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Top 5-Best Charcoal Grills for All Your Needs in 2020

Top Best Charcoal Grills

This is a comprehensive review of the best charcoal grills in the market. You may want to spare a few minutes and read to the end.

Nothing compliments a warm summer afternoon like a juicy burger and cold beer. If you are my kind of guy, you like to barbeque your own over a charcoal grill. The flavor profile is undeniable, and the aroma will rouse neighbors from their slumber.

Here is my list of the best charcoal grills, including my personal favorite. Plus, additional pointers on how to buy, start, grill, and clean your charcoal grill.

There’s a lot to be learned, especially if you are a newbie. So, buckle down, and let’s get started.

Our Personal Choice

The top pick for my Best Charcoal Grill list and my personal favorite is the Weber Performer Deluxe 22”. This is one of Weber’s most popular charcoal grill with all the bells and whistles of a top-notch grill at a fair price.

What We Like

  • 22-inch diameter, 363 square inches cooking area
  • Removable high-capacity ash catcher
  • Porcelain-enameled bowl and lid
  • Easy Touch-N-Go gas ignition
  • Built-in lid thermometer
  • Mounted timer

What We Don’t Like

  • The exterior gets way too hot
  • Sometimes the heat can melt the plastic charcoal storage bin underneath the grill

My Weber Performer Deluxe 22” has been around for close to a decade. This makes it the best charcoal grill in terms of lifespan.

Top 5 Charcoal Grills In 2020

Continuing with our best Charcoal grill list, here are the rest of the top charcoal grills in the market.

weber original kettle premium



The Weber Original Kettle Premium is the most popular charcoal grill in the market. It has been voted top choice on many websites, and we are about to find out why.

Features:

The Weber Original Kettle comes in with a 22-inch diameter porcelain-enameled bowl and lid. Also, on the lid is a built-in thermometer and glass-reinforced heat resistant handle complimented by a heat shield.


The grates are steel plated offering 363 square inches of cooking space. You can hang the lid on the conveniently placed angled hook. Your cooking tools have a place too next to the two glass-reinforced handles on the sides of the bowl.


You will love the high-capacity ash catcher and One-Touch aluminized steel cleaning system.


Functionality:

First off, this grill is quite compact, so it will not take up much space. Also, it is light enough to be easily portable.


Additionally, the steel-plated grates are hinged. This way, you can add charcoal without having to remove the grates.


You will love the highly functional rust-resistant aluminum dampers with precision heat control – just consult the built-in lid thermometer.


The wheels are a proprietary weber design with an easy attach spring clip/pushpin. This is a very durable charcoal grill thanks to top-quality accessories.


Capacity:

As earlier stated, the Weber Original Kettle is a 22-inch charcoal grill with 363 square inches of cooking space. This means you can cook up to 13 burger patties on the grill.


Additional Features:

  • Rust-resistant aluminum dampers
  • High cap aluminized ash catcher
  • Spring clip/push pin legs
  • Easy access tool hooks
  • Precision heat control
  • Built-in thermometer
  • Heatshield

Pros

  • Glass-reinforced heat resistant handles
  • Conveniently placed lid hook
  • One-touch cleaning system
  • Comes with a warranty
  • Generous cooking area
  • Hinged cooking grates

Cons

  • Stationery cooking grates
  • Ash catcher design flaw

Why do We Recommend this Grill?

The Weber Original Kettle is an affordable, highly functional grill with incredible features. Upgraded features like the ash catcher and one-touch cleaning work to prove my point. For this reason, most online reviews speak of a reliable grill that will surpass all expectations.

Weber Performer Deluxe 22


The Weber Performer Deluxe 22” is, from personal experience, a great kitchen companion to have. Admittedly, I have not tried a whole bunch of charcoal grills; but once you find a good one that’s all that counts, I’m I right? Let’s find out what this beauty has to offer.

