Top Picks for The Best Charcoal Grills Of 2020: Expert Reviews & Price Comparison

What are Charcoal Grills?

Charcoal grills are grills that use charcoal when cooking. Charcoal grills give your foods a rich smoky flavor that you cannot find in electronic or gas-powered grills. However, cooking food in this way can be inconvenient if you don’t have the best charcoal grill. With this in mind, here are our picks for the best charcoal grills on the market today.

Best Charcoal Grills: Our Top Picks

Professional Charcoal Grills Reviews

Best of the Best – PK Grills Original Grill and Smoker

PK Grills Original Grill and Smoker

Features We Love

  • 16 x 35 x 25.5
  • Cast aluminum construction
  • 300 square inch cooking surface
  • 4 point venting system
  • Can be dissembled quickly
  • Heat retention is very good
  • Good for high and low temp cooking
  • Very big cooking surface
  • Has a 10-year warranty
  • The stand does not come apart
  • No tray to remove ashes

The PK Grills Original Charcoal Grill and Smoker topped our list due to its durability and simplicity in design. Despite this, the grill is capable of doing some amazing things, performing well and allowing you greater control over temperature and heat retention. This is a great update on a classic design that has withstood the test of time.

Full Review of PK Grills Original Grill and Smoker


Best Budget – Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill

Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill

Features We Love

  • 16 x 35 x 35.5
  • Porcelain steel construction
  • 147 square inch cooking surface
  • Dampers for temperature control
  • Very light and portable
  • Temperature is easy to control
  • Very easy to clean
  • Very safe to use
  • Can be used in small spaces
  • Lack of handles and hangers
  • Drops can dent it easily

The Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill is the perfect thing to have around for camping barbecues where only a small number of people are to be served. It can also be used in balconies and patios due to its size. Light, portable, and easy to clean, this product from Weber is also very cheap but does not compromise quality in the very least.

Full Review of Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill


Best for Parties – Weber Original Kettle Premium

Sale
Weber Original Kettle Premium

Features We Love

  • 5 x 22.5 x 27
  • Porcelain steel construction
  • 363 square inch cooking surface
  • Dampers for temperature control
  • Can cook in large quantities
  • Cleanup of ashes is very easy
  • Easy loading of charcoal
  • Built-in thermometer
  • Not portable
  • Difficult to assemble

If you love having cookouts and parties, then it would be a good idea to get the Weber Original Kettle Premium. It has ample size to cook a large quantity of food at the same time. In addition, it is very convenient to use. For its price, the Weber Original Kettle Premium can be the best purchase that you can make when it comes to large volume cooking.

Full Review of Weber Original Kettle Premium


Best for Easy Cooking – Char-Broil TRU Kettleman Charcoal Grill

Char-Broil TRU Kettleman Charcoal Grill

Features We Love

  • 9 x 27.4 x 14.8
  • Enamel steel construction
  • 360 square inch cooking surface
  • Dampers for temperature control
  • Adequate cooking size
  • Built-in thermometer
  • Ashes can be easily removed
  • Distributes heat evenly
  • Comes with a 10-year warranty
  • Prone to scratches
  • The grill is hard to clean

The Char-Broil TRU Kettleman Charcoal Grill provides one of the most perfect combinations of size, price, and convenience amongst all available charcoal grills. It is also one of the easiest to master and you can come up with perfectly grilled foods in no time flat. Some investment in time and effort would be required for cleaning up, though, as the grills themselves can be a bit difficult to wash. Overall, this is a great grill to have and you will certainly love cooking with it.

Full Review of Char-Broil TRU Kettleman Charcoal Grill


Best Charcoal Grill Comparison Table

BrandProduct NameDimensionsThermometer
Heat Retention
MaterialFoldable/PortableIn-Built ThermometerPrice
PK GrillsPK Grills Original Grill and Smoker16 x 35 x 25.5YesAluminumYesNo$369.99
WeberWeber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill16 x 35 x 35.5YesSteelYesNo$50.11
WeberWeber Original Kettle Premium38.5 x 22.5 x 27YesSteelNoYes$165.00
Char-BroilChar-Broil TRU Kettleman Charcoal Grill29.9 x 27.4 x 14.8YesSteelNoYes$149.00

Buying Guide for Selecting the Best Charcoal Grills

Several factors will determine the best charcoal grill. However, how each area will weigh differently depending on your preferences. In any case, here are the things that you would need to consider should you want to purchase a charcoal grill of your own.

