6 PK Grills & Smokers Reviews (Amazingly Portable)

Updated: 06/09/20 •  16 min read

Last Updated on November 21, 2022

Jim Bob – A long-time contributor to GrillBabyGrill. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.
product testing for pk

What do you get when you want to cook on a grill that is both perfect for steaks but also made to smoke, low and slow? Well, in our mind, you run out and buy a cult favorite. A grill that is used in competitive barbeque circles and by expert chefs alike. You pick a PK Grill. This grill has been a professional and backyard favorite since 1952, and for good reason.

PK Grill

Our Top Choice

PK360 Grills Charcoal Grill
  • Durable Aluminum Construction
  • Built for Novice Grillers and Competitors Alike
  • Easy to Use Patented 4-Point Venting System
  • Great 2 zone heat conduction
  • Foldable side shelves
  • Grill + Smoker

Image

Product

Price

PK Grills PK360 Outdoor Charcoal Grill

PK Grills PK360 Outdoor Charcoal Grill

BEST CHOICE

  • The exterior looks professional
  • Rust proof and durable
  • Have a large cooking surface and foldable side shelves
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PK Grills PKO-SCAX-X Original PK Grill & Smoker

PK Grills PKO-SCAX-X Original PK Grill & Smoker

RUNNER UP

  • The versatility of a grill and a smoker
  • It’s compact, durable and lightweight
  • Incomparable construction
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PK Grills SSB-X Original PKTX

PK Grills SSB-X Original PKTX

VALUE CHOICE

  • Construction is great, made to last
  • Making sears steaks is awesome
  • You can’t go wrong with grill grates
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Get to Know PK Grills

The PK Grill made its introduction to the grilling market in 1952, from the back of a station wagon. Hilton Meigs invented the Portable Kitchen grill in 1952. He wanted a grill that was multi-functional, allowing its user to use the same grill for both hot cooking and slow smoking. The Portable Kitchen became a staple in the south for quality outdoor cooking.

It was sold by Meigs in 1958 to the Hamlin Company which began mass producing the PK Grill. The grill became a global sensation, and was a staple in the grilling world, until the 1970s when the gas grill became the must have backyard appliance. The PK line fell out of existence, until Paul James purchased the intellectual rights to the grill and the casting molds from Regal Ware. The PK Grill and Smoker was to live again, with a new generation of grilling and barbeque enthusiasts.

The PK Grill and Smoker that you’ll find today was the result of research and product development that started in 2014. The first “new” PK Grill and Smoker hit the market in 2016. It is a tribute to the original PK Grill that cooks at a variety of temperatures, allowing the owner to use one tool for grilling and smoking.

Today’s PK Grill and Smoker is still made from cast aluminum. This material is much better at dispersing heat, creating an even cooking temperature, and is rust free and incredibly durable. This grill is made for the professional or home grilling and smoking enthusiast that enjoys the art of charcoal grilling and wood smoking. There’s no gas options offered by PK Grill and Smoker.

The grills from PK Grill and Smoker are built today with the same care and dedication to quality that the original product was made with. The high-quality materials and craftsmanship mean you pay more for a PK Grill, but it’s worth the price. These grills are made to last generations.

PK Grills Line

The PK Grill and Smoker company has three lines of grills. Each line is features the PK Grill and Smoker’s cast aluminum body and unique venting system that allows the grill to function both as a high heat grill and low heat smoker

PK 360 – This is the top of the PK grill line. The PK 360 features a 360-inch cooking surface and 4 vents that allow for very specific and controlled adjustments of heat. The larger size of this grill allows it to also have 2 cooking zones, allowing you to cook more than one food item at a time.

Original PK – The original PK Grill is the product that started it all. This grill has 310-inches of cooking surface. It is equipped with the 4 vent airflow system, and a handy wheeled cart that makes it easy to move this grill around your yard.

Original PKTX – This line is the same as the Original PK, with one exception. This grill comes with a handy folding stand that makes this grill perfect for camping, picnics and tailgating.

