Best Charcoal Grills for Your Summer BBQs

Charcoal grilling is a favorite pastime for many of us. It brings out the best flavors in food, giving a smoky taste to meats, vegetables, and even fruits. When we think of summer cookouts and backyard parties, the image of a glowing charcoal grill often comes to mind.

Charcoal grills, unlike gas or electric versions, use charcoal briquettes or lump charcoal as a fuel source. This requires a bit more effort to get started, but many believe the rich, smoky flavor is worth it. Whether you are a seasoned griller or just starting out, finding the right charcoal grill is essential to making the process enjoyable and the results delicious.

When shopping for a charcoal grill, it’s crucial to consider factors like size, material, ease of cleaning, and design. Think about how much cooking space you need and whether the grill can maintain stable temperatures. Features like adjustable vents and ash catchers can significantly improve the grilling experience.

We tested and researched several charcoal grills to find the ones that make grilling simple and fun.

Best Charcoal Grills

We’ve gathered some top-notch charcoal grills for you. Let’s get ready to fire up the best of the best right here!

Royal Gourmet Charcoal Grill

A great addition to any backyard, it’s versatile and easy to use.

Pros

  • Large cooking space
  • Adjustable charcoal pan
  • Includes a grill cover

Cons

  • Assembly can be tricky
  • Not the most durable
  • Limited storage capacity

Using the Royal Gourmet Charcoal Grill has been a satisfying experience, especially with its spacious cooking area. The 811 square inches of grilling space is more than enough for our family gatherings. We love the adjustable charcoal pan, which makes managing the heat quite easy.

While we appreciate the included grill cover that protects the grill from rain and sun, assembling the grill was a bit challenging. It took us longer than expected due to unclear instructions and several re-dos. Despite the effort, it was worth it.

The durability could be better, as some parts feel a bit flimsy after extended use. Storage is also limited, but the convenience of the front and side tables somewhat makes up for it. Nonetheless, we’ve enjoyed many delicious meals thanks to this grill.

Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill

This grill is perfect for those who love the classic flavor of charcoal-grilled food with the convenience of modern features.

Pros

  • Easy-to-clean ash catcher
  • Hinged cooking grate for adding charcoal
  • Built-in thermometer for temperature control

Cons

  • Wheels and legs are not very sturdy
  • Assembly can be challenging
  • Some parts feel cheaply made

Using the Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill has been a delightful experience. The hinged cooking grate allowed us to add more charcoal without a hassle, making long grilling sessions much smoother. Cleaning up was a breeze thanks to the One-Touch cleaning system and the high-capacity ash catcher.

Grilling with this Weber has consistently produced delicious results. The porcelain-enameled lid and bowl retained heat well, ensuring our meals were cooked evenly. Plus, the built-in lid thermometer gave us great control over the cooking temperature.

While the grill is fantastic, we did find some downsides. The wheels and legs felt a bit flimsy, making it tricky to move around. Assembling the grill also took some time and patience. Despite these issues, the grilling performance makes this Weber model a strong contender for anyone serious about barbecue.

Royal Gourmet CC1830 Barrel Charcoal Grill

This grill is a versatile choice for outdoor cooking enthusiasts who crave authentic smoky flavors.

Pros

Cons

  • Assembly instructions could be clearer
  • Paint may peel over time
  • Thin metal construction

We had a fantastic time using the Royal Gourmet CC1830 Barrel Charcoal Grill for our weekend cookout. The large cooking area was a big hit because it let us grill multiple items at once. Adjusting the fire grates made cooking more controlled and enjoyable.

One thing we noticed is that the material felt a bit thin. The provided assembly instructions could have been more straightforward, but we managed to put it together without too much trouble. The side table was really handy for holding our grilling tools.

Cleanup after cooking was a breeze thanks to the removable charcoal pan. While some paint started to peel after a few uses, the overall performance made up for it. Enjoying time with family and friends around this grill made our meal even more special.

Ninja Woodfire ProConnect Grill

This versatile grill is great for anyone who wants to enjoy different cooking methods with ease.

Pros

  • Easy to use and set up
  • 7-in-1 functionality
  • Real woodfire flavor

Cons

  • App connectivity issues
  • Requires electricity
  • Bulky size

Cooking with the Ninja Woodfire ProConnect Grill is a joy. Setting it up was a breeze, and the fact that we can control it from an app is a game changer. It’s amazing being able to monitor two different meats at the same time, especially when grilling for a crowd.

The woodfire technology really shines through. We loved the smoky taste it added to our BBQ. The variety of cooking methods available means we can grill, smoke, bake, and even air fry all in one device. It’s great for small get-togethers and big family cookouts.

One thing to keep in mind is the need for electricity, which might limit where you can use it. Also, some of us had trouble with the app connectivity, which was a bit frustrating. Despite these issues, we found the overall cooking experience to be top-notch.

Char-Griller® Patio Pro Charcoal Grill

This is a fantastic choice for anyone with limited space who loves grilling.

