The Benefits Of A Charcoal Barbecue
Getting started is always more of an issue with charcoal but dont feel like you need to resort to firelighters or lighter fluid . Invest in an affordable charcoal chimney, which allows you to light them with just a few sheets of newspaper, funneling oxygen up through the coals. Then its simply a case of pouring them onto the grill and youll be ready to cook in 20-30 minutes.
Versatility is really the key here with the consistent radiant heat helping you along the way. You can sear really hot and fast , slow-cook large cuts indirectly and place produce directly into the hot coals, though wed recommend wrapping in foil.
Indirect grilling, which is cooking slowly with the heat source to the side of the produce , is also more viable thanks to the radiant heat. The simplicity and space of the grill will allow you to play with wood smoke, choosing whole pieces of hardwood, or chunks, as well as the more conventional chips.
Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill
For McManus, this 22-inch grill is the best buy when it comes to budget-friendly yet reliable charcoal grills. It’s the same grill as the Performer, but without the cart and other features, she said. It’s a classic for a reason. You can do basic grilling, or fancy stuff like smoking or barbecue or grill-roasting, no problem.
The porcelain-enameled lid and bowl are both rust- and heat-resistant and the grate is 363 inches and holds up to 13 burgers. Weber grills get the most bang for your buck, agreed Shoults. Any of the basic Weber Premium Kettle grills can get the job done. These grills get to your desired grilling temperature, distribute heat evenly and easy to clean up.
Americana Swinger Charcoal Grill With Two Side Tables
This square-shaped, portable unit would be right at home at the beach or state park. With a cooking surface spanning 332 square inches, its fairly large for a travel grill, but lightweight enough to be transported easily. A uniquely designed charcoal tray allows the food to cook thoroughly, without allowing the fire to burn through the bottom. The air vents are well-positioned for maximum airflow, and the cooking grid can be placed in six different positions. Two folding side shelves give you plenty of room for the mustard and ketchup.
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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
Weber Original Kettle Premium 22
The ample and effective ash management system is the best reason to consider this offering from Weber, one of the giants in the industry. With the touch of a lever, you can release the built-in ash can, then dispose of the residue inside without having to get your hands dirty. The component also has a generous capacity, so you dont have to worry about ash removal during long cooking applications.
The porcelain-enameled steel bowl and lid are well ventilated and easy to care for, with a four-hole damper situated on the top. The grilling grate measures 22 inches in diameter, giving you 363 square inches of cooking space. The lid is also equipped with a built-in thermometer, which is an especially impressive perk when you consider the reasonable price.
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Should You Buy A Gas Grill Or A Charcoal Grill
When buying a new grill for your home, theres a debate that always comes up: Should you buy a gas grill or a charcoal grill? Its an argument that nobody wins and, if you have picked your side, appears never-ending.
Both options are good and have unique benefits: charcoal highlights flavor while gas offers convenience. Gas is easier to use charcoal needs a bit of patience and experience. Charcoal is for the weekends gas is to use after work.
So, which should you choose? It depends on what your expectations and preferences are and how you expect to use it. Read on for more information on gas and charcoal grills, the pros and cons of both and to see some of our favorite products on the market.
Pellet Grill Vs Electric Grill
Electric grills are somewhat different than other types of grills because they need to be plugged in to work. However, this can make them a viable choice for people who live in apartments and cant have gas or charcoal grills on their back decks or patios. In fact, some electric grills are so small that they can be used in an enclosed kitchen.
With that being said, electric grills are not necessarily right for all occasions or buyers who want to grill food. Check out the pros and cons of electric grills vs. pellet grills below.
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Gas Barbecue Prices And Brands
Price is no guarantee of quality, which is why our barbecue reviews are the best place to find out just how good a barbecue is. You could pay less than £50 or well into four figures for a gas grill.
In general, the more expensive a gas barbecue is, the more features you get.
To make sure you buy from a brand that is reliable and wont need replacing too soon, check out our barbecue brands guide. We routinely survey consumers about the barbecues they own and the problems theyve faced with them, so you can make sure to get a barbecue that can be relied on.