PKGO – The PKGO is a smaller version of the Original PK, made for traveling. You’ll never have to leave home without the comfort of your favorite charcoal grill and smoker thanks to this smaller PK grill.

PK Grills Key Features

Cast Aluminum Construction – All PK Grills are made from high quality cast aluminum. Cast aluminum is exceptionally durable and is heat resistant. This material is perfect for grilling because it retains heat well, and provides even heat dispersal throughout the cooking area. Aluminum is rust resistant and lighter weight than other materials. The process uses to construct these grills make them nearly indestructible, and when cared for properly, these grills will literally last for generations.

4-Vent Airflow System – The original PK grill was made with a unique 4-vent system that made it unique to other grills at the time. Today’s version has not changed this 4-vent system, but has improved on the concept. Each PK grill has four adjustable vents that allow you to easily adjust the flow of air through the grill. This allows you to easily control the internal temperature of the grill, for precise temperatures for a wide range of cooking options.

Lightweight Stands – The 1950s version of the PK Grill came with a lightweight aluminum stand. This stand featured a side table and two heavy duty casters. The PK grill of today still comes with a light weight stand, heavy duty casters, and side table. Depending on the PK Grill line that you select, this stand will be a bit different, but the concept is the same. A durable, easy to move stand that provides convenience and stability while cooking.

Dual Cooking Options – Truly, what the PK Grill is known for is its ability to function as two appliances in one package. This was the first charcoal grill on the market that allowed the user to easily grill steaks and burgers or smoke a range of meats, without having to invest in two separate appliances. For some other grill lines this might be a challenge, but PK Grill and Smoker had this perfected way back in 1952.

Top 7 PK Grills Reviews in 2022

1. PK Grills PK360 Outdoor Charcoal Grill and Smoker Combination

PK360 Grills Charcoal Grill

Why you’ll love this:

If you are in the market for a high-end grill, the PK Grills PK360 charcoal grill and smoker is a great option. This combination grill and smoker offers you the opportunity to use one tool for low and slow cooking as well as high heat searing.

This grill has a sleek, almost retro look, in its cast aluminum body. This rust proof grill evenly heats your food quicker than steel grills. The interior of the grill is made for dual heating. Use one zone for low temp, slow cooking. Use the other zone for high temperature searing. The cooking surface is roomy enough for larger cuts of meat.

What We Liked

  • Size: This compact grill has a total volume of 5,374 cubic inches for great heat distribution. The two-zone cooking surfaces offer 360 square inches of cooking space.
  • Versatility:  PK Grills offer two zone cooking in their grills. Use one side for low and slow smoking or low-heat grilling. Use the other zone for high heat grilling. This option allows you to cook a variety of foods at the same time.
  • Heat Control: The large interior space allows for more even heating throughout the cooking area. Additionally, the larger space is perfect for two cooking temperatures.
  • Easy to Use: The patented four vent system makes it easy to adjust air flow and temperature in the grill for perfect cooking results.
  • Prep Space: The foldable shelves give plenty of prep area and space for utensils or your frosty beverage. Shelves fold down for compact storage.

What We Didn’t Like

  • Not as Easy to Clean: The ash tray for this grill is fairly small so you’ll have to empty it after every use. The interior surface is textured so you’ll have to scrub a bit to remove grease or splatters.
  • Portability: The grill does detach from the stand, and has tiny feet, so it seems portable. However, the capsule itself is a whopping 90 pounds, which is not easy to move around.
  • Storage: You’ll have to find another place to store your stuff when you’re not grilling, because this grill doesn’t have hooks for utensils or a cabinet for charcoal.

2. PK Grills PKO-SCAX-X Original PK Grill & Smoker

PKO-SCAX-X

Why you’ll love this:

PK Grills excels in providing customers with a high-quality product that has a unique, retro style. Add to the great looks, this grill is perfect for grilling or smoking. The 300 square inch, stainless steel cooking surface is large enough for bigger cuts of meat, or even a full-size turkey. This grill is exceptionally portable, weighing in at only 45 pounds.

