Table of Contents
- Top 12 Charcoal Grill Reviews – Best Charcoal BBQ Grills for the Money
- 1. Char-Broil Gas2Coal Hybrid Grill – Best Gas Charcoal Combo Grill
- 2. Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere Grill – Best Portable Charcoal Grill
- 3. Char-Griller 16620 Akorn Kamado Kooker
- 4. PK Grills Grill and Smoker – Best Charcoal Grill Smoker Combo
- 5. Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman
- 6. Lodge L410 Sportsman’s Charcoal Grill
- 7. Char-Broil American Gourmet 800 Series Charcoal Grill – Best Big Charcoal Grill
- 8. Dyna-Glo DGN576SNC-D Dual Zone Premium Charcoal Grill
- 9. Weber 741001 Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill – Best under $100
- 10. Weber 15501001 Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill
- 11. Char-Griller 5050 Duo Gas-and-Charcoal Grill – Best Gas Charcoal Combo Grill
- 12. Char-Griller 1515 Patio Pro Charcoal Grill – Best Small and Cheap Charcoal Grill
- Things to Consider When Buying a Charcoal Grill
- Charcoal Grills: Advantages and Disadvantages
- How to Maintain Your Charcoal Grill
When looking at buying a new charcoal grill, how do we know which one to buy? The aim of our compiling the best charcoal grill reviews is to help you reach your decision. In our more detailed individual reviews, we have given each an individual grill rating based on our assessment of the grill and how it compares to the other grills we have reviewed.
To help find your way through all the advances and options, we have selected the 12 top rated charcoal grills available.
Top 12 Charcoal Grill Reviews – Best Charcoal BBQ Grills for the Money
1. Char-Broil Gas2Coal Hybrid Grill – Best Gas Charcoal Combo Grill
The Char-Broil Gas2Coal is a gas and charcoal grill combo. You cannot use them both at the same time, but you can customize your cooking method based on the meal.
The Gas2Coal is a 3 burner gas grill, boasting 40,000-BTU main burners. It also features a 12,000-BTU side burner with lid. You can cook on the 420 square-inch space while the remaining 120 square inches can be used to warm up the food that you have just cooked. Its porcelain-coated, cast iron grates are rust resistant, easy to clean and built to last. The Gas2Coal hybrid grill also features a lid-mounted temperature gauge that allows the griller to keep track of pre-heat status and monitor the inside temperature of the grill.
The Char-Broil Gas2Coal hybrid grill comes with 5 year warranty on all burners, 2 year warranty on the lid and firebox, 1 year warranty on all other parts.
2. Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere Grill – Best Portable Charcoal Grill
If you are cooking for 2-3 people, the Weber Go-Anywhere charcoal grill is your right choice. This portable grill is solidly engineered with no nuts or bolts. The porcelain enameled coating prevents rust and fading. Rectangular plated steel cooking grate is included, providing 160 sq. in. of grilling surface area. This compact unit has a surprisingly generous grilling area – large enough to fit four medium steaks. Its lid includes a glass-reinforced nylon handle that stays cool during cooking, 2 adjustable dampers regulate the flow of air, each with 3 vent holes.
The Weber Gas Go-Anywhere charcoal grill makes a great companion for camping and tailgate parties. It weighs only 14.5 pounds. You can lock the lid into place with the pivoting legs and carry this lightweight grill around in one hand.
3. Char-Griller 16620 Akorn Kamado Kooker
If you are searching for a Kamado style grill, then Char-Griller Akorn Kamado is one of the best for you to try. This charcoal grill and smoker combo is built to last with triple walled 22 gauge steel and will easily maintain cooking temperatures ranging from 200-700 degrees Fahrenheit. Top and bottom adjustable dampers maintain even air flow into and out of the grill while cooking or smoking. The Kamado design makes it fuel efficient so you can use less charcoal when cooking.
The Char-Griller Akorn features a powder coated exterior finish, porcelain coated steel interior finish, 314 square inch cast iron cooking surface, 133 square inch removable warming rack, an easy dump ash pan, and built in temperature gauge. This Akorn Kamado Kooker also has two large 8 inch front wheels and a rear locking caster wheel for easy moving.
4. PK Grills Grill and Smoker – Best Charcoal Grill Smoker Combo
Made of cast aluminum for maximum heat radiation, the PK grill cooks foods uniformly, whether they’re grilled quickly or slow-cooked and smoked under the hinged lid. Aluminum is rust-proof, durable, lightweight and conducts heat 4x more efficiently than steel charcoal grills. Four adjustable vents and dampers provide precise temperature control. Aluminum side and bottom trays offer lots of room for holding food, utensils, and condiments. With 300 square inches of cooking surface, this charcoal grill can handle everything from brats to a Thanksgiving Turkey.
