What are the Best Charcoal Grills?

Reviews

May 10
Best Charcoal Grills Reviews

There is quite a divide when it comes to how you BBQ. In fact, the options available today are definitely varied. You can choose from propane gas powered, pellet grills, pit barrel cookers to charcoal grills. Really, there are so many advant?age?s to each opti?on, it really is mostly about which you prefer. How does your BBQ taste best, and which you are most comfortable cooking on. In this review we are going to focus purely on charcoal grills. And you'll see we've selected the three best charcoal grills available. 

The Best 3 Charcoal Grills

When reviewing these charcoal grills, we considered a range of factors. From practical considerations such as ease of storage, lighting and cleaning. To factors more focused on your cooking experience; how well does the grill allow you to maintain a certain temperature? Also we have considered grill size and value for money. 

2nd

Char-Griller 16620 Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Barbecue Grill and Smoker

Char-Griller 16620 Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Barbecue Grill and Smoker

( 4.4 out of 5.0 )

  • Cooking Space of 306 sq. inches
  • Warming rack 165 sq. inches
  • Insulated design means more heat uses less charcoal and less airflow means insulated heat for juicy meat
  • Cooking surface is cast iron. Body is 22 gauge steel. Exterior finish is porcelain coated steel
  • Cart made from tubular steel with rubber wheels, locking casters, indexed damper
  • Locking lid, 2 folding black metal shelves, easy dump ash pan, double wall insulation, heat gauge
  • Very difficult to get replacement parts

1st

Weber 741001 Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill

Weber 741001 Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill

( 4.8 out of 5.0 )

  • Kettle grill with 363 sq. inches of total cooking space
  • 22-inch diameter plated-steel cooking grate, rust-resistant vents
  • Porcelain-enamelled bowl and lid with glass-enforced nylon handles
  • Aluminium ash catcher, aluminized steel. One touch cleaning system
  • Measures 22 inches long by 25 inches wide by 38-1/2 inches high
  • 10 year warranty
  • Ash pain a little too small if grilling in windy conditions

3rd

Char-Griller 2828 Pro Deluxe Charcoal Grill

Char-Griller 2828 Pro Deluxe Charcoal Grill

( 4.2 out of 5.0 )

  • 580 sq. inches of primary cooking space
  • Warming rack of 250 sq. inches
  • Cast iron cooking grates in four lift-able sections for access to coals
  • Easy dump ash pan and adjustable charcoal grates
  • Cart is constructed of tubular steel, body of heavy duty steel. Large 8 inch wheels
  • Includes heat gauge, wood side shelf with utensil hooks, condiment basket and large bottom wire shelf
  • As a cast iron grill, before you use it you need to light a big fire and get all the casting oil out of the cast iron grates (just the first time)

Why Buy a Charcoal Grill?

When all is said and done, this is basically the choice most of us are making. Do we go charcoal or gas when we grill? Arguments for one vs, the other include: 

  • "Food Tastes Better over Charcoal"
  • "Gas is cheating"
  • "Charcoal Grills are Cheaper"
  • "Gas Grills are so much Quicker. One click of a button and you're Fired Up and Ready to Go"

But in reality, a lot of the decision is based on personal preference. You can try to convince someone to switch from their chosen form of outdoor cooking to another, and you will most likely fail. Certainly we don't believe anyone can really tell the difference between a burger grilled over charcoal and one grilled over a gas powered grill. Or wood pellets. Or anything else for that matter! 

What to Look Out for When Buying a Charcoal Grill

So you're going for a charcoal grill. You know this. In fact it was probably never in doubt. So what do you need to look out for when deciding which charcoal grill is right for you? 

  • Cooking Space: Our top three between 306 square inches and 580 square inches. Quite a difference. One isn't necessarily better than the other. But you do need to make sure that you go for a grill with the right amount of cooking space for you
  • Side Plates: Do you want a grill with space to store cooked food keeping it warm? Do you need somewhere to hang your utensils? Maybe you do, maybe you don't. But if you do, look for a grill with warming racks and shelves with utensil hooks
  • Materials: Cooking grates may be made from stainless steel (as in the case with the weber grill) or cast iron. Make sure you get a grill with the raw materials you prefer to work with. 

Other points to consider are whether you can purchase a cover to protect the grill from the elements, do you need the cart to come on wheels and how easy it is to purchase replacement parts.

Charcoal Grills

Before we go any further, let's just take a look at why you would choose a charcoal grill. It is definitely the traditional method of cooking outdoors. If a smoky barbecue flavor is your number one priority, then absolutely a charcoal grill is your best bet. Whereas many of us can't really tell the different when it comes to flavor, you certainly have no chance of getting a smoky flavor with a gas powered grill! Another advantage to a charcoal grill is definitely cost. They are cheaper than the gas alternatives and also easier to assemble and move around your patio at home. They just aren't so bulky. You will be able to store it more easily. On the downside, you will definitely wait longer to light a charcoal grill and also will have to deal with clearing away the ash. Not the worst job in the world, but it is a messy one. 

