Best Charcoal Grills
If you approach anything with forethought and creativity then it might be considered an art and that remains true for the skill that is grilling. Many people do not realize this and search for simplicity in grilling while others are willing to take the journey to find the optimal way to cook delicious food. For these people we have charcoal grills which forego some of the ease of use for the flavor that a charcoal cook can bring.
Instead of fancy controls to decide how your food is cooked charcoal requires you to have excellent knowledge of organizing your heat and estimating the retention in order to get the best cook. Still the dynamics of charcoal grilling have evolved along with gas grilling so we have the things you need to look out for when determining what charcoal grill is the best for you.
Best Charcoal Grills
Napoleon Grills Rodeo
(4.5 / 5)
Total cooking space: 365 sq. in.
Dimensions: 29 x 41 x 23 inches
price scale 3.8/5
(4.1 / 5)
Total cooking space: 447 sq. in.
Primary cooking space: 314 sq. in.
Dimensions: 21.65 x 24.8 x 26.6 inches
price scale 4.1/5
(4.7 / 5)
Total cooking space: 363 sq. in.
Dimensions: 43.5 x 48 x 30 inches
price scale 4.9/5
Weber Original Kettle
(4.8 / 5)
Total cooking space: 363 sq. in.
Dimensions: 38.5 x 22.5 x 27 inches
price scale 3.5/5
(4.1 / 5)
Total cooking space: 580 sq. in.
Primary cooking space: 480 sq. in.
Dimensions: 28.15 x 43.5 x 47.7 inches
price scale 2.2/5
Short Descriptions of Best Charcoal Grills
Napoleon Grills Rodeo Pro Charcoal Kettle Grill
This charcoal grill by Napoleon sits in an interesting place on the market because it has a higher price point than the majority of charcoal grills with a similar build. What makes this one different is the attention to detail Napoleon has used to say not only it is whats on the inside that counts, but is also about what you are made of. For this model we have a powder coated black steel exterior with the wherewithal to shrug off the elements increasing the life span of this grill.
From the strong top to the sturdy wheels at the base this is a charcoal grill that is made to take a beating and continue to last. Moving to the inside we have a 365 square inch cooking surface made for cooking for any size gathering with the space to fit up to 23 hamburgers. The design creativity we are looking for comes with your options for heat control. A hinged lid allows you to easily add coals or wood chips. You can also adjust the grate to three different levels for more control over heating. The pro in the name comes from the advanced air flow control system that keeps heating efficient and prevents moisture from entering your grill. The whole grill from the outside to the grill grate is porcelain coated as well so cleaning is a relative breeze when faced against the cheaper competition. This is a highly efficient grill that might blend in with lesser models, but offers so much more for knowledgable grill users.
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Char-Griller 16620 Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Barbecue Grill
If you are looking for a charcoal grill with a unique take on providing highly efficient grilling along with easy to use smoking capabilities then this model from Char-Griller is worth the time to look into. The first thing you will notice about this grill is its deep design focused on using insulation and space to help you cook meals in a variety of ways while also using less charcoal than traditional models. This grill has a 314 square inch primary cooking area which give you enough space for cooking for a family while larger barbecues might be a bit more of an issue.
Made of cast iron with a powder coated exterior and a porcelain coated interior this is a grill made to stand the elements while still being easy to clean on the interior as well. A cart design with rubber wheels gives you durable mobility as well. The lid can lock and the indexed damper allows you to easily decipher your air control for heat retention. A couple of fold away side shelfs also give you some extra preparation and storage space. The best thing about this grill is the versatility and heating control that will allow the user to cook any meal with next level precision while also saving money on charcoal thanks to the ingenuity in the design. A great choice for the patient charcoal griller who wants the ability to choose whether they want a traditional cook or slow cook without worrying as much about adjustments thanks to the outstanding insulation of this grill.
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Weber 15501001 Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill
It should come as no surprise that a Weber grill that scrapes the high line for pricing in charcoal grills comes with just about everything you could need considering the experience that Weber has in the industry. Once again Weber only surprises you with grilling when you do not expect something great. This grill uses a cart style design to combine a 363 square inch traditional heating surface with a nice amount of storage space and even a container to hold your bag of charcoal. The focus for this grill was to keep things simple and efficient for the user. From the touch and go easy gas ignition system to the one touch cleaning system the extra price on the grill comes in the form of ease of use so if you do not wish to make your charcoal grilling easier then a cheaper model might be more up your alley.
This grill uses porcelain enameling to keep it fresh and easy to clean as well. Four wheels along with locking casters give this grill the mobility to match up with its expansive surface. The amount of surface space next the grill is comparable to the space on the grill itself which makes for a very convenient addition. If you don’t mind purchasing a small container of gas to go along with your charcoal the easy lighting system will allow you to get cooking faster than the majority of charcoal grills. With only minor nitpicks for flaws this is a well made grill that leaves very few complaints.
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Weber Stephen Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill
If you are looking for a sturdy charcoal grill perfect for cooking a nice family sized meal at an affordable price then Weber has a grill for you. This kettle style grill brings the tradition of a round cooking surface to your home with its 363 square inch cooking surface. So whether you are cooking four or five steaks or a menagerie of burgers and vegetables this grill should have no problem serving up to six people at a time comfortably. With a cast iron black spherical design this grill does not worry about standing out as Weber focused instead on providing all of the basics at an easy to use and affordable line. The grill grate works on a hinge so you can easily lift it up to add more coals or to shift them around to your desires.