Features:

The Weber Performer boasts a 22-inch diameter with a porcelain-enameled bowl and lid. This, in turn, supplies a 363 square-inch cooking area.


When you need to ignite your coals, the process cannot be easier. This is thanks to the electronic touch-n-go push-button gas ignition system.


Enjoy the one-touch cleaning system backed by a high capacity aluminum ash catcher. Also, there is extra working space plus a plastic bin beneath the grill for storing charcoal.


Functionality:

When you are grilling on the Weber Performer, you can easily keep an eye on the internal temperature. This is thanks to a couple of features, including precision heat control and built-in lid thermometer.


There is also a removable back-lit mounted timer so you can slow cook and time your food hassle-free.


The convenient charcoal storage is a feature that is seldom found on the charcoal grill.


Capacity:

This incredible charcoal grill offers 363 square inches of grilling area. As a result, you can grill up to 13 burgers at a go.


You will love the bit of extra working space above the storage tank. The same work table is where you will mount the removable timer.


Additional Features:

  • Removable high-capacity ash catcher
  • Touch-N-Go gas ignition system
  • One-Touch cleaning system
  • Built-in lid thermometer
  • Precision heat control

Pros

  • Durable
  • Affordable
  • Easy cleanup
  • Extra working space
  • Built-in thermometer
  • Mountable back-lit timer
  • High capacity ash catcher
  • Excellent heat control thanks to the porcelain interior

Cons

  • The charcoal storage bin is likely to melt.
  • The exterior gets too hot

Why do We Recommend this Grill?

The Weber Original Kettle is an affordable, highly functional grill with incredible features. Upgraded features like the ash catcher and one-touch cleaning work to prove my point. For this reason, most online reviews speak of a reliable grill that will surpass all expectations.

3. The Original PK Grill & Smoker

The Original PK Grill & Smoker


Every grilling enthusiast knows about this incredible grill and smoker. In a word, the original PK Grill and Smoker is respected by barbecue professionals having been used in competitive steak grilling for decades.
So, what else does this stunner have to offer?

Features:

The Original PK Grill and Smoker is a capsule-style charcoal grill made from cast aluminum and nickel-steel. It offers 310 square inches of cooking space. The grates are all polished durable steel.

These are mounted on a sturdy cart made from aluminum. Beneath that are durable rubber wheels for easy portability.

The entire capsule is made from 2.5-inch cast aluminum that retains heat four times better than steel. You will love the 4-point venting system that allows you to maintain a constant heat of 180-700 degrees Fahrenheit.

Functionality:

The Original PK Grill comes from a long line of durable and extremely reliable grills. In fact, the retro 1950s style is a fan favorite among professionals and food buffs.

The good news is, you can set this grill up in under 10 minutes. You do not need any complicated tools. Also, you can dismount the entire capsule from the stand, which means it will easily fit in the boot of any car as your tailgate.

Among the best features is the 4-way venting system. Not only does it make it much easier to control the internal temperature, but it also provides a great platform for both direct and indirect cooking.

The lid conveniently attaches to the base of the grill. This way, you do not have to keep it on the ground.

Capacity:

As earlier stated, this grill provides 310 square inches cooking area. To this, add a small aluminum table for prepping and a larger aluminum shelf beneath the grill capsule.

Ultimately, you will find that this grill provides a whole lot of functional space for such a compact design.

Additional Features:

  • Heatproof handle
  • Grid made from nickel-steel
  • Extra side table for prepping
  • The large shelf beneath the capsule
  • 10-year warranty in cast aluminium parts

Pros

  • Lid hook
  • Lightweight
  • Easy assembly
  • Stylish retro design
  • Lots of extra space and storage
  • Perfect for both direct and indirect cooking
  • Trusted by both professionals and food enthusiasts
  • Excellent heat retention (180-700-degrees Fahrenheit)

Cons

  • No built-in thermometer
  • The lid is often not airtight

Why do We Recommend this Grill?

