The Portable Kitchen PK360 Grill: Tradition Gets an Update

This Portable Kitchen (PK) grill and smoker is the next model up from the Original PK, and it doesn’t disappoint. The PK360 has a capsule-shaped oven, increased cooking area, and better vents for precision temperature control.

A Silver PK Grill 360 in a backyard setting.

Whether you’re looking to grill up dinner or slow cook BBQ, you’ll want to check out this charcoal fired cooker.

[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”415″ identifier=”B00SF0X2OS” locale=”US” src=”https://foodal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/PK360-Grill-in-Silver-with-black-plastic-shelves.jpg” alt=”A PK360 Grill silver with black plastic shelves on a white, isolated background.” tag=”foodal02-20″ width=”500″]

PK 360 in Silver and Black Shelves [easyazon_link identifier=”B00SF0X2OS” locale=”US” tag=”foodal02-20″]available on Amazon[/easyazon_link]

At a Glance:

Pluses:

  • Rust-proof, thick aluminum cast grill capsule
  • 360 square inches of grill surface
  • Two-zone heating for direct or indirect heat cooking
  • Four air vents for temperature and airflow control
  • Tel-Tru Thermometer guaranteed within +/- 1% accuracy
  • Two fiberglass reinforced polyester shelves for food prep

And Minuses:

  • Not height adjustable
  • Ash cleanout could be more streamlined

There are a multitude of benefits this portable cooker offers, so let’s dig into the details.

Heavy Duty and High Quality Materials

The PK360’s thick aluminum cast capsule means two things:

First, it has superior heat conduction, so it can maintain a steady, hot temperature even in the winter. The radial and cylinder vents will let you fine-tune the air intake to reach that perfect temperature.

The built-in Tel-Tru thermometer is guaranteed to display temperatures that are accurate within 1% of true span, give or take.

A Tel-Tru thermometer on the lid of the PK360.
We tested the included thermometer and it read accurately when compared to a calibrated ThermoPro TP-11 Wireless Food Thermometer. Photo by Mike Quinn.

Secondly, this grill will never rust. Seriously. It’s science.

Many return buyers have upgraded after decades of using the Original PK, which was also made from thick aluminum casting. Every reviewer stated that the new purchase was because they passed on the Original to another family member, or just wanted a second smoker. These grills cannot be killed.

The PK360 is built solid, and its durability can literally be felt straight out of the packaging.

Increased Cooking Surface

The capsule shape of the PK360 has an advantage over its round grill-and-smoker competitors, and that’s the cooking surface area.

The grill surface fits larger cuts of meat such as longer racks of ribs or full sides of salmon. Upright chickens and multiple cuts of Boston Butt aren’t out of the question either.

Lamb and veggie skewers cooking inside a PK360 gill.
The PK360 features a huge cooking area on high quality stainless steel grates. Photo by Mike Quinn.

The engineered design of the 360 makes better use of the space, too. Unlike its predecessor, the Original PK, the PK360 hinges on the back rather than along the side, which users like a lot more (as that’s what they’ve become accustomed to with most modern grills).

The lid of the PK360 raised and facing towards the view (the backside of the grill).
Unlike PK Grills’ original model, the PK360 is hinged on the back rather than the side. Photo by Mike Quinn.

The inside hinged metal rack (23.5 x 15 inches) makes it easy to feed in charcoal or wood pellets while slow cooking or smoking meats.

Close up of the two piece stainless cooking grill.
The stainless grates separate in a 2/3 and 1/3 configuration, meaning you can remove 1/3 of the grate to feed in additional wood chips, chunks, or pellets for additional smoke flavoring. Or, use it to add more fuel for “low and slow” cooks such as briskets and Boston butts. Photo by Mike Quinn.

And the functionality of space doesn’t quit on the inside.

The Control Tower™ stand has two reinforced high-heat resistant shelves of 218 square inches, either in Durabilium™ (a glass-fiber reinforced polyester material) with the standard model, or teak wood with the teak model.

A steel rod runs along the front of the shelves to hang tongs and spatulas for easy access as well.