Because the cooking section detaches from the lightweight aluminum carriage, the entire unit can be quickly disassembled for a camping trip. As a portable smoker grill, PK’s are great for tailgating, camping, fishing/hunting cabins, etc.
5. Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman
The Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman is everything you need for your basic backyard barbecue. It has 360 square inches of cooking space on a rust-resistant, porcelain-coated cooking grate. The vent on the lid opens to let heat out and closes to increase cooking temperature, and for further control of the temperature and cooking, the charcoal grate is adjustable to bring the heat closer to the food or further away as needed.
The Char-Broil TRU-Infrared cooking system allows the grill user to cook their food evenly and with greater temperature control, using infrared technology. The Infrared heat helps prevent hot and cold spots on the grill’s cooking surface and facilitates faster cooking less fuel consumption.
The Char-Broil TRU-Infrared grill features a hinged lid, which props open, allowing the griller to tend to the charcoal and food with both hands. No need to place the lid on the ground or hang off the side of the grill. It also has a lid-mounted temperature gauge.
6. Lodge L410 Sportsman’s Charcoal Grill
The Lodge L410 Sportsman is a hibachi-style charcoal grill made of durable cast iron. This portable charcoal grill is perfect for picnics, tailgating and car camping or patio.
Its cooking grate measures 17-1/4 by 9-inch that is enough for a small group of people. The grill has two adjustable heights. The removable draft door regulates the heat, making it simple to keep foods warm and heat coffee or tea in addition to grilling. A second door, decorated with a sunrise marsh scene, opens to provide easy access to the coals. The Lodge L410 comes with an attached handle for carrying and a built-in shelf for resting utensils.
7. Char-Broil American Gourmet 800 Series Charcoal Grill – Best Big Charcoal Grill
The Char-Broil American Gourmet 800 series charcoal grill offers 840 square inch in total cooking space. The main cooking area features a 568 square inch cast iron grate and also comes with a 272 square inch chrome-plated swing-away rack for warming or slow cooking food. There’s enough space to grill up to 20 burgers at once, so nobody has to wait to eat.
Multiple dampers and adjustable height steel fire grate can be used to easily control the heat and smoke for complete command over your sear. A temperature gauge (with bezel) is directly mounted to the hood, allowing you to closely monitor the heat at which your food is cooking for the perfect roast. Full-length front shelf, 3 tool hooks, and two folding side shelves provide ample space useful for keeping ingredients, tools, and accessories close at hand while grilling. The convenient side shelf with a folding front shelf are very handy. The cool touch spring handle, removable ash pan for easy cleaning, wire bottom shelf and wheels for added mobility make this charcoal grill a great value and choice.
8. Dyna-Glo DGN576SNC-D Dual Zone Premium Charcoal Grill
Dyna-Glo DGN576SNC-D Dual Zone Premium Charcoal Grill has 816 square inches of cooking space. Grill up to 30 hamburgers at one time. The grill comes with porcelain-enameled, cast iron heavy duty cooking grates.
Based on the amount and type of food you’re grilling, you can create a dual zone grilling area with the removable steel firebox divider. Once partitioned, you’re able to adjust the charcoal trays separately and customize the temperatures using the dual tray adjustment cranks. This flexibility is ideal for not only customizing the total cooking space (for large or small gatherings) but also when foods require different temperatures at the same time (i. e. prepare poultry and steaks side by side). Dual steel doors allow easy access for stoking the coals or adding briquettes during cooking. Cooking grates slide from side-to-side for additional access to charcoal.
The removable, high-capacity ash pan provides hours of maintenance-free grilling, heavy-duty casters and wheels provide easy mobility before and after grilling and a heavy duty, steel-body construction keeps your grill going strong for many years of enjoyment.
9. Weber 741001 Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill – Best under $100
Weber 741001 Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill combines traditional design with innovation in production. The grill provides a plated-steel cooking grate that measures 22-1/2 inches in diameter for 363 square inches of total cooking space. 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 damper system allows for control of the heat inside the unit without lifting the lid. Simply adjusting the damper provides temperatures low enough to smoke food for hours or high enough the sear steaks.
Made of heavy-duty plated steel, these cooking grates are durable and easy to clean, and they can hold enough heat to give you beautiful sear marks. The hinged grates have an area on either side that lifts to allow access to the fuel without lifting the whole grate or removing food from the grill. Adding or adjusting charcoal is hassle free and easy.
The One-Touch cleaning system provides hassle free cleanup of charcoal ash and debris by swiping it into the rust-resistant ash catcher.