The Original PK Grill and Smoker is a force to reckon with. This is the best cart-style charcoal grill that you will find. And the fact that it is perpetually used in grilling competitions says a lot about its functionality and reliability.


Weber-Go-Anywhere-Charcoal-Grill




As you can probably guess, the Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal grill is the perfect grill to well, take anywhere! This is a tiny but highly functional grill as you are about to find out.

Features:

The Weber Go-Anywhere charcoal grill is a compact and lightweight grill offering 160 square inches of cooking space. It features durable triple-nickel coated steel cooking grates.


The lid and base are all porcelain-enameled, which means they will not rust or peel. Instead, they retain heat wonderfully.


Additionally, the lid and base are mounted on steel-plated legs. These legs pivot to lock the lid in place so that nothing can spill as you carry the grill around.


You will appreciate the glass-reinforced nylon handles, which are both durable and heat resistant. Plus, the rust-resistant aluminum dampers which make heat control easy.


Functionality:

Admittedly, when you hear of 160 square inches cooking space, you think of how small this grill is. But not at all, you can grill up to 6 burgers on this baby.


Moreover, the Tuck-N-Carry mechanism whereby the legs fold to hold the lid in place is a great safety feature. That is not all. The lid also tucks built-in inside hangers. These hangers allow the lid to rest at an angle that keeps the breeze at bay.


You can set this grill up in 10 minutes. 


Also, the fuel consumption is much lower than any other grill. Actually, you can use up to a third of the fuel used in typical grills. Ultimately, you will still have a reliably high grilling temperature, flawless grilling experience, and an easy cooling down and cleaning process.


Capacity:

As earlier stated, this grill has 310 square inches of cooking space. You can cook six burgers or four medium steaks on the grill.


Sadly, this grill does not have any extra space for prepping, but it makes up for it by being tiny, lightweight, and easy to take anywhere.


Additional Features:

  • Plated steel legs
  • Built-in lid hangers
  • Tuck-N-Carry lid lock
  • Glass-reinforced handles
  • Three heat resistant handles for easy portability

Pros

  • Warranty
  • Great heat retaining capabilities
  • Tuck-N-Carry lid lock mechanism
  • Porcelain-enameled interior and lid
  • Easy to carry around on the top handle
  • Compact rectangular shape fits perfectly in small spaces

Cons

  • The coals are too close to the food, perfect for searing but difficult to slow cook.

Why do We Recommend this Grill?

This is truly the best grill for going anywhere. On top of being compact, this baby grills like a champ. You will seldom run into any issues from grilling, cleaning to carrying, or storing.


Lodge-Sportsman’s-Hibachi-Charcoal-Grill

The Lodge Sportsman’s Hibachi Charcoal Grill is a compact cast-iron grill with decades of good reputation behind the family-owned company. According to the company, this grill offers lifetime durability. Is this true? Let us find out.

Features:

The Lodge Sportsman’s charcoal grill is the best hibachi-style charcoal grill in the market. It offers 17.5 by 9 inches of cooking space. This is plenty of cooking space for 2-4 people. In fact, online reviews reveal that this little stunner can cook for up to 10 people hassle-free.


Additionally, this grill has two doors. One is a sliding draft door that is used to regulate temperatures. The 2nd door, decorated with a marsh scene, offers easy access to the coals. You can add fuel as you cook. However, this may never be necessary since this grill is awesomely reliable in retaining heat.


The cast-iron grates offer two adjustable heights.


Functionality:

This is one of the easiest grills to start. The flip-down door makes access to the coals easy. This also means you get to use very little charcoal but get a superior grilling experience with lots of heat.


Additionally, the fact that you can adjust the grates is a great feature. This way, you will be able to control the heat without even touching the coals.


Perhaps the best feature are the pre-seasoned grates. Lodge grills only require you to apply vegetable oil on the grill. Your food will come out super flavorful thanks to the self-seasoning feature.


