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Best Charcoal Grills

The use of charcoal grills is gradually becoming a quintessential part of modern-day cooking. While gas grills have been the most common option in recent years due to their convenience, charcoal options are gaining popularity because they offer that unique flavor lacking in other models. Matt Moore, the author of Serial Griller, regards charcoal grilling as “kind of the next evolution where you sacrifice just a touch of convenience for so much more flavor.” For those new to grilling or looking to upgrade their equipment, this article offers a review of the best five (5) charcoal grills available in the market to help you narrow down your choice to a model that suits you.

#1 Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill – Overall Best

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The Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill is widely regarded as a classic model. Its stance at the top of the charcoal grill chain is due to its over six decades of continuous refinement, versatility, and outstanding durability. 

Pros

  • Easy to clean
  • Temperature control
  • Easily movable
  • Durable materials

Cons

  • Quite expensive.

Standing at more than 22 inches, the Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill is compact and big enough for grilling small and large meals. This premium version is set apart by its myriad of features, including a high capacity ash catcher that makes cleaning it pleasurable, and a porcelain-enameled lid and bowl that retains heat without rusting or peeling. 

There is a hinged cooking grate for easy addition of charcoal while grilling and a durable set of wheels that enable movement of the grill. It also has allocated spaces for the hanging of grilling utensils, heat shield handles, adjustable dampers, and a convenient lid placement mechanism that allows you to hook the lid without needing to place it on the ground. 

This model is currently available in three colors – black, copper, and green. The upgraded features of the Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill, coupled with its compact design and backed by numerous testimonies of user-friendliness and longevity, make it the overall best option. It comes highly recommended with promises of ease of use, maintenance, and long term reliability

#2 Cuisinart CCG Portable Charcoal Grill – Best on-the-go Option

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The Cuisinart CCG 190 Portable Charcoal Grill with its three secure lid locks is lightweight and one of the best transportable models available in the market today.

Pros

  • Easily movable
  • Safe to use
  • Lightweight (2 pounds)
  • Dual venting system

Cons

  • The handles may get hot

While being 14 inches tall, this product houses a 150 square inch chrome-plated grate capable of accommodating large amounts of food with evenly distributed heat. Its dual venting system is perfect for easy temperature control during grilling. It also possesses a mess-free ash catcher and an enamel coated firebox capable of withstanding the harshest grilling conditions. The entire part weighs just 2 pounds making it compact and ideal for transport. It is available in black and red finishes.

The lightweight and security of the Cuisinart CCG 190 Portable Charcoal Grill make it the appropriate choice for those intending to move it a lot. This grill is also suitable for small size grilling spaces.

#3 Char-Griller E1224 Smokin Pro – Best Dual Style Model

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This particular model is a double style option containing a traditional charcoal grill and an offset smoker, which may also be used for grilling.You can try a nice easy grilled chicken breast recipe with this.

Pros

  • Combination – charcoal grill and smoker
  • Large scale cooking surfacet
  • Easy cleaning
  • Temperature gauge
  • Easily Movable
  • Storage provision

Cons

  • Heavy 

The dual style nature of the Char-Griller offers the dual experience of grilled and smoked foods at the same time. Its double adjustable dampers are present for total and easy control of heat as required. Heat control is further facilitated by the two different distance levels between charcoal and food. It is easy to clean with its removable ash pan. This model also houses front, side, and underneath racks, making storage easy. 

Another notable feature on this grill is its portable two wheels designed for smooth movement. This product possesses several high-end features that make it more suitable for ample space and large scale grilling. It is ideal for persons who often host parties, get-togethers, or enjoy large scale cooking. 

#4  Texsport Heavy Duty Over Fire Camp Grill – Best Outdoor Grill

 

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The Texsport Heavy Duty Over Fire Camp is designed mainly for cooking outdoors over an open fire. This grill is available in three varying sizes; medium, large, and extra-large. 

Pros

  • Quite affordable
  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight
  • Meals are healthy and simple

Cons

  • No cove
  • Lacks precise temperature control measures

This model is a heavy-duty camp made of a sturdy steel frame that promises longevity. It is mainly designed for outdoor fire pits or campfires. Its legs fold up for secure storage, and it boasts of an extensive 36 by 18-inch grilling surface.

