Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill With Cart Review

You love to get out on the open road and you love to grill. More than that, you particularly love to grill with charcoal. But it’s so messy and pernickety, so you haven’t bothered trying…until now!

The Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill is a thoughtfully designed grill that is easy to use, can operate on batteries or an outlet and is large enough to feed the family.

Meet the Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill With Cart

Standing Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal GrillThe Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill With Cart model number MB20040722 is an electric charcoal grill that works either with batteries or by being plugged into an electrical outlet. Unlike other charcoal units, it keeps a steady temperature with very little effort from you. And it’s so easy to use, even a beginner can get perfect results. It also has some nice features for your comfort.

It offers 200 square inches of cooking area which is more than enough to feed your family on the road or at home. The temperature range of 250F to 500F gives you lots of opportunities to try your favorite cooks.

With the suitably-sized trademarked Charcoal MiniHopper that holds 1.5 pounds of lump charcoal, you’ll have up to 4 hours for your cook.

Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill with Cart Cooking

Construction

The Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill is constructed of polished aluminum with porcelain-coated grill grates for easy cleaning. The shelves and are constructed of plastic to keep the unit’s weight down; mica gaskets stop the heat spreading to the shelves.

It has one cooking grate with holes for easy lifting and the hopper is on the right-hand side. The heat is distributed from the hopper through the manifold, which diffuses the heat for even cooking.

The internal fan ensures that the correct temperature is maintained and will turn on each time more heat is needed. It’ll then turn off; expect to hear it turning on and off during the cook.

The sliding vent is on the rear wall. You’ll only need to adjust this during startup and shutdown because the internal fan will look after the temperature during the cook.

There’s a lid lock at the front of the grill to hold it firmly closed when the unit is being transported. Using this lid lock also means that you don’t need to empty the ash at the picnic ground; you can wait until you get home.

Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill plates and lid lock
The lid lock, the vent and the hopper.

The cart is designed to fold down for easy transporting and the cart can be fully removed.

Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill with Cart Folding

Raising And Lowering The Cart

Needless to say, it’s easier to try this out than to explain it, but here it is. It might take a couple of tries to get used to it, but that’s the same of any equipment.

Raising or lowering the cart is performed from the left-hand side.

To raise the cart from the lower position:

  • You need to brace your foot on the bottom leg, don’t move your foot until the grill is locked in the raised position
  • Release the latch
  • Pull the grill up by holding the side shelf
  • Raise the top leg in the lock position

To lower the cart when you’re going home:

  • Lock the lid
  • You need to brace your foot on the bottom leg, don’t move your foot until the grill is locked in the raised position
  • Pull side shelf toward you while releasing the latch
  • Lower the grill until it makes contact with cart latch

Removing The Cart

One of the great features of the Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill is that you can remove the cart when you want to use the grill on a tabletop or when you’re tailgating.

The first thing you do when assembling the unit is to turn it upside down and attach the legs and wheels to form the cart. So you’ll see its inner workings close up.

Masterbuilt tells me that the cart is held on to the grill by bolts. To remove the cart you would simply unscrew the bolts with a wrench or ratcheting wrench.

Moving The Folded Unit

There is a lockable tow handle that lifts up from the left-hand shelf. So once it is folded down, it’s just a matter of pulling the tow handle up, locking it, and then you’re ready to pull the grill where you’re going.

Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill with Cart Tow Bar

Power

The Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill is an electric grill. It can be plugged in at an outlet, or if you’re out traveling, tailgating or camping, it can be powered by batteries.

4 AA batteries will provide 6 hours of use. Batteries are not included.

Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill with Cart Power

Comfort Features

As usual, Masterbuilt has added some handy features purely for your convenience. There are:

  • Shelves on both sides for prep, cooking ingredients and tools
  • 3 Knobs for hanging your tongs and tools on the left and another on the right
  • 2 Beverage holders on the right-hand shelf
  • Finger holes to allow the grates to be easily lifted out

Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill with Cart Comfort

Temperature Control

The Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill has a wide temperature range. You can choose from 250F up to 500F.

Vent

Older charcoal grills require a lot of attention. Testing the temperature, opening and closing vents and dampers.

Thanks to the SteadyTemp technology, you don’t need to worry about messing around with those things.

When you start the unit, you’ll move the sliding vent to almost fully open, and then when you shut the unit down, you’ll slide the vent to its closed position. The vent is not designed to fully close.

That’s all, the grill looks after the rest.

Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill Vent

Fan

The intelligent internal fan is dedicated to keeping a steady temperature inside the grill, and you’ll hear it doing its thing during the startup procedure.

When the grill reaches the temperature level indicated on the dial, the fan will turn itself off. Then, each time the temperature is less than the desired temperature, the fan will turn itself back on.

Temperature Probe

The temp probe that informs the fan is on the left-hand side of the pit.

Hopper

The trademarked Charcoal MiniHopper is perfect for a portable grill on the go. It holds 1.5 pounds of charcoal. This fuel allows for up to 4 hours of grilling, which is plenty for a day out.

