The Best Charcoal Grill of 2023

Give your food that fine smoky flavor and juicy taste with the best charcoal grills.

Every meal does not have to be prepared in your kitchen. Outdoor grilling is a great option, especially with friends and family. A good charcoal grill can cook almost anything, from chicken to ribs to salmon and vegetables.

In comparison to other burners, charcoal grills impart a distinct smoky flavor to food while also ensuring even cooking. While firing up a charcoal grill, managing the heat, and cleaning up afterward requires significantly more effort than with a gas grill, the overall experience and results are well worth it.

This guide is all you need to figure out which charcoal grill deserves a spot in your backyard or patio

How We Picked

  • Size

    Charcoal grills are constructed in different sizes. If you plan to barbeque a lot alongside family and friends, you should opt for a bigger one. However, if it’s for occasional use, a small one would suffice.

  • Easy to Clean

    Cleaning a charcoal grill is not fun. However, you need one designed in a way that the parts can be detached for easy cleaning. Much like other cooking utensils, cleaning your grill after each use will maintain its beauty and practicality.

  • Style

    Depending on your cooking style, you can choose between a kettle, a barrel, or a ceramic charcoal grill. Luckily, you can use any of the grills for grilling, smoking, or barbecuing.

  • Cost-Effectiveness

    Charcoal grills are an investment. You don’t want to splurge on a feature-rich one if you grill on occasion. There are tons of grills that offer all the bells and whistles at affordable price tags.

Our Top Picks

Best Pick

Weber Original Kettle Premium 22-Inch Charcoal Grill

The Weber grill's cooking grate holds heat well and can be opened and closed to add charcoal conveniently.

This Kettle charcoal grill is available in the colors black, copper, and green. It also has upgraded features like a hinged cooking grate for adding charcoal to the grill easily while it is cooking. A One-Touch cleaning system with a large ash catcher enables a hassle-free grilling process from start to finish.

Buy Now for $219.00

This kettle grill is adorable and functional, offering three different colors.

Runner Up

Lifesmart Kamado Ceramic Charcoal Grill

It is possible to grill, smoke, roast, sear, braise, and even bake using a Kamado charcoal barbecue.

Throughout the grilling process, this kamado charcoal grill will maintain heat and produce uniform convection-style cooking thanks to its high-heat ceramic construction. Cooking temperatures may be easily maintained in any weather because of the ceramic shell's exceptional insulating properties.

Buy Now

Despite being somewhat expensive, this model guarantees versatility.

Most Cost-Effective

Weber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill

The Weber Jumbo Joe has dampers that make it simple to regulate the temperature within the grill.

This charcoal grill has an 18-inch cooking diameter and comes with a carry handle for convenience. You can regulate the temperature in the kettle with the help of the grill's steel cooking grates and dampers.

Buy Now for $89.00

This little charcoal grill is perfect for short trips and weekend getaways.

Almost Made The Cut

Dyna-Glo DGN486SNC-D

For precise heat control and cooking flexibility, the Dyna grill has a Charcoal tray adjustment mechanism.

An adjustable flue is a feature of this charcoal grill that allows for more temperature control. The front firebox and lid are double-walled to reduce heat loss and increase the effectiveness of the burn of charcoal. The huge capacity ash pan can be easily and quickly removed for cleaning.

Buy Now for $291.33

Due to its size, this powerful grill allows you to prepare food for large gatherings.

Everything We Recommend

Best Pick

Weber Original Kettle Premium 22-Inch Charcoal Grill

The Weber grill's cooking grate holds heat well and can be opened and closed to add charcoal conveniently.

$219.00

Buy Now

Runner Up

Lifesmart Kamado Ceramic Charcoal Grill

It is possible to grill, smoke, roast, sear, braise, and even bake using a Kamado charcoal barbecue.

Buy Now

Most Cost-Effective

Weber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill

The Weber Jumbo Joe has dampers that make it simple to regulate the temperature within the grill.

