Once you try charcoal grill, you will never turn back; the flavor they infuse in food is unparalleled. This is a review of the best charcoal grills on the market today.
Using a charcoal grill is like driving a manual car. You have full control in your hands, and once you get going, you are in for an exhilarating experience.
Charcoal grills don’t come with pedals, but once you rev the heat and round the apex of bursting flavors, they’ll be spraying champagne on you.
But there isn’t much glamor in the traditional charcoal grill. You have to get your hands dirty and your eyes smokey. Most people accept this with grace, but there are those who think they deserve better. Luckily, there are modern charcoal grills that are a joy to use.
Best Charcoal Grills of 2021
If you are a novice griller, be ready to commit some time to hack the art of charcoal grilling. But it’s worth it, especially when you have the right charcoal grill by your side. Here is a comprehensive round-up of the best grills you can buy in 2021.
After more than 45 years of developing fantastic products, Blaze Grills knows exactly what customers need. Their 32″ Charcoal Grill is one such grill.
For starters, it comes in a heavy-duty 304 stainless steel construction that guarantees many days of barbecuing.
With 550 sq. inches of cooking area, you can sear all the meat you want for your family. And you will love the convenience of the hook and hang system that easily allows you to add charcoal while cooking.
It doesn’t matter what mood you woke up in; you will enjoy a smooth cooking experience with the adjustable charcoal tray that lowers down during low and slow cooking and raises up when you engage high gear so you can sear your beloved steak.
Other features that will make your grilling a thrill include a pull-out ash pan for easy cleanup, and a double-lined grill hood that allows for heat retention. This means that your food cooks faster, and the least possible fuel is utilized.
The lifetime warranty on the grill housing and grids indicates Blaze’s commitment to quality products. Many memories will be built around this one.
Masterbuilt’s Gravity Series will turn you into a grill master right in your own backyard. With a whopping 1050 sq. inches of grilling space, you can conveniently smoke your meat, grill steaks, and produce terrific ribs for all and sundry.
The Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050’s performance gives you a ton of options for the perfect cookout. At 165 degrees, you can cold smoke your cheese, sausages, and seafood. Dial it up a little to 225-250 degrees and barbecue your beef brisket or ribs. If you love your meat seared, crank it up to 500 degrees and watch your dreams come true. Pizza day? With proper pre-heating, you can make 700 degrees of pure heat to create smoky and wood-fired pizzas
Charcoal grills are labor-intensive because you have to keep feeding the fire, but this one comes with a “GravityFed “hopper that holds up to 10lbs of charcoal that will last for a whopping 8 hours.
Of course, you can keep tabs on the cooking through the Master-built application over Wi-Fi.
Weber is a cut above the rest. Take the case of their original Kettle Premium charcoal grill. Here, you’re greeted by a porcelain-enameled bowl and lid for rust prevention, plus glass handles with a heat-resistant nylon coating to protect your fingers.
With a total of 508 sq. inches of grilling area, this unit will cook enough food for your midsize family or low profile party. Thanks to the grill’s dampers, internal temperature regulation is easy, giving you better control of the cooking process. This means that you can look forward to excellent results.
A signature feature synonymous with all Weber products is the passive cleaning system. The stainless steel grates are seasoned, ensuring no food sticks. This means that with soap and water, you will clean the grates with ease.
The hinged stainless grate allows easy access to the coal bed, especially when adding charcoal into the bowl. You will also find an integrated ashtray that facilitates easy cleanups.
An undying commitment to excellence drives Everdure By Heston Blumenthal to bring high tech to the rather mundane world of charcoal grills.
Let’s talk about the HUB II 54-Inch Charcoal Grill. Everdue understands that you are busy, so they put a push-button ignition system here. This gets the charcoal ready to grill in ten minutes.
The large adjustable rotisserie can handle up to 85 pounds of meat without overloading the motor, perfect for grilling your ducks or turkeys.
Further, the HUB II has locking caster wheels that keep it secure and stable as you grill. You may also conveniently store your grilling accessories in the storage underneath the grill that is accessible using the two double line doors.
