Lodge Kickoff Grill Review – Outdoor Cooking

Welcome to my Lodge Kickoff Grill Review.

Are you looking for a small charcoal grill to take to the park or the beach? And also use in your backyard?

Well, that’s what the Kickoff grill is.

It can go anywhere.

But you still might want to know how to use it, what other people think, and if it’s the right grill for you.

So, let’s get started.

Lodge Kickoff Grill Review

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Product: portable charcoal grill
See Amazon
Cast iron
29.25 lbs.
Dimensions: 16.69L x 14.31W x 5.94H inches
Features: 2 pieces, fully assembled, twist top, set of hook & carry handles
Made in:
Great for:
Outdoor cooking on the go

What is the Kickoff Grill?

A Kickoff grill is unique to Lodge. It got its name because it’s a great way to kick off your weekend camping or road trip. It’s also ideal for days at the beach or park, tailgating, car camping, and vacation. The Kickoff grill is a two-piece 12-inch cast iron charcoal grill with a set of hook & carry handles for easier maneuvering. You’ll be able to get that grilled flavor without lugging a larger grill around. However, it is small and, therefore, more challenging to cook a meal for more than a couple of people.

A Little About Lodge

Lodge Cast Iron is a family-owned business in South Pittsburg, Tennessee.

Joseph Lodge founded this company in 1896 and originally called it Blacklock Foundry.

However, after the building burned down in 1910, Joseph rebuilt and renamed the company Lodge Cast Iron.

Over the years, Lodge survived several economic downturns and thrived even when other foundries closed down.

And as business continued to grow, they built another foundry. The new foundry enabled Lodge to increase its manufacturing production by seventy-five percent.

Lodge makes cast iron and carbon steel cookware, though cast iron remains their primary production.

They offer a large variety of cast iron, including classic, enamel, chef, and Blacklock.

Additionally, Lodge carries bakeware, and several series, all of which are cast iron.

They also have many accessories and a line of cast iron grilling cookware.

Lodge continues to be a leading manufacturer worldwide and makes close to 2 million cast iron pans every month.

Answering Your Questions

What is the best way to clean this grill?

You would clean the grill the same way you clean a grill pan or any cast iron cookware. Use a scraper to get off any stuck-on bits of food or a scrub brush. Chainmail also works. If you use water to clean, be sure to dry the grill thoroughly. Finish by adding a thin layer of oil or grill spray to protect the grill from rust.

Can you use wood instead of charcoal?

Absolutely! One way is to invert the grill, so the dome becomes the base. Fill it with sticks or small pieces of wood, and place the other piece on top. You’ll notice it can be a grill or a griddle. But keep in mind that wood burns faster than charcoal, so you might have to add more before your food is finished cooking.

How wide does the table need to be for the grill to sit securely?

As you can see in the image, the legs are recessed. The grill is a little over 14-inches wide, but the legs are only about 13-inches total. So, your table would have to be at least 13-inches for the feet to sit securely.

Can I use a 12-inch cast iron skillet to cover the grill and hold in the heat?

Yes, many have mentioned that’s what they do. I saw a picture of someone making brownies in an 8-inch cast iron skillet. They put the smaller skillet on the Kickoff grill and covered it with a 12-inch skillet. Another common reason is to hold in the heat when cooking meat.

Why get a chimney starter?

Using a chimney starter is the quickest and most efficient way of getting charcoal ready. And as a bonus, you don’t need any lighter fluid.

How many people can you cook for on this grill?

Ideally, I’d say one or two people. However, you can grill multiple times for more people. In the Lodge video below, it looks like there are nine people. So, you can make it work with more. But keep in mind that it will take longer to cook the food.

Can I put the grill on a wooden picnic table like in the video?

You will notice the Kickoff grill appears to be sitting on a wooden table in the video below. I don’t know if the table is made of treated wood that would be less likely to burn or if it was a mistake. Regardless, Lodge recommends you cook on safe surfaces such as concrete, cinder blocks, or the Lodge Outdoor Cooking Table.