$89.00

Buy Now

Almost Made The Cut

Dyna-Glo DGN486SNC-D

For precise heat control and cooking flexibility, the Dyna grill has a Charcoal tray adjustment mechanism.

$291.33

Buy Now

Who This Is For

You should probably use this guide as necessary if you want to start using charcoal grills so that you can enjoy the complete grilling process rather than just the eating aspect. You’re also on the right track if you want to improve your charcoal grill cooking and acquire the best flavors possible from your meals.

What is a charcoal grill?

A charcoal grill is a form of cooking grill that is typically used outside to prepare meals (especially meat). In contrast to the gas grill, it employs lump charcoal as a heating source to cook meals. A gas grill will cook your food with a cleaner flavor, whereas a charcoal grill will impart a smoky flavor. Typically, the charcoal fuel is under the grill grates, and the hot coals are lit with wood chips and lighter fluid. Pellet, kettle grills, ceramics, and barrel grills are just a few of the many shapes that are available for charcoal barbecues.

 

Different styles or types of charcoal grills?

For the sake of this guide, we’ll examine the four main types of charcoal grills that were previously listed: kettle, pellet, ceramic, and barrel grills. 

Like a barrel turned on its side, barrel grills are broad but shallow. They use many kinds of briquets and can cook a large quantity of food at once due to their large surfaces. However, because they tend to burn out more quickly, they are better suited for straightforward outdoor feasts like hamburgers than more elegant gatherings.

 

Kettle grills are among the most well-known varieties of charcoal grills. The portability of this kind of barbecue is one of its key advantages. To maintain an even airflow over the coals and allow ash and other cooking waste to fall freely away from the heat source, charcoal is placed at the bottom of the grill. It is raised on a small grate.

 

Clay and ceramic materials are used to make ceramic grills, commonly referred to as “Kamado,” which are better than metal at withstanding heat and moisture. These materials are presented in an oval shape by each design, which also features a rounded bottom and a domed lid. Use one of these devices to smoke, grill, or barbecue food. By using them, you may broaden your grilling options to include briskets, pig butts, and turkeys. However, they are cumbersome, necessitate the use of numerous briquets, and often have a small cooking area.

 

In addition, the pellet grills use wood pellets as fuel, which are put in a hopper that is inserted into the firebox of the grill, which is normally at the bottom of the grill. Unlike other designs, an electric igniter begins the burning of the pellets, which are then controlled by an electric auger and thermostat until they are reduced to coal. The pellet grills are more practical, particularly for longer cooks like brisket, ribs, and big roasts, since they let you let the meat cook without constantly watching it. This sort of grill does need a power supply because of the electronic controls, and it must be connected throughout the full cooking and cooling procedure.

Why You Should Trust Us

Aside from the obvious flavor-enhancing benefits, cooking with charcoal grills is enjoyable. However, a lot of people continue to have poor equipment experiences. To uncover the issues related to their use and ultimately develop solutions, we conducted a study on charcoal grills. So far, we’ve discovered that some models don’t cook meals evenly, make noise, emit thick, dark smoke, and occasionally aren’t as efficient as the maker said. We were able to identify the best models by using these issues as a reference for our specifications. Following that, we had a meeting with a few authorities on charcoal grill cookery. We were forced to follow their instructions and give heed to their guidance. 

 

No piece of equipment can be 100% effective and satisfactory, but we carefully considered each of our original recommendations to come up with the top four options for you.

How We Picked

Size

You must think carefully about how much room you have available for grilling. You still need to manage your space even if your compound is large enough. Think about how much food you will be grilling frequently as well. For instance, 65 to 80-square-inch grills may suffice if you are grilling for a small household. If you are cooking for a larger group, you should think about getting a larger grill.

