How The Charcoal Smoker Works
A charcoal smoker works by heating the meat at a constant temperature for several hours at a stretch. Unlike standard grills that rely on high-heat grilling to cook within a few minutes, a smoker takes many hours to cook the meat at consistent temperatures. This indirect cooking fills the meat with a strong smoky flavor.
The best vertical charcoal smoker essentially has four parts: firebox, water chamber or water pan, cooking chamber, and lid. You fill the firebox with charcoal and it generates heat. Most lump charcoal products will give you between 3 to 6 hours of burn time, and with briquettes, you can bump that up to 8 to 10 hours. To add more interesting flavors to the meat, you could add wood chips, like cherry and alder wood, to the coal.
The water chamber or water pan sits on top of the firebox and directly below the cooking chamber where the meat is kept. It ensures that the meat doesnt receive direct grilling, and three-fourths of it is to be filled with cold water. Since it takes more time for the water temperature to alter, the cold water serves as temperature control and keeps the meat soft and moist. And once it heats up, the steam from the water further aids in cooking the meat. You could also add oregano or rosemary to the water to add another layer of flavor to the meat.
Best Choice Products 18
On a budget? Not to worry, Best Choice Products have got you covered. With less than $45 dollars, youll get your own grill so you can host your friends this weekend right in the backyard. This Best Choice Products 18-inch Charcoal Grill is crafted using steel. Though its light-weight, itll still deliver enough to serve as much as 4 people at a time.
Supporting the grill unit are four strong legs with two of them, furnished with wheels for easy movement if you dont feel like lifting the grill. At a finished weight of a little over 11 pounds, this super lightweight charcoal grill is easy to move from the garage to the back of the house or even to the car. Its compact design will make it fit right into the trunk if you want to use the grill at a location away from home.
Furthermore, it comes with a lid-holder feature, a thoughtful design that eliminates awkwardness and hassles while dropping and lifting the lid every time you need to access your food. Thats not all, you also get to control the airflow through the lid-mounted vent for the effective running of the grill unit. Theres equally an ash collecting pan just underneath the grill, making maintenance easy. To be able to make great grilled food inside your kitchen, check out our selection of the best indoor grills, and pick your favorite.
Can only grill small foods at once
The Best Affordable Charcoal Grill With Smoker Upgrade: Slow ‘n Sear Kettle Grill
Courtesy of SnS Grills
Speaking of Slow ‘N Sear, this company was built on their innovative charcoal insert, mentioned above. It’s a high quality, stainless steel accessory that instantly upgrades Weber kettles and many other round, charcoal-burning cookers by enhancing two-zone separation and intensifying sear power. Toss in some wood chunks and smoke ribs low and slow on the opposite side over smokey, indirect heat. In addition to the enhanced performance for low-and-slow smoking, Slow ‘N Sear creates a super sear zone when filled with red hot charcoal.
Recently, they changed the company name to SnS Grills and introduced their very own Slow ‘N Sear Kettle Grill. Aside from the Slow ‘N Sear insert, their kettle is similar to Weber’s cart-mounted Performer Charcoal Grill with a few noteworthy upgrades, like a high quality stainless steel cooking grate and covered port for threading a digital temperature probe onto the cook surface. If you add the cost of a Slow ‘N Sear insert to a Weber Performer the Slow ‘N Sear Kettle is about the same price. This makes it a solid package deal that’s definitely worth the consideration of folks on the lookout for a new charcoal burner.
Also Check: Weber Genesis Ii Cleaning
Pk Grills Original Charcoal Grill & Smoker
PK Grills is known for doing charcoal grills right. While the line has expanded into advanced models like the PK360 and more compact options like the PKGO, the Original Charcoal Grill & Smoker is still a highly-rated pick that rightfully earned its spot as best overall. It has a unique capsule shape and four vents that allow you to control the temperatureopen all the vents for high-heat cooking or leave a couple closed to grill low and slow. You can also create two-zone cooking areas that let you slow cook your steak and then finish it off over high-heat for the perfect charred finish. The entire capsule is constructed of aluminum, which conducts heat four times more efficiently than steel, ensuring that heat is properly dispersed throughout the capsule. Plus, it has 300 square inches of cooking surface so you can feed a crowd if you need to.