This easily transportable grill is the definition of outdoor cooking. While this model is suitable for use on campsites, it may be wise to stay away from this particular grill if you cannot use or have a problem with controlling open fires.

#5 Char-Broil Portable Tabletop Charcoal Grill

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The Char-Broil Portable Tabletop Charcoal Grill makes grilling a simplified process. It can be used indoors on a tabletop or outdoors on a flat surface.

Pros

  • Quite affordable
  • Easy to set up
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Heat-resistant handles

Cons

  • No ash catcher
  • No dampers or vents

This grill model is straightforward to set up, features heat-resistant handles, and boasts quality steel construction. It is also portable, easy to carry, and houses a 190 square inch cooking surface.

The Char-Broil Portable Tabletop Charcoal Grill is relatively small-statured, making it portable and suitable for small-sized grilling and small cooking spaces.

Benefits of Using an Instant Pot for Your Cooking

Bread knives may be used less frequently than chef’s knives and paring knives, but they play a very important role in the kitchen. Here are some key considerations for choosing the best bread knife for your needs.

Cuts time and energy: An Instant Pot is the exact opposite of a crockpot. It utilizes pressure in cooking foods, reducing the overall time spent in meal preparation. With it, the process involved in cooking soups, stews, and other meals is made less tedious and faster. Since it reduces the time of cooking by more than half, energy is saved and used more efficiently.

Maintains the taste and appearance of food: Using an open pot to cook, or frequently removing the lid when using stovetops reduces the flavor and color of food due to its exposure to air and heat. However, an Instant Pot is designed to be airtight, so the taste remains intact. The color of the food is maintained due to the steam that surrounds it and prevents oxygen from degrading it.

Retains nutrients and vitamins: In pressure cooking, heat is circulated evenly and quickly within the pot. As a result, much water is not needed when using an Instant Pot, and the vitamins in the food remain undissolved. These retained vitamins stay intact, offering nutritional benefits.

Destroys harmful microorganisms: The Instant Pot heats food at a very high temperature, higher than the boiling point of water. It helps kill off and eliminate any harmful microorganisms present. Due to this function, most people prefer using an Instant Pot to boil water and sterilize jars or bottles.

Reduces cost of feeding: An Instant Pot enables you to cook meals faster than it will take a delivery person to reach your doorpost. It is also a well-known fact that home-made meals are less expensive and more satisfying. Therefore, the Instant Pot reduces the cost of feeding by reducing the number of take-outs and fast foods you could have gone for in its absence.

Prevents waste of food: With a burn protection mechanism consisting of heat and pressure sensors, the Instant Pot can detect the exact time your food starts burning when left unstirred. It then sends a signal to the user and tends to shut down automatically to prevent further burning of food and possible wastage.

Quite economical: The Instant Pot is a multi-cooker with several functions. Also, each new model that is manufactured has extra features in addition to the previous ones. It functions as a slow cooker, pressure cooker, browning/sauté pot, steamer, warming pot, rice cooker, egg boiler, and yogurt maker. These variations in one pot make it well sought for as you end up having about six kitchen appliances in one unit.

Using a Charcoal Grill

Grilling can become a magical and fun way to prepare meals once you are conversant with the procedures involved in using a charcoal grill. For easy comprehension, these procedures are broken down here into three parts; getting the chosen charcoal ready, preparing the equipment for food, and cooking the food.

Part 1: Getting the chosen charcoal ready

There are two types of charcoals – the lump (hardwood) and the briquette charcoal. The choice of any usually depends on one’s preferred flavor. On the one hand, the lump (hardwood) charcoal burns hotter, faster and gives off a smokier flavor. On the other hand, briquettes ignite easily, burn steady, and fast for a long time.