 

Capacity

Most of the time, we assume that larger grills must also have larger capacities. It isn’t always the case, though. In actuality, even a very large grill may not have the capacity you require for grilling. Before making a purchase, it is crucial to carefully inspect the cooking area of your charcoal barbecue. You can’t tell how big the grilling area is just by glancing at it from a distance. Also, take into account how frequently your grill will be used. This is crucial since it will let you know how much food you can grill at once and prevent uneven heating.

 

Max. temperature

Your charcoal grill must reach a specific level of strong heat to be able to cook tougher foods like steaks, which require high heat to cook evenly and thoroughly. For quick and efficient cooking, your charcoal grill’s peak temperature should be around 700 degrees. However, your charcoal has reached its maximum temperature when it is reduced to blazing embers, which is at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

Heat Management Controls

In contrast to gas grills, which have adjustable flame controls that let you change the heat source, charcoal grills are typically difficult to operate. Charcoal grills typically have a damper control that lets you modify the amount of oxygen and, consequently, the amount of heat and fire in the grill. However, customizing the heat to your preferences requires more care than a simple turn of a knob. We were able to modify the heat supply quickly and effectively by discovering models that had enhanced control knobs.

 

Heat source

For lighting charcoal lumps or briquettes, a chimney starter or charcoal chimney is preferred. The best grilling accessory you can have is a charcoal chimney starter since it makes lighting charcoal so much more fun. It is made up of a metal tube that has a grate for holding charcoal. It is simple to use and fully does away with lighter fluid. The little grate keeps the fire starter (newspaper or cardboard) and coals apart so you can light one with the other. For anyone using a charcoal barbecue, a chimney is advised to start the fire more quickly and effectively.

 

Fuel type

It’s crucial to be aware of the kind of fuel source you have before you start grilling. This is because each fuel heats up differently; some take longer to transfer heat throughout the system. In either case, it comes down to personal preference.

 

The hardwood charcoal briquettes practically burn hot, but they also burn out almost as rapidly. They are nearly identical in size and form, making it relatively simple to make a smooth bed of coals. They tend to transmit heat to other members efficiently and hold onto heat for a very long time because they are of an even shape and size. As a result, charcoal briquettes should be your primary fuel source if you want to grill for an extended period or are likely grilling for a living.

 

The lump charcoal heats up similarly to the charcoal briquettes but faster. However, as soon as they reach their peak heat, they start to lose their heat even more quickly than the charcoal briquettes. This is because, in contrast to charcoal briquettes, they are not uniform in size and shape. They may, however, produce powerful heat that can quickly scorch and brown the top of your food. Therefore, you can think about using lump charcoal if you don’t want to grill for a long time, perhaps more than an hour. But if you do decide to grill for a very long period and you just have or like lump charcoal, be prepared to continually restock the charcoal to maintain a constant temperature.

 

Price vs. quality

In the long run, quality will guarantee your contentment, not price, which is crucial now. You should always choose a model that is economical, but does that guarantee effective grilling? Instead, seek out a reputable company that sells a convenient, pleasurable grilling product. Therefore, if you run a restaurant or other food-related business and utilize charcoal grills, you should probably choose the highest-quality brand, regardless of price.

 

Safety features

While grilling, it’s crucial to protect your skin from serious burns. To achieve this, the lid’s handle should be enclosed in wooden material and made to appear to be made of metal. Additionally, as wood and plastic are poor heat conductors, the handle of your grill box should be enclosed with one of these materials.

 

Ventilation

No matter how your charcoal grill is made, the area where the charcoal is placed needs to have adjustable holes in the bottom or the sides, depending on which way the charcoal is positioned. This will allow you to control how much fresh air is allowed into the chamber, ensuring that the fire can burn properly.

 

Easy to assemble and set up

You shouldn’t need more than 20 minutes to set up your charcoal barbecue, which should be pretty simple. However, it is generally best to prepare all the necessary ingredients before cooking; doing so will help you save time and feel less frustrated.