Made of heavy gauge metal and porcelain enameled you have a strong cooking surface that is also relatively easy to clean. The highlight of this grill however is its one touch cleaning system which in conjunction with the high capacity ash catcher makes this grill a breeze to clean even after intense grilling sessions. The lid handle also doubles as a nice place to hang all or your cooking tools, while still being heat resistant for maintaining comfort. The built in lid thermometer allows you to accurately read the temperature when the lid is closed as well. This charcoal grill hits all of the basics while still providing a nice addition of utility and special features to help it make a cozy home for anyone.
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Char-Broil Charcoal Grill, 580 Square Inch
Charcoal grills are not necessarily known for bringing style, class and utility to the grilling market especially at an affordable price, however Char-Broil is attempting to change all of this with this model. This comes at the expense of some features that the more common models have that this one neglects for affordable innovation. Starting with the good this grill has an expansive cooking surface which will make it great for cooking in a variety of situations. The charcoal compartment underneath allows you to add coals and manipulate heat level with great accuracy thanks to the heat retention. Keeping with the theme of heat control you have the ability to raise and lower the charcoal pan to give you even greater control. We also have four large air dampers to help too so you can create delicious smoky meals if you wish.
The 400 square inch cooking surface is nice and family sized along with a 180 square inch warming rack to reach that slightly inflated 580 number. The utility is also apparent with a slide out ash tray for easy cleaning, a couple wheels for your mobility concerns, and a built in lid mounted thermometer so all of that heating control does not go to waste. The negatives are here as well though and they come in the form of a model that is pretty difficult to put together and materials that do not quite match up to other grills particularly the lack of porcelain coating on the grill grate and lack of stainless steel in the design. If you like innovation and are willing to take the relatively easy steps to avoid the negatives then this grill should be great and affordable for you.
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Generally charcoal grills come with a pretty good surface for cooking for large families and even social gatherings. You should be able to easily find a charcoal grill with an expansive surface without stepping outside of your price range. If you only need to cook for a four to six person family you can get away with something in the three to four hundred range while cookout afficionados should look for a grill with five hundred plus square inches of surface area. Another thing to keep in mind here is making sure the area is legit because often grills will inflate their numbers with their warming rack.
This is probably the most important aspect of a good charcoal grill because it will determine the variety of meals and flavors that the grill can provide. For example a barrel design might be better for smoking or slow cooking while the traditional round design is more suited for sectioning off the coals for different heats with differing content. Charcoal grills have an extraordinary amount of versatility in design because most of them are at a pretty affordable price which allows companies to be creative with their styles. Some charcoal grills have multiple heating zones while others go even deeper into providing you with controls to damper the heating to reach the preferred levels.
Most consumers are quick to settle with the basic charcoal light up and forget style even though there have been many innovations that are revolutionizing charcoal grilling. You should definitely take the time to look into these if you want to be able to do more than just grill with your charcoal grill. Whether you want to bake, broil, rotisserie, smoke, or grill there are many charcoal grills out there that will help make those processes a lot easier as long as you are willing to pay for your preference.
The biggest enemy of sustainability is neglect and you can help circumvent this neglect a bit by making sure you pick a grill made out of high quality materials so you are not left in a unsatisfactory and even potentially dangerous position. The majority of charcoal grills are made of cast iron which is a pretty sturdy material that hides dirt well as long as it’s black but is also pretty difficult to clean. You will want to get a grill with as much stainless steel in the construction as you can find.
Stainless steel not only looks the best, it will also go a long way towards keeping your grill in good condition. When it comes to the cooking grates you want to make sure the grill is at least porcelain coated if you can not afford stainless steel. Normal cast iron grates are notoriously difficult to clean and having to oil up you grates every time adds a step to your grilling process that could also become a risk for unexperienced grillers.
If terrific storage options are important to you, then you might want to bite the bullet and invest in a gas grill because charcoal grills have issues with storage. This is largely because of the extra space required for heating coals though not every grill is bereft of options. The most common thing you will find is a base underneath. Some grills have a side can for storing your charcoal bags. Others will have hooks for keeping your grilling tools. If you can find all of these together you have a winner and anything more like cabinet space is a rarity which should be appreciated.
Since charcoal grills carry so much extra weight in charcoals, mobility is not a function that is often stressed for manufacturers. The most common setup here will be two large heavy duty wheels with another leg or two on the opposite side used as a base. You can find grills with the two locking wheels and two heavy duty wheels setup though it is pretty rare. If you are working on uneven surfaces often then either setup should work but will both be dangerous with any charcoal grill.
This is not a high point for charcoal grilling though there are things to look for it you want to maximize your grilling efficiency. The first thing you should look for are damper controls because these will help you regulate the heat so you can cook in a variety of ways without expert knowledge of the thermodynamics of coals. Staying with thermo a thermometer is an absolute necessity.
You want to make sure this is easy to see and that it reaches into the region of the coals so you can get an accurate reading. Shelving is another nice addition that is surprisingly rare to find in charcoal grills. Finally you can find hybrid grills that use propane and coals together for a quick and easy light combined with the flavor of coals.
Best Charcoal Grills Conclusion
Charcoal grilling is an affordable way to create flavorful meals that gets more dynamic and creative every year. At the end of the day you still want to get a model that is made of strong materials and loaded with all the features you need to cook in your preferred style. Mobility, storage, and warranty even can be pretty close for the majority of grills. The design, features, and materials will be the main factors in finding the best charcoal grill for you.