Size

The charcoal grill’s size will depend entirely on how many people you may be cooking for. You may have a large cooking area, but you will definitely be compromising both storage and operating area. Conversely, small charcoal grills may be stored easily, but you may find cooking in batches, slow and inconvenient if you will be serving multiple people at a time.

Materials

As your charcoal grill will get very hot when it is in use, find a material that retains heat well and is durable enough to withstand heat. Most common options are those made out of steel or cast iron.

Most grates are now coated or pre-seasoned in order to make them non-stick or conduct heat better. Keep in mind, though, that ease of cleaning should also be considered when choosing charcoal grill as each material will have their pros and cons.

Temperature Control

Most charcoal grills will have some form of temperature control in the form of contraptions which will allow or limit air to get to the coals. This will, in turn, allow you to control the heat that you are cooking with. Being able to understand how your grill’s temperature control mechanism works are very important to be a successful charcoal griller.

Another good addition that some of the best charcoal grills have is a built-in thermometer so that you do not need additional tools or do guesswork if you are working at the right temperature.

Other Functions

Aside from grilling, other charcoal grills can also serve as smokers. In addition, others can even have optional attachments purchase that can allow you to do other things with your charcoal grill. While you can improvise on these tools, the general shape of your grill, particularly when it comes to headspace between the grill and the lid, will affect its versatility.

Efficiency

A good charcoal grill will allow you to reach the desired heat without using too much charcoal. While charcoal is generally cheap, using less of this resource does have its advantages. As such, you can get a charcoal grill that, along with good cooking practices, uses less charcoal to cook food by retaining heat well and making sure that no heat is wasted unnecessarily.

Safety Features

Your charcoal grill must be safe to use. It should be properly balanced to avoid tipping over. It should have properly insulated handles so that you can carry and operate your grill safely. Lastly, the charcoal must be completely isolated from anything that can cause a fire such as grass or other flammable materials. Safety features along with proper usage will prevent accidents that may cause injury or damage to property.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Cleaning of the bowl and the grill must be easy. Usually, this can be done with soap and water as well as some abrasive material. For ashes, disposal must be easy. In this regard, newer models of charcoal grills have ash pans that can be detached so that you can clean them without shoveling from the bottom or turning the entire grill over.

Price

Price is a major factor when choosing a charcoal grill. Balance your budget with features as well as size. Consider also the frequency of use as you may not want to spend a lot on something that you would be using only once or twice a year.

Frequently Asked Questions about Charcoal Grills:

Answer: Weber is one of the most trusted brands when it comes to charcoal grills. Not only are there multiple sizes to choose from, but their materials and additional features are unmatched. Lodge and PK Grills are also some well-known names, but it would also be much better to look at other options as they may have qualities that are more to your liking.

Answer: Charcoal grills are better when compared to those who use gas or electricity as the smoke from the charcoal infuses a unique flavor to whatever you are cooking. It is also less expensive as a whole, and you can cook foods much faster as charcoal can reach much higher temperatures when compared to other types of cooking.

Answer: Typically, you should clean charcoal grills before and after use. This is to make sure that your grills are free from debris and food remnants that may contaminate your food. Keeping your charcoal grills clean will also ensure that the metals will not rust or corrode. A deeper clean is recommended at least once a year, and this entails multiple cleaning to ensure peak performance.

Answer: Make sure to clean the ash pan first. This will make cleaning easier. You can clean all surfaces with warm water and soap. Use an aluminum foil or mild abrasive to scrub at food remnants and any other materials that stick to the surface. You may also lightly coat all surfaces with oil and wipe dry. Store your charcoal grill in a cool, dry place to avoid moisture that can cause rust.