Master Cook Bbq Propane Gas Grill
This Patio Garden Barbecue Grill is the perfect way to cook up your favorite meals while enjoying the great outdoors. The gas grill offers plenty of cooking space, and when you’re finished cooking, the grill folds up for easy storage. Plus, the side tables provide a convenient place to prepare food or set drinks. This 3 burner propane gas grill is perfect for anyone who loves to cook outdoors! The three stainless steel burners put out 30,000 BTUs each, so you can cook up a feast quickly and easily. And the chromium plating on the control knob will keep it looking good for years to come. Plus, the foldable tables and heavy-duty wheel casters make it easy to move around, so you can take your grilling wherever you go!
Don’t Miss: Weber Platinum Grill Parts
Broil King 958050 Offset Smoker Grill
This offset smoker allows for hours of low and slow smoking, so you can get truly perfect ribs, brisket, pork shoulder and more. The smoker can also be used as a secondary grill, allowing you to cook at different temperatures simultaneously or to just cook more food at once. As for the primary grilling area, its 625 square inches of space served us even when cooking for a group of more than 20. Dual dampers and a chimney allow for precise airflow control, while each chamber has side doors and ash trays that make adding more charcoal and cleaning out ashes easy.
Best Grills In : Gas Charcoal And Pellet Compared
Genesis II S-335 Smart Grill
Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill 22-inch
Spirit II E-310 Gas Grill
Deluxe Four Burner Gas Grill
Gourmet CD1824E 23-inch Charcoal BBQ Grill
36″ Griddle Cooking Station with Accessory Side Shelf
Patio Bistro Tru-Infrared Electric Grill
The best grills will cook up succulent, seared meals that will have crisp and tasty results. Be it throwing on some steaks or rustling up a grilled feast for the family to enjoy, the best grill should be powerful, reliable and easy to use. It also needs to suit your cooking needs, lifestyle and budget. But with so many different types of grill available, it can often be tricky to know which one is right for you.
Before you buy, there are some things to consider first. Do you want a gas, electric or pellet grill? What different features does it offer? Finally, what is the price? The best grills can cost from as little as $100 to over $1,000, so you need to factor in your budget.
To help you decide, weve rounded up a selection of the best grills to suit every backyard and budget.
- Check out how to sharpen a knife
Read Also: Grill Pork Temperature
What To Look For When Buying A Charcoal Barbecue
- Size: Depending on the style, some barbecues can cater for large gatherings and others are best suited to two people. Coal distribution will also affect cooking capacity. For example, sometimes it’s easier to distribute your coals and achieve even direct heat in barrel barbecues than in dome-bottomed kettle models.
- Number of cooking grills: Using inserts or shelves to move food away from the main heat is for more delicate dishes. The closing of the hood helps the food to cook evenly without too much fuss so lessens all the turning and moving, and means you are free to socialise.
- Adjustable air vents: These will feed your coals with air and allow you to change the cooking temperature beneath a cooking hood.
- Heat thermometers: Not a standard feature on many models, but particularly handy if you’re cooking meat joints and wanting to reliably achieve the same cooking results over and over.
Charcoal Vs Gas Grills
The debate over whether gas or charcoal grills are better is often a heated one. And as time goes on and technology improves, it has become harder and harder to discern a clear winner. There really isnt one to be honest.
The truth of the matter is that whether you should buy a gas grill or a charcoal one depends on how much time you have and what you cook most of the time.
Lets have a look at the pros and cons both these types of charcoal grills to help you decide:
- It cannot be denied that some cuts of meat will be tastier cooked over charcoal smoke.Unless you have a high end gas grill with an infrared burner, charcoal grills are going to be better at searing your meat.
