The Best Charcoal Grills For Year-Round Outdoor Cooking

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Cooking outdoors over the open flames or in smoldering charcoal has been a thing since humans discovered fire. A grill – much like a camp fire – brings people together. You don’t fire up the grill for a meal for one but you definitely use it for family meals, weekend parties with friends, and special days like the 4th of July, birthdays, anniversaries, and more. Outdoor kitchens with modern charcoal grills become the heart of the home during the summer, offering the ideal opportunity to spend some quality time with loved ones over good food and cool drinks. With so many options to choose from, finding the perfect grill for your home may not be easy. That’s why we have gathered some of the best charcoal grills you can buy right now, with products that offer the right blend of function and elegant design.

Why choose a charcoal grill?

Before we delve into the selection, let’s talk about charcoal grills and why they’re the best choice to prepare flavorful, mouth-watering food.

Unlike gas grills, charcoal grills create smoke that permeates the food and gives it an unmistakable flavor. Adding oak or hickory wood to the mix can enhance the flavor profiles further, while heating up the charcoal to a higher temperature can easily sear the outside of meat and keep the interior juicy. Charcoal grills also offer the option to create multiple cooking zones by dividing the charcoal to create low heat and high heat areas.

There are also a wide range of products available, designed for both experienced cooks who are looking for high-end designs and beginners who maybe prefer a more versatile, convenient grill. Optional features include everything from smoker trays to extra work surfaces and griddle plates. While primarily designed to give food incredible flavor, modern charcoal grills are also made with style in mind. Whether inspired by nature and desert animals, vintage designs, or futuristic machines, finding a creative charcoal grill that looks as good as it performs is easier than you think. Especially with our list. Our selection features all the main types of charcoal grills. Here you can find elegant takes on classic kettle grills, barrel grills, or Japanese-style Kamado grills. Regardless of designs, all of these products offer an easy way to cook great food for family and friends.

How hot do charcoal grills get?

One of the advantages of charcoal grills is their ability to reach higher temperatures compared to gas grills. Charcoal can heat up to 700 degrees Fahrenheit with the right amount of oxygen, which is great for food like corn on the cob or steaks. Closing the lid and opening up a vent reduces that heat to around 500 degrees, or medium. Most grills have the option to reduce that temperature further with secondary vents, but you can also arrange the charcoal to create high heat and low heat areas.

What are the best charcoal grills?

The best charcoal grills are the ones that offer a balanced blend of function, convenience, versatility, and high-end design. High-quality products that stand up to the test of time offer many years of use, similarly to those designs that allow you to cook various foods at once. The best grills have practical features like adjustable venting systems, removable or adjustable grills, food prep areas, and portable designs with casters. Ultimately, the best charcoal grill for you is the one that perfectly suits your needs, cooking style, and outdoor space.

Are charcoal grills safe?

Like many tasty things, charred food and meat cooked on charcoals may contain carcinogenic substances. When cooking food in smoky environments for longer, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCA) form. Both of them are listed as carcinogens by the U.S. Department of Health. However, you can cut down the risk. Partly cooking the food indoors before grilling it outdoors, marinating the meat before cooking, or grilling the food on indirect heat can all reduce the amount of PAHs in charcoal grilled food.

What should I look for in a charcoal grill?

  • Size. When buying a charcoal grill you should first decide whether you want a compact grill that fits on a smaller terrace or a larger design that you can use to cook huge meals for family and friends.
  • Style. Charcoal grills come in three main designs. Kettle is a classic choice and usually more affordable, ceramic is the most expensive but multifunctional, while barrel is ideal for smoking
  • Function. From digital control panels to multi-level cooking areas and easy-clean systems, you can find the perfect design for your needs.
  • Versatility. The best charcoal grills can be used to cook a wide variety of foods, often at the same time. Look for multiple cooking areas, multi-level grills, and larger grills that can fit voluminous items such as a whole turkey.

What is the healthiest charcoal to use?

If you’re not an avid charcoal grilling fan, it may come as a surprise to find that there is more than one type of charcoal you can buy for your grill. Apart from charcoal briquettes, you can also find hardwood lump charcoal, flavored briquettes, and the more rare Thai charcoal and Binchotan charcoal. Look for all-natural, hardwood charcoal to ensure a clean burn and buy products that don’t have a lot of fillers. Better products made with quality hardwood charcoal don’t create excessive ash, while denser hardwoods that burn cleanly provide better flavor. Lump charcoal doesn’t have additives or fillers, as it’s made by simply burning pieces of hardwood in a low-oxygen setting.

 

Noori V01

A concrete grill with two grill levels.

Bring a modern charcoal grill into your garden with the Noori V01. Featuring a refractory concrete build and wooden accents, this grill will make any terrace or garden look more stylish. The best charcoal grills are multifunctional, like this one. Designed with a two grills, Noori V01 also comes with a pizza disc that can be used to make delicious pizzas in minutes or even to bake bread. This product has an ingenious build that combines a refractory concrete body with enameled steel tubes that form the ingenious Rocket System, ensuring that the grill retains heat better for longer and also saves fuel. Other features include a built-in thermometer, reclaimed wood side handles and top handle, and casters with brakes on two wheels.