The ceramic coated charcoal pan and porcelain enamel firebox are designed for easy cleanups. Want to know the best part? It comes with an impressive 10-year warranty.
For over 20 years, Nuke has been handcrafting high-quality Argentinian grills for fire grill masters. And now the Nuke Delta 40-Inch Argentinian-Style Gaucho Grill is pushing the envelope.
Bring all your BBQ fantasies to life with this 40-inch unit, featuring a 547 sq. inches of cooking space that can grill enough burgers for everyone. Use the handle and lock system to adjust the grates for a slow and sear cook as you desire.
With the separate firebox, you can refuel or start a fire without affecting the cooking area. You will also find here a grill pan for sautéing your vegetables and other light foods.
Assembly is easy, as it comes with all the necessary hardware and DIY instructions to put it together without hassle. Smoked meat, grilled vegetables, and seared steaks, and seafood all taste different when coming from this one.
Kamado Joe’s products are renowned for excellent heat retention due to their heavy ceramic make. In fact, they can handle any cooking you throw at them. Take the case of their Joe Jr Ceramic Grill with included stand.
This is one of the most versatile charcoal grills, allowing you to bake, grill, and smoke to your satisfaction. With ceramic construction, you do not have to worry about heat retention and temperature control. Cook your heart out on the 149 sq. inches of grilling space. And if you are a sucker for indirect heat cooking, the heat deflector plate will serve you just right.
The Joe Jr is a perfect companion for tailgating, night grilling, or camping as it is light and compact and comes with built-in handles for easy transport.
Let’s not even get started on what the 750 degrees of temperature can do. Also included is a thermometer for easier reading of internal cooking temperatures.
No one epitomizes quality like Weber. All their grills are easy to use, reliable, durable, and offer excellent performance. Built with the adventurous soul in mind is the Weber Jumbo Joe, perfect for camping, tailgating, or picnics.
Grill on the go with 240 sq. inches of cooking space on the heavy-gauge steel charcoal grate. This unit may not have the bells and whistles of pricier grills, but it retains heat and controls temperatures without breaking a sweat, thanks to the porcelain lid and bowl.
Prepare to be wowed by how fast it lights and attains proper cooking temperature. Once you open the air vents and the charcoal chimney, it will be up and running at 225 degrees in just 15 minutes.
Not to mention, the tuck and carry lid lock also acts as a lid holder, so you don’t place the lid on the ground. And yes, cleaning is easy with the aluminum ash catcher below the bottom damper.
The lengthy 10-year warranty is an indicator of Weber’s commitment to quality. You cannot go wrong with this one.
Since 1987, Oklahoma Joe’s has been instrumental in setting the standards of outdoor cooking with superb smokers. And now, you can experience their skilled craftsmanship with their Rambler portable charcoal grill.
With a solid steel construction and a black enamel finish, this one is definitely built to last. And what’s more? It comes with 281 sq. inches of cooking area, which is enough to cook for all your camping buddies.
The cast-iron cooking grates are thick for a reason; they provide perfect and sizzling sears on your steaks.
If you swear by tender cuts, the height-adjustable charcoal tray will deliver low and slow cooking to fulfill your heart’s deepest desires. Control the smoke and heat flow like a grill master using the lid chimney and the large air dampers for that perfect barbecue.
Available also is a professional temperature gauge for close hands-free monitoring of the cooking process. Cleaning the unit is effortless with the full-size removable ash pan.
Safety is also guaranteed, with the easy-to-grab rubber grip allowing you to open and close the barbecue without risk of burns.
The Rambler will impress you if you want a reliable tailgating or camping partner, thanks to the sturdy side handles for hassle-free transport.
Established in 1976, Napoleon continues to make quality products that are aimed at improving our outdoor living. One of their most remarkable products is the sleek and elegant Napoleon Professional Freestanding Grill. This unit combines both the traditional and modern approaches to grilling to produce excellent results.