Capacity:

We may have already mentioned that this grill has 17.5 by 9 inches of grilling space. Unfortunately, there isn’t any extra prepping space, but the compact design makes up for it with easy portability and excellently seasoned results.


Additional Features:

  • Easy to carry
  • Stylish Rugged design
  • Superior heat retention
  • Cast iron, high-quality hibachi design

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Super simple to use and set up
  • Compact and can fit into tight spaces
  • Pre-seasoned grates make excellent food
  • Very reliable grill with amazing heat retention

Cons

  • Food often rolls off the grates
  • Heavy (27 pounds) to carry on the thin handle; the handle tends to dig into your palm

Why do We Recommend this Grill?

The Lodge Sportsman’s Hibachi Style charcoal grill is a little powerhouse with undeniable grilling capabilities. The flavor profile on this baby is incomparable. Not to mention the proprietary pre-seasoned grates.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Charcoal Grill

Before going out to buy any charcoal grill, there are factors that you must consider. This way, you can choose a grill that focuses on your immediate needs.

Therefore, should you keep in mind before buying a charcoal grill?

Size:

Regardless of why you want a grill, size is always a factor to consider.

Now, if you are looking for a small, easily portable charcoal grill, consider getting a Kettle Grill. While Ceramic Grills can be small, they are usually heavy hence difficult to lag around.

But if cooking for the masses is your forte, definitely consider a Barrel Grill. They are the biggest and therefore provide the largest cooking surface.

Features and Accessories:

We can all agree that any appliance is only as good as its features and accessories.

Look out for important features like quality heavy gauge stainless steel grates, a large ash catcher, an in-built thermometer, and an adjustable cooking surface where you can adjust the distance between your food and the charcoal.

Also, a V-rack, insulated handle, side tables, smoker box, utensil holder, and a locking lid are pretty awesome to have.

Ease of Use and Cleaning:

Charcoal grills are a chore to clean; this is a well-known truth. For this reason, you want to look out for charcoal grills that make the process of cleaning a bit easier.

For instance, having hinged grates and a removable ash catcher makes cleaning so much easier. And more so because you can remove ash without having to scoop or flip the whole grill over.

Also, be vigilant about getting a grill that is easy to use. For example, insist on dampers that open and close easily. Plus, a removable charcoal bed and hinged grates.

Durability:

A charcoal grill is a big buy. You want it to last as long as possible. And rightfully so because a good charcoal grill can last for decades.

Durability is all about the quality of materials used and how much you take care of your grill. Ensure you do your research. Check out the reviews online and the warranty (if any) offered by the manufacturer.

But remember, even the best grill will fall apart in a matter of months if you don’t take care of it. So, endeavor to care for your grill, and it will serve you for generations.

Safety:

Charcoal grills present a considerable fire risk. For one, flare-ups are commonplace, so you must know how to deal with them.

Additionally, if you have a wooded deck, then you should consider getting another type of grill altogether.

Pets also pose a great risk when using a charcoal grill. Ultimately, ensure your grill is sturdy enough not to topple over as you cook. And take all the precautions possible to ensure you have a safe cookout.

Cost:

Last but not least is the cost. If a budget is your main determining factor, then Kettle grills may be the ideal type of grill. They are the cheapest.

That aside, I must mention that there are some pretty cheap Barrel grills too. But on the top of the pyramid are the Ceramic Grills. They are the priciest.

Charcoal VS Gas Grill

A lot of times, buyers go back and forth between charcoal grills and gas grills. Well, if you are one of these buyers, this chart will help you along.

Charcoal Grill

Gas Grill

Simpler to use, fewer components

Complex construction, lots of moving parts

Considerably fewer flare-ups than cooking with a gas grill

Causes huge flare-ups that can be a fire hazard

Temperature control can be difficult and inaccurate

Easy temperature control

More flavorful outcome, more smoke output, excellent sear marks

Less flavor, less smoke output, no sear marks unless you’re using high-end gas grills

Can get as hot as you want

May never attain the temperature you desire

Easily portable

Complicated to move, especially if you are hooked to a gas line

Affordable

Pricier than Charcoal grills

Charcoal Grill User Guide

It is true what they say. You can go from using a charcoal grill to a gas grill with no problem. But going from any other grill to a charcoal grill is a learning curve.

