10 Best Charcoal Grills | March 2017

We spent 33 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. This one's for all you old-school traditionalists when it comes to outdoor cooking. Although these charcoal grills delver all the smell and flavor you know and love, some of them also incorporate a few handy, innovative features, such as built-in thermometers, temperature control vents, wheels for easy portability and even a cooking timer. Skip to the best charcoal grill on Amazon.
10 Best Charcoal Grills | March 2017

Overall Rank: 6
Best Mid-Range
Overall Rank: 1
Best High-End
Overall Rank: 8
Best Inexpensive
The heavy-duty Titan Park Grill makes a great backyard addition with a design reminiscent of grills in public parks. It gets the job done from steaks to burgers, but the grill plate sits on very shallow grooves, which tends to make them fall with the slightest touch.
The American-made Marsh Allen 724HH sports a sleek and contemporary design that will fit any budget. The grill has an adjustable three position cooking grid, plus there are convenient side handles for effortless transport of the grill.
The portable Fire Sense Notebook is the perfect grill to take with you to the park or camp site. It is lightweight, engineered with a stable, rust-resistant stainless steel frame, and folds down to one inch for convenient transport.
If you're serious about grilling, look no further than the Dyna-Glo DGN405DNC-D. It's a durable and functional centerpiece that features a built-in, stainless thermometer for accurate temperature control, and it is large enough to grill 20 hamburgers at once.
  • available in stainless steel or black
  • adjustable flue on the smoke stack
  • lid doesn't have a tight seal
Brand Dyna-Glo
Model DGN405DNC-D
Weight 74 pounds
Create quick and delicious meals with the 32" Kingsford BC251. It not only offers a generous primary and secondary cooking space, but has two foldable side shelves that include a convenient tool hook and a bottle opener, for simple organization.
  • durable cast-iron cooking grid
  • painted lid withstands high temps
  • light enough that one person can move
Brand Kingsford
Model BC251
Weight 79.4 pounds
The Char-Broil Kettleman has got you covered for your next backyard barbecue. It sports a porcelain enamel finish for added protection against the elements and its charcoal grates are adjustable to bring the heat closer or further away from the food as needed.
  • lid mounted temperature gauge
  • has two wheels for easy mobility
  • handy chrome-plated wire bottom shelf
Brand Char-Broil
Model 16301878
Weight 50.7 pounds
The iconic Weber Original Kettle 741001 combines a traditional design with innovative features. Its hinged, stainless steel cooking grate lets you conveniently add more charcoal while grilling and the rust-resistant aluminum vent allows easy control of the internal temp.
  • has a good seal between grill and lid
  • ash catcher keeps the grill area clean
  • 363 square inches of total cooking space
Brand Weber
Model 741001BLK
Weight 31.8 pounds
Designed for Kamado style cooking, the Char-Griller 26720 offers a lightweight and convenient way to cook burgers, fish and ribs. Its insulated design creates more heat by using less charcoal, which results in the most tender, juicy meats you've ever tasted.
  • strong tubular steel legs
  • locking caster on the front wheel
  • has a convenient warming rack
Brand Char-Griller
Model 26720
Weight 99.2 pounds
The Fox Outfitters QGLG offers a great way to take grilling with you wherever you go, whether at the park, camping or in your backyard. The highly compact design allows for easy set up and breakdown, plus it comes with a convenient carry bag for simple transport.
  • made with food grade stainless steel
  • can also be used with wood
  • strong and durable construction
Brand Fox Outfitters
Model QGLG
Weight 7.9 pounds
With its exclusive Touch-N-Go gas ignition system, the premium Weber 15501001 ignites charcoal briquettes with just the push of a button. It is loaded with features including heavy-duty gourmet cooking grates, a built-in lid thermometer and a glass-reinforced nylon handle.
  • has a handy removable lcd cooking timer
  • no-rust aluminum vent
  • sturdy side metal tabletop
Brand Weber
Model 15501001
Weight 99 pounds

Get Yourself A Great Grill

No one can resolve the great debate between the charcoal grill and the gas grill for you; it's a decision you have to make for yourself. But if you have settled on making your next grill a charcoal burning unit, you potentially stand to get a great grill for a pleasantly low price. While you can spend hundreds of dollars on a top of the line charcoal grill with an integrated smoker box and optional gas ignition systems, you can also get a perfectly decent unit for well under fifty dollars.