The long-lasting 304 stainless steel construction will stand any type of weather, brush off corrosion, and give you many days of fantastic barbecue. It also comes with an enormous 845 sq. inches of cooking area and a charcoal-powered rear rotisserie burner for all your roasted needs.
Seared food has no equal. Thanks to Napoleon’s Iconic Wave cooking grids that effectively retain heat and give distinctive sear marks on your meat.
You will find adjustable charcoal bed air vents for increased heat management. Depending on how you like your food cooked, you can lower the charcoal bed and sear with direct heat and raise it for low and slow cooking using indirect heat.
The front-load door is quite handy as it allows you to reload charcoal without opening the lid. And cleanup is easy, thanks to the slide-out ash and drip pan.
The Portable Kitchen PK360 is a reincarnation of the original grill that has been a hit for over 50 years. While it retains the solid construction PK is known for, it has a larger cooking surface and comes with a contemporary touch.
This grill features 4 vents for precise air and temperature control. This, coupled with its unique shape, makes PK360 perfect for indirect and direct cooking, referred to as 2-Zone cooking. Included also is an accurate built-in Tel-Tru thermometer for temperature monitoring.
The 360 inches of cooking space on stainless steel grates is enough to accommodate large pieces of meat and racks of ribs. And when fuel is running out, the inside hinged metals makes it effortless to add charcoal while smoking meats.
Yes, this is a portable unit, thanks to the quick release knob that separates the capsule from the pedestal stand. This means you can carry it along when going tailgating or camping. It also comes with an ash management system which entails two ash roof caps that prevent ash from getting into the air intakes and a plug for easy ash clean-out.
Everdure spares no expense in manufacturing luxurious, versatile, and modern grills. And their 4K Charcoal Grill & Smoker is a perfect example of this.
With a max temperature of 725 degrees, you can roast, smoke, grill, and even bake your favorite pastries. And you have 429 sq. inches of cooking space to play around with.
The patent-pending fast flame ignition system will get the grill up and running at a touch of a button. You will love the burning efficiency of this unit as you can cook for up to 9 hrs with only 2lbs of charcoal.
But here is the best part. With the Bluetooth connectivity on your iOs or android app, you can remotely monitor the internal temperatures right from the palm of your hand.
Thanks to the anti-locking hood, this unit is safe for use around animals and children. Everdure’s 4k has its place among the best charcoal grills of our time.
The Napoleon Pro is a versatile grill that makes a great addition to any backyard. Although it is compact to save on space, the 365 inches of cooking is enough to spoil your family–think about 23 hamburgers at a go. And yes, you can smoke, grill, and smoke.
Charcoal grilling isn’t easy for the uninitiated, but the Napoleon Pro Charcoal Grill goes to great lengths to ensure that you don’t make a fool out of yourself.
Here, you have access to 3 cooking heights and an enhanced airflow management system that allows easier temperature control. This means that you can sear your meat without burning it.
Reloading a charcoal grill isn’t the favorite part for most people, but the hinged cast iron cooking grates will make it more manageable.
It is important to mention that there’s a stainless steel diffusing system that lifts charcoal off the kettle bowl, smoothly radiating heat throughout the grilling process. The used charcoal is directed into the ash catcher.
Let’s not even get started on the sleek, shiny exterior. The porcelain-coated steel body is a head-turner and will not rust.
Enjoy stylish charcoal cooking with the stainless steel Dyna-Glo charcoal grill. This durable unit will give you many years of quality barbecue in your backyard.
With 816 inches of cooking space, there is no limit to how far you can go into your culinary pursuits. It gets better because this grill comes with a removable steel firebox divider that stretches the cooking space to fit the amount of food you wish to cook.
Also available are two adjustable charcoal trays that allow you to create two different cooking environments. You can cook briskets low and slow on the first space and sear a steak high and fast on the second space.
For outstanding barbecue, temperature control is critical. The bowl and lid have double insulation for heat retention, which improves charcoal burn efficiency.