How To Use Charcoal
Almost as hotly debated as what works better, is the question does proper charcoal really make a difference? As explained above, charcoal barbecues allow you to cook with more versatility, allowing you to build up great flavourful crusts, as well as cooking low-and-slow for hours .
However, if you arent opting to use real wood for burning or smoking, then naturally-lit lumpwood charcoal imparts little to no extra flavour to what youre coooking.
On the other hand, briquettes, made from compressed biomass including coal dust, leftover charcoal, paper and sawdust, are often laced with additives that help them burn, which can impart an unpleasant chemical hint to your food as it cooks. However, they are convenient, easy-to-find, quick to ignite and provide a long, consistent burn.
With all this in mind, its helpful to buy the best quality charcoal you can afford, and to tailor it to your cooking. Cheaper lumpwood will often be smaller and so will burn too quickly for anything other than burgers, whereas more expensive charcoal will come in larger chunks and is best for slow-cooks.
Furthermore, there is also an environmental consideration. Many of the larger charcoal producers are sourcing trees and biomass from all over the world often putting cost considerations above quality and ethical, renewable sourcing this is particularly an issue with briquettes.
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And How To Choose The Right Grill For Your Home
Gas versus charcoal. Every year there are dozens of articles on the same subject. Gas is so convenient! Charcoal gives you smoke flavor! Gas grills are more expensive! Charcoal doesn’t cook as long! Yadda yadda yadda. In the past, I’d tune it all out. I had only enough space and money for one grill, and that was a charcoal-fueled Weber kettle. The decision was already made for me, not that I would have had it any other way.
I understand where the charcoal snobs are coming from. Really, I do. I used to be one. I was one of those folks who swore up and down that I’d never get a gas grill. That I might as well be cooking indoors if I started cooking on gas. That the price of a gas grill compared to a charcoal grill made it an absolute no-brainer.
It must have been my destiny to eventually fall to the dark side, because I have fallen, and I’ve fallen hard. With a new yard and a little bit more space now that I’ve moved out to the suburbs, earlier this summer I finally did the unthinkable and got myself a gas grill. With the blessing of our friends at AmazingRibs.com, I took the advice of our own Guide to the Best Gas Grills and picked up a Broil King Baron.
Let’s get down to brass tacks.
Charcoal Grill Features To Shop
A charcoal grill is similar to a gas grill in that its typically used for direct grilling, where food is cooked directly over high heat, explained Robbie Shoults, co-owner of Bear Creek Smokehouse. The main difference is the heat source: A gas grill uses several gas burners, while a charcoal grill is powered by charcoal. But that doesnt mean all charcoal grills are built the same there are many other standout features to keep in mind while comparing different models:
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Kamado Joe Classic Ii Ceramic Grill
This is a kamado-style grill, which means that it features an egg-shaped cooking chamber and a ceramic construction for superior heat retention. A built-in thermometer is built into the lid, which is equipped with a latch to help retain flavor and moisture. This is important for any grill, but essential for a kamado model, since the lid is usually kept closed throughout the cooking process.
The Classic II measures 18 inches in diameter, which gives you 254 square inches of cooking space on the main grill. However, this unit also features Divide and Conquer cooking technologya multi-level system that allows you to cook at more than one temperature at a time. When you include the grill extender and second shelf, youll end up with a total of 660 square inches of space. The grill has a temperature range of 225 to 750 degrees Fahrenheit, making it a good fit for everything from smoking to searing.
Impact On Final Flavor
Words used to describe the flavor imparted by charcoal: smoky, rich, earthy.
Words used to describe the flavor imparted by propane: There are none. Propane is naturally odorless which has an additive that does have an odor to alert users to leaks. By contrast, being made from wood, charcoal has a suite of aromatics.
What people like about charcoal is that the rich, meaty taste of a steak is given an added depth of flavor from the smoke.
Propane can only give you a cooked version of the meats flavor. For Joshua Bousel of SeriousEats, the sight of smoke coming from a gas grill only reminded him of the smokey flavor that couldve been, if only it had been a charcoal grill. Seasoning will have to provide any additional flavor you may want to have.
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Buying Gas For Your Barbecue
Make sure you check the instructions on your gas barbecue before buying fuel for it. It will need one of:
Most gas barbecues use propane, and will come with the right regulator attached, which is the valve you connect up to your grill. The valve will usually need screwing on, but green canisters have clip-on valves, which are easier to attach.
