Few downtown denizens have the backyard space to set up a massive suburban-style barbecue. Since rooftops and courtyards are the more likely scene for urban outdoor cooking, here's an alterna lineup of portable cookers that adapt to any inner-city situation.
1. Don't laugh. Millions swear by these grease-reducing frying pans. Now they can take the infomercial favourite al fresco with the George Forman Wheel It And Grill It ($149.95, Canadian Tire, 839 Yonge, 416-925-9592, and others). This propane-powered barbecue version features the original's non-stick distinctive design that channels fat away from the food.
2. Cook burgers and chill brewskis at the same time with Thermos's Fire + Ice ($339.95, Canadian Tire) combination gas barbecue and cooler. With its built-in cup holders and Teflon cooking surface, this two-for-one appliance on wheels is all you need for a truck-less tailgate party.
3. Blow away your know-it-all BBQ pals with this state-of-the-art TEC Cherokee ($799, Sobie's, 162 Willowdale, 416-224-2526) that not only char-grills but griddles, stir-fries, steams and deep-fries, too. The infrared burner on this stainless steel,propane-fuelled cooker can heat oil (for frying) to 375° F in under 8 minutes.
4. Despite its compact size, this stainless steel Solaire Anywhere ($699 with carrying case, Sobie's) cooks in half the time of a regular gas grill. In less than three minutes its V-grate grilling surface heats up to full searing infrared strength, allowing drippings to vaporize back into the meat.
5. Using charcoal on a fire escape can be dangerous, but this stainless steel electric grill ($64.99, Canadian Tire) lowers the risks of apartment barbecuing. Its auto shut-off kicks in when things get too hot.
6. If style is as important as utility, this handsome domed stainless steel grill from Caban ($99, 262 Queen West, 416-596-0386, and others) does both. And it's adaptable for 1- or 20-pound propane tanks.
7. Though it's designed for camping, the Country Cooker ($69.95, Canadian Tire) makes a great utility stove for any urban guerrilla gourmet. Held by a black steel base, the gas-fired cast iron burner pumps out an impressive 85,000 BTUs.
8. Though it would probably look better on a coffee table as decoration, this tiny, traditional hibachi with copper mesh grill ($53.99, Tap Phong, 360 Spadina, 416-977-6364) can cook exactly one burger per load of briquets.
9. Used for centuries in Asia, this type of charcoal-powered flower-pot-like ceramic brazier ($15.99, Tap Phong) works best with skewered satays or with a wok right on top.
10. Lidded clay pot ($6.99, Tap Phong).