Best Charcoal Grills for Large Crowds: Top Picks and Buying Guide

Charcoal grilling is a classic way to cook up delicious meals for a large crowd. The smoky flavor and sear marks that a charcoal grill can provide are unmatched by other types of grills. However, choosing the right charcoal grill for your needs can be a daunting task. With so many options on the market, it can be overwhelming to decide which grill is the best fit for your specific situation.

When it comes to grilling for a large crowd, there are a few key factors to consider. Temperature control, cooking space, and ease of use are all important features to look for in a charcoal grill. Additionally, a durable construction and easy cleaning process can make all the difference when it comes to maintaining your grill for years to come. In this article, we will explore some of the best charcoal grills on the market for cooking for a large crowd, taking into account factors like performance, value, and ease of use.

Best Overall Charcoal Grills

When it comes to finding the best charcoal grill for large crowds, there are a few factors to consider, such as cooking space, durability, and ease of use. After researching and testing various models, we have determined that the following two grills are the best overall charcoal grills for large crowds.

Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill

The Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill is a classic choice that has been trusted by grill enthusiasts for decades. It is a versatile grill that can cook for a large crowd with its 363 square inches of cooking space. The grill is made of porcelain-enameled steel, which makes it durable and easy to clean. The lid has a built-in thermometer that allows for accurate temperature control, and the dampers can be adjusted to control the airflow.

One of the standout features of the Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill is its One-Touch cleaning system. This system allows for easy ash removal, making cleanup a breeze. The grill also has a hinged cooking grate, which makes it easy to add charcoal while cooking.

Expert Grill 22 Superior Kettle Charcoal Grill

The Expert Grill 22 Superior Kettle Charcoal Grill is a budget-friendly option that still delivers excellent performance. It has a cooking space of 363 square inches, which can accommodate a large crowd. The grill is made of porcelain-coated steel, which makes it durable and rust-resistant.

The Expert Grill 22 Superior Kettle Charcoal Grill has a built-in thermometer in the lid, which allows for precise temperature control. It also has adjustable dampers that can be used to control the airflow. The grill has a removable ash pan, which makes cleanup easy.

One of the standout features of the Expert Grill 22 Superior Kettle Charcoal Grill is its built-in bottle opener, which makes it easy to crack open a cold one while grilling. Overall, this grill is an excellent choice for those who want a high-performing charcoal grill without breaking the bank.

Best Portable Charcoal Grills

When it comes to outdoor cooking, charcoal grills are a popular choice due to their smoky flavor and ease of use. For those who love to entertain large crowds, a portable charcoal grill is a must-have. Here are some of the best portable charcoal grills that are perfect for cooking for large groups.

Weber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill

The Weber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill is a top-rated portable charcoal grill that can cook up to 8 burgers at once. It features a 22-inch cooking grate and a porcelain-enameled bowl and lid that are designed to withstand high temperatures. The grill also has a rust-resistant aluminum damper that allows for easy temperature control.

One of the best things about the Weber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill is its portability. It weighs only 18 pounds and has a convenient Tuck-N-Carry lid holder that allows you to easily transport the grill to your favorite outdoor cooking spot. The grill also has a durable plated steel cooking grate that is easy to clean.

Overall, the Weber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill is a great option for those who want a portable charcoal grill that can cook for a large group. Its durable construction and portability make it a great investment for outdoor enthusiasts.

If you want to compare the Weber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill with other portable charcoal grills, check out our guide to the best portable charcoal grills.

Best Value Charcoal Grills

When it comes to feeding a large crowd, finding the right charcoal grill can be a difficult task. However, choosing a grill that is both affordable and high-quality can make all the difference. In this section, we will take a look at two of the best value charcoal grills on the market.

Weber Original Kettle Premium 22-Inch Charcoal Grill

The Weber Original Kettle Premium 22-Inch Charcoal Grill is a classic choice for anyone looking for a reliable and affordable grill. This grill is made of high-quality materials and is built to last. It features a porcelain-enameled lid and bowl, a hinged cooking grate, and a built-in thermometer.

With a cooking area of 363 square inches, this grill can easily accommodate large cuts of meat and vegetables. It also has a one-touch cleaning system that makes it easy to clean up after use. Overall, the Weber Original Kettle Premium 22-Inch Charcoal Grill is a great value for anyone looking for a reliable and affordable charcoal grill.

Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 Digital Charcoal Grill + Smoker

The Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 Digital Charcoal Grill + Smoker is a versatile and affordable option for anyone looking for a charcoal grill that can also smoke meat. This grill features a digital control panel that allows you to set the temperature and monitor the cooking process.

With a cooking area of 560 square inches, this grill can easily accommodate large cuts of meat and vegetables. It also has a built-in hopper that can hold up to 10 pounds of charcoal, making it easy to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the cooking process.