10. Weber 15501001 Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill
The Weber Performer Deluxe charcoal grill features 22-inch diameter porcelain-enameled bowl and lid with a cooking area of 363 square inch. The grill has an exclusive Touch-N-Go gas ignition system that ignites charcoal briquettes with the push of a button. Especially handy is an LCD countdown cook timer with a large readout. The timer attaches to the grill or can be easily removed if you’d prefer to take it inside or keep it with you.
The Weber Performer Deluxe is outfitted with innovative heavy-duty Gourmet BBQ System cooking grates, a 2-part grate system that may be used in tandem with Weber’s Gourmet BBQ System cookware collection.
The grill’s classic porcelain-enameled bowl and lid with a One-Touch Cleaning system and high capacity ash catcher make clean up hassle free.
Storage options are plentiful with the CharBin storage container which protects your charcoal from the elements and a sturdy painted metal table is right at hand while grilling. Also features a wire bottom shelf, no-rust aluminum vent and a glass-reinforced nylon handle. Uses disposable 14.1 or 16.4 oz. LP cylinders (sold separately).
11. Char-Griller 5050 Duo Gas-and-Charcoal Grill – Best Gas Charcoal Combo Grill
The Char-Griller 5050 gas and charcoal grill combo provides dual primary cooking surfaces – one charcoal and one gas – with warming racks, for a total 1,260 square inches of BBQ grilling and smoking space. A cast side burner for additional cooking capacity.
The gas grill side features 438 sq.in. cooking area, porcelain coated cast iron grates, dual smoke stacks for even heating, 3 burners with 40,800 BTU output, electronic ignition, and a 12,000 BTU side burner. Cast side burner adds extra cooking space for sauces and side dishes. When not in use, fold down the cover of the side burner for additional workspace.
The charcoal side features 580 sq.in. cooking area, warming rack, adjustable fire grate with easy dump ash pan and a double lined bottom. Double bottom insulates and improves efficiency when cooking with charcoal.
Charcoal and gas sides both feature built-in temperature gauges for added control.
12. Char-Griller 1515 Patio Pro Charcoal Grill – Best Small and Cheap Charcoal Grill
Made of a heavy steel construction, the Char-Griller 1515 Patio Pro charcoal grill provides 250 square inches of grilling space. Weighing only 50 pounds with wheels for easy movement, the Patio Pro is only 31 inches wide by 21 inches deep. Standing at 44 inches in height, this grill is perfect for small spaces. This compact charcoal grill will easily fit a tri-tip or whole chicken with indirect heat, or cook six 17 inches kebabs and still have room to roast some peppers and tomatoes.
The Char-Griller 1515 Patio Pro features cast iron cooking grates, side drawer for easy dumping, side air vent, double steel bottom and wheels for easy mobility. This small charcoal grill comes with an easy dump ash pan to make your ash disposal quick and efficient. Just pull out the pan and dispose of the ash.
Things to Consider When Buying a Charcoal Grill
1) Small or large cooking surface
You need to look for the amount of cooking space. You must make sure it has enough room for everything you want to cook. Which is the main cooking plate? Many manufacturers of grills will list the square inches of cooking space. Some will even list the dimensions of the warming rack above the cooking grate.
Size does matter when you are looking to cook for a large crowd or a small family.
One option is to cook the food in smaller batches. This could take more time than you have.
A good thing to remember is, if you allow 72 sq inches per person, you will have enough room for all the food needed.
Charcoal grills come in a variety of sizes. There are some that are portable and are meant for traveling while there are also others that are big that you may ideally have in your own backyard. Your choice will depend on what you need.
2) What about the material?
There are many types of material out there when it comes to the grill body and the grates for grilling. You should aim for the one that is made from heavy steel or the stainless steels ones. These last longer by taking on the heat and are easier to take care of.
Grill gates, on the other hand, are more important. There are two options, steel, and cast iron. The porcelain cast iron is non-stick and can take on the heat better than the steel ones. The cast iron racks need to be cleaned and seasoned after every session but they do give the food have those awesome, delicious marks on them.
Since the stainless steel racks aren’t heat resistant like the cast iron ones, your food will most likely stick to the racks. They are a tad bit more expensive in the end.
3) Carts and wheels
Most grills come on carts. If they do then they need to be built tough with heavy-duty bolts and sturdy welding. Always check for quality with these.
When it comes to wheels make sure they can roll nicely over pavers concrete, the yard and even your deck. Some are plastic, rubbers and very few are metal. Look for top quality wheels, there is nothing worse than not being able to move your grill to where the party is.
4) Are you going to grill or smoke?