I decided to offer a few pointers for first-time charcoal grill users. So, here it goes.

How to Set Up a Charcoal Grill?

Setting up a charcoal grill couldn’t be easier. Just follow these steps.


1.

Clean the Grill:


Ensure the grill is clean. This means clearing the ash (if any). If your charcoal grill has a removable ash catcher, remove it and using a soft bristle brush clear out all the ash.


Otherwise, remove the lid and grates to access the ash beneath. Use a brush and a dustpan (or whatever is convenient) to scoop all the ash and debris out.

2.

Open the air vents:


Open the bottom dampers. This is important because sufficient airflow will light your charcoal or briquettes much faster. Of course, you can partially close your dampers as soon as you start to cook so you can control the internal temperature.

3.

Choose your charcoal:


Choose your fuel. As previously mentioned, you can either cook using natural wood charcoal or briquettes (artificial charcoal). All you need to know is natural charcoal burns hotter and faster than briquettes.


Also, the smoke from natural hardwood charcoal imparts amazing flavor on your food. If you really want to use briquettes but still have flavor, you can mix both types of charcoal or use briquettes with wood chips or chunks for that extra smoky flavor.

How to Start a Charcoal Grill

1.

Use lighter fluid


After you place your charcoal on the charcoal bed, pour generous amounts of lighter fluid on the charcoal and light it up.


Ensure you light at least three different spots. Let the charcoal burn for 10-15 minutes before cooking. This will be enough time for the lighter fluid to burn off completely.


If you attempt to grill before the lighter fluid completely evaporates, you will end up with food that tastes like petroleum.


Granted, this is not the safest method to light a charcoal grill, especially because of the risk of pouring lighter fluid on your clothes and the risk it brings. If you happen to get lighter fluid on your clothes, change them immediately and wash your hands thoroughly before proceeding.

2.

Use a chimney

A chimney is arguably the best method to start your grill. Begin by putting your charcoal on the upper deck on the chimney and some newspapers on the bottom. Light the newspapers and wait for the charcoal to light. When the charcoal turns pink and begins to ash over, it is time to transfer it onto the grill.


At this point, you can add some new charcoal or briquettes to the already lit charcoal. If you choose to do so, give the fresh charcoal sometime to catch up.


Also, for even heat, spread the charcoal evenly on the charcoal bed (lower grates). However, if you want to divide your cooking area, stack the hot charcoal on one side so that you can sear your food on that side then slow cook on the other.

3.

Use an oil-soaked Newspaper


If you do not have a chimney or lighter fluid, there is another way to light your grill. Douse a newspaper in cooking oil, place it under the charcoal and light it.


Now, some people may be tempted to use turpentine or surgical spirit. While both of these options may work, you will most probably be left with a nasty toxic industrial smell on the grill and eventually on your food.
It is best to stick to vegetable oil.

How to Grill on a Charcoal Grill

Once your charcoal is all lit up, replace the grates, and get cooking.
Grilling on a charcoal grill can be tricky. But if you follow these simple steps, you will be just fine.


1.

Prepare the grill:


Look, before you begin grilling, you need to think about your food and what you want to achieve. This essentially means that the type of food you are grilling determines the prep.


If you want to grill some nice juicy steak, then you need a high-temp zone and a medium heat zone. This way, you can get a nice sear on the high-heat zone then a good slow cook on medium.


In this case, stack the hot charcoal on one side and a few on the other side. After searing your steak on high-heat, you can then slow cook it on the medium to low heat without burning it.

2.

Clean your Grates:


Before placing any food on your grates, brush the grates using a grill brush to get rid of any debris. Next, using long tongs, wipe down the grates with a paper napkin doused in fresh cooking oil. This step is essential in preventing your food from sticking to the grates.

