I've long been looking for a lightweight, portable grill. And I don't mean the type of lightweight portable grill that weighs 10 lbs. and slides in the trunk of your car for tailgating, I mean a grill that's light enough to carry in a backpack and use for multi-day backpacking trips, skiing trips, bicycle rides, etc. Something so portable that you can slide it right into a backpack or shoulder bag, take it into the great wide open and then have a beautiful, grilled meal for lunch or dinner. A go-anywhere grill.
Unfortunately, even the smallest, handiest suitcase grills are too heavy and bulky to serve that type of purpose. But while at the Outdoor Retailer show earlier this year, I found a grill that is just what I'm looking for--with a twist. The Coco BBQ is a thin, aluminum BBQ that comes prefilled with charcoal. All you have to do is light (with the included gel agent) and cook. At just an inch thick and a little over a foot long, it's definitely compact enough to slide into a backpack or bag, and it provides nearly an hour and a half worth of cooking time with enough space and output to feed four to six. Pretty handy.
The grill is disposable, which is a slight negative in this day and age of eco-concern, but I'd imagine it'd be really difficult to make a durable, reusable grill that's still light and thin enough to be this portable. Plus, the company claims that you can simply dump the ashes and then recycle the aluminum and iron grill parts, though I'd imagine that would depend on your local recycling outlet.
The Coco BBQ does score eco-friendly points in other ways, however. Instead of standard charcoal, the Coco BBQ uses a special blend developed from coconut shells. According to Hanji Corporation, the South Korean company that developed the grill, the coco-coal burns cleaner and hotter then regular coal. It also supposedly delivers an even better flavor. The smoke is odorless and colorless.
I haven't been able to find this one online yet, but Amazon has it listed and you can sign up to get availability information. I already have all kinds of uses in my mind for this thing: BBQ ski lunch in the woods at my local resort, mid-mountain-bike ride grill out, grilling fish straight out of the river, etc. etc.