Gas Grills

Fans of gas grills will, when asked why they prefer a gas grill, mention speed and convenience. It is a lot less of a big deal to light the grill on a week night after work when you have a gas grill. They take less than ten minutes to heat up and you can adjust the heat easily while you are cooking. But they are the more expensive option, they are awkward to move around and to store and you will need to make sure that you have a gas canister too which you top up. Not the most attractive of garden ornaments! 

Detailed Reviews of the Best Charcoal Grills

Our top three best charcoal grills offer something for everyone. From an easy to assemble, use and maintain Weber, to a more hands on but very maintainable Char-Griller. We've considered ease of lighting, cleaning, cooking and value for money when coming up with our top three. 

Weber 741001 Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill

Weber 741001 Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill

For many the Weber grill is THE charcoal grill brand. It is an American classic. And absolutely it makes for a brilliant grill for even a first time griller to use. We loved the one-touch cleaning system which is a market first and the quality of the build is there to see. A great grill and definitely excellent value for money.

Features

  • Kettle grill with 363 square inches of total cooking space
  • 22 inch diameter plated steel cooking grate; rust resistant vents
  • Porcelain enamelled bowl and lid with glass reinforced nylon handles
  • Aluminium ash catcher, aluminized steel. One touch cleaning system
  • Measures 22 inches long by 25 inches wide by 38-1/2 inches high
  • 10 year limited warranty

What's Good About It?

The one-touch charcoal kettle grill combines the traditional design with innovation in production. Made of steel and coated with porcelain enamel, the bowl and lid are formed exactly right to allow heat to circulate around the inside of the grill for even cooking. The porcelain enamel is baked to around 1500 degrees F, meaning that you can be sure that your grill will not only withstand the heat but also resist rust and burn through. On top of this, the smooth, hard-wearing surface makes clean-up easy.  

How about the one-touch cleaning system? Well this is so simple. As you rotate the handle, the three blades in the bowl move ash through the vents in the bowl and down into the ash catcher. The aluminium ash catcher lifts out for easy ash disposal and cleaning. The fully enclosed ask catcher keeps ashes from blowing around and is easily detached for quick and clean ash removal. ?

What Could Be Improved?

We did find once when using in very windy conditions, that the ash pan wasn't really able to totally shield the grill from the elements. 

Char-Griller 16620 Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Barbecue Grill and Smoker

Char-Griller 16620 Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Barbecue Grill and Smoker

A kettle style grill much like the Weber, but will additional side plates. It is though made from cast iron which requires a different approach to cleaning. The Kamado style of cooking comes from ancient cooking methods that used clay overs for insulation. Kamados of recent years are made of heavy ceramics. Char-griller has developed this product for Kamado style cooking using innovative technology to make it more durable, convenient, affordable and lighter weight than traditional ceramic Kamados. Great grill that can cook anything from fish to ribs to burgers to pizzas. 

Features

  • 306 square inches of cooking space
  • Warming rack - 165 square inches
  • Insulated design so you use less charcoal for your heat 
  • Cooking surface is coated in cast iron, body of 22 gauge steel, exterior finish is powder coated steel, and interior porcelain coated steel
  • Locking caster wheels, indexed damper, locking lid, 2 folding black metal shelves
  • Insulated design so you use less charcoal for your heat 

What's Good About It?

It is a brilliant grill. It really does cook the food (really anything) easily. The Kamado style is durable and easy and allows you to use the grill as an over thanks to the heavy ceramic nature of the product. 

What Could Be Improved?

It is really only the cost that means this product is not in first place. Although we loved it, we couldn't justify the massive price difference. If this product is ever on offer though, then this is a brilliant charcoal grill that does so much more than just barbecue. 

Char-Griller 2828 Pro Deluxe Charcoal Grill

Char-Griller 2828 Pro Deluxe Charcoal Grill

A massive grill. If you plan to host a lot of friends, or just have a really really large family (or appetite) then this is the grill for you. 

Features

  • 580 square inches of primary cooking space, warming rack 250 square inches
  • Traditional cast iron cooking grates in four lift-able sections for access to coals
  • Easy dump ash pan and adjustable charcoal grates
  • Cart is constructed of tubular steel, body heavy duty steel. Large 8 inch wheels
  • Includes heat gauge, wood side shelf with utensil hooks, condiment basket and large bottom wire shelf. Easy to assemble

What's Good About It?

Wow it's big! But not so big that you will struggle to light it. In fact it's really straightforward to light and maintain a fire and the warming shelves are particularly useful with this larger model of grill. 

What Could Be Improved?

Because the cooking surface is made from cast iron, you do need to light a big fire and get all the casting oil out of the cast iron grates before you use the grill for the first time. 

    Final Verdict on Best Charcoal Grill

    As with most things, there is no simple answer. The Char-Griller Pro-Deluxe is the best charcoal grill for larger families or for someone wanting to grill for parties, the Char-Griller Kamado is brilliant for a more adventurous griller. Pizza oven come grill is a brilliant thing. Who wouldn't want one? But the cost may hold you back. So we've gone for the Weber. A great grill at a size to suite most families and a price to match.