Charcoal grilled food is a delicacy. Beef Steaks and even dough based pizzas and hotdogs taste great with smokey flavors and hard crispy crusts. They add a natural feel to the preparation. Weekend cravings – cooked on charcoal grills are a treat.
Charcoal grills make wonderful cooking stoves outdoors – where electricity and gas lines are not available.
They are relatively inexpensive than electric, pellet and gas grills. Charcoals come very cheap and the grill does not cost much either. A charcoal grill has a simple make. It has a coal storage compartment and some grills above – that’s it. Mostly it is the material cost that we pay for – when buying a charcoal fuelled grill.
So it’s a win win – if you roast regular day to day food or want to use the grills on weekends or outdoors. You get the best food at a cheaper cost. But if you intend to use them daily then go for a good reliable and durable product.
What is the best charcoal grill on the market?
Before buying yourself one – you need to know what makes a charcoal grill good, best and not worthy – for you.
- Select the size – If you are a family of four buying a grill for eight – cleaning and storing it will bother you.
- Choose the perfect shape – Charcoal grills come in variety of shapes. Choose the one – which suits your cooking style.
- Material – Go for stainless steel, cast aluminum or enamelled porcelain or iron. Pay attention to the weight – the heavier – the better. We will talk on portability later. Even the grates should be aluminum or steel.
- Customization – The grills, grates and the coal beds should be movable. More adjustability gives you better flavor, reduces coal consumption and facilitates proper heat distribution. Look out for locking wheels and oversized handles.
- Vents – Lastly and most importantly – check the vents. The more the merrier. Fire is all about air flow and proper ventilation. Check the size of the vents and whether some can be closed or not. Different sizes vents allow different preparation.
Based on all the above factors – we have reviewed some of the best charcoal grills available in the market. We have put forward one for all kinds of budget.
Weber is the most famous brand and one of the oldest – in Charcoal Grill market. The revolutionary George Stephen formed Weber in 1952 and since then no one is even close in their competition.
Weber has thousands of innovative grills – in all forms and sizes and for every household.
Which Weber charcoal BBQ is best?
There are tens and hundreds of wonderful BBQ grills by Weber.
But the one reviewed below is their very famous very elegant – premium Charcoal Grill named as – Original Kettle.
- Original Kettle is 22 inches – black grill – measuring 39.5 x 22.5 x 27 in and weighing 32.3 pounds which can hold up to 13 burgers. It is an ideal grill for any household and for every occasion – not very bulky, not very expensive, not very big or too small – just the right size.
- The grill is mostly rust resistant. The lid and bowl is porcelain-enameled and the dampers are aluminum. These metals and Galvanizing – leaves pretty less chances for oxidation.
- The kettle has a big ash catcher below. It makes cleaning the grill pretty easy and ash does not accumulate much.
- Weber has also put a lid thermometer to monitor temperatures for your preparation.
Although there are lid hooks– but consumers report that the lid does not properly hang. And some even find removing the ash can pretty difficult.
The answer to these problems is proper cleaning and maintenance. The coal smelting clogs the lids and even the ash catcher. If you clean it right after the grill – we believe the parts will not clog. And this is true for all the grills reviewed below.
Another back draw – assembly instructions for all the Weber BBQ Grills are available in the BILT app. Although a bit strange – but that is the only way you will get assembly assistance.
If you want a more premium grill – than go with the newly introduced – Master-Touch Kettle. It is the advanced version of the Original Kettle and is very fabulous. Master Touch is taller and comes with some of the additional accessories included in the kit.
Original Kettle is priced economically and makes a wonderful charcoal grill. It is durable and guarantees a minimum 5 years of service. With the remaining dollars you can go on to buy some of the required grill accessories – most importantly – a chimney starter, tongs, fork, and some fire starter cubes.
- Holds up to 13 burgers made with a Weber burger press; Built-in lid thermometer. Rust-resistant...
- One-Touch cleaning system with high-capacity ash catcher provides hassle-free ash cleanup
- Porcelain-enameled lid and bowl retain heat, and won’t rust or peel
- Use the lid hook to avoid placing the lid on the ground while grilling
- Cooking grate is hinged for easily adding charcoal while grilling
The second name in charcoal grill industry is Beau Jardin. The only reason we are listing them second – is because Weber is a dedicatedly grill manufacturer – whereas Beau Jardin has a lot more things in hand.
But quality wise their grills are wonderful, less costly than Weber’s and grills food to perfection.
- The one reviewed here – is their 18 x 18 x 28 inches portable grill – which is ideal for outdoor cooking. The grill is of aluminum with galvanized porcelain. The aluminum used is quite sturdy.
- The pan is 17.5 inches in diameter – which is ideal for 10 burgers or 13 good size patties. A minimum of 4 persons can be full with this BBQ grill.
- The grate is steel and the bowl and lid are porcelain enameled coated – for better retention of heat and rust prevention.
- This grill comes with two grate handles and some big sturdy durable wheels.
- There is an ash leak under the bowl. After the grill you just need to rotate this ash leak which flushes all the ash into the ash catcher below. This system makes cleaning the grill very easy.
- Another best thing is – air vent dampers. You can adjust them to change the preparation styles and the grilling conditions. They are aluminum – and hence rust free. With the dampers you don’t need to lift the lid to control air flow.
However we believe that the charcoal bowl is placed pretty close to the grill. For this you need to adjust your gates properly to avoid burning and over charring.
