Charcoal BBQ Grills: Buyers Guide
There are key components buyers look out for in a grill regardless of the fuel type, performance and design. It is important that the grill cooks evenly and doesn’t have odorants that negatively impact your meal taste. Before you purchase any charcoal grill, it is important that you first identify what you want to use it from and your expectations from it.
Charcoal grills, in general, are affordable, easy to set up and deliver great performance. In our article, you will find a buyer’s guide to help you select the best charcoal BBQ grill.
Cuisinart CCG-290 18 Inch Kettle Charcoal Grill
Image Source: Amazon
About Charcoal BBQ Grills
Ever wondered how you can achieve that peculiar smoky taste that makes your grilled meals even tastier. They come in varying sizes and designs; however, one thing is certain – they run on charcoal briquettes. Although they are not as precise as gas grills, they are quite affordable and get the job done nicely.
Charcoal grills are affordable, easy to set up and have a stunning temperature range. Asides from the BTUs, fuel cost and temperature capacity of charcoal grills, a major difference between it and other grill types is the ease of use. In fact, this is the main appeal for it. Charcoal grills put you in direct control of your grilling experience.
How to Buy a Charcoal BBQ Grill
Buying a charcoal grill can be quite the task if you do not know what to look out for. Here’s an easy guide on the things you should factor in when buying a charcoal grill.
❖ Consider the type.
There are three types of charcoal grills. They are ceramic, kettle and barrel grills. Although all three of these charcoal grills help you achieve that tasty grilled meal, they have their strengths and weaknesses.
The kettle grill is only about 22 inches in diameter but can allow you to cook up to 12 burgers on it. The spherical shape helps with heat reflection, making it possible for you to cook your food evenly.
On the other hand, barrel grills are bigger in size than kettle grills, with a primary cooking area of around 435 square inches. The basic design includes a drum-like structure sliced in half to contain coals, with the upper half acting as the lid.
Ceramic grills come in different sizes, allowing you to grill just about any quantity of food. The ceramic design is responsible for the superb heat control you enjoy, even in extreme weather conditions. With mid-range ceramic charcoal grill models starting at $700, it is the most expensive charcoal grill on the market.
Now that you have decided what charcoal model you want, it is important to factor in the size. If you only cook occasionally and for four people or less, a small or medium-sized charcoal grill will be perfect for you. You can tell the size from the square inch range provided by the manufacturer.
However, if you will be catering for a larger size, you should consider a large-size charcoal grill.
❖ Material Composition
The material your charcoal grill is made of is essential. Grills made with heavy-gauge stainless steel, enameled iron, cast aluminum or enameled steel are less likely to rust. These materials also help the grill retain heat and are more durable.
With charcoal grills, you must get sufficient airflow. The airflow determines how well the food cooks. The more vents you have on the grill, the better.
There’s no crime in getting a stylishly designed charcoal grill capable of delivering on performance and reliability. There are several stylish models you can choose from.
❖ Extra Features
Look out for additional features in the charcoal grill that make the grilling experience even better. Some of these extras can be a built-in thermometer to monitor temperature fluctuations while grilling, side handles, ash catcher, etc.
With all said and done, you probably already have a budget range for your grill. Our advice is that you shouldn’t go above this range. There are cheap charcoal grills with great features and excellent grilling performance. This is a testament that you can actually get more for less.
When buying something like a charcoal grill, you must factor in the warranty period. Some manufacturers give you a three to five years warranty while others offer you a lifetime warranty. The longer the warranty period, the better for you.
Best Charcoal BBQ Grills of 2021
Our list contains some of the best BBQ charcoal grills you can get in the market. Go through their features, pros, and cons to decide which one best suit your grilling needs.
1. Weber Original Kettle Grill
In the world of charcoal grills, the Weber kettle stands out. The brand, in general, is known for its great blend of performance and grilling aesthetics. It is designed with a porcelain-enamel steel body that is sturdy enough to trap heat while remaining portable enough to be transported.
- It is sturdy and durable.
- It is super affordable and has a great heat retention capacity.
- Cooks your food evenly and leaves it with the traditional smoky taste.
- It offers a primary cooking space of 363 square inches.
- Extra features include a built-in thermometer and an angled lid hook for keeping the top of the grill off the ground.
- The Premium version lacks the ash catch; hence, it is a little harder to clean.
- Offers a small to medium-sized cooking space.
2. Weber Smokey Joe
Weber Smokey Joe is the best portable charcoal grill in the market currently. The 14 inch Weber Smokey Joe grill with a porcelain-enamel lid and bowl is a great way to ramp up your barbecue experience. It can cook up to six burgers and has an ash catcher that makes cleaning it even easier.
- It is portable and easy to assemble.
- It is cost-efficient.
- It has a glass-reinforced lid that stays cool even while in use.
- Possesses an ash catcher.
- It does not allow for much airflow when the lid is on.
- It lacks side handles.
3. PK Grills Original Charcoal Grill with Smoker
PK Grills Original Charcoal Grill with Smoker gives you the best of both worlds. It is designed to grill your food quickly using higher temperature and simmer your meal with indirect heat. The grill is designed with cast aluminum which is responsible for its superior heat conduction. The four-point venting system further makes it ideal for grilling or smoking your food.
- Easy setup
- Great heat retention ability
- The grill size and 310 square inches for cooking make it possible to prepare multiple kinds of food.
- The portable size allows for easy movement.
- Built-in side table
- There is no option for the lid to attach securely.
4. Char-Griller E4822 Premium Black Kettle Charcoal Griller
Char-Griller E4822 Premium Black Kettle is one of the best cart style charcoal grills in the market. It has a total cooking area of 379 square inches and an easy dump ashtray. The built-in temperature gauge allows you to monitor the grilling temperature with ease.
- It is portable and easy to move from one location to the other.
- The small footprint makes it ideal for smaller spaces.
- It comes with an easy dump ashtray for a swift clean up.
- It has a side table.
- Lacks the temperature gauge.
- It has a relatively small cooking surface.
5. Master built Gravity Series 560 Digital Charcoal Grill
Master built Gravity Series 560 Digital Charcoal Grill offers you a stylish grill design with high tech features that you normally see in gas grills. The grill has wifi features that allow you to control the grilling temperature from your phone or the control panel. It heats up to 700 degrees in under 13 minutes and has a cooking space of up to 560 square inches.
Master built Gravity Series 560 Digital Charcoal Grill is designed with reversible cast-iron grates that allow it to be used for grilling and smoking. It is durable and can hold as much as 10 pounds of lump charcoal. Thus, you can cook all day without needing to add more coals.
- Digital controls
- Great temperature regulation
- Gravity-fed fuel hopper
- It can also be used to smoke meals.
- It is quite expensive.
6. Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill
Weber is one of the top charcoal grill brands that combines aesthetics with top grilling performance. It can cook as much as 13 burgers simultaneously and has a built-in thermometer that allows you to monitor the temperature. Weber Performer Deluxe grill has an electronic ignition system, a removable timer and a side table.
- It is sturdy and durable.
- It has a gas ignition system.
- It has a large cooking space.
- It is expensive.
- The interior screws can interfere with inserting and removing the grate.
If you want your grilled meals to have a delicious traditional smoky taste, you should get a charcoal grill. Charcoal grills are affordable, easy to set up and offer you high heating capacities that cannot be rivalled. When buying a charcoal grill, important features to look out for include the number of vents, size, material properties, and warranty. We have provided you with important information to help you select the best charcoal grill available.