Answer: Food will not stick on the grills if you season it. Seasoning is as simple as heating the grills for 10 to 15 minutes and then adding a light coat of oil on the grills. You can heat it up for a while and you are ready to go. You can also pre-heat the grill and scrub all the areas that touch the food with a peeled potato.

Answer: Air helps in increasing fire, which in turn increases the heat. Most charcoal grills have air vents at the top of the lid and at the bottom of the bowl. These will help you control the air that gets to the coals. Opening the bottom vents and removing the lid will give you maximum heat while closing vents will restrict air flow and can even put out your fire.

Answer: There are many ways to start a charcoal fire. The most popular method is to simply splash some lighter fluid and ignite it using a long stick. You may also use lit up newspaper of kindling to have a similar effect. The other method is to use a charcoal chimney where you would light the coals from below using a can with holes on them.
Start with a small number of coals and, once you can get them nice and hot, you can gradually add more coals. You can help make the fire hotter by fanning the coals. All coals will eventually catch fire and start to smoke. After that, you’re ready to start grilling.

Answer: There are two main ways to put our hot coals. You can put a lid on the grill and close all vents. This will deprive the fire of oxygen, so they will be put out. The other method is to splash water on it until all fires have died down. Take note that some coals can reignite if they are still hot enough, so make sure to fully extinguish fires before you leave or dispose of them.

Safety Precautions When Using Charcoal Grills

Cooking using charcoal grills can be fun, but there are inherent dangers that you must consider as well. There are a lot of things that can go wrong when using charcoal grills, but these safety measures can eliminate them completely. Follow the tips mentioned below to ensure that you have a fun and safe charcoal grilling experience.

  1. Use aprons and gloves when operating a charcoal grill in order to prevent burns
  2. Always ensure that your charcoal grill is well balanced and placed on a stable surface to prevent it from tipping over.
  3. Remove all flammable substances from the cooking area, specifically combustible items such as gasoline, lighter fluid, or even electronics.
  4. Make sure to keep others away from the cooking area, especially small children and pets.
  5. Whenever possible, make sure that you are not cooking on top of the grass, around wood, or near any other flammable material. Some materials can catch on fire even when not exposed to direct heat, so take caution.
  6. Never leave your grill unattended while the coal is still burning.
  7. Have water or a fire extinguisher within reach when using a charcoal grill.
  8. Make sure that coal is fully extinguished before leaving the area. Splashing water on the coals will also help.
  9. Don’t overload the cooking area with food. This may cause flare-ups that may be difficult to control.
  10. Always cook in an open and well-ventilated area in order to prevent smoke inhalation as well as irritated eyes.

Conclusion

Cooking using charcoal grills is an amazing experience, especially when using the best charcoal grill. It should have the features that you want while having flaws that you may be able to accept as the benefits outweigh them. Cooking with charcoal grills, especially with good ones, can really be enjoyable and relaxing. In addition, you can also make some great tasting meals in the process.

The article above has provided you with our list for the best charcoal grills. Our favorite among the list is the Char-Broil TRU Kettleman Charcoal Grill due to its high marks on almost all aspects. It is also very easy to get used to, especially for those who do not have a lot of cooking experience. We also loved the Lodge Pre-Seasoned Sportsman’s Charcoal Grill due to its classic design as well as its dedicated slot for loading charcoal which makes temperature management easier.

Of course, you may have your own favorites when it comes to the best charcoal grill. Your pick may even not be on this list, but that’s okay as our ultimate goal is to inform you on what to look for when choosing the right charcoal grill for you. By reading the reviews as well as by learning from the other information included in this article, you will be able to make a more well-informed choice when buying a charcoal grill that will best suit your personal budget and preferences.

About Colin Matthews

Cookwared Reviews is a website run by two roommates, Colin Matthews and Samantha Brooks. 

While we have tested many of the products hands-on, some of the reviews featured on our website are based on our online research, reading reviews from other customers, watching videos on youtube, and comparison specs from the manufacturers. 

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