The hopper can be reloaded during the cook, but you need turn the dial all the way to the left before you do so. The metal of the hopper will be really hot, so use gloves. After the coals are loaded, move the dial back to where it was.

Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill MiniHopper

Dial

Rotating the dial to the right will turn the unit on. There are markings for temperature, but no numbers. This is because the actual temperature reached will depend on the prevailing weather conditions, the type of charcoal and the amount of food.

The way to set your desired temperature is to set the dial to high, wait for the correct temperature to be achieved, then gently turn the dial down until you hear the internal fan switch off. The grill will then hold that heat level.

Thermometer

The thermometer built into the lid allows you to easily keep track of the temperature.

Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill with Cart Dial and Thermometer

Seasoning The Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill

Don’t plan on using the grill immediately because this will take a few hours. Seasoning is something you can do every now and then to prevent rust.

  • Start the grill and set the temperature to medium.
  • Load the hopper full of charcoal.
  • Burn all of the fuel in the hopper.
  • Shut down the grill.
  • Turn controller off by rotating the dial to the left.
  • Open hopper lid and complete burning of remaining charcoal before moving to next step.
  • Close hopper lid and close grill lid.
  • Close the top vent.
  • Allow grill to cool completely.
  • Using paper towels or a clean cloth, rub a light coat of cooking oil on the charcoal grate and the inside of the grill lid, manifold and body.
  • Repeat the whole process one more time.

And you’re ready to go!

Ease Of Use

Unlike a lot of charcoal smokers this one is easy to use. It has a trademarked system called SteadyTemp that regulates the temperature so you don’t need to bother.

How To Use The Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill

Lighting the Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill is very straightforward.

  • Open the hopper lid
  • Pull out the charcoal grate
  • Place the food-safe fire starter on the underside of the grate in the brackets; you can also use wads of paper towel
  • Replace the charcoal grate
  • Light the fire starter
  • Wait 30-60 seconds until the fire starter catches light
  • Pour your charcoal into the hopper on top of the fire starter
  • Wait about a minute until the charcoal starts to smoke
  • Close the hopper lid
  • Close the grill lid

Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill with Cart Lighting

Size

The cooking area is 200 square inches, which is pretty good for a portable grill. You can comfortably fit 3 Chickens or 15 Sausages or 9 Burgers. You can feed just the two of you or your whole family.

The Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill grate dimensions are 11 inches wide and 17.64 inches deep.

The dimensions of this grill are 44.6 inches wide and 18.8 inches deep. It stands 36 inches high, including the cart.

If you won’t need the cart at all, you can purchase the grill only, the dimensions are 27.8 inches wide and 16.6 inches deep, and it stands, or rather sits 15 inches high.

Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill with Cart Dimensions

This Masterbuilt Charcoal Grill With The Cart weight is 52 pounds, so portability is definitely a feature. It also has two 6-inch wheels on the right-hand side so you can easily move it around at the campground or on the patio.

Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill with Cart Patio

Assembly of The Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill With Cart

Assembling the unit looks straightforward and that is confirmed by according to customer reports. Leave a couple of hours to put it together and having someone available to help you is recommended.

The tools needed for the assembly are:

• Phillips head screwdriver
• Adjustable wrench
• 19mm socket wrench

The diagrams in the instruction manual of the Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill With Cart are pretty good, although a table of contents would be handy.

Some of the parts are coated in oil to protect them from rust. It might be an idea to put down a tarpaulin or paint sheet when unboxing. Plus, this oil needs to be burned off before using the grill for food, so make sure you do your seasoning!

Cleaning The Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill

I love that you can lock the lid to wrangle the charcoal hopper and you can take it home like that. You can empty the ash from the hopper at home instead of at the picnic ground. Of course, you’ll need to wait for it to cool down, but you’ll be busy eating won’t you?

  • The cooking grate is made of porcelain-coated steel, so cleaning will be easy.
  • Remove the charcoal grate and the manifold. Remove the grease cup from the back of the unit and empty.
  • Wash them all with hot water and mild dish detergent; no oven cleaner or other cleaners.
  • When you get home or while still on site if you’re not going home, and after the unit has cooled, empty the ash from the lift-out charcoal hopper and give it a wipe out.
  • The exterior of the grill can be wiped with a damp cloth.

Storing The Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill

Since this Masterbuilt Charcoal Grill is a portable grill, it can easily be stored in your garage or house. Otherwise, an enclosed or sheltered dry spot would suit it best to keep the charcoal from getting damp and of course the electrics don’t do well if they’re wet. A grill cover will add to this unit’s useful life.

Warranty

The warranty is for 1 year, which is less than other units. If you wish to return it, you can do this within the first 30 days.

Does The Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill With Cart Provide Value For Money?

For less than $400 with the portability, choice of electrical outlet or batteries, comfort features, plus being so easy to use, we think this is value for money.

Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill Summary

What’s Nifty About The Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill With Cart

  • Easy To Transport – Folds down for easy transporting, plus it has wheels on one side to allow for moving on site
  • Choice Of Power Source – You choice of using batteries or an electrical outlet, great for when you’re on the road or at home
  • Easy To Use – SteadyTemp functionality means that you don’t need to mess around with vents and dampers – it will do it for you
  • Lockable Lid – No need to empty ash until you get home
  • Easy To Clean – Grate is made of porcelain coated-steel for easy cleanup, the hopper lifts out, the grease tray slides out
  • Side Shelves – There is a side shelf on either side of the grill for food prep; the shelf on the right-hand side includes 2 beverage holders
  • Tool Hangers – There are three knobs on the left and one on the right where you can perch your tongs or hang your tools

What’s Not So Nifty About The Masterbuilt Portable Grill

  • Batteries not included
  • Cover not included

How Could The Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill Be Improved?

Of course, any improvements would result in a higher price. Having said that, numbers on the dial to indicate temperature would be handy, although the temperature is affected by the prevailing conditions.

Also, the cart can only be removed with the use of a wrench. An easier method of putting it on and off would be appreciated, but as I said, the price would need to go up. Most people who choose this grill with the cart will use it as it is, so I don’t think this is a problem.

Who Is The Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill With Cart For?

This thoughtfully designed grill is for people with busy lives who are on the go and want an easy-to-use charcoal grill. “Easy-to-use” and “charcoal grill” don’t usually go together, but they do in this case.
This unit would be suited for camping, RV living, vacations, tailgating, or for a small patio.

If you have batteries and charcoal on hand, this would be a great blackout grill, or for when you’ve just moved in and the power isn’t connected yet.

Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill with Cart
$264.00
Fuel Source: Charcoal
Power Source: Electric - from outlet or 4 AA batteries
(batteries not included)
Temperature Range (F): 250-500
Number of Cooking Racks: 1
Hopper Capacity (Pounds): 1.5
Weight (Pounds): 52
Footprint (W x D x H Inches):
44.6 x 18.8 x 36.2 inches with cart
27.8 x 16.6 x 15 inches without cart
Warranty: 1 Year
Pros:
  • Easy to transport
  • Choice of power source
  • Easy to use
  • Lockable lid
  • Easy to clean
  • Side shelves
  • Tool hangers
Cons:
  • Batteries not included
  • Cover not included
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11/09/2022 03:20 pm GMT

Optional Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill Accessories

Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill Cover
$24.49
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11/09/2022 12:35 am GMT

Masterbuilt Fire Starters - Pack of 48
$12.97
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11/09/2022 07:00 am GMT

Masterbuilt Lump Charcoal 16 lb
$14.97
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11/09/2022 05:01 pm GMT

Tips For Best Performance Of Your Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill

  • Set your desired temperature by adjusting the dial to high, wait for the correct temperature to be achieved, then gently turn the dial down until you hear the internal fan switch off. The grill will then hold that heat level.
  • Always turn the dial back to zero before you reload the hopper during the cook. And wear your BBQ gloves to reload charcoal; the whole hopper will be hot!
  • The fan will turn on and off during the cook; this is normal, as it is designed to react when the temperature is lower than it should be.

Contacting The Manufacturer

You can submit a form on the Masterbuilt “Contact Us” page. You can include images of your grill to show your problem. Please note that your unit needs to be registered before sending your query.

Alternatively, you can email them at customersupport@masterbuilt.com or leave a message at (706) 256-3943.

I note that Masterbuilt customer support is very active with answering questions on Amazon, but I’m not surprised. Their customer service in my experience is excellent.  When I emailed them regarding the cart’s method of removal, they replied within 24 hours.

Verdict

This is a great grill for having charcoal-cooked meals on the road or at home. We like it.

Should You Buy The Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill With Cart ?

If you’re looking for a charcoal grill that is easily transportable and is a “happy camper”, this one might be the one for you. You can even detach the legs when the vacation is over and use it as a tabletop grill (outside) for the rest of the year!

It’s easy to light and the internal fan will look after the temperature while you have a beer.

If you’re looking for a grill that can feed the whole neighborhood, this is not the one for you. You might like the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 800, which is also easy to use with little babysitting.

If you love tinkering with the temperature, the charcoal, and the airflow, this is not the one for you. One of the grills below may be more to your taste.

Can The Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill Be Used As A Pellet Grill?

Nope, sorry, it only works with charcoal.

How Does The Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill With Cart Stack Up Against Similarly Priced Smokers?

There are other high-rated portable charcoal grills, but none are as easy to use as the Masterbuilt.

Oklahoma Joe's Rambler Portable Charcoal Grill
$134.99
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11/09/2022 07:08 pm GMT
Portable Charcoal Grill With Folding Lid And Stand
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Cuisinart CFGS-222 Folding Take-Along Grill Stand
$92.07
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11/09/2022 08:11 pm GMT
Lasso Brag

Wishing you sunny smoking days!

Tom Plummer
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