So, you’re thinking about buying a charcoal grill, but you’ve never actually owned one in your life. Not to worry, we are here to help with our comprehensive buying guide. First things first – what are you going to be using this grill for? Barbecues, obviously. But what is your meat of choice? Burgers, hot dogs, pork chops? Seeing a backyard smoke stack will have your guests’ mouths watering no matter what you’re making.
It is important to remember that no two charcoal grills are the same. In fact, if you make the wrong decision, it could ruin a summer’s worth of garden parties. You don’t want to be making burgers for an entire party in your kitchen oven because you don’t know how to work your grill. Luckily, we’ve provided a list of the best charcoal grills of 2022 to get you started. Surely, you’ll be able to find a grill that tickles your fancy in our suggestions. If not, we’ve included some extra information to help you find the best charcoal grill for you. Check out the whole article below!
Kicking off our list of recommendations, we have the amazing London Sunshine Ceramic Kamado Charcoal BBQ Grill – an incredible choice, if we do say so ourselves. This easy-to-carry grill can be placed on tabletops, which makes it more versatile than many other portable grills. But don’t worry, you can also purchase an additional stand and use the product like a regular barbecue grill.
This charcoal grill also comes with bamboo handles. The body and base are pre-assembled, which makes for a very speedy and efficient assembly. The London Sunshine Ceramic Kamado has a cast iron vent, stainless steel bottom vent, inner fire bowl, and a cast iron charcoal grate. It also offers plenty of cooking space with an 11-inch cooking grate. Its incredible features earn this option the highest spot on our list as the best overall.
Easy to setup
Cast iron and ceramic features
Porcelain-enameled cooking grate means meat does not stick to the metal
Do you enjoy a smattering of hot rod red with your barbecue? This Cuisinart CCG-190RB Portable Charcoal Grill should suit you down to the ground. This grill comes with a wonderfully durable enamel coated firebox in bold crimson, as well as a practical dual venting system for charcoal management and precise temperature control. Compared to a heavy gas grill, this portable charcoal grill can be easily transported thanks to the secure lid locks. Throw in the mess-free ash catch, and you’ve got a great barbecue for all sorts of garden occasions.
Color is very appealing
Portability is excellent
Practical design makes this great for beginner and experienced barbecuers
Some customers find this grill difficult to assemble
The Weber Original Kettle Premium 22” Charcoal Grill is a handy little grill for all your garden party requirements. The grill is built with an aluminized steel one-touch cleaning system, rust-resistant aluminum damper, and glass-reinforced nylon handles. This an easy-to-clean and safe charcoal grill that also looks fantastic in your garden. When assembled, this grill stands 38.5 inches x 27 inches x 22.5 inches, making it somewhat less portable than the Cuisinart.
And if you prefer your grills to be a bolder color, you can also find the Weber Original Kettle Premium 22” Charcoal Grill in copper. There is no other difference apart from the color, but this charcoal grill may be the right choice for you if you want to make a statement.
Relatively large cooking area – perfect for medium-sized barbecue
Very sturdy design
Quite heavy compared to some other grills on our list
Hands down, the Portable BBQ Croc Easy Grill is the most unique-looking grill on this list. For one, you can carry it around like a briefcase. When the grill folds away, it is less than 2 inches thick, making it one of the most compact and portable grills on the market. Despite its light weight and portability, the cooking space on this charcoal grill can hold up to 12 burgers at once. The carbon construction feels very sturdy, and the setup literally takes seconds. Plus, you can remove the grill when you are finished and use the barbecue as a firepit.
A unique design sets this grill apart from the competition
The ISUMER Charcoal Grill may not be as stylish as some other grill models on our list of recommendations. Still, it is both firm and durable, thanks to the stainless steel material and abrasive resistance. This grill both easy to assemble and simple to clean. It is also surprisingly light, making it perfect for camping, picnics, backpacking, and garden parties. You can also adjust the height and balance, so you can comfortably grill no matter your height or your surroundings.
When it comes to versatility and portability, this is an excellent grill for all occasions.
Last but certainly not least, we have the mightily impressive Weber Charcoal Go-Anywhere BBQ Grill. As the second Weber product on our list of recommendations, it just shows how versatile and reliable the brand is when it comes to quality charcoal grills.
The steel cooking grate in a rectangular shape gives you a relatively large grilling surface area and cooking space, while the maneuverable legs allow for easy transportation and portability. Weber has also included a glass-reinforced nylon handle on the lid that is heat-resistant and remains cool while you’re dealing with temperates. And speaking of temperature control, you have the option to change the heat and airflow with 4 adjustable dampers.
Item is very portable
Materials are all of excellent quality
Design is visually pleasing despite being somewhat minimalistic
Some people have found the grill to be too shallow and close to the coals
Buying Guide to the Top Charcoal Grills
As you can see, there are plenty of charcoal grills out there. Moreover, they all represent outstanding value for money. But if you are yet to be convinced, we have compiled some charcoal grill tips to help you find your perfect BBQ.