4-Point Venting System™

Two radial vents in the top of the capsule and two cylinder vents under the base make for precision temperature and airflow control. These features also allow for PK’s Two-Zone heating method.

Close up of the radial vents on the lid of the PK360.
These radial vents operate like those of most other grills, but their robust construction ensures many years of service. Photo by Mike Quinn.

The radial vents are on top of the capsule like what you’ll find on a conventional grill – except there are two of them, allowing for the creation of different temperature zones.

Also, they are formed of aluminum like the body and are more robust than the thinner stamped metals found on lesser models.

A hand twists the left side cylinder vent control on the PK360.
The cylinder vents are easily adjusted by twisting clockwise or counterclockwise on the black knobs on the left and right at the base of the cooking capsule. Photo by Mike Quinn.

The cylinder vents are unique to the PK360. They are on the bottom of the cooking capsule and rotate to allow airflow.

Looking down in the interior of the cooking capsule at the cylinder vent openings.
Rotating the two exterior cylinder vent knobs on the outside of the cooking capsule opens up the vent holes on the bottom of the inside. Photo by Mike Quinn.

The vents open to the inside under the charcoal grill, and have removable covers to keep ash from collecting in the vent holes.

A close up of the cylinder vent covers inside of the PK360.
A removable cover (with an air gap) keeps ashes from falling into the cylinder vents. Photo by Mike Quinn.

Direct Heat, Indirect Heat, and Smoking Capabilities

The direct heat method is accomplished by keeping all vents open and placing the food directly over the hot coals. This cooks the food with direct high heat, which is great for getting that perfect sear on your steak.

[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”500″ identifier=”B00SF0XVE4″ locale=”US” src=”https://foodal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/PK360-Grill-in-Graphite-Black-with-black-plastic-shelves.jpg” alt=”A PK360 Grill in Graphite with black side shelves on a white, isolated background.” tag=”foodal02-20″ width=”419″]

PK360 in Graphite with Black Side Shelves, [easyazon_link identifier=”B00SF0XVE4″ locale=”US” tag=”foodal02-20″]available on Amazon[/easyazon_link]

Alternatively, the grill can be turned into a convection slow cooker. We could easily go on and on about heat zones, but the short-and-sweet of the process is that air is pulled through one cylinder vent, moves through the hot coals, and indirectly cooks the meat placed on the other side of the oven. The heat then escapes through the opened radial vent directly above the meat (see the video at the end of this article for visuals).

The combination of two-zone cooking and additional space makes this charcoal grill more accommodating for pans and griddles.

Built for Portability

With initials that stand for Portable Kitchen, this model can absolutely go camping or tailgating. The side shelves can be quickly removed with the quick-release knobs.

A close up of the release knobs on the side shelves of a PK360 grill.
Photo by Mike Quinn.

And, there is single quick-release knob that separates the capsule from the Control Tower™ stand.

A close up of a single knob used to separate the grilling capsule from the pedestal stand.

This makes for easy packing, and the two heavy-duty wheels on one side of the base help with moving it in and out of the garage. This grill/smoker combo even has its own special waterproof cover that doubles as a carrying bag.

[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”437″ identifier=”B00SF11HX0″ locale=”US” src=”src=”https://foodal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/PK360-grill-with-the-Pro-Cover.png” alt=”The Pro Cover fitted to the 360 on a white, isolated background.” tag=”foodal02-20″ width=”500″]

PK360 Pro Series Cover and Carry Bag, [easyazon_link identifier=”B00SF11HX0″ locale=”US” tag=”foodal02-20″]available on Amazon[/easyazon_link]

This model is easy to assemble the first time and a cinch to move around afterwards. Alternatively, if the backyard needs a complete outdoor kitchen, the PK360 is perfect for that too – just remove it from the stand and it’s good to install wherever it’s needed.

Tips, Tricks, and Techniques

Now that you’re looking to invest in a quality charcoal-fired grill for the backyard, be sure to invest in quality ingredients as well.