The cast aluminum body is rust proof, and with no weld points, this grill is made to last for years of grilling and smoking enjoyment. The PK Grills PKO-SCAX-X comes in three colors, so it is a perfect addition to any backyard, tailgate, or picnic.

What We Liked

  • Size: The 300 square inches of cooking space is perfect for everyday grilling. However the larger interior size makes this grill awesome for cooking large cuts of meat.
  • Quality Materials: Cast aluminum is a super durable material. It’s rust resistant, doesn’t break and has no weld joints that can fail. The lightweight aluminum legs and shelf are weatherproof and long lasting.
  • Versatility: This grill goes easily from high-heat grilling to low and slow smoking. You’ll only need to invest in one appliance for both smoking and grilling.
  • Portability: This grill is perfect for decks and patios. But if you need to move it, it has great wheels for easy moving. The grill also detaches from the stand so you can take this grill tailgating, camping or anywhere you’re heading.

What We Didn’t Like

  • Easy to Clean: Like other PK grills, you’ll have to work to get the ash out of this grill. And cleaning the interior is more work than with other grills.
  • Price: Considering what you get, this grill doesn’t seem like a great value. Sure it’s built to last a long time, but the price tag is high, there’s not even a built-in temperature gauge.

3. PK Grills SSB-X Original PKTX Outdoor Portable

The ORIGINAL PKTX

Why you’ll love this:

IF you are looking for a great middle of the road option in the PK Grills line, the SSB-X original portable charcoal grill is the perfect selection. This compact charcoal grill comes with a great price to match the quality of the grill. Like other PK Grills the SSB-X is made from lightweight yet durable cast aluminum. This makes the grill super portable and rust proof.

You’ll never have to worry about this grill rusting. We like that this grill comes in three great colors (silver, graphite and red), so it fits easily into any backyard décor. The cooking surface is 305 square inches, so it’s perfect for feeding your family, or a crew of friends at the big game. We especially love that this grill has a nice shelf with a cup holder that folds down allowing for easy transport.

What We Liked

  • Design: The PKTX is based on the original PK Grill in design. However, it has some nice extras like the side shelf with cup holder and the stay cool handle. Also, the frame of this grill folds for compact storage and portability.
  • Portability: People love to travel with their PK Grills, but they are heavy. To solve this problem, they’ve added a folding stand that becomes a wheeled cart for your grill.
  • Assembly: It’s so nice when you can start using your new grill within just a few minutes after taking it out of the box. It took only 10 minutes to completely assemble this grill. It might have been faster, but we took a few minutes to read the instructions before jumping in.
  • Heat Control: The adjustable fuel grate pops up easily for quick charcoal adjustment. For more heat control, the four-point vent system allows for ample air flow through the grill for optimal heat adjustment and control.

What We Didn’t Like

  • Size:  The one thing that is different with the PKTX compared to the original PK Grill is the capsule volume. This one is just a bit smaller, but it does make a difference. The Original holds a turkey, the PKTX comfortably holds a chicken and that’s it.
  • The Lid: We found the hinges for the lid a little frustrating. They’re not well attached to the lid and if you aren’t paying attention you can tip the lid right off the hinges.

4. PK Grills SSB-X Original PKTX Outdoor Portable

PK Grills PKGO

Why you’ll love this:

If a portable grill is what you’re looking for, look no further than the PK Grills GSB-X Original charcoal grill. This compact grill is the perfect size for taking to the big game, camping, or picnicking. This grill easily folds down to a compact size, allowing it to be easily tucked into your car’s trunk or the back of your truck.

The charcoal grill is made for both slow cooking and high heat searing. The 300 square inch, stainless steel cooking surface is plenty big for all the burgers and brats that you need to cook. The cooking space of this grill is large enough to easily handle a full-size turkey. All PK grills are made from cast aluminum so they are rust resistant and lightweight, making them a perfect choice for travel.