3.

Get to Grillin’:


Now your charcoal grill is ready. Place your food on the grates and cook away. Use the air vents on the top and bottom of your grill to control the internal temperature.

How to Put Out a Charcoal Grill


Since a charcoal grill is the only type of grill where you can’t just turn a knob to switch it off, you have to consider how to put it out in the safest way.


There are a couple of ways to put out a charcoal grill.


1.

Suffocation:


This is the simplest and, for the most part, the safest way to put out a charcoal grill.


Start by closing all the vents to cut out all the airflow. Next, close the lid and leave the grill unattended for at least 48 hours. Even slow-burning briquettes should be out in 48 hours.


Afterward, check if the grill is completely cooled off before handling it. If all the coals are distinguished, packs the ash in an aluminum foil and dispose of it in a metallic dust bin.


This method is undoubtedly slow. So, if you are in a hurry or have children and pets running around the backyard, you may want to consider a faster method.

2.

Drowning:

I do not recommend this method. It can cause serious burns and serious warping to your grill.


That being said, you can either pick each charcoal by dunking them in a bucket of water or you can just pour water on to the grill.


This is the fastest method to put out a charcoal grill, but it also carries risk. When you pour water on the grill, a sudden cloud of very hot ash and steam appears. Be careful because it can cause serious burns. Ensure you wear protective gloves.


Better still, pick out all the hot charcoal and put it in a bucket of water. Later you can dry the partially burnt charcoal and use it again in your next cookout.

How to Cool Down a Charcoal Grill

Some of the information in this section may overlap with the section above.
That said, this is how to cool down a charcoal grill.


1.

Jumble the charcoal:


Begin by removing the top grill. Then, using long tongs, mix and break down the charcoal and ash. Jumbling them together and breaking down the larger chunks of charcoal helps to accelerate the cooling process.

2.

Close all the vents:


By closing all the vents, you will suffocate the fire and help it to go out faster. Close the lid too.

3.

Spray with a water bottle:


If the coals take longer than you anticipated, go in with a water bottle, and gently spray them. As earlier mentioned, this is a risky method.


Endeavor to use as little water as possible. Do not pour water into the grill. As we said earlier, it can cause warping or cracks in your grill.


So, spray the live charcoal with a bit of water to put them out faster. Later, scoop all the ash plus the now extinguished charcoal and wrap them in an aluminum foil. Dispose of the package in a metallic dustbin. You want to ensure any dormant embers don’t reignite anything.

How to Clean a Charcoal Grill

It is imperative to clean your grill before and after each cookout. This prolongs your grill’s shelf life and makes the pre-cooking cleaning easier.
Here is how to clean your charcoal grill.


1.

Brush the Grates:


Using a stiff bristle grill brush, scrape all the food particles and debris from the grates. Ideally, you want to do this before the grill is completely cool. This way, the food stuck to the grates will easily come off.

2.

Scoop out the Ash:

Next, go into the charcoal bed (lower grates) and brush off the charcoal and ash. If your grill has an ash catcher, you can then remove the ash catcher and empty it into an aluminum tray.


Otherwise, clean out all the ash and other debris from the bottom of the grill. Afterward, use a soft bristle brush to ensure none of the ash or debris is left.

3.

Clean the Exterior:


Using a damp cloth or soapy water, wipe down the entire exterior of your grill, including the bottom.

4.

Replace the Grates:


You are done cleaning. Replace the grates and store your grill away from elements.


You should, however, deep clean your grill at least twice every grilling season. This is because you want to avoid carbon or ash build-up in your grill or rust build-up on your grates.

Final Words:

Herein is all you need to know about using a charcoal grill. You have seen our best charcoal grill and the author’s preference. All that remains is for you to share your experience.


Please let us know which is your best charcoal grill. Is it on our list? Let us know in the comment section below.