One of the most important factors in deciding which grill you should buy is simply the grill's size. That means two things, however: you need to account for the overall dimensions of a prospective grill, making sure it will fit the porch, patio, or deck on which you hope to do your cooking out, and you have to know the measurements of the physical grilling surface, too. Some smaller grills might seem like a good fit for your property, but if it turns out you can't simultaneously cook as many hamburgers, steaks, or sausages as you'd like, you will make a "penny wise, pound foolish" decision that will ultimately mean much more time standing around waiting for foods to cook. Therefore the grill's cooking surface area is the more important consideration when it comes to size.

The exception here comes when you are looking for a portable grill you can bring camping, to a picnic, or to the beach. There are compact grills available that weigh less than four pounds, making them suitable even for backpacking trips. When a unit is that small and portable, sacrificing square inches of cooking space for the ability to cookout at all is a fine trade indeed.

For the casual chef looking for a larger charcoal grill for his or her backyard, once minimum grill surface size has been factored in, the next consideration for which grill best suits you should be the type of cooking you prefer. If you just want a good grill for cooking up dogs and burgers in the summer, then a standard kettle style charcoal grill is a great idea. These grills tend to produce even heat all across their cooking surfaces (provided you used enough charcoal) and allow for easy 360 degree access which means easier flipping and monitoring of your foods.

For the decidedly more serious cook, a larger charcoal grill with a generously portioned rectangular cook surface is a good idea. This is true not only because these designs afford more cook space, but because they make it easier to create differing heat zones even when using charcoal (or hardwood) as the heat source, something most kettle grills can't do. (And an ability many assume is relegated to gas grills, in fact.) By keeping hotter coals to one side of the grill, an experienced chef can sear meats over flaming heat and then slow cook them to perfection, or can slowly roast vegetables even while cooking up a platter full of steak or salmon fillets nearby.

Charcoal, Hardwood, And More

The easiest way to cook in a charcoal grill is to use charcoal briquettes. That's all the more true if you opt for briquettes that are "self lighting," meaning they have been infused with lighter fluid. While most self-lighting charcoals are safe for human health -- contrary to common misconceptions -- the accelerant used to make them burn can impart unpleasant flavors to foods, therefore serving to be counterproductive. If you are going to use self-lighting charcoal, make sure all licking flames have died down and that the briquettes have taken on a uniform gray and orange coloration before you begin to cook.

Using charcoal that is not pre-treated requires a bit of extra patience and, usually, extra tools. See below for information about charcoal chimneys, a must have for an efficient charcoal briquette grilling experience.

Hardwood barbecue cooking is becoming ever more popular and, when conducted properly, can yield delicious results. Hardwood, not surprisingly, infuses meats with a subtle smoky flavor that most types of charcoal can't muster. You can get so-called hardwood charcoal that consists of wooden lumps and/or briquets without the same fillers used in standard charcoal, but pre-packaged, pre-cut strips of simple hardwood is the way to go for ideal smoke flavoring.

Plan to light your hardwood in the same charcoal chimney you use with basic briquettes, or else plan to first build up base heat in your grill using charcoal. Then add the hardwood once the charcoal is well on its way to burning down.

Finally, you can always grill using the same wood you burn in a fire place. However, to avoid creating meats (or veggies or grilled fruits) that are overly smoky, make sure the wood has fully burned down to embers before you start cooking over it. One approach is to keep a crackling fire going in a nearby fire pit so you have a ready source of more hot wood coals.

Great Charcoal Grill Accessories

Getting a charcoal great grill is just the beginning of your outdoor culinary adventure. There are myriad tools and accessories to which you should treat yourself to ensure that you will have the most enjoyable, efficient, and safest grilling experience possible.

First and foremost, you need good barbecue tools. At the most basic, a set should have a large, sturdy spatula, a pair of tongs, and a good, long fork. Also often included is a basting brush, skewers, a long-handled knife, and a good case in which to store everything when you're not grilling.

If your grill tool set did not come with a meat thermometer (or if the included unit yields desultory results), then treat yourself to one of these affordable, essential items. Using a meat thermometer means the difference between an overcooked steak, an undercooked chicken breast, or a pork chop prepared to perfection. If you spend the money to get fine cuts of meat, you absolutely must make the modest investment in a meat thermometer.

Also wise to have on hand, as it were, are grilling gloves. Heat resistant gloves offer much more control and dexterity than the outmoded oven mitt, allowing you to maneuver, slice, baste, or simply flip your foods even when the flames are dancing high above the grill.

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Last updated: 03/22/2017 | Authorship Information