What We Liked

  • Design: PK Grills stuck with the design that worked, and modeled the PKTX grill after the Original. The graphite version is just a darker color, and it comes with the handy side shelf for your tools, sauces and beverage. Like other PK Grills this one is rust-free, even heating and simple to operate.
  • Durability: All PK grills are made from cast aluminum which is the perfect weather resistant material. Your PKTX can withstand heat, cold, wind, rain, snow, sleet, ice and any other weather that comes its way. There’s no rust, so you’ll be using your PKTX for years.
  • Portability: The lightweight aluminum stand provides a sturdy base that also folds down for compact storage. When folded the frame also works as a built-in cart for portability.

What We Didn’t Like

  • Size: The smaller size of this grill means that you’ve got less versatility with the PKTX. Larger PK grills offer the option of 2-zone cooking. With the PKTX you’re limited to a single cooking zone under the 310 square inch cooking surface.
  • Price: Sure, they are built to last you for years and years, but there is still some sticker shock when considering the PK Grill line. This compact grill is pretty pricey for a basic charcoal grill.

5. PK Grills GSB-X Original PKTX Grill, Graphite

GSB-X

Why you’ll love it:

If you aren’t a fan of the original silver PK grill, you might want to consider the Original PKTX in graphite. The darker color of this grill hides spills and looks a bit more sophisticated in your backyard.

The graphite Original PKTX is the same Original PK Grill, just in a darker color. Its cast aluminum body is rust-free, heat-resistant and is made to last for years. The cast aluminum construction provides exceptional heat retention and dispersal for even cooking throughout the grill.

Like the other Original PK grills, this option has 310-inches of cooking surface and features the PK Grills 4-vent system for controlling temperature. The smaller cooking surface does limit you to one cooking zone.

The PKTX has a lightweight aluminum stand that folds down for easy transport. It’s a great option for your next camping trip or tailgating adventure.

What we liked

  • It’s sharp graphite look
  • Rugged knobby wheels
  • It folds down for easy transport
  • Dual ash catches

5. The BIG BBQ PK360 GRILL GIFT BUNDLE – GRAPHITE PK360

BIG BBQ PK360

Why you’ll love it:

If you aren’t a fan of the original silver PK grill, you might want to consider the Original PKTX in graphite. The darker color of this grill hides spills and looks a bit more sophisticated in your backyard.

The graphite Original PKTX is the same Original PK Grill, just in a darker color. Its cast aluminum body is rust-free, heat-resistant and is made to last for years. The cast aluminum construction provides exceptional heat retention and dispersal for even cooking throughout the grill.

Like the other Original PK grills, this option has 310-inches of cooking surface and features the PK Grills 4-vent system for controlling temperature. The smaller cooking surface does limit you to one cooking zone.

The PKTX has a lightweight aluminum stand that folds down for easy transport. It’s a great option for your next camping trip or tailgating adventure.

What we liked

  • Comes with nice grill cover
  • Includes Teak cutting board, insulated mug, trucker hat, Pizza Stone, The Fire & Smoke Society spice kit.
  • Same incomparable construction
  • 10 yr. warranty

FINAL VERDICT

PK360 Grills Charcoal Grill

We really cannot say enough good things about the PK Grill and Smoker products. These amazing dual-purpose appliances are made for the professional chef or the backyard enthusiast that wants to make great grilled and smoked foods, without having to invest in two different cooking appliances. These grills make it easy to be successful with charcoal cooking, which can be scary for those new to cooking with charcoal. They are simple yet come with all of the convenience features that you need for a great cooking experience.

If you’re interested on how PK Grills match up to other brands. Read our Pk Grills Vs Weber review.

Jim B.

Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him. To him, grilling is more than just a way to cookit’s a way of life, and his travels have taken him far and wide, around the country and beyond to find the best there is in grilling and techniques. Every product he reviews is painstakingly looked over and tested using his extensive knowledge of the craft and personal experience. He currently lives in Tennessee, though never stays in one place for long.