Choose good cuts of meat and high-quality charcoal. Stubb’s is an all-natural briquette that infuses your food with a true wood-fired flavor. It’s a favorite among serious outdoor cooks.

[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”500″ identifier=”B006OD7E06″ locale=”US” src=”https://foodal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/410skJHnnrL.jpg” tag=”foodal02-20″ width=”500″]

[easyazon_link identifier=”B006OD7E06″ locale=”US” tag=”foodal02-20″]Stubb’s 9-Pound All-Natural Charcoal Briquets[/easyazon_link]

If you haven’t already, check out a butcher shop in your neighborhood. They can help choose the right cuts for your barbecue, and most butchers even grind and stuff house specialty sausages that are incredible for camping. Building that relationship is always worth the extra trip, and the cuts of meat are going to be great.

Cleaning and Care

Thanks to the quality of materials, the PK360 doesn’t take a ton of maintenance. It’s good to follow the best practices of general care and use a cover when the grill is not in use. I mentioned the special cover/carrying case above, but for a regular cover that will fit over this unique model, there’s the PK360 Standard Grill Cover.

[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”421″ identifier=”B00SF11W1C” locale=”US” src=”https://foodal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/PK360-Grill-Standard-Cover.png” alt=”A PK360 grill with the cheaper, standard black cover draped over the the top.” tag=”foodal02-20″ width=”500″]

PK360 Standard Grill Cover, [easyazon_link identifier=”B00SF11W1C” locale=”US” tag=”foodal02-20″]available on Amazon[/easyazon_link]

PK also casts their grills with ash holes for easier ash removal (yes, I also giggled like an 8-year-old when I read that).

A human hand is removing the ash plug at the back of the PK360.
No need to tip the cooker over or haul out the shop vac when cleaning out old ashes. PK Grills have designed the 360 with a removable plug, allowing you to scrape the ashes out through the bottom. Photo by Mike Quinn.

While users like this design better than that of the Original, the time it takes to clear out used charcoal and wood chips can be significantly reduced by using the PK Grills Heavy Duty Charcoal Basket.

[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”287″ identifier=”B01N3Y7KTX” locale=”US” src=”https://foodal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/PK-Grills-Heavy-Duty-Charcoal-Basket.png” alt=”A black metal PK Grills Heavy Duty Charcoal Basket on a white, isolated background.” tag=”foodal02-20″ width=”500″]

PK Grills Heavy Duty Charcoal Basket, [easyazon_link identifier=”B01N3Y7KTX” locale=”US” tag=”foodal02-20″]available on Amazon[/easyazon_link]

It’s highly recommended here, for the decreased hassle.

For information about cooking the best possible grilled food, be sure to read our article on Cleaning and Maintaining Your BBQ Equipment.

Dimensions and Specs

From shelf tip to shelf tip, the PK360 measures 54 inches across, 26.9 inches deep, and 42.9 inches high. The actual cooking surface of this capsule-shaped grill is 23.5 x 15 inches with 8 inches of clearance, so there’s plenty of room for some serious grilling or slow cooking.

[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”426″ identifier=”B00SF0X7TI” locale=”US” src=”https://foodal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/PK360-Grill-in-Graphite-Black-with-teak-wood-shelves.jpg” alt=”A PK360 Grill in Graphite with teak wood side shelves on a white, isolated background.” tag=”foodal02-20″ width=”500″]

PK360 in Graphite with Teak Shelves, [easyazon_link identifier=”B00SF0X7TI” locale=”US” tag=”foodal02-20″]available on Amazon[/easyazon_link]

The actual cooking height from the ground is 34.2 inches. Some taller users grumble about this a bit, but for the most part, it doesn’t bother many cooks.

The thick aluminum-cast grill capsule alone weighs about 60 pounds. Including the shelves and stand, the PK360 comes in at 90 pounds total. At the risk of sounding redundant: this grill is built solid.

