If you have ever grilled on a charcoal grill before I am sure you will agree its more of an art than a science.
There are no conveniently hot spots or consistent set temperatures to go by. If you are grilling on a charcoal grill you need lean into your grilling senses through most of the cooking process.
This makes charcoal grilling fairly difficult and easy to fail at. But the reward is beautiful and delicious when you get it right.
If that sounds like the kind of grilling adventure you want in your life then this charcoal grill buying guide will be your captain along this journey.
7 Best Charcoal Grills Money Can Buy
If you are passionate about charcoal grilling and don’t mind spending some extra money for quality, Summit Grilling Center from Weber is an excellent option. Weber is a renowned brand that producing high-quality grills and even this grill doesn’t disappoint in this regard.
Charcoal grills can be hard to manage, but the features offered by this grill solve these issues. You can focus solely on grilling without having to fret over finding spaces to keep your utensils or trying out starting solutions.
This hinged cooking grate is a feature that comes handy enables you to add fuels without having to move food to remove the grate. This kind of grid offers many conveniences and allows you to easily adjust the fuel levels when you are grilling for more extended periods.
The grill is attached to the cart, which is another handy feature. It offers enormous space so that you can keep the prepared dishes before serving and the required utensils and equipment while grilling.
Kamado Joe Class II also classifies as the top charcoal grills available in the market. The grills, besides its useful features and offers a lot of portability and mobility so that you can move around the grill. Managing heat is very convenient, thanks to the multiple levels of grills.
The handles attached by the grill’s side are a handy feature that is under-appreciated. For most grills, if the grill is in use or is hot because you just finished grilling, you weren’t able to move it. But this grill allows you all of these things. So if you are doing grilling or your grill hasn’t cooled off yet after grilling, you can still move it around. The portability and mobility offered by the grill are highly advantageous in various situations.
In terms of money, Performer Deluxe from Weber is a very economical grill. For lighting up the fuel, there is a built-in solution in the cart. I have personally tried using lighter fluids for lighting, and while cooking and even in the resultant product, chemical smell and taste could be felt strongly. The starting solution eliminates the need to use lighter fluids.
To make the grilling experience convenient and pleasant, there two features that come handy. These features are not even high tech; they are manual ones, yet they make this grill great. One of them is the digital clock that allows you to set a timer as well. So even if you get busy, the timers can remind you that you need to get back to the grill.
When the grill is not being used, in the cart you can store your cooking utensils in a basket located under the cart’s flat surface.
Among the charcoal grills available in 2020, Original Kettle Premium from Weber counts as the top one. The ash catcher is a feature that prevents any ashes from getting in your food. Often we are distracted, and ashes come in contact with our food.
The ash catcher collects all the ash, and it only takes a few seconds to dispose them off. If ashes are blocking your vents, the lever allows you to declutter ashes so that the vents can be emptied. It is the secondary purpose since the primary purpose is to allow the opening and closing of air vents located at the grill’s bottom. To give you greater control over the grill’s heat flow, both the top and bottom of the grill come with air vents.
This grill, just like other grills by Weber, is of high standards. For a convenient, stress-free grilling process, the grill has all the needed features incorporated into it.
Dyna Glo’s barrel grill is quite a large grill that gives you a lot of working space on the grill along with the side panels as well where you can place utensils and prepared food.
One of the distinct features is that even without moving or touching the grill, you can add fuel. The coals are added from the bottom through a slide that can be opened to add coals. It can later be closed.
While it is open, it might slightly change the airflow within the grill. This feature is not available in most grills can that’s what set this grill part from other grills.
During your grilling, if you need to move the grill or want to take the grill elsewhere, you can do that easily since the grill is relatively light, which allows greater mobility.
Multiple cooking grates allow both indirect and direct heat management. People who find direct heat management a bit tricky might like this method instead and it might become their new favorite.
Besides multiple grates, the height of the grates is adjustable. This way heat can be managed, and you can bring the grate near the fire or can move it away.
Charbroil’s Gourmet Barrel grill is quite similar to Dyna Glo, yet it’s relatively cheaper. Almost all Dyna Glo features are there in this grill, but it is smaller, and the price is a lot lesser. It might be a bit hard to get a hold of the ash removal, but once you learn it, there won’t be much difficulty handling the grill.
