Best Charcoal Grills for Every Budget and Grilling Style

May 27, 2024
Justin Lumiere

Charcoal grills are a staple for many home chefs, offering the unmistakable smoky flavor that gas and pellet grills struggle to achieve. They come in various forms, each suited for different grilling and smoking needs.

Best Overall Charcoal Grill

The Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill is highly recommended for its versatile features such as a Touch-N-Go gas ignition system, a built-in work table for food prep, and an enclosed storage bin. It boasts easy temperature control through adjustable dampers and a circular middle opening for effortless charcoal addition. Additionally, the intuitive one-touch cleaning system simplifies post-cooking cleanup, making this model a favorite among grill enthusiasts.

A grill with meat on it and a fire pit

Best for Smoking

The PK Grills Original PK300 Grill & Smoker stands out for its superior grilling and smoking capabilities. Made from cast aluminum, it offers excellent heat conduction over 315 square inches of cooking surface. Key features include extra-long handles on the vents, a probe thermometer opening, and adjustable rubber feet which enhance its usability and convenience.

Barbecues in Charcoal Grill

Best Budget Charcoal Grill

For beginners and seasoned pros alike, the Weber Original Kettle Premium 22" Charcoal Grill is an excellent choice. This model features a porcelain-enameled lid and bowl, providing optimal heat retention across 363 square inches of cooking space. It also includes a built-in lid thermometer for temperature monitoring, although its accuracy can vary.

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Best Kamado Charcoal Grill

The Char-Griller AKORN Kamado Charcoal Grill is praised for its superior heat retention and versatile cooking options. With triple-walled steel construction and 314 square inches of cast-iron grill space, this model offers a built-in thermometer and can control temperatures ranging from 200 to 700 degrees Fahrenheit, making it ideal for various grilling tasks.

burning firewood in fire pit

Best Portable Charcoal Grill

If mobility is a priority, the Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill and Smoker with Cart is an excellent option. It provides precise temperature control with a simple dial and a built-in fan to regulate heat. Its portable design includes a foldable cart and extendable handle, making it easy to transport and perfect for tailgates or camping trips.

Best Cart-Style Charcoal Grill

The Char-Griller Classic Charcoal Grill ranks high in the cart or barrel-style category, noted for its temperature retention, fuel efficiency, and easy assembly. It boasts a large cooking area of 820 square inches and features an adjustable charcoal pan mechanism for effective heat regulation, making it user-friendly for grillers of all skill levels.

When selecting a charcoal grill, it's crucial to consider factors such as size, material construction, coal and ash management, venting, and ease of cleaning. Understanding these factors ensures you get a grill that fits your specific needs, whether you're a novice just starting out or a seasoned pro looking to upgrade. Various models offer distinct features and benefits, so it's essential to evaluate your grilling preferences and requirements to find the perfect charcoal grill.

Additional Considerations

Look out for clearance pricing at local stores for potential savings, and consider buying used grills for bargains. Websites like Facebook Marketplace often feature deals on models like the Weber Kettle. Also, stores such as Walmart occasionally offer discounted new grills. Experimenting with different cooking methods, like the snake or minion method for long cooks, can also optimize your grilling experience.

Overall, the best charcoal grill for you will depend on factors like budget, desired features, and cooking preferences. Versatile options such as the SNS Kettle Grill offer added functionality and convenience, making them a worthy consideration. With the right choice, you can enjoy delicious, smoky flavors and a satisfying grilling experience.

Grill ModelBest ForKey FeaturesCooking Area
Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal GrillOverallTouch-N-Go gas ignition, built-in work table, enclosed storage bin, easy temperature controlN/A
PK Grills Original PK300 Grill & SmokerSmokingCast aluminum, long handles on vents, thermometer opening, adjustable rubber feet315 sq in
Weber Original Kettle Premium 22" Charcoal GrillBudgetPorcelain-enameled lid and bowl, built-in lid thermometer363 sq in
Char-Griller AKORN Kamado Charcoal GrillKamadoTriple-walled steel construction, built-in thermometer, temperature range 200-700°F314 sq in
Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Grill and Smoker with CartPortablePrecise temperature control, built-in fan, foldable cart, extendable handleN/A
Char-Griller Classic Charcoal GrillCart-StyleLarge cooking area, adjustable charcoal pan, easy assembly820 sq in

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