RELATED > > > > > Lodge Outdoor Cooking Table Review – Outdoor Cooking

Meet the Kickoff Grill

Accessories and Tools

So, what will you need besides food when cooking on your Kickoff grill? 

Must Have
  • Charcoal or wood
  • Lighter
  • Chimney starter or another way of getting charcoal ready (unless you’re using wood)
Might Want to Have

Some people also like to have aluminum foil and paper towels. Or a 12-inch cast iron skillet to use as a grill lid.

RELATED > > > > > Lodge Camp Oven Tote Bag Review – Outdoor Cooking

What Others Are Saying

The Kickoff Grill got high reviews. Most people were pleased with its design and performance and said things like:

  • I love how many ways you can use this grill
  • What a great price
  • It’s perfect for camping, in the backyard, or for a tailgate party
  • I use a cast iron skillet as a lid to hold in the heat
  • This grill has excellent heat retention
  • Lodge quality is superb
  • The grill is simple and portable
  • It’s perfect for one to two people
  • The food gets a fantastic flavor on this grill
  • It’s well-built
  • It has a unique design
  • I’m impressed with this grill
  • It makes a perfect beach grill
  • It’s heavy but worth it

A few people were disappointed with the design and didn’t like it. They said things like:

  • You don’t get very good air-control
  • I struggled to get the charcoal going
  • The charcoal kept falling off the base
  • I don’t like the design
  • It’s too heavy

You can also read Lodge employees’ favorite ways to use the Kickoff grill. You’ll find some helpful tips and recipes, too.

What Do I Think?

I am intrigued by this small portable grill. It has a unique design, and I am considering whether we might like having one. It’s been many years since we grilled with charcoal. When we moved to propane, I resisted because I knew charcoal gave a better flavor. But now I’m used to easy.

Besides the unique design, I like its size, that it’s cast iron, and that you can use it as a grill or griddle. Oh, and I like that you can use wood if you don’t have charcoal. And that you can take it with you to the park or other places where you’d be cooking outdoors.

Mostly we would use it at home. I’d probably set the grill on the side table of our large propane grill, which is just wide enough to fit. I wouldn’t have to worry about the surface underneath catching fire, and the grill would be off the ground.

And I’d get a charcoal chimney starter because I don’t want to go back to using lighter fluid.

Lodge products are well-made, and I’m happy with my skillets. I’m also used to the heaviness of cast iron, so the weight wouldn’t bother me.

My only concern is how often we would use the grill. The convenience of propane has spoiled me, and even though I know charcoal would produce a better-tasting flavor, it would still be more work. I admit I can be a lazy cook sometimes.

However, the grill itself seems fantastic. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a small portable cast iron grill that’s just the right size for one or two people.


  • High reviews
  • Reputable company
  • Portable
  • Versatile
  • Can use charcoal or sticks
  • You get the cast iron grill flavor
  • It doesn’t take up much space
  • Excellent heat retention
  • A 12-inch cast iron skillet can double as a lid
  • Well-built
  • Unique design


  • Heavy
  • It has to stay dry when not using
  • More work to clean
  • Too small for

Final Thoughts

Thank you for reading my Lodge Kickoff Grill Review.

As you can see, this grill is small but mighty. Well, maybe not mighty, but it is versatile.

It comes in two pieces: a base grill/griddle and a dome grill. You can twist the base to adjust the airflow to however you want it. And you can invert it, so the dome is the base and the base is the top. Inverting is especially nice when you use wood instead of charcoal or when you want to fry bacon and eggs.

The grill has a 12-inch cooking surface, so it is small and will only make enough food for one or two people unless you keep cooking on it.

However, I don’t know if I’d recommend it for a family, and definitely not for a large group that wants to eat together. Though, you can if you want to take the time.

On the other hand, I highly recommend the Lodge Kickoff grill for anyone who wants a small (1-2 person) charcoal grill to take camping, to the park, or use in their backyard.

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