Hello everyone! Today seems like the perfect day to share this 17.5″ Backyard Grill review with you all of you. I received this charcoal grill for Christmas a couple weeks ago.
First, let me say that this was bought with the best of intentions, but did not end up being what was expected at all. I have been needing to get a new grill for a few weeks now. However, we have been on a bit of a tight budget lately, especially with Christmas shopping and all, so I haven’t been able to spend money on a grill for myself.
With that said, I was super excited when I unwrapped this super thoughtful gift from my other half. We had to really limit what we could spend on each other this year, so I was really surprised to get this gift. My initial excitement quickly became slight concern as I examined the size of the box and surmised that the depth of the cavity which holds the charcoal appeared to be quite shallow.
First thing the next morning, super excited to get my grill on, I decided to take it out of the box and start putting it together. It was obvious that it was not a big cooking area (hence the 17.5″ part of the description), but I wasn’t too concerned. Most of the time we are just just cooking for the two of us, and we can always get a bigger grill later when we have more cash on hand.
I joyously followed the instructions and put on the handle, the lock, and the vents. Pretty simple assembly and easy to follow instructions. Almost all of it is held together with those butterfly wingnut things, which are very easy to attach. I love them.
The only two minor issues I had with the initial assembly was that the front vent did not slide well, and some of the nuts and bolts were difficult to get out of the packaging. But other than that, pretty smooth sailing.
The next step of the process was to put the legs on…here is where the big surprise came. Of course, if the dimensions on the box would have been better examined by either one of us, it would not have been such a comical shock. But that was not the case.
So to our dismay, not only was the 17.5″ cooking surface only slightly bigger than an average hibachi grill, the height of the whole assembled grill was not much higher than knee level! It is just under 30 inches tall…It was truly sad and hilarious. It was not built for average human sized people in any way. It is basically like the Easy Bake Oven of charcoal grills.
Luckily I am not a tall person, and am also pretty desperate for a grill at this point. So we continued the construction of the tiny apparatus. It didn’t take too long to put together. Maybe an hour from beginning to end. The end product is too tall to go on a table top (like a hibachi), but too short to stand alone (like a normal grill).
I would like to add that it did occur to me that it might be the perfect size if you are in a wheel chair or if you are closer to 4 feet tall. Also, could be nice if just like to cook while sitting in a lawn chair. None of these scenarios really line up with our needs, although I guess I could possibly see myself cooking from a lawn chair if I were in a particular mood.
Pros and Cons
However, for our everyday grilling needs, what we ended up doing was propping it up by putting some cement bricks under it that we happened to have on hand. It is still a little low, but it is reachable.
There is no solution for the shallow base though, it is about 3 inches deep. We use lump charcoal, which can have some fairly big chunks. The grate basically just sits right on top of the bigger pieces. Even if you use briquettes, there would not be a lot of space between the heat and the meat.
Also, the lid only has about a 3 or 4 inch clearance from the grate. So, if you were wanting to cook a thick piece of meat, like a large tri tip or a whole chicken with the lid closed, it may be a problem. It is fine for most other things we grill though, like carne asada, steak, chicken, and pork chops.
I must say, this grill is very easy to move around. I have struggled with moving bigger grills around, from the front to the back, and vice versa, or loading them into the truck for camping trips. But this little guy is light weight and small enough that isn’t too awkward to carry around.
It also has a rack on the bottom and two small hard plastic wheels.
17.5″ Backyard Grill Review- Final Thoughts
Overall this is not a grill I would probably recommend. But if you need a low cost grill, and possible have any height related issues, this may be the grill for you.
If you are interested in see what grills I would actually recommend, you should check out my three part article from a couple months back. Part One reviews a fancy, high end charcoal grill. Part Two (my favorites) takes a look at my number one (low cost) basic grill picks. I personally will be taking my own advice and going back to buying my old stand by grill again very soon! If you are doing things a little different than the average Joe you should check out this article about some unique grill ideas.
I don’t know how much was spent on my personal 17.5 inch charcoal grill, but I have looked up the pricing online. At Walmart.com it is listed for $40.99. On Amazon.com it is $33.32. If you happen to want to take a look at it on Amazon you can click on the picture below and it will link you to the page.
If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments please feel free to contact me by leaving a comment below, or through the contact page in the main menu above. I would love to hear from you!
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