 

Easy to use

Charcoal grills add even more flavor to food, even though they aren’t as simple to use as gas barbecues. But if you start with a charcoal chimney and then arrange your ready-to-use coals in your grill, you may be able to make things a lot simpler. For a better experience, if you are using a charcoal grill for the first time, it is recommended that you ask a professional for help beforehand.

Our Picks For You

Best Pick - Weber Original Kettle Premium 22-Inch Charcoal Grill

Best Pick

Weber Original Kettle Premium 22-Inch Charcoal Grill

The Weber grill's cooking grate holds heat well and can be opened and closed to add charcoal conveniently.

This Kettle charcoal grill is available in the colors black, copper, and green. It also has upgraded features like a hinged cooking grate for adding charcoal to the grill easily while it is cooking. A One-Touch cleaning system with a large ash catcher enables a hassle-free grilling process from start to finish.

Buy Now for $219.00

Who It’s For

You can't go wrong with the Weber Original Kettle Premium 22-Inch Charcoal Grill, whether you're upgrading an old grill or getting your first one.

Why It’s Great

This high-end grill's cooking grate includes two movable edges that make it possible to add extra coal without having to lift the whole thing. The cooking grate on this Weber grill can accommodate up to 13 hamburgers at once, and the lid and bowl are porcelain-enameled for the best heat retention. Its side handles have tool storage, and its lid has additional heat protection below the grip.

Potential Flaws

Despite the model's lovely style, it's a bad thing that there isn't a side shelf. There should at least be a tiny shelf in the legs that can be used to store condiments, rubs, tools, drinks, and other items. We also observed that the wheels are undersized, which can present some mobility issues.

Other Features

While the heat shield on this Weber charcoal grill helps keep the handle on the lid from getting too hot, it also gives you the chance to hang your grilling accessories, such as spatulas and tongs, next to the handle for convenient access and work order. You can check the inside temperature and make adjustments thanks to the lid's built-in thermometer and dampers. In addition, the angled lid hook enables you to hang the grill's top on the side of the appliance, keeping it off the ground. While this grill comes in three different colors for you to select from, The cooking grate is made of plated steel and has a hinge that lets you add charcoal while you're cooking.
Compared to the basic model, which had a tray, this grill's enhanced ash catcher is considerably better. Even while the hinged grill's bigger holes make it simpler to add charcoal during indirect cooking, its One-Touch cleaning system and high-capacity ash catcher make ash cleanup simple and convenient.

Product Specifications

Product Dimensions LxWxH: 22.5 x 22.5 x 27 inches
Manufacturer: Weber
Weight: 32.3 Pounds
Model Number: 14401001
Material: Aluminum
Color: Black, Copper, Green

Runner Up - Lifesmart Kamado Ceramic Charcoal Grill

Runner Up

Lifesmart Kamado Ceramic Charcoal Grill

It is possible to grill, smoke, roast, sear, braise, and even bake using a Kamado charcoal barbecue.

Throughout the grilling process, this kamado charcoal grill will maintain heat and produce uniform convection-style cooking thanks to its high-heat ceramic construction. Cooking temperatures may be easily maintained in any weather because of the ceramic shell's exceptional insulating properties.

Buy Now

Who It’s For

The Lifesmart Kamado grill is the best option if you want something with a straightforward design, enough size, and a cooking area.

Why It’s Great

Throughout the grilling process, this kamado grill will maintain heat and produce uniform convection-style cooking because of its high heat ceramic construction. Cooking temperatures may be readily maintained year-round regardless of the weather outside because of the ceramic shell's superior insulating properties. The ceramic insulation of this grill suggests that it uses less charcoal as well. For better temperature control, this grill's top and bottom slides have precision adjustable dual vent temperature controls of high grade. Additionally, the convection cooking method eliminates flare-ups that result in burnt food and food falling through the grill.

