Best Charcoal Grills of 2016

Looking for the best charcoal grills? We’ve done the work to provide you with charcoal grill reviews that are relevant and will help you decide which is the best charcoal grill for you. In this article we’ll talk about the grills we think are great examples of their class. Scroll down to read the summaries for each.

Best Charcoal Grill – Money Is No Object: Weber Performer Deluxe

Weber Performer Deluxe GrillIf you’re looking for quality, sparing no expense, then the Weber Performer Deluxe should be on your short list when looking for quality grilling. The Weber kettle look is unmistakable, but modern enhancements like a one-touch gas ignition for the charcoal, as well as an integrated timer and lid thermometer make this the ultimate charcoal grill for 2016. It has a grate to hold open the lid, so you don’t have to put it on the ground, a workspace shelf, excellent ash catcher, and two charcoal trays for indirect grilling. The unit is on wheels, with two being casters, for easy maneuverability. The bottom grate is perfect for storing extra charcoal or accessories. It tops the list for any charcoal enthusiast.

Read our review.

Best Price to Performance Charcoal Grill: Dyna-Glo Dual Zone Grill

Dyna-Glo Dual ZoneDyna-Glo is punching above their weight class with this grill. It competes with the high end grills, but comes in at a much more affordable price point. It’s not a cheap kettle grill, but it’s also much more affordable than the Weber Performer Deluxe. In some ways, its features may be more to your liking. Easy access to the coals via two hinged doors, excellent ventilation control for precise temperatures, and two charcoal trays, whose heights are independently controlled and can be adjusted even when hot. Like the Weber Performer Deluxe, two of its wheels are casters, which we like for easily moving our grills around, and a bottom grate for holding accessories. While it’s a great grill out of the box, a few extra modifications by some grilling enthusiasts make it an even better selection.

Read our review.

Best Kamado Style Grill: Char-Griller Akorn Kamado

Akorn GrillThe Big Green Egg may have started the revolution, but Char-Griller may have won the war with its name recognition and affordable price point. While there are several examples of more expensive products from companies like Kamado Joe, Pit Boss, and others, the Akorn grill delivers the fantastic experience of a Kamado grill without breaking the bank. By sheer weight of material alone, these grills are heavy for their size, and the thick gauge steel and porcelain make up the bulk of their heft. But they all function essentially the same, and deliver a smokey finish, along with a consistent grilling thanks to the radiant and indirect heat, as well as a chemical-free taste, since you can light the briquettes without lighter fluid. Add in free shipping from Amazon, and you’ve got a great option for charcoal grilling enthusiasts.

Read our review.

Best Portable Grill: Lodge L410 Pre-Seasoned Grill

Lodge 410 Grill - FrontBecause we couldn’t decide between this grill and the Quick Grill Medium, we decided to add another category: Best Specialty Grill, and awarded this category to Lodge. It’s a classic hibachi design, and it just oozes quality. It’s a bit heavy for a portable grill at 27 pounds, but it delivers in spades on performance. Since it’s pre-seasoned, you save a lot of time in setting it up and can use it right out of the box. The flip down door doubles as access to the coals, as well as controlling heat. Because it doesn’t have a lip, you can even use different size pans or pots, should you wish to turn it into a griddle or a way to boil water or make soup.

Read our review.

Best Specialty Grill: Quick Grill Medium by Fox Outfitters

Fox Outfitters Quick GrillWe were blown away by the simplicity and effective design, of which there are several manufacturers, but we’ve tested this grill and think it’s the ultimate accessory for campers. Its extremely light-weight design, coupled by its ability to fold into a handy carry bag, make it an amazing option for those on the go. The only downside is that the charcoal takes up more space, and weighs more than the grill itself! By design it acts as a charcoal chimney, so just light up some sticks beneath it, and let science do the rest. While we’ve not tested it, the Seasky Folding Grill folds into a metal carrying case that doubles as an ash catcher for instances where you’d need to collect and dispose of your ash. All in all, we think this entire category is fantastic, and the price is hard to beat. If you’re on an extreme budget, this could even be your go-to grill at home. We like it, and you will, too. Read our review.

Top 5 Tips for Charcoal Grilling

There are many substances that you can grill your barbecue with, such as propane, wood, and charcoal. However, charcoal is considered to be a favorite among many for the excellent flavor that it imparts into the food. While grilling with charcoal is relatively easy to carry out, there are several tricks of the trade that add to the final product. This article will offer five tips for grilling with charcoal to make for an excellent barbecue.

1) Understand the different grilling methods: The food that you are cooking will significantly impact the amount of time that you spend cooking it over charcoal. Some foods will cook very quickly like shrimp and any type of seafood, while others need an extensive cooking period such as corn and thick cuts of meat. Other meats will benefit from a longer and lower cooking temperature so be aware of how you want to cook eat piece of food (and more importantly for how long) that you are cooking over charcoal before you start grilling it for the best result. To avoid burning or undercooked food, use a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature. Check out our guide on the best meats for grilling, and check out our food temperature guide for safety. Before you run out and buy charcoal, read our guide on lump charcoal.

2) Arranging Your Charcoal: Your charcoal should be arranged in a way to create a strong central pit in the center, and with enough charcoal to reach the edges of your grill if you will need to use the entire surface area of your grill. Be sure to keep in mind the needs of your barbecue and don’t be afraid to add additional charcoal if you need to. In the center of your grill arrange the charcoal in a pyramid to keep a solid heat source and to heat the edges of your grill. Be sure to check out our charcoal briquette, lighting, and fire guide.

3) Cooking with Residual Heat: When you arrange your charcoal try to use the benefits of residual heat in your cooking. The center of your grill will be quite hot but the edges will still be able to cook food by using the residual heat from the center flame. Many foods cannot handle the direct flame and should be cooked using the residual heat from the center.

4) Using Wood Chips and Charcoal: What many people associate with barbecue is the smoky flavor that is common in southern barbecue styles. While charcoal grilling does not impart these same flavors to your barbecue food, you can create a smoky barbecue using charcoal by using wood chips that you place over the charcoal. Place the wood chips in aluminum foil and poke some holes in the top of the foil. Add a small dish of water, or be sure to wet the wood chips beforehand so smoke emanates from the substance and let the heat from the charcoal smoke the wood chips to add the smoky flavor to your barbecue.

5) Avoiding a Mess: Charcoal is a messy substance to cook with and proper precautions should be taken to avoid a real mess. Use a grill with an ash catcher, if possible, or be sure to use tongs and proper canisters to clean the grill surface and leftover ash to avoid a real mess. Have a plan in place before you start cooking and the tools and disposal techniques ready beforehand for the best results.

Cooking with charcoal can create a delightful meal, but can be challenging to perfect and a bit messy. Try using the aforementioned tips to help create an excellent charcoal grilled meal.