbecue Compare To A Real Grill?

Summer is the perfect time to throw a cookout on the beach, at home, or in the park, and one way of doing so is to use a disposable grill. These handy, single-use options don't require the same cleanup as a regular grill. Plus, they're portable, working well whether you're cooking at a public spot or in your backyard because you don't have a regular barbecue to turn to.

While these can seem like some good draws for using a disposable grill, there are also a couple of downsides to be aware of. For one thing, they're not great for the environment. At the same time, these grills can affect how well your food cooks, leading to meals that don't have the same taste or texture as you'd get when using a regular barbecue. 

What's more, while disposable barbecues might seem affordable, when you find yourself purchasing multiple in a season, the costs can start to add up. You may be better off snagging another affordable backyard grill, such as a portable camping barbecue or a kettle grill, in the long run.

Your food takes a hit from these grills

Cooking with disposable grills can actually lead to food that's not as evenly cooked. That's because regular barbecues have burners that help keep heat distribution spread out, whereas disposable grills don't. That means, depending on where you place your food, you could wind up with temperature differences that may lead to food that's raw on the inside and charred on the outside.

At the same time, disposable grills tend to be significantly smaller than regular barbecues. That means you can't cook as much food at once, so if you're prepping meals for a crowd, this might not be the best option. While you cook one batch of meat, another could be going cold.

On top of that, they last for around 90 minutes, which might seem like a while, but it can go by quickly. Depending on how much food you're grilling, that might not be enough time to finish making your meal before the barbecue burns out. As a result, using one of these grills may be a mistake for your next summer barbecue.

They don't do the environment any favors, either

It's not just your food that can lose out when you cook with these grills. Although they have the benefit of saving you clean-up time, that same perk is harmful to the environment. While there are a few biodegradable options out there, many disposable grills aren't recyclable. That means they wind up as landfill and can take hundreds of years to break down.

At the same time, they can char and damage the ground they've been resting on while you cook. What's more, disposable barbecues can cause wildfires if you're not careful, particularly when putting them out and disposing of them. They need to be fully extinguished with sand or water before you drop them in the garbage can so that other materials around them don't catch fire and cause big problems. In the United Kingdom, some stores have taken the step to stop selling disposable barbecues in an effort to prevent these situations.