Potential Flaws

Due to the materials used in its construction, it holds heat for a long time, which makes cooling take longer. Despite having extremely small wheels — even smaller than the Weber Premium — it weighs roughly 82 pounds, which may make movement challenging.

Other Features

This Kamado grill comes with a grill cover for safety when not in use, an electric starter to help jumpstart charcoal ignition, and an improved cart with locking casters for mobility around the deck or patio. Also, this charcoal grill provides two useful side shelves for storing utensils or grilling equipment while you are cooking.
With their built-in, simple-to-read thermometer, the dual vent temperature controls at the top and bottom vents make it possible to regulate the temperature. It takes only a few minutes to assemble this kamado grill.

With the 6-IN-1 Kamado Grill, you can smoke, grill, sear, roast, braise, and bake. By expertly sealing in the juices and maintaining the center at your preferred rare-medium or well-done finish, you may sear food on a grill that can reach temperatures of up to 800 degrees.

Product Specifications

Product Dimensions LxWxH: 22.5 x 35.25 x 38 inches
Manufacturer: Lifesmart
Weight: 82.8 Pounds
Model Number: SCS-K15CBAZ
Size: 15 Inches
Material: Alloy Steel, Ceramic
Color: Black

Most Cost-Effective - Weber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill

Most Cost-Effective

Weber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill

The Weber Jumbo Joe has dampers that make it simple to regulate the temperature within the grill.

This charcoal grill has an 18-inch cooking diameter and comes with a carry handle for convenience. You can regulate the temperature in the kettle with the help of the grill's steel cooking grates and dampers.

Buy Now for $89.00

Who It’s For

This Weber model is the best option if you're searching for a small, lightweight grill that is simple to move from location to location.

Why It’s Great

You have the option to grill up a quick lunch on your patio using the Weber Jumbo Joe. What makes it great is its small size, which has a larger grilling space and a handy carry handle. You can cook a good supper on this grill in practically any place. It fits inside any vehicle and is a wonderful option for the beach or a tailgate. There are good temperature control thanks to the movable dampers. You cannot expect more from a charcoal grill than that.

Potential Flaws

Despite having excellent mobility, this grill lacks a dome temperature probe compared to our other options. This suggests that You'll need to use your probe to determine the grill's ambient temperature. Additionally, because it lacks long stands, you'll need a high platform or table to set it on to avoid the risk of your food coming into contact with dirt or other objects.

Other Features

It is reasonably priced when you take into account a few different things, including its portability, large cooking space, build quality, and other things. This grill has a Tuck-N-Carry lid lock that also serves as a lid holder to prevent the lid from falling to the ground. Additionally, while this grill features an ash-catching tray, it can hold up to eight hamburgers at once because of the size of its grate.

From all of our recommendations, the Weber Jumbo Joe is the grill that is easiest to use. However, choosing lump charcoal over briquettes is recommended for a better experience when using this charcoal grill, especially at first.

Product Specifications

Product Dimensions LxWxH: 19.75 x 20.5 x 19.75 inches
Manufacturer: Weber
Weight: 17.41 pounds
Model Number: 1211001
Material: Alloy Steel
Color: Black

Almost Made The Cut Out - Dyna-Glo DGN486SNC-D

Almost Made The Cut Out

Dyna-Glo DGN486SNC-D

For precise heat control and cooking flexibility, the Dyna grill has a Charcoal tray adjustment mechanism.

An adjustable flue is a feature of this charcoal grill that allows for more temperature control. The front firebox and lid are double-walled to reduce heat loss and increase the effectiveness of the burn of charcoal. The huge capacity ash pan can be easily and quickly removed for cleaning.

Buy Now for $291.33

Who It’s For

In comparison to our other selections, this Dyna model gives you a larger cooking area if you frequently barbecue or want to host a large gathering.