Pros

  • Compact and easy to move
  • Cast iron grates cook evenly
  • Simple ash cleanup

Cons

  • Paint may peel without proper seasoning
  • Limited grilling area
  • Wood shelf can be prone to wear

Our recent experience with the Char-Griller® Patio Pro Charcoal Grill left us impressed. It’s small and fits perfectly on our patio. Despite its size, the grill delivers exceptional taste and functionality.

The cast iron grates are a game-changer. They cook food evenly, which means no more half-burnt, half-raw meals. The easy dump ash pan is a blessing, making clean up quick and hassle-free.

We did notice the paint starting to peel after the first use, but this is easily avoidable by properly seasoning the grill. The wood shelf is handy, though we think it might wear out over time.

Everdure Round Cast Iron Grill

This grill is perfect for anyone looking for a compact, durable, and versatile grilling option.

Pros

Cons

  • Quite heavy, making it less ideal for frequent moving
  • Cleaning can be a bit tedious
  • Limited cooking surface for larger gatherings

We’ve been using the Everdure Round Cast Iron Grill and it’s a game changer for our small gatherings and picnics. The first thing that stands out is its solid construction. This grill is built like a tank with its 100% cast iron body. It certainly feels like it can withstand years of use without showing much wear.

One of the best features we found is its portability. Despite its weight, the built-in carrying handles make it relatively easy to move around. We’ve taken it to a couple of tailgates and it performs just as well as our home grill.

The way this grill holds heat is impressive. Once it heats up, it stays hot for a long time. This results in perfectly cooked steaks and veggies every single time. Cleaning, though, can be a bit cumbersome, especially after a long cookout, but it’s manageable with the right tools and a bit of patience.

Overall, we think the Everdure Round Cast Iron Grill is a fantastic choice for anyone needing a reliable and portable grill. Its durability and heat retention make it ideal for small group cooking, though it might not be the best for larger parties.

Weber Performer Premium Charcoal Grill

Great choice for anyone who loves grilling with charcoal and wants added convenience features.

Pros

Cons

  • Assembly can be a bit challenging
  • Heavy and requires some effort to move
  • Charcoal is not included

This grill stands out with its sturdy build and premium feel. The heavy-duty steel cart and porcelain-enameled bowl ensure it will last through many BBQ seasons. We especially liked how everything felt solid and well-built.

The cooking area is large enough to handle up to 13 burgers, making it perfect for family gatherings or parties. The side table is super handy for prepping and holding utensils. Plus, the tuck-away lid holder is a lifesaver when you need to check on your food.

One of the best features is the one-touch cleaning system. It makes ash cleanup quick and painless. The built-in charcoal bin keeps your fuel dry and ready to use. If you want a reliable and practical grill, this one is definitely worth considering.

Weber Performer Charcoal Grill

The Weber Performer Charcoal Grill is a fantastic choice for anyone who loves the flavor of charcoal-grilled food and wants convenient features.

Pros

  • Powerful grilling performance
  • Built-in thermometer
  • Handy work table and tool hooks

Cons

We were impressed by the powerful performance of the Weber Performer Charcoal Grill. It heats up quickly and maintains a steady temperature, thanks to its excellent heat retention. Grilling with this model ensures that our food comes out perfectly cooked every time.

The built-in lid thermometer is a game-changer. It lets us keep an eye on the internal temperature without lifting the lid, which is crucial for maintaining heat. The work table provides ample space for prep and keeping essential tools within reach.

On the downside, the grill requires some assembly, which might not be ideal for everyone. It is also fairly bulky, so it may not be the best fit for those with limited outdoor space. Additionally, dealing with charcoal can be a bit messy when it comes to cleanup.

Despite the minor drawbacks, the Weber Performer Charcoal Grill remains one of our favorite choices. Its thoughtful design and superior grilling capabilities make it worth considering for anyone serious about grilling.

Buying Guide

When choosing a charcoal grill, there are several key factors we should consider to find the best one for our needs.

Size and Cooking Area

The size of the grill matters a lot. Small grills are good for small gatherings, while large grills can cook lots of food at once. Think about how often we host barbecues and how many people we usually invite.

Build Quality

We should look for grills made from durable materials. Stainless steel and porcelain-coated cast iron are great choices. They resist rust and last a long time, even when left outside.

Ventilation System

A good ventilation system helps us control the cooking temperature. Look for grills with adjustable vents. This lets us manage the air flow and heat more easily.

Portability

If we plan to take our grill on trips, portability is key. Look for grills with wheels and ones that are easy to set up and take down. Compact and lightweight grills are perfect for camping or tailgating.

Grill Features

Many grills come with extra features that make cooking easier. Look for:

  • Ash Catchers: For easy clean-up.
  • Thermometers: Built-in for precise cooking.
  • Side Tables: For extra prep space.

Budget

Charcoal grills come in a wide price range. We should set a budget before shopping. More expensive grills often have more features and better build quality, but there are also great options at lower prices.

Feature Importance
Size and Cooking Area Essential for group size
Build Quality Affects longevity
Ventilation System Temperature control
Portability For on-the-go grilling
Grill Features Enhances convenience
Budget Determines available options
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