The more burners you use, the more gas you will use, but as a general guide a 13kg canister of propane will fuel a three-burner grill for around 15 hours.
You can buy gas canisters and refills at some DIY stores, garden centres, petrol stations and specialist retailers. A small deposit of around £30 is usually required to rent a canister, and the fuel itself will cost roughly the same.
Returning the canister once youre finished will get your deposit refunded, and if you bought it they can be recycled free of charge too.
Ready to buy a gas barbecue? Go straight to our Best Buy barbecues to see the best grills you can buy.
How To Cook Ribs On A Charcoal Grill
The best method for cooking delicious ribs on a charcoal grill is to prepare them low and slow for a long time. This gives the collagen and tough meat time to break down and enables the meat to have that classic fall off the bone texture.
Heres a video that we recommend to watch to learn how to cook ribs.
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Best Overall Charcoal Grill
- Extremely versatile with cooking methods
- Size an issue if grilling for a crowd
- Built-in thermometer isn’t accurate enough to use
When you talk about charcoal grilling, you start with Webers kettle. The brand continues to represent the ideal mix of performance and price. Its customary porcelain-enameled steel body is sturdy enough to lock heat in and light enough to tow around without throwing out your back. Its construction is such that moving parts, screws and levers are kept to a bare minimum, which means it lasts much, much longer than other grills under $200.
This is the slightly suped-up version of the classic Weber kettle, and if you’re going to be charcoal grilling often, the one you want. The biggest difference between the original and the premium versions is the latter’s ash catch, which makes cleanup significantly quicker and more tidy. Another bonus of investing in Weber kettles is the vast collection of aftermarket accessories you can get for one.
Using the grill, the ovoid shape shape is immediately useful. Using a rectangular grill, the edges of the grill are usually off-limits to most food, because when you close the angled lid it brushes up against the food, and the edges are typically cooler. The Weber’s dome lid doesn’t have these issues. The shape also allows you to get creative with your coal placement and with what you’re cooking. Consider the snake charcoal placement method for low-and-slow smoking, or a more traditional two-zone setup.
Charcoal Grills: Pros And Cons
Why people love charcoal grills. Charcoal purists are passionate and border on rabid. They who would never ever never no how no way own a gas grill.
But as we have seen, from a taste standpoint, they do have a point. The best reasons to buy a charcoal grill is that charcoal can get hotter than standard gas grills without infrared burners, and heat is what you need to get steaks and lamb chops crisp on the outside while keeping them red or pink on the inside. In addition, charcoal, especially before it is fully lit, emits stronger smoke flavors that impact food more the longer it cooks. When fully lit and ashed over, and for short cooks like steaks and burgers, there isnt a lot of smoke. But that smoke flavor is still soooooo gooooood.
If you use a lot of coals or if the coals are raised close to the cooking surface, they can blast food with up to 800°F or more. When I get my hands on top quality lamb or beef, I use bricks to raise the charcoal grate on my Weber Kettle close to the meat, pile the coals deep, and the result looks and tastes as good as anything you can get at a white tablecloth steakhouse. My favorite charcoal grills, the Hasty Bakes, have a crank that let you raise and lower the charcoal bed, perfect for searing.
Yes, it is the flavor, but for me, a lot of the fun is the ritual and the thrill of playing with fire.
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You Can Grill More Food
Instead of spreading yourself thin over two appliances, you and dedicate your time and energy on just one.
Combo grills tend to be generously sized, with some on the list above offering two separate cooking spaces to cook over. This allows you to be extremely time efficient, cooking larger batches of food at once.
The Negatives Of A Gas Barbecue
This pinpoint precision has its pitfalls, reducing the overall radiant heat . Because they lack the even blanket of heat of a traditional charcoal barbecue, many gas barbecues try to compensate with added tech . However youll still struggle with heat retention and find it difficult to build flavourful crusts on larger cuts.
Further, gas burns cooler than charcoal, restricting the efficiency of the heat.
You will be limited when it comes to indirect cooking and/or smoking. Imparting wood smoke will also be slightly more tricky, with soaked wood chips above the flames being your only real option.
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