Do you like to grill or smoke your food? Whichever it is, you should know which grill does what. Some people like to cook their food over hot charcoal or even wood. This kind of grill is more on the smaller side and are the most budget-friendly.
Some grills can double as a smoker and a grill. This can come in two separate ways. One, the grill is large enough to smoke your meat. Two, the grill will have a smoker side. Smokers let you smoke the meat very slow like you see on t.v.
5) Temperature control
You must know what your temperature is and how you can control it in order to be a successful chef. When you cook in your home it is really easy to set the temperature and not have to adjust it. Well, for grilling or smoking outside, it is not so easy.
Controlling the temperature on a charcoal grill really depends on certain components. Does the grill have a lid? What about the dampers and the capability to adjust the height of the coals and the foods.
Getting the right temperature when cooking on a charcoal grill is difficult and takes time. In order to be sure you have efficient temperature control, look for a grill with vents. Vents will let you change the grilling temperature better. Being able to change the height of the grate will help with the temperature also.
Everyone who cooks needs to have a high-quality digital thermometer. Whether you are cooking on the charcoal grill or in the kitchen, having a good digital thermometer keeps everyone healthy.
6) 2-zone cooking capability
An important skill to learn is how to make a 2-zone setup. Having a 2-zone setup lets you take your food off the heat and move it to the warmer or cooler zone where it can roast from indirect heat.
In order to do this, you need to move all the coals to one side. So you will need a roomy grill for this. If you have a grill that doesn’t do this, well then, you are out of luck.
Most grills provide you access to add the charcoal or to move it around with a door. This can also help to keep your temperature steady.
A door will also give you an easy way to remove all the ash that is left over. Ash is an insulator. Meaning, if you forget about it or leave it in there it will absorb the heat and in return, you get low performance. Buying a charcoal grill with a door or even a removable pan for ashes will help with the issue.
The type of grate you have will determine the quality of food you make. Some people like the wire grates and some of the cast iron ones. Cast iron grates is harder to maintain and they leave the flavorful lines on the meat.
7) Manuals, assembly, warranty and support
Before you even attempt to assemble the charcoal grill make sure it comes with a manual. Even though you may be the DIYer of the house, you should always follow manufacturers instructions. Some manufacturers or stores will even assemble the grill for you.
What does warranty do for you? Buying a grill with warranty will bring you peace knowing that if something happens to it, it’s covered, most of the time. You should get a charcoal grill with at least a five-year warranty on it.
Do your research! Do they have good customer service reviews? How about the product reviews? Look at their website. You should be able to trust that the customer service will have your best interests in mind.
Charcoal Grills: Advantages and Disadvantages
The top reason we love charcoal grills is, it gets hotter faster than the gas grills. Also the taste, the taste of charcoal grilled food is amazing the longer it cooks. The flavor is the best compared to gas grills where the smokey flavor is lacking.
Fire risk! So let’s be honest, we all know when grilling out whether it is charcoal or gas, there is a chance of fire. Unlike the gas grills, a charcoal grill has a higher risk of fires. Sparks and hot coals can manage to escape the charcoal grill and catch anything on fire. It is a good idea to keep water and or a fire extinguisher to put the fire out.
Charcoal brings a nice taste to food, but sometimes it can be hard to light and if you don’t buy the right kind, it can take a little longer for the temperature to go up. When you cook for a long time it will lose heat so you will need to add more charcoal later.
In conclusion, it doesn’t really matter what kind of grill you buy as long as you know how to use it and take care of it. Knowing this will save you money and time in the future. Charcoal provides that amazing smokey flavor but gas is a great alternative.
How to Maintain Your Charcoal Grill
You know that using charcoal grills are pretty simple so maintaining charcoal grills will also be easy to do.
You can brush the grates before and after you use them especially to get rid of leftover food or gunk on the grills. You can also oil the grates before you use them for cooking your food. This will prevent the food from sticking to the grill.
Take a look at the ash box. This has to be cleaned. You need to wait for the ashes to settle down and cool down before you dispose of them. Remember that if you clean the ashes right after cooking, it might become a fire hazard.
Take note that you should not leave the charcoal grill outside when it is raining especially if there are still some ashes inside the ash box. The mixture of rainwater with the ashes will cause the metal grills to corrode. When this occurs, you need to replace the grills of your charcoal grill or change your whole grill.
One of the most important tips to remember is you should not use your charcoal grill indoors. When charcoal is burned, it produces carbon monoxide which is known to cause a lot of deaths when undetected. Remember that it can kill indoors without any warning.
If you would follow all of the tips mentioned above, you can count on your charcoal grill lasting for a long time.