Overall, the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 Digital Charcoal Grill + Smoker is a great value for anyone looking for a versatile and affordable charcoal grill that can also smoke meat.

Most Versatile Charcoal Grills

When it comes to versatility, Kamado grills are often the top choice for many grill enthusiasts. These grills are designed to retain heat and moisture, making them ideal for a wide range of cooking techniques, including smoking, grilling, baking, and roasting. Here is a closer look at Kamado grills and why they are a top pick for those looking for a versatile charcoal grill.

Kamado Grills

Kamado grills are a type of charcoal grill that is made from ceramic or other heat-resistant materials. The design of these grills allows them to retain heat and moisture, which makes them ideal for a wide range of cooking techniques. Here are some of the benefits of using a Kamado grill:

  • Versatility: Kamado grills can be used for smoking, grilling, baking, and roasting, making them one of the most versatile charcoal grills on the market.
  • Heat Retention: The thick walls of a Kamado grill allow it to retain heat and moisture, which helps to keep food moist and tender.
  • Fuel Efficiency: Kamado grills use a small amount of charcoal compared to other charcoal grills, which makes them more fuel-efficient and cost-effective.
  • Temperature Control: Kamado grills allow for precise temperature control, which makes it easier to cook a wide range of dishes.

One of the top Kamado grills on the market is the Kamado Joe Classic III. This grill features a multi-level cooking system, a built-in thermometer, and an ash drawer for easy cleanup. Another popular option is the Big Green Egg, which is known for its durability and versatility.

Overall, if you are looking for a versatile charcoal grill that can handle a wide range of cooking techniques, a Kamado grill is a great choice. With their ability to retain heat and moisture, precise temperature control, and fuel efficiency, Kamado grills are a top pick for grill enthusiasts who want to take their outdoor cooking to the next level.

Best Splurge Charcoal Grills

When it comes to hosting a large crowd, you want to make sure that you have a grill that can handle the job. A splurge charcoal grill is not only a great investment but also a great way to impress your guests with perfectly cooked food. Here are some of the best splurge charcoal grills on the market.

Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill

The Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill is a top-of-the-line grill that is perfect for large crowds. It comes with a 22-inch porcelain-enameled bowl and lid that can hold up to 13 burgers at once. The grill also has a built-in thermometer that allows you to monitor the temperature of your food with ease.

One of the standout features of the Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill is the Touch-N-Go gas ignition system. This system makes it easy to light the charcoal, and it eliminates the need for lighter fluid. The grill also has a large work table that can be used for food prep or as a serving area.

If you’re looking for a splurge charcoal grill that is both functional and stylish, the Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill is an excellent choice. It’s built to last, and it will make your next barbecue a huge success.

Charcoal Grill Basics

Charcoal grills are a popular choice for outdoor cooking and are perfect for large crowds. They come in various sizes and designs, but the basic concept remains the same – using charcoal to cook food over an open flame.

One of the most important factors to consider when using a charcoal grill is temperature control. Charcoal grills can reach high temperatures quickly, but it’s important to maintain a consistent heat level to ensure that food is cooked evenly. This can be achieved by adjusting the amount of coals used and controlling airflow through the vents or dampers.

The lid of a charcoal grill is also a crucial component in temperature control. It helps to trap heat and smoke, which can enhance the flavor of the food. Additionally, some charcoal grills come with built-in thermometers to monitor the internal temperature of the grill.

When it comes to cleaning, charcoal grills can be a bit more challenging than other types of grills. However, some models come with features like ash catchers and removable grates to make cleaning easier. Stainless steel grills are also a popular choice for their durability and ease of cleaning.

The design of a charcoal grill can vary greatly, from the classic kettle shape to more modern cart-style grills with shelves and storage space. Consider your specific needs and preferences when selecting a charcoal grill.

Overall, charcoal grills offer a unique flavor and experience that can’t be replicated by other types of grills. With proper temperature control and cleaning, they can be a great addition to any outdoor cooking setup.

Charcoal Grill Cooking Techniques

When it comes to cooking with a charcoal grill, there are several techniques that you can use to achieve different results. Whether you’re cooking for a large crowd or just for yourself, these techniques can help you get the most out of your grill.

Searing

Searing is a technique that involves cooking food at a high temperature for a short period of time to create a caramelized crust on the outside while keeping the inside moist and juicy. This technique is perfect for steaks, lamb chops, and pork shoulders.

To sear your food on a charcoal grill, you’ll need to create a hot zone on the grill by piling the charcoal on one side of the grill and leaving the other side empty. Once the charcoal is hot, place your food on the hot side of the grill and cook it for a few minutes on each side until it’s browned and crispy.

Indirect Cooking

Indirect cooking is a technique that involves cooking food away from the direct heat of the charcoal. This technique is perfect for larger cuts of meat like ribs, brisket, and pork shoulders, as well as for smoking salmon and chicken.