What’s Included:

  • Thick Aluminum Cast Oven Capsule with Tel-Tru Thermometer
  • Marine Grade Stainless Steel Cooking Grid
  • 304 Stainless Steel Fuel Grate
  • Marine Grade Stainless Steel Kit Hardware
  • Control Tower™ Stand
  • High Heat Black Durabilium™ or Teak Shelves with Steel Rod Tool Organization System

Colors:

The PK360 is available in four color combinations including [easyazon_link identifier=”B00SF0X2OS” locale=”US” tag=”foodal02-20″]silver with black shelves[/easyazon_link], [easyazon_link identifier=”B00SF0XVE4″ locale=”US” tag=”foodal02-20″]graphite with black shelves[/easyazon_link], [easyazon_link identifier=”B00SF0XOC8″ locale=”US” tag=”foodal02-20″]silver with teak shelves[/easyazon_link], and [easyazon_link identifier=”B00SF0X7TI” locale=”US” tag=”foodal02-20″]graphite with teak shelves[/easyazon_link].

[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”428″ identifier=”B00SF0XOC8″ locale=”US” src=”https://foodal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/PK360-Grill-in-Silver-with-teak-wood-shelves.jpg” alt=”A PK360 Grill in Silver with teak wood side shelves on a white, isolated background.” tag=”foodal02-20″ width=”500″]

PK360 in Silver with Teak Shelves, [easyazon_link identifier=”B00SF0XOC8″ locale=”US” tag=”foodal02-20″]available on Amazon[/easyazon_link]

Warranty Information

Portable Kitchen offers a 10-year limited warranty on their grill capsules.

First, there is a 30-day guarantee that the PK will be defect-free. After that, you a 10-year guarantee that the oven will not burn out. It’s very unlikely to, as people have reported their OG PK from the 1960s has been used regularly and the ovens still haven’t burned out.

According to a representative from the PK Support Team, the PK360 was designed and engineered in the USA. These grills are manufactured in China, and shipped across the world from their facility in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The Next Best Thing

Take a look at where Portable Kitchen began with the Original PK. This model first appeared in the American Midwest in the mid-twentieth century and resurfaced in the late nineties.

[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”500″ identifier=”B00005KAXY” locale=”US” src=”https://foodal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/The-Original-Portable-Kitchen-PK-Grill-and-Smoker-in-Silver.png” alt=”The Original Portable Kitchen (PK) Grill and Smoker in Silver on a white, isolated background.” tag=”foodal02-20″ width=”460″]

The Original PK Grill & Smoker in Classic Silver, [easyazon_link identifier=”B00005KAXY” locale=”US” tag=”foodal02-20″]available on Amazon[/easyazon_link]

The Original solidified PK’s reputation, as it’s made of the same thick aluminum cast material and maintains heat well. While it lacks the Tel-Tru Thermometer, the high heat shelves, and the Control Tower™ stand, it’s still a high quality, portable grill/smoker.

Foodal’s Rating

  • Construction and Quality
  • Ease of Use
  • Durability
  • Multizone
  • Available Accessories

Summary

Cook outdoors with the PK Grills PK360 champion-level grill and smoker combination. This thick aluminum cast oven has incredible temperature control and increased cooking area. If you’re in the market for an outstanding grill and smoker combination, this one is well worth the consideration.

4.9

Before You Go…

For those who are looking for truly enjoyable grilling and smoking experiences, Portable Kitchen has you covered with this combo unit. The PK360 is absolutely worth the investment, and we’re not the only ones saying this. The durability of the cast oven, the precision of the vents, and the quality of the accessories leaves us feeling good about investing in a product that is going to last.

[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”415″ identifier=”B00SF0X2OS” locale=”US” src=”https://foodal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/PK360-Grill-in-Silver-with-black-plastic-shelves.jpg” alt=”A PK360 Grill silver with black plastic shelves on a white, isolated background.” tag=”foodal02-20″ width=”500″]

[easyazon_link identifier=”B00SF0X2OS” locale=”US” tag=”foodal02-20″]Check prices and read customer reviews on Amazon now![/easyazon_link]

Do you have any questions about PK products that we can answer for you? Give us a shout in the comments below – and for some great tips, check out our article about barbecuing essentials! Be sure to check out all of Foodal’s BBQ grill guides and reviews here.