And also get a plastic cover for the grill for dust and moisture protection.
Overall the Beau Jardin’s model is a great value for the price. It is almost half of what Weber will cost you. And it offers almost the same quality grill – with only a little smaller in size.
There is an updated version of this classic model available. It will cost you just a little extra dollars but the additional accessories will fill in for the extra price that you pay. Check both the models below.
Updated Beau Jardin’s Model
- Durable Handles & Wheels：Portable charcoal grills with dimension of 18 inch diameter by 34 inch...
- Perfect Heat Control & Retention: The thickened 1mm round porcelain-enameled coating grill bowl and...
- More Fitting & More Stable: More stable with more fitting grill feet design and professional bowl...
- Easy to Assemble & Perfect Grilling: This portable charcoal barbecue grill is easy to assemble with...
- Customer Care: We are dedicated to provide premium products for you and offer impeccable customer...
BEAU JARDIN 18 inch Charcoal Grill (the one reviewed)
- PORTABLE CHARCOAL GRILL：Portable charcoal grills with dimension of 18 inch diameter by 24-inch...
- PERFECT HEAT CONTROL&RETENTION: Rust-resistant adjustable aluminum air vent damper allows for heat...
- EASY TO USE&CLEAN: The inside lid hanger hook under the lid could be hung on one bowl handle without...
- EASY TO ASSEMBLE&PERFECT GRILLING: This portable charcoal barbecue grill is easy to assemble with...
- CUSTOMER CARE: We are dedicated to provide premium products for you and offer impeccable...
Cuisinart is another famous brand – which manufactures artistically small and foldable grills. You cannot compare a Cuisiart grill to Webers or a Beau Jardin’s – but overall it makes a good small kitchen equipment.
- The one reviewed here is Cuisinart’s CCG-216 model measuring 16 inches with a 200 sq/inch grate. The size makes the grill super portable and the pan makes it ideal enough to support 2 eaters.
- The one great feature which we liked – is their dual vent system. There is an air inlet and an air exhaust vent which allows cross ventilation and easy flow of air. Lighting the charcoal becomes easier and cooking faster.
- There is a lock in the lid and legs are foldable allowing it to be reduced in size for easy carrying and transporting.
- Other than the above features – the design and materials are pretty common to other grills.
A commonly reported issue is food not being fully cooked on this grill. However you need to understand that this is a very small portable kind of grill. You cannot expect a micro to fit in for a sedan!
Try using charcoal chimney starters and extra charcoal briquettes to attain ideal thermal temperatures.
The positives however are – the price and portability. It costs almost 5 times lesser than a Weber’s and comes in just one third of a Beau Jardin. Secondly because of low weight and compact size you can fit this into a bag-pack and carry for camping, tailgating and other recreational trips.
- 200 SQUARE-INCH COOKING GRATE: The grill features a 200 square-inch steel cooking grate that is...
- DUAL VENTING SYSTEM: The dual vent system allows for precise temperature control while cooking
- LOCKING LID: The locking lid design makes the grill easy to transport when going to your next...
- ASH CATCHER: The ash catcher helps to protect the surface beneath your grill from any hot bits of...
Are charcoal grills bad for you?
This question will pop a lot in front of you. There is a good chance you preparing food and someone from your family advising you against charcoal grilling.
First let us look at – the benefits of grilling food on a charcoal grill.
Nutritional Food – Meat grilled on charcoal retains more riboflavin and thiamine. Even vegetables (especially low water content ones) preserve more vitamins and minerals. All these nutrition play a vital role in a healthy diet.
Satiety – Stats suggest that you feel full on grilled preparations – because the grill locks in juices and liquids in the food. You also don’t require dressings or seasonings. All this prevents you from consuming more fats.
But charcoal grill food is not handsome stuff – on a regular basis.
Some studies suggest that meat cooked on charcoal grills contain more polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCA) – and both these chemicals are considered carcinogens.
Some Charcoal Grills come with a warning label – stating – the grills can expose you to chemicals including nickel, which is known to the State of California to cause cancer.
So what’s the get away?
You don’t need to over grill your meat. Roast it on a smaller temperature and don’t wait until it is very well done. Secondly most of the HCA are in the charred parts – so don’t consume the charred portion. And if possible include more lean meats supported by green leafy vegetable with nutrient rich dressings.
Are gas barbecues better than charcoal?
Charcoal Grills and Gas Barbecues – both have their own pros and cons. It is difficult to give a yes or no to the above question.
- Charcoal Grills are less expensive than propane grills. And even the fuel cost is very low.
- They are thermally more inductive. Charcoal burns at higher temperatures.
- These grills are easy to carry. You cannot arrange for a cylinder or a pipe-line every where you want to arrange a barbecue.
- The taste, aroma and the juice retention in a charcoal grilled steak and even vegetables are heavenly. You cannot get the same on gas.
- And most importantly charcoal grills are free of flare ups. Gas Grills can be hazardous because of the sudden flare resulting from wind and air flows.
But Gas Grills are not a bad choice always. In fact if you look at this charcoal VS gas debate– health wise – a gas grilled food is observed as far healthier and natural than a charcoal grilled one. They are easier to clean and have a lesser carbon footprint.
Both have their usages and scope of work. And an ideal household – enjoying family weekends with families – should be equipped with both the grill kinds.