The cast-iron cooking grates with a porcelain enamel finish have dual benefits; the cast iron retains heat, while the enamel finish directly transfers heat to the food, resulting in a nice sear, making your meat tender and moist.
Enjoy easy cleanups with the removable ash pan. With the Dyna-Glo Dual Zone, you have a reliable grilling partner.
Nexgrill’s Cart-Style Grill resembles a gas grill but is fueled by charcoal. It’s a very wallet-friendly option if you don’t want to break the bank but still want to enjoy high performance.
With 28000 BTUs of grill power, try any type of cooking on the 575 inches of cooking space, and you will be impressed. Also thrown in is an inbuilt thermometer that allows you to control the food temperature easily.
The cast-iron grates promise long life and maximum heat retention, while the porcelain enamel coating eliminates the need to keep seasoning them.
Yes, you can directly or indirectly heat your food using the adjustable charcoal tray; just move coals close or away from the food. For maximum heat control, leave the lower damper 75% open, with the smokestack lid just slightly opened.
You will realize that when the smokestack is opened, more oxygen passes through, resulting in a nice, hot fire. Cleanup is relatively easy using the tray that catches the used charcoal.
From the low price to the amazing features, this unit definitely gives you a bang for your buck.
Buying Guide for Charcoal Grills
With the large assortment of charcoals grills available in the market right now, there is a temptation to pick any model that looks like it can get the job done.
All grills can get the job done, but you must know the differences that set each one of them apart. Here are considerations to make when buying a grill.
Your ideal grill size should be determined by several things. The number of people you will be typically cooking for, and the number of people you’d want to grill for at once. Charcoal grills are small, medium, or large.
- Small grills: Measure 26 inches or less at the widest point. These are ideal for a four-member family and casual grillers
- Medium size: Measure up to 33 inches in width. Suitable for a 5-7 member family.
- Large-sized: Wider than 34 inches. Ideal for cooking for a large group of people that enjoys grilled meals.
If budget and space are no concern, you’d rather buy a larger grill than a smaller one. If you aren’t sure about your needs, opt for bigger rather than smaller.
There is no running away from the fact that the build quality of your charcoal grill will affect its durability and performance. Materials such as ceramic, cast iron, and cast aluminum are highly favored. These can withstand high heat and do not wear out easily.
Chrome or porcelain coated grills might not fare as well.
The air vents are crucial in controlling the temperature and facilitating airflow into the charcoal grill when cooking. They are fitted either on the top or bottom of the grill.
The more the air, the hotter the fire will burn and vice versa. You may adjust the airflow based on your cooking requirements.
Grills with bottom ventilation pull in more oxygen and maintain heat, resulting in a perfect grill, while top vents suck heat from the food. It is usually advisable to shut the top vents to retain the smoke inside the grilling chamber to give food a fantastic smoky flavor.
The price of most charcoal grills ranges between 50-$200 or above. The cost of a grill is usually a function of the charcoal grill’s brand, construction, and features. High-end models have superior features, thus cost more.
Carefully study all the models within your price range and compare features such as design, cooking surface, and grill’s construction. It will help you choose a suitable charcoal grill for your specific needs.
Some special features significantly contribute to a smooth and effective grilling experience. They include:
- Smoker trays
- Adjustable racks
- Thermometer for checking temperature levels
- Wi-Fi capabilities
- A bottom for charcoal storage
- Removable ash bin for easy cleaning
Of course, a charcoal grill with these features promises a better grilling experience than one without. And as you may expect, units that offer a complete package will consume a more significant chunk of your money.
While charcoal grills come packed with less luxury than gas grills, they always carry the day when it comes to flavor. Grilling over hot coals infuses food with a flavor that you can’t find anywhere else. It’s no wonder why many grill masters will pick charcoal any day. Whether you select a high-end grill with Wi-Fi capabilities such as the Masterbuilt Gravity Series or a modest one like the Nuke Delta, you will be guaranteed a great steak.
Which charcoal grill best fits your needs? Got any grilling tips to share? Let us know in a comment below!