- High quality charcoal grills these days are made with ease of use in mind, with design features that make grilling over them easier than you would expect.
- Cooking with gas is fast and convenient. The grill will be up to temp in 5-10 minutes, and cleanup is a simple affair compared to charcoal
- Temperature control on a gas grill is far more straightforward than charcoalSome smoke flavor can be introduced with the addition of wood lumps or chips, however for quicker cooks the flavor they produce is often not discernible.
It is also worth noting that when cooking fatty, marbled cuts, charcoal can be prone to flare ups if the fat drips onto the hot coals. All in all, you are going to have to keep a closer eye on your food when cooking over charcoal.
Read Also: Grill Pork Chops Temp
Best Charcoal Grills In 2022 Buying Guide And Reviews
This guide reviews the best charcoal grills with different price points, sizes, and features to find the top picks to suit most people. From Kettles and Kamados to portable grills and some capable of smoking, read on to explore our top picks.
In this article we embark on a deep dive look for the best charcoal grill, taking into account the mix of features, pros and cons, and price, to find what we consider the top models to suit different people and needs.
We walk you through our hand-selected top picks for best overall charcoal grills in a few categories, then go over the specific things you should have in mind when shopping for a charcoal grill.
Well then take a quick look at why we have a long-time love affair with charcoal grilling despite the fact there are easier and quicker ways to cook.
In short, weve done the legwork for you, so sit back, relax, and read on!
At a Glance: The Best Charcoal Grills Reviewed in this Guide
- Best Overall: Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill, 22-InchThe classic Weber kettle elevated for the modern age, with improved hinged cooking grates, ash catcher for easy clean up and more. It can grill and smoke, the original Swiss army knife of outdoor cooking. At this price, it takes our pick as best overall charcoal grill.
- Patented TRU-Infrared technology provides unmatched searing power, even cooking and impressive temperature control for a charcoal grill.
Weber Original Kettle Charcoal Grill 22
At $119, Weber’s original, kettle-style charcoal grill continues to stand the test of time. In our high-heat searing tests, Weber delivered the best balance of seared exterior and medium-rare interior steak. The Weber kettle grill gave us tasty chicken too, with crispy chicken skin. The Weber can also smoke low and slow at a rock-steady cooking temperature. That translated to seriously flavorful ribs.
Simple construction means there aren’t too many parts to assemble or too many features to handle while cooking. A vent on the lid controls airflow and a well-designed ash tray beneath the Weber grill facilitates easy cleanup.
We tested the 22-inch Weber charcoal grill in black, but Weber also offers an 18-inch version of its original kettle design. There are certainly fancier and more expensive grills to use for cooking, but for a balance of affordability and quality, you can’t go wrong with this classic. This is the best charcoal grill overall.
Recommended Reading: How Long Does It Take To Grill Boneless Chicken Breast
What Are Some Things One Should Look For In A Charcoal Grill
If youre thinking of getting into grilling, you have come to the right place. There are certain features that are available in quality charcoal grills that you should look out when to buy one.
For instance, good charcoal grills come with strong, reinforced cooking grates. These grates are coated with a protective layer to ensure they can survive high temperatures. When looking into grills you should check the material of the grates. Another feature good grills share is built-in heat gauges which you can use to adjust the heat. These grills also usually come with a temperature probe you can use to check food doneness.
You should also check where the ash in the charcoal grill deposits during use. Quality charcoal grills now feature an ash pan that collects the ash. This can is removable so you can easily clean it out.
Royal Gourmet Cd1824e 23
Best barrel charcoal grill
Reasons to avoid
If you want to do more than sling hot dogs and burgers on your charcoal grill, the Royal Gourmet is ideal. It has a crank that lets you raise and lower the charcoal pan to help control the heat. When you want to quickly grill brats, move the coals right below them. To slowly smoke a side of salmon without flare-ups, lower them.