  1. Fill sizable lump or briquette charcoal in a charcoal chimney (a metal cylinder with holes around it and a handle that allows you to place charcoals inside it). With a charcoal chimney, you do not need to use the often dangerous lighter fluid.
  2. Prepare a fire starter and place it at the bottom of the chimney. Your fire starter should preferably be a newspaper, dry twig, or leaves. You can also dip your fire starter into flammable liquids such as vegetable oil. 
  3. Ignite the chimney. Remember that the stack has a grate bottom, so it should be placed on a flat, fire-safe surface before lighting. A long match or igniter may be used to ignite the flames beginning from the fire starter, already placed at the bottom of the chimney, to the top. The charcoal should be left to burn for about 10 – 30 minutes depending on the desired heat level. It takes about 5 – 10 minutes for the coals to reach high heat and 20 -30 minutes to reach a medium heat. Preferably, the coals should burn until they are covered with white-gray ash.
  4. Dump the coals into the grills after lifting the grate. Placement of the coals should be in an even manner throughout to ensure thorough and fast cooking. 

Part 2: Preparing the grill for food

  1. Clean the grate. Before each cooking begins, the grill grate should be adequately cleaned. It often involves rubbing a clean rag dipped in water over the grill grate to remove dirt, grease, and previous food particles. Using a wet cloth is a better way of cleaning as particles come off quickly since the coals have heated the grill grate. 
  2. Add one or two handfuls of wood chips for extra smoke flavor.
  3. Apply a little oil on the surface (greasing) to prevent food from sticking on it.
  4. Place your food on the heated grill. Note that the grill must be allowed to heat up before food is placed on it. Fast-cooking foods should be placed directly over the coals, while those that take longer can be on the side to ensure they receive indirect heat and cook properly.

Part 3: Cooking the food

  1. If necessary, cover your grill. Fast-cooking foods can cook with the grill uncovered, but slower-cooking foods need the lid placed on the rack. Avoid opening the lid too often as it allows heat to escape. You may need to add more coal for foods that take longer to cook. 
  2. Utilize the dampers to regulate the temperature. The dampers can either be closed or open to facilitate heat control. Opening the dampers allows an in-flow of more oxygen, causing the coals to burn hotter while closing them brings about the opposite effect.
  3. Check the temperature of the food to ensure it cooks properly. It can be done using an instant-read digital thermometer, which lets you check your food’s internal heat. Once you are sure that your food is at the right temperature and thoroughly cooked, making it safe for eating, you should remove it from the grill.
  4. When cooking is over, close the grill, allow it to cool and dispose of the ashes.

Choosing the Right Charcoal Grill

After settling for a charcoal grill over a gas alternative or any other type, it now boils down to choosing the right model among the dozens of options available today. To ease your choice, consider the following factors:

  • Budget: Your budget is always a good starting point when considering picking a charcoal grill that meets your needs. Charcoal grills are available at various prices, ranging from as low as $20 to several hundreds of dollars. The cheaper grill is often not the best, so you may need to tweak your budget a little to enable you to pick a unit you would enjoy using for a long time. 
  • Purpose: The unit’s intended purpose remains the most fundamental element to consider when acquiring a suitable one. Your choice becomes suitable or even regarded as the best if it meets all your needs and requirements. You need to establish your needs and preferences to enable you to select the best one to perform the desired functions. A particular model satisfying for an individual may be unsuitable for another, so the basis for choice should always be your unique requirements.
  • Size of the grill and cooking area: Mainly, the size of the equipment is influenced by the size of the cooking area. It is also dependent on the number of people you expect to feed. Go for a larger one if you have much space to work with or a smaller one if you lack enough. Some experts also recommend measuring the area available to you before selecting a charcoal grill. Whether it is indoors or outdoors, in your backyard or an apartment patio, you should find a unit that fits in perfectly.
  • Additional features and accessories: You need to consider if it has features such as intake vents or dampers that allow you to control oxygen levels, and exhaust vents to let smoke and heat escape. These features enable you to control the grill’s internal temperature, which is a requirement for proper cooking. Grills with “adjustable-height” grates also offer more cooking control. You should also consider mobility, removable ash pans, trays, and other parts that ensure easy cleaning and enjoyable cooking experience. 
  • Quality: The overall quality of the grill determines its value, durability, and longevity. A good charcoal grill should remain intact irrespective of the frequency and amount of usage. High-quality models are usually made of thick metal with proper welding and often have removable parts.

Conclusion

Charcoal grilling is a popular and perfect way to spend time at home. This time can be better spent and enjoyed when you use the right charcoal grill for the job. While there are dozens of options to sort through, your choice should be tailored based on your requirements. Picking the right charcoal grill may be a hassle, but when you do, you are in for an enjoyable cooking experience.