Why It’s Great

You can regulate the cooking temperature on this Dyna Glo Heavy-Duty Charcoal Grill by raising and lowering the charcoal tray with the adjustment crank. By opening the steel access door on the grill's front, it is very simple to refill or relight the charcoal. Additional temperature control is provided through the smokestack's movable flue. With these cast iron frying grates, which cover a total area of 686 square inches, you can achieve the ideal sear on your steaks.

Potential Flaws

This grill gets cumbersome and a little challenging to move due to its size and the materials used in its construction. We also observed gaps in the basket, which could allow for chunks of charcoal to fall through and increase the cost of fuel.

Other Features

This Dyna-Glo grill has the following features: the temperature of the high-gloss, porcelain-enameled cast iron grates can be adjusted separately thanks to two movable charcoal trays. To obtain perfectly cooked dishes, it also contains a built-in stainless thermometer that provides accurate temperature control.

You can easily add more coals as needed or move them around while cooking because each of the two front doors gives you access to the two trays. Its ash tray is accessible for cleaning and is housed in a drawer beneath the charcoal trays. Additionally, the smoke stack can be altered to further manage temperatures and smoke.

Product Specifications

Product Dimensions LxWxH: 55.79 x 28.43 x 50.98 inches
Manufacturer: Dyna-Glo
Weight: 1.52 Pounds
Model Number: DGN486SNC-D
Material: Cast Iron
Color: Stainless

Care and maintenance

Do not use indoors

Grills with charcoal should never be used inside; they are only intended for outside use. In addition to combustion gases, carbon monoxide, an odorless gas, is also produced during the burning of charcoal. Since the grill has no chimney, when it is used indoors, the gases cannot escape but instead reach the surrounding air. The occupants of the space then automatically breathe in carbon monoxide through their regular breathing afterward.

 

Ensure adequate ventilation

As much airflow as you can give should be provided around your charcoal grill. This is crucial to do when grilling to prevent explosions and overheating, which might seriously damage your grill.

 

Adding and using different fuel types

Make sure you have a sufficient quantity of the fuel you plan to use before you start grilling. To prevent the heating process from being disrupted and the rate at which your food cooks reduced, this is to prevent grilling while improvising for a new sort of fuel. Additionally, if at all possible, ensure the charcoal box is completely free of the previous fuel before using a different fuel type.

 

Heat safety advice

Generally speaking, always read the handbook before using any equipment, like a charcoal grill. Never use or install a charcoal grill inside, on a boat, on an enclosed porch, under an overhang, or near anything that could catch fire. To avoid the unit tipping over while in use, always place your charcoal barbecue on a firm surface before setting it up and using it. Never handle charcoal while grilling if you aren’t sure if it’s lighted or hot; instead, use tongs and wear heat-resistant BBQ gloves to protect your hands.

 

Do not touch the grill directly

Because your charcoal grill’s entire system becomes extremely hot while you’re cooking, you must avoid touching any component of it with your bare hands lest you suffer severe skin burns.

 

Use tongs to handle food

In addition to risking serious skin burns, handling food with your hands can make it unclean and contaminated with germs. It is therefore advisable for you to use a tong.

 

How to clean

When brushing your grill and grates, use a light touch. If the grates have an extreme amount of grime and grit, use Goo Gone Grill & Grate Cleaner. Any flaking paint should be removed with a putty knife or stiff-bristle brush. After cleaning every part of the grill, put it back together.

 

How often to clean

Even while you might not have the time to give your charcoal a thorough cleaning, particularly if you use it frequently, you can simply ensure that food doesn’t adhere to the grate by brushing it off after cooking. To clean your charcoal grill thoroughly, use hot, soapy water and a stiff nylon brush or scrub pad. This should be done at the start and end of each grilling season, or at least once a year if you grill all year long.

 

Keep out of reach from children and pets

Keep your charcoal grills out of the reach of children and animals, especially when grilling, to prevent severe burns and injuries to their skin and fur, respectively. This is a safety and health practice.