Theres even a door underneath the grates that makes it easy to keep adding charcoal as the hungry crowd thickens. Plus youll find you need a lot of charcoal to keep the Royal Gourmet burning, so make sure you stock up before the party starts.
Unlike on a kettle-style grill, this model has side tables to hold your tongs and trays and platters. Youll also find a thermometer in the lid to give you a rough idea as to how hot it is under the grill, a warming rack thats helpful for heating buns, and an easy to remove ash tray. Below the grill theres a bottom shelf to keep extra charcoal or a roll of paper towels.
Don’t Miss: Weber Flavorizer Bars Cleaning
Best Charcoal Grills Buyers Guide
If youve made up your mind that you want to buy a charcoal grill, and if you are a newcomer to grilling, the main thing you need to consider is what kind of things are you going to be using your grill for. Will it be used to grill your standard hotdogs and burgers, or do you want to grill some fat juicy steaks? You may want to try some smoking! Regardless of what youre using it for, you need to identify the reason youre buying it before you click that add to cart button. You should also consider your budget and how much you can justify spending, or even how much you want to spend. Finally, think about the space you plan on giving to your grill.
Weber 44070001 Spirit Ii E
Weber 44070001 Spirit II E-210 is built to fit small spaces, and packed with features such as the powerful GS4 grilling system, iGrill capability, and convenient side tables for placing serving trays. Its the perfect size to grill up a couple of burgers for everyone in the family, but also chicken and steaks.
Don’t Miss: Best Way To Clean A Stainless Steel Grill
Flaws But Not Dealbreakers
The 22-inch Weber Original Kettle Premium is short. The grates are just 27 inches from the ground. Compare that against the standard kitchen-counter height of 36 inches, and you quickly grasp the reality we experienced: Its a literal, if passing, pain in the ass to spend a lot of time working over the grates. Granted, you spend 90 percent of your grilling time standing around waiting for stuff to cook, not leaning over the coals. But the Napoleon, which we otherwise didnt love, is a generous 34 inches in height at the grate, and that made it a pleasure to work on. Given Webers attention to engineering details, we suspect the low height is by design. For the same reason, we believe Weber could do things differentlyand better.
The Weber grill has three legsan inherently stable design, because having three points of contact means the legs will automatically find their level even on bumpy ground. That said, the Napoleon models four legs felt just as stable, and more stiff, on a garden-variety concrete patioand also allowed Napoleon to install a big, square shelf underneath the grill. The Weber grill has a smaller, triangular shelf, but its far less useful.
Finally, the Weber model doesnt come with a grill cover. We think every grill should, even though most dont. Weber sells one for its 22-inch kettle for about $40.
Read Also: Where Is Serial Number On Weber Grill
Other Charcoal Grills We Tested
When it comes to cooking area and price, youd be hard-pressed to beat the RiverGrille Stampede Charcoal Grill. Its massive with 700 square inches of cooking space that can fit 24 burgers and its domed lid is tall enough to fit a beer can chicken underneath of, when closed. The grill also has a very wide, removable warming rack, which adds an additional 300 square inches to the cooking area.
The heavy-gauge steel construction is solid this thing doesnt even wobble a little. Not only that, but we loved the addition of a side and front table, and it was the only grill we tested that had a grease catcher. The coal bed was pretty heavy to move around , but you could set it to three different height settings to move the coals closer or further from the grates. While the grates didnt have any hinges, there were two of them and it was easy enough to lift one up to access the coal bed below.
If we had a complaint, it was that the grates didnt have sufficient crossbars to keep thin asparagus from falling through, but it was easy enough to turn them perpendicular since the grill has so much cooking area! We also werent stoked that the coal bed doubled as an ash bucket its long shape made it cumbersome to dump out the old ashes. But, overall, we were pretty happy with this grill, especially if youre cooking for a large crowd.
Adjustable heights for coal bed
You May Like: How To Clean Char Broil Grill Grates