Jumbo Joe by Weber comes under the best charcoal grill category, and the plus point is that the price is really low. At this price, there wouldn’t be many grills available, and the available ones indeed wouldn’t offer the high-quality standards that Jumbo Joe has.
Among the grills by Weber, Jumbo Joe is one the leading product in terms of demand. People who want quality yet don’t want to spend that much; Jumbo Joe is a perfect choice.
One great feature that many inexperienced grillers might not notice is that the grill has a recessed cooking grate, which means that the area where you cook food has a lip around it. So even in the case where you are in a rush, you don’t accidentally cause the food to fall off from the grill, which else would have been wasted.
Choosing the Best Charcoal Grill
Whether a grill is best or not is not dependent solely on the price or solely on any particular feature. In order to know what grill suits you the best, you should know how grilling works.
Indeed, choosing the grills is simplified to a great extent by reading online reviews on the grill. But in the end, you need knowledge so that you able to make the decision yourself about which grill matches your requirement.
Knowing how to do heat management is one of the essential things for charcoal grilling. You can effectively grill specific pieces of meat from particular parts for a particular time only if you know how the heat level is adjusted within the grill
How the meat is grilled is highly dependent on the placement of coals and the position of vents. So while buying grills make sure it is embedded with multiple vents that operate independently.
Additionally, while preparing food, see that the coals can be fed easily into the grill so that you don’t have to move it if you need to add coals.
Why Should You go for a Charcoal Grill Instead of Other Ones?
People who have greater cooking experience know that food can attain a richer flavor if it is cooked slowly, and a charcoal grill facilitates precisely this. Unlike gas grills, a charcoal grill allows you to incorporate a smoky flavor in your food. The smoky flavor of food enriches it in taste and might be one of the reasons why you are going for it.
People who can patiently do grilling are quite fond of charcoal grills. Though charcoal grills increase the process’s complexity and are quite time-consuming, you are still provided with more control, and a good meal makes the process worth it.
What Makes Charcoal Grills so Special?
The primary fuel of charcoal grills is charcoal. It means to attain various temperatures; you can relocate the placement of charcoal within the grill. It is one feature that can’t achieve in other grills and the one that makes charcoal grills versatile.
These features mean that if you understand or learn heat management, you can simultaneously cook multiple types of food. Since you would be able to maintain different temperatures at different parts of the grill, other foods can be cooked with a different cooking method.
It even allows you to maintain high, low, and medium sections simultaneously if you have a vast grilling space. So for flash frying meat, the area with high-temperature can be used. The medium temperature one can be used for preparing fast food, and the low ones allow slow cooking.
Buying a Top of the Line Charcoal Grill Tips
There are some tips worth considering while using charcoal grills. One of them is that your grilling is dependent on the types of charcoal used and the technique that you apply for cooking.
For maintaining consistency in flavor, you need to go for specific kinds of charcoal. In fact, you can even add woodchips if you desire your meat to have a deep smoky flavor.
Another thing you should consider is the heating methods used for preparing and burning the coals. Though many people don’t use the chemical when they are new in grilling, you should still know that if you use lighter fluids or other chemicals, they could infuse the taste and smells of chemicals in your food.
While grilling, there are also chances of fire outbreaks, and you should know how to handle them. If you ignore them, the food would be badly burnt.
In case of a fire outbreak, the food should be moved away. The next step is to wait for the fire to go out or close the vents, so the flames die. Make sure that you don’t use water to extinguish them since they can worsen the fires, and the ashes can be splattered on you or your food.
The Expertise of Patient Grilling
You should know that grilling on a charcoal grill is a time-consuming process, but this feature makes it unique.
Better results can be obtained through grilling, and it gives you the chance to make better decisions thanks to the slower cooking rate. As a beginner in grilling, making the decision needs a bit of consideration like when to flip the meat, and since the cooking is slow, you can take your time to think and make sounder decisions with more confidence.
You can take immediate action without thinking and can even cooker at high temperatures with time as you gain more experience. This way, as an experienced griller, you can speed p the process of grilling.
While dealing with any kind of open flame, safety concerns should be your first priority. Maintain stability o the grill and keep the grilling properly ventilated. To ensure stability, the grills should be properly leveled.