To cook food indirectly on a charcoal grill, you’ll need to create a two-zone fire by piling the charcoal on one side of the grill and leaving the other side empty. Once the charcoal is hot, place your food on the empty side of the grill and close the lid. This will create an oven-like environment that will cook your food slowly and evenly.

Slow Cooking

Slow cooking is a technique that involves cooking food at a low temperature for a long period of time. This technique is perfect for brisket, pork shoulders, and other tough cuts of meat that need to be cooked low and slow to become tender and juicy.

To slow cook on a charcoal grill, you’ll need to create a two-zone fire by piling the charcoal on one side of the grill and leaving the other side empty. Once the charcoal is hot, place your food on the empty side of the grill and close the lid. This will create an oven-like environment that will cook your food slowly and evenly.

Rotisserie

Rotisserie cooking is a technique that involves cooking food on a spit that rotates over the heat of the charcoal. This technique is perfect for chicken, lamb, and pork shoulders.

To cook on a rotisserie on a charcoal grill, you’ll need to attach the spit to the grill and place your food on the spit. Once the charcoal is hot, turn on the motor and let the spit rotate over the heat. This will cook your food evenly and give it a delicious smoky flavor.

In conclusion, these charcoal grill cooking techniques can help you achieve different results when cooking for a large crowd. Whether you’re searing steaks or slow cooking pork shoulders, using these techniques can help you get the most out of your grill.

Charcoal Grill Features

When it comes to choosing a charcoal grill for a large crowd, there are a few features that can make all the difference. Here are some of the key features to consider:

Adjustable Damper

An adjustable damper allows you to control the airflow inside the grill, which in turn controls the temperature. This is essential for achieving the perfect cook on your food. Look for a grill with an adjustable damper that is easy to use and allows for precise temperature control.

One-Touch Cleaning System

Cleaning up after a big cookout can be a hassle, but a grill with a one-touch cleaning system can make the process much easier. This feature allows you to easily remove ash and other debris from the grill, making cleanup a breeze.

Offset Smoker

An offset smoker is a great feature to have if you want to add a smoky flavor to your food. This type of grill has a separate chamber for smoking wood chips, which infuses your food with delicious smoky flavor.

Pellet Grills

Pellet grills are a newer type of grill that use wood pellets for fuel. They offer the convenience of a gas grill with the flavor of a charcoal grill. Look for a pellet grill with a wide temperature range and easy-to-use controls.

Propane Ignition System

A propane ignition system allows you to quickly and easily light your charcoal grill without the need for lighter fluid or matches. This is a convenient feature that can save you time and hassle.

Built-In Lid Thermometer

A built-in lid thermometer allows you to monitor the temperature inside the grill without having to open the lid. This is essential for achieving the perfect cook on your food.

Cast Iron Grates

Cast iron grates are a great feature to have if you want to achieve perfect searing and grill marks on your food. They are also durable and easy to clean.

When choosing a charcoal grill for a large crowd, consider the features that are most important to you. Whether you want a smoky flavor, easy cleanup, or convenient controls, there is a grill out there that will meet your needs.

Charcoal Grill Brands

When it comes to charcoal grills, there are a few brands that stand out from the rest. In this section, we will take a closer look at two of the most popular brands: Char-Griller and Weber.

Char-Griller

Char-Griller is a brand that is known for producing affordable, high-quality charcoal grills. Their grills are made from heavy-duty steel and come in a variety of sizes and styles to suit different needs.

One of their most popular models is the Char-Griller Super Pro Black Barrel 30-Inch Charcoal Grill, which is a great option for large crowds. It features a large cooking surface, adjustable charcoal grates, and a built-in temperature gauge to help you get the perfect cook every time.

Another great option from Char-Griller is the Akorn Jr. Kamado Kooker Charcoal Grill, which is a more compact option that still packs a punch. It features a triple-walled insulated design that helps to retain heat and keep your food juicy and flavorful.

Weber

Weber is another well-known brand in the world of charcoal grills, and for good reason. Their grills are known for their durability, performance, and versatility.

One of their most popular models is the Weber Original Kettle Premium 22-Inch Charcoal Grill, which is a classic option that is perfect for large crowds. It features a large cooking surface, adjustable dampers for temperature control, and a built-in ash catcher for easy cleanup.

Another great option from Weber is the Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill 22-Inch, which is a more advanced option that comes with a built-in gas ignition system for easy lighting. It also features a large work surface, a built-in thermometer, and a removable ash catcher for easy cleanup.

Overall, both Char-Griller and Weber offer a range of high-quality charcoal grills that are perfect for large crowds. Whether you are looking for a classic option or a more advanced model, you are sure to find a grill that meets your needs from one of these trusted brands.

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