Photos by Mike Quinn, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Isolated product photos courtesy of Portable Kitchen. Originally published on May 5, 2018. Last updated on September 27, 2021. With additional writing by Mike Quinn and Allison Sidhu.

About Taylor Shaw-Hamp

Taylor Shaw-Hamp has loved food ever since she can remember. The more she grew, the more she discovered, and the more she had to know. Now she loves to write about her food adventures through recipes, product reviews, and blog posts. She can be found at local coffee shops across the world, so if you see her, stop by the table and say hi!

16 thoughts on “The Portable Kitchen PK360 Grill: Tradition Gets an Update”

  1. Hi there, really good review of the PK360, but I think there is a correction required, that the PK360 aluminium capsule is not actually made in the US but in China and then assembled in the US (was reading through on a few other websites for reviews etc – maybe you can confirm through PK?)

    I am still waiting on an international retailer taking the PK out of the US and spreading the joy!

    Reply
    • Thanks for your correction, Iain! We looked into this, and you and Joe are correct – The original post said all PK grills are made in the USA. While the Original PK grill is cast and assembled in the USA, the PK360 is assembled in the US from parts sourced both domestically and internationally. We’ve made an update above to reflect this.

      Reply
        • Thank you, John. We were able to reach out to PK customer service today, and you are correct. The PK360 was designed and engineered in the US, and their products are shipped from Arkansas. This model is manufactured in China. The article has been updated.

          Reply
  2. Iain, I spoke to a rep at PK and they confirmed that the PK360 is, in fact, made in China while the original PK is made in USA. Even if both aluminum capsules are alike, it is important for the shopper to know that they are manufactured in totally different locations.

    Since I support everything made in USA as much as possible, my next purchase will be the original PK over the 360.

    Reply
  3. I really like the look of the Graphite finish. But I can’t find any information about what it is/how it’s applied to the grill. Does anyone know what it’s made of? I’ll just buy the original unless someone can guarantee that the finish will last as long as the PK.

    Reply
    • Its powder coated so I doubt it will last the life of the PK (I still cook on one my Dad bought new in 1971) but it does look good coming out of the box. . .

      Reply
  4. Been using my PK360 for 6 month now and I have to say its far from perfect you gave it to many stars I think three stars, as a whole is about right, the capsule by its self however is pretty good.
    Redesigning of the stand and those tiny wheels is needed urgently as well as the knobs that hold the shelves in place. Ive broken almost all the knobs including the extra ones that came with the grill and moving the grill around the yard with those tiny wheel is also difficult.

    Reply
  5. I am looking at purchasing the PK 360 in Graphite. Is the paint job on the grill guaranteed not to flake or fall off?

    Reply
    • PK grills are made of rustproof cast aluminum. Protecting these grills with a cover while they’re in storage is recommended to protect the finish. The 10-year warranty covers burnout, rust, or breakage.

      Reply
      • The original is actually a bit smaller than the 360 (only 305 cu. in) but IS a lot more portable, especially if you go with the PKTX model (original capsule, folding stand, which is actually a return to a vintage concept). I’ve had 5 PK Grills, so far, from the one my Dad bought new in 1971 to the PKTX I bought a year or two ago. The original models were still made in the USA at that time (though no longer in Arkansas) but aren’t quite the same casting quality of my older models. Suppose I’ll always be a PK fan (genetic defect, I guess) but I have been a bit disappointed whether by replacement parts that do NOT fit or customer service.

        Reply
  6. I have 5 different bbq’s-4 webers and 1 PK

    My preferred is the PK

    Your review is on the money from my experience, i’d add 2 handy trick’s if I may

    if you remove the 2 piece cooking grate ,which you have to do anyway for lighting coals,a Weber chimney fits inside capsule and you can close the PK lid.

    Much safer in dry conditions so an errant spark does not start a fire.

    Second – this BBQ is remarkable at dropping temps (vents closed)and heating back up again-even multiple times-entree/main/dessert

    5 stars for sure

    Reply

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