Additionally, keep the children and pets away since they can make the grill tip over. To make sure you don’t catch flame don’t don loose clothes
And to be safe from fire use tools that are long and allow you to grill while staying at a little distance from the grills
Even if you take all protective measures and try your best to prevent a fire from starting, it can break out due to some accident. Stay prepared for extinguishing the fire.
Have proper knowledge of how different fires are extinguished and have a fire extinguisher nearby. Knowing the flames types and the procedure for extinguishing is essential since, e.g.,
In the case of grease fires, the fire can further strengthen and spread out if the water is used.
The cooking process is significantly dependant on the size and shape that your charcoal grill has. Besides this, another important thing is the fuel you use and the way you heat it.
Grilling is not just taking any piece of charcoal and burning it through any means for grilling. Grilling relies on different parts within the grill, and we have gone through each one in detail, so you are clear about specifications while buying grills.
Charcoal lumps and charcoal briquettes are the two fuel options available for charcoal grills. The lumps of charcoal are lumps that available in different sizes and dimensions.
For producing the charcoal lumps, the wood is burned using specific methods so that by combustion that harmful products that may have produced are removed from the wood beforehand.
You have to carefully manage your fuel since these lumps get really hot and burn swiftly. The lumps vary in size, so you need to consider this factor before igniting the wood pieces. You can stay assured that harmful chemicals do not infuse food since the charcoal pieces are made entirely out of pure wood.
Alternatively, for charcoal briquettes, the process used for manufacturing is the same as charcoal lumps but uses sawdust and otherwise useless wood.
Consistency in the cooking process is ensured as the sizes of these are almost the same. However, there are some cons. One is that some of them include some specific additive, which some people would not want for their foods. Besides that, as compared to charcoal lumps, the briquettes are more difficult to light up.
Your heating zones, be it the direct or indirect ones, are located within the basins, and the airflow needed for cooking food is dependent on the shape of the basin.
There is no best shape, and for the shape you are going for, you need to understand how it affects the food, so the food is cooked perfectly only till the desired level.
In a weave shape, the aluminum or steel rods form the grate, which is generally the same for all grills.
Their primary function is to retain food so that it doesn’t fall and through the grate gaps so that heat can reach the food. You can control the amounts of heat that come in contact with your food by adjusting the grate’s height.
The temperature can depend on how high or low grates are, and this factor should be considered while purchasing grills.
Latest Charcoal Grill Innovation and Technologies
For providing bending and folding options, newer grate technologies are introduced.
For better heat management for air vents, various placements and shapes are tried and experimented with. For better control over the airflow, the grill now has several vents.
For quickly adding charcoal, the grates can be folded because of the hinges that are attached.
A Brief History of Charcoal Grilling
Out of all types of grilling, charcoal grilling is the oldest. Though the primary techniques remain the same to aid the process, many newer features are added to the grills.
By using the lit coals, the food resting on the grade is cooked. Besides this, there are some other developments thanks to the different companies that we have discussed below.
The latest Weber grills that you see and use were originally created by George Stephen. In 1952 while he was working for Weber Brothers Metal Works using a marine buoy, he made the basic model. Besides the newer features for easier handling and size and color options of the basin, the basic design has been retained.
The ancient Chinese technology is used by Kamado grills in the construction. The primary material used in construction is ceramics. Grills comprises of the pot, lid, and some other parts that facilitate ventilation.
The grill’s origin is from Asia, but after the end of World War II, they started to be used in America as well.
GHP Group Inc has been a known brand known for its fireplaces and their accessories and other heating devices. The same brand also owns Dyna Glo. Therefore the majority of the grills made by the company have a mechanism that resembles that of fireplaces.
In the early 1900s, charbroil was founded by W.C. Bradley Co. Columbus ironworks supplied the needed parts, and they were the first ones in the world who made cast-iron grill. Over time they started the production of charcoal and gas grills as well.
Final Thoughts on Charcoal Grilling
If you are in search of the best charcoal grill, then my recommendation would be Weber’s Original Kettle Premium. It counts as one of the best grills. Even the price is also very economical. For heat management, the venting options are entirely effected that help you manage heat without any obstacles. The grill is very convenient because of its features that aid you in grilling so that you don’t have any problems.
Weber is one of the most notable brands that have been making high-quality grills for many years. And even in the case of this charcoal grill, it doesn’t disappoint. The charcoal grill by Weber is one of the top ones available in the market.