Arteflame Classic 40’’ Grill

An elegant, Corten steel grill.

If you like the look of minimalist, modern charcoal grills, you’ll probably fall in love with the Arteflame Classic 40’’ Grill. Made from Corten steel, this design will add an industrial accent to any garden and terrace. Apart from its good looks, this grill also offers a convenient way to cook different foods at the same time. The grill works with either charcoal or wood. The flames heat up the carbon steel cooking surface from the center, which means that the user can prepare foods at a higher or a lower temperature. An optional sizzle grate can expand the cooking surface further. Plus, the removable cooktop provides an easy way to convert the grill into a fire pit. Made in the USA, this grill is crafted to last and to be effectively maintenance-free and suitable to use outdoors all-year-round.

Weber Original Kettle

A simple and practical design.

Made with convenience in mind, the Weber Original Kettle Premium charcoal grill is a great choice for a modern garden space. This stylish grill has a rounded body and comes with two casters for easy portability. Manufactured with a porcelain-enameled bowl and lid, it retains heat perfectly and never rusts or peels. Upgraded features from the original design include a hinged cooking grate that allows the user to add charcoal while grilling and the practical One-Touch™ cleaning system with an integrated, high-capacity ash catcher. Other features include a built-in thermometer, a lid hook, and tool hooks. The Weber Original Kettle Premium charcoal grill comes in Black, Copper, or Green.

Shokunin Kamado Grill

A ceramic grill inspired by a traditional Japanese stove.

Celebrating tradition, the Shokunin Kamado Grill draws inspiration from the Japanese Kamado cooking stoves that use either wood or charcoal. This design is contemporary and distinctive, so it’s an ideal choice for adding a touch of style to an outdoor living space. Made from stainless steel, the grill features an ipe wood base and handle that add more warmth to the sleek design. The tall grill boasts three levels for multi-zone cooking and provides an easy way to cook food perfectly and enhance flavors. The heavy insulation can maintain a heat of 225° for up to 65 hours but keeps the exterior of the grill cool to the touch. The cross-ventilation system allows for more precision while cooking. Finally, the three different levels allow the user to use this product as a smoker, oven, or grill.

Everdure by Heston Blumenthal

Turn up the heat with a touch glass display.

Designed by renowned British chef Heston Blumenthal, Everdure puts the focus on function and convenience. However, that doesn’t mean that the grill sacrifices aesthetics for practical features. Like the best modern charcoal grills, this product scores high points on appearance with a retro-style design. Everdure features a die-cast aluminum and thick gauge metal body with a special insulation layer that reduces heat transfer between the interior and the surface of the grill. The 4K airflow control system boasts top and bottom vents for a more balanced flow of air, while the six probes provide temperature data to the touch glass display. This grill comes with all the accessories you need to start cooking:  two enamel grills, two stainless steel grills, a pizza stone, a water container, and two types of tongs. Everdure also works with a custom app which you can access through Bluetooth.

Oklahoma Joe’s Judge Charcoal Grill

A versatile grill with a large cooking area.

The best charcoal grills let you cook food to perfection. Oklahoma Joe’s Judge Charcoal Grill does just that and it also offers a huge cooking area. Made with a heavy gauge steel build and thick cast iron grates, the Judge is rugged and durable. It features a height-adjustable tray that lets the user cook food quickly on high heat or slower on a lower heat. Thanks to the larger air dampers, the grill allows for better and more accurate airflow control, while the temperature gauge with glow-in-the-dark accents offers more precision over the cooking process. The cooking space provides plenty of room for around 18 burgers or 12 steaks. This charcoal grill also features a removable ash pan for easy cleaning, a rubber handle grip, and two wagon-style wheels.

Skara’B

A creative design inspired by scarabs.

Designed by Mahdi Naim Design Lab for Moroccan company Fours Afifi, Skara’B draws inspiration from scarabs. Considered sacred in ancient Egypt, these insects are also perfectly adapted to the heat of the desert landscape. Sculptural and distinctive, this modern charcoal grill has an artistic silhouette reminiscent of a scarab’s shell. The grill is also compact, which means that it takes minimal space on a patio or garden. Skara’B has a hexagonal shape and comes with a stainless steel base and corrosion resistant wheels. The lid has a stainless steel valve that allows the user to adjust the airflow, while the bottom of the grill boasts a removable cylinder that collects the ash. These charcoal grills come in a range of bright colors, including fuchsia, red, blue, and yellow.

PK Grills PK360 Grill & Smoker Classic

A charcoal grill with an all-aluminum cook chamber.