Read on for all the information.
What Are the Benefits of Buying a Charcoal Grill?
Depending on the size, your charcoal grill offers numerous benefits, especially if you are the sort of person who enjoys going out into the garden and cooking up some meat.
That’s the biggest benefit – you can host your own BBQs. However, portable charcoal grills can also be useful for anybody who enjoys camping or simply cooking their dinner outside. If you have your own portable grill, you can enjoy fresh, hot-cooked food anywhere you like. Just remember to check any rules and regulations before you start cooking your burgers in the middle of the street!
Things To Consider Before Buying a Charcoal Grill
As we have already mentioned, there are numerous things you should consider before buying a charcoal grill. These include:
When it comes to charcoal grills, you want to ensure that the grill is made with sturdy material. Most grills will be made from some sort of steel or cast iron. Both of these materials are very durable. However, stainless steel charcoal grills have the edge because they do not rust. Cast iron grills may not rust straight away. But, if they are not properly cared for, cast iron grills will eventually succumb to the effects of oxidation.
You can also shell out extra cash if you’re considering ceramic grills. The ceramic material offers superior heat control but is unnecessary for casual grillers. Ceramic grills can also weigh as much as 200 lbs… good luck trying to move that around the garden!
The handle is an underrated part of the grill, but if you can’t remove the lid when it is hot, you will not be able to cook anything particularly well. As such, you should look for grills with glass-reinforced nylon handles. Not only will these handles be durable, but they will also be heat-resistant, allowing you to perform your culinary duties with minimal fuss.
If you are only planning on using your charcoal grill in your garden, portability should not factor into your decision-making too much. However, if you want to take your grill with you to different locations and parties, you’ll have to find a product that is easily transported. As opposed to a heavy gas grill, a charcoal grill can be a bit lighter.
As you can tell from our recommendations list, there are lots of portable charcoal grills on the market. Some of these grills fold away and even come with carrying cases to help you move them from point A to point B. Others have detachable legs and can be converted into tabletop grills.
Grilling surface area
Generally speaking, you should pick a charcoal grill that will serve the maximum number of people you invite to your backyard party. The size of the cooking grates can help you get an idea of this. Some grills can only cook 4 burgers at a time. However, on the other end of the spectrum, you can find certain grills that can cook more than 40 burgers in one go.
Predictably, the larger the grilling surface area, the more food you’ll be able to cook in one go. It can help cut down on your overall cooking time and help you serve your guests quickly.
While some charcoal grills do not allow you to control the heat, most mid-range grills do. You can usually adjust the airflow to the grill to raise and reduce the temperature, allowing for greater precision when grilling meats. Make sure your grill has a temperature control feature; otherwise, your BBQ could potentially be a lot more stressful. Hot coals can become too hot quickly, so be mindful.
Color and design
This may be purely aesthetic, but you should also factor in the color scheme and overall design of any potential grill before you buy it. After all, if you are going to be using this grill on a regular basis over the summer months, you want to look as cool as possible when you are flipping burgers and showing off your chef skills to all your friends and family.
If you need a refresher on the basics of using the most common style of charcoal grill, this video from Grill Top Experience can help:
Charcoal Grill Price Range
When it comes to charcoal grills, you can expect to pay as little as $40 for a serviceable item that will handle small barbecues or camping trips. However, if you’re looking to pick up something like a ceramic grill, you can easily pay $700 for a mid-range item. Typically, the most popular charcoal grills cost between $200 and $600.
How We Choose Our Charcoal Grills
When choosing our charcoal grill recommendations, we considered a number of factors. These included things like materials, durability, heat control, price, and design. We should also add that we only recommend products that we would use ourselves.
People Also Asked
Q: What do you do when your charcoal grill doesn’t stay lit?
A: If you are struggling to keep your charcoal lit, you should take the following steps. Firstly, you want to ensure that your charcoal briquettes are packed together as tightly as possible. Next, you want to add some kindling into the mix, which many amateur cooks forget to do. Finally, you want to apply lighter fluid to the charcoal briquettes and kindling. Wait a few minutes for the liquid to absorb into the charcoal, then light the grill. With any luck, this should solve your problem.
Q: How do I remove tough food stains from my grill?
A: If you forget to clean your grill properly after cooking meat all day on the wire rack, you’ll be faced with tough-to-remove stains that can’t simply be burnt off. The best way to remove this residue is with a Brillo pad and serious elbow grease.
However, if a certain amount of time has passed and your grilling surface is beginning to rust, you may as well cut your losses and order a new grilling surface altogether. We would also recommend using a stiff-bristled grill brush on the grilling surface before, during, and after you cook your meats.
If you do not have one of these brushes, you can use a crumpled piece of aluminum foil gripped between your tongs.
The Old House Journal Review Team’s product reviews and in-depth guides are here to help you restore, repair, update, and decorate your home. The content is created by The Old House Journal Review Team. The Old House Journal editorial staff is not involved. Old House Journal is reader-supported: When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.