Made with an aluminum cook chamber, the PK360 Grill Smoker Classic offers something different compared to steel grills. As aluminum conducts heat four times more efficiently than steel, this grill disperses the heat more evenly. Thus, food cooks uniformly, whether it’s a piece of meat or some veggies. PK360 also features 4 radial vents that give fantastic control over the airflow inside the bullet-shaped chamber. Designed with a larger cooking area, this charcoal grill also has more headroom inside the capsule compared to standard grills, which means that it can easily cook a Thanksgiving turkey. Other features include a cylindrical ash catcher, two side shelves for food prep or tools, and a rust-proof aluminum build that ensures durability. The The PK360 Grill & Smoker Classic comes in two neutral colors: Silver or Graphite.

Spark Grill

A stylish and convenient charcoal grill.

Keeping food quality and amazing smoky flavor at the forefront of its design, the innovative Spark Grill combines a charcoal grill with the precision of oven cooking and the convenience of gas BBQs. This ingenious design features a custom Briq charcoal system that gives food the distinct flavor of smoky charcoal without the mess of ash leftovers. Made from natural wood and charcoal with flavors like hickory and oak, Briqs give meat and veggies a rich taste. They also get hot faster and stay intact after cooking for easier cleaning. Easy to use, the grill features a ceramic electric igniting with a turning switch, automatic airflow adjustments, a double-walled enamel steel build, and precise temperature controls. An app also allows the user to check the cooking times and the temperature of the food.

Masterbuilt Gravity Series

A multifunctional and modern charcoal grill.

Like the name suggests, the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 Digital Charcoal Grill & Smoker uses modern technology to improve the cooking experience. State-of-the-art, this product is multifunctional and developed with versatility in mind. With this charcoal grill, you can grill, roast, and sear but also smoke and bake. The digital panel that also works with smart devices via Bluetooth and WiFi provides complete control over the temperature and cooking time. Apart from the innovative DigitalFan™, this grill also comes with a gravity-fed charcoal hopper that can hold up to 10 lbs of charcoal for 12-15 hours of use. The Gravity Series 560 is fast – it can reach a temperature of 225°F in only 7 minutes and 700°F in 13 minutes. Reversible cast iron grates offer a convenient way to cook food low and slow or at a higher temperature, while the included meat probe thermometer ensures perfect results.

Komodo Kamado 32’’ Big Bad

Compact, versatile, and customizable.

Part of the Komodo Kamado collection, 32’’ Big Bad is compact but is a perfect choice if you love to cook for larger groups. It has a large cooking surface of over 12 feet with four levels where you can place the grills depending on the type of food you’re preparing. Made from stainless steel, this charcoal grill has a multi-layered, insulated body that preserves the heat perfectly. The grill comes with four stainless steel grates, a drip pan, a charcoal basket, two heat deflectors (one of them for browning),  a rotisseries shaft system, an auto temp control fan faceplate, and a grill hanger. The company also offers a wide range of accessories and kits for this grill. Finally, customers can choose between various custom tiles to make their grill one of a kind. Options include cobalt blue, autumn gold, metallic bronze, or classic matte black.

PK Grills, The Original

A compact but spacious aluminum grill.

Another great grill from PK Grills, the Original PK Grill & Smoker is as elegant as it is practical. Blending industrial and vintage cues, the grill features an aluminum build with a bullet-shaped cooking chamber and a textured finish. Thanks to the use of aluminum, this charcoal grill disperses heat evenly for more peace of mind. Unlike the PK360, this design has a more compact shape but still provides plenty of room to feed a regular-sized family. The grill features four vents, 310 sq. inches of cooking space, and can cook either on high or low heat, as needed. Apart from a side shelf, the charcoal grill also features a bottom shelf that offers space for cooking utensils. Two wheels make the Original PK Grill & Smoker easy to roll around a garden or patio.

Weber 22’’ Performer Deluxe

An easy to use grill with an electronic gas ignition system.

Made by Weber, the 22” Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill makes grilling even more enjoyable with a range of cutting-edge features. Users can turn on the grill with the push of a button thanks to the electronic gas ignition system. The porcelain-enameled lid and bowl retain heat and are rust-proof, while charcoal storage container has a weather-protected finish for more convenience. This grill can hold around 13 burgers at a time comes with a hinged cooking grate that allows the user to add charcoal during the grilling process. On one side, the work table provides space to prepare food or to keep utensils and seasonings close at hand. Finally, the One-Touch™ cleaning system has a high-capacity ash catcher for quick and easy cleaning.

Broilmaster C3 Charcoal Grill

A versatile grill with a wide range of optional features.

The best charcoal grills help you cook your favorite food just right and also look good in a garden. Like the Broilmaster C3 Charcoal Grill. Made with a cast aluminum chamber, this grill heats up quickly and maintains an even temperature through the cooking process. With a cooking area of 442 sq. inches, this modern charcoal grill provides generous space for meals of any size. The twin air intakes and dual-function top vent are adjustable to offer control over the smoke and cooking temperature. Likewise, the two front-loading doors add more function to the design as they allow the user to add charcoal or wood without removing the multi-level, steel cooking grids. The Broilmaster C3 Charcoal Grill also comes with optional side tables, stainless steel griddle, divider plates, and more.

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