Sitting in the backyard with family and friends are the sounds of meat sizzling on the grill and the aroma wafts across, is an iconic picture for many. Importantly, to achieve the best possible with back yard grilling, it takes a quality grill.
Regardless of which school of grilling one adheres to, a quality grill goes a long way to help you enjoy the great taste of grilled meats and vegetables. This is even more imperative concerning charcoal grills, as the three primary factors to grilling, heat retention, production and distribution, have to be in place for charcoal to truly be effective.
It’s The Heat
When grilling it is all about the heat. A good grill offers good grilling characteristics by focusing in the three aspects of heat, production, retention and distribution. This is critical in the situation of a charcoal grill as the heat production is a curve, meaning the heat will diminish over time.
Therefore, by optimizing the three aspects a charcoal grill can offer comparable cooking times to other fuels. Heat production stems from the firebox and the fuel. A properly designed firebox focuses the heat energy in such a way as to reduce the hot and cold spots that can occur when there is more charcoal in one position or another.
Heat distribution is the ability of the firebox and the grates to transfer this energy to the food. Some grills also use an infrared system for heat distribution to reduce hot spots in the meat itself, essentially a form of indirect heating.
Heat retention is the ability to keep the heat inside the grill long enough for the appropriate amount of energy to be transferred and thus used for cooking. All of these have to come together in any grill but are even more important for charcoal grilling as there is a drop in heat over time, as opposed to the linear heat of a gas grill.
Five Great Charcoal Grills Under $200
Best Outdoor Tabletop Grill to Buy
Cast iron offers some of the best heat characteristics for grills but is too heavy for large grills. This specific model, Lodge Model #L410 Grill is a table top grill that produces excellent results for any occasion. From backyard grilling to tailgating, this grill is robust enough to do it all.
This compact grill has two cooking heights and a draft door for superior heat control. The grates are also cast iron for making the perfect sear marks on steaks and sausage.
People who have purchased and use this grill love every aspect and the fact that it offers plenty of cooking room for being so compact.
Top Rated Cheap Charcoal Grill / Smoker
This is part of the Char-Grill Wrangler series, which is a barrel style, compact grill for backyard cooking. Dual wooden side shelves offer plenty of space and the heavy duty steel, double walled bottom makes for great heat production and retention.
The Char-Griller Model #2123 Grill uses cast iron grates for superior heat distribution and there is plenty of room for cooking with over 400 cubic inches of grilling space. There is also an included warming rack an the cart is wheeled for mobility.
People who purchased this grill love the excellent heat characteristics and the easy heat control to produce great tasting grilled food.
Best Budget Barrel Charcoal Grill
Harking back to barrel grills, the Kingsford Model #GR1031-014984 Grill is essentially a traditional barrel grill on a cart.
This grill has over 700 inches of cooking space and the lid has an included temperature gauge that is easy to read. The grates are cast iron for excellent heat distribution and the upper stack and side vents offer great heat control.
It has a wire side shelf and a lower wire grate shelf for plenty of additional storage space. People who purchased this grill love the fact that it is grill and go, no frills, no hassle, just grilling at its best.
Best Heavy Duty Charcoal Grill for the Money
The Dyna-Glo Model #DGN405DNC-D Grill is a heavy duty grill for charcoal grilling and the thick, heavy duty construction assists in excellent heat production, retention and distribution.
There is over 500 cubic inches of grilling space and the charcoal heat rack can be adjusted up or down for the perfect setting. The porcelain coated cast iron grates ensures the heat is delivered to the food accurately and evenly.
People who purchased this grill love the heavy duty construction and the excellent heating. Additionally, those that did experience a problem, love the fast and quick customer service and response.
Top Rated Inexpensive Charcoal Grill
Weber is the leading manufacturer of all grill types and accessories and this the original kettle style grill, Weber Model #14501001 Grill is excellent heat production and distribution for gourmet BBQ. The aluminum dampeners do not rust and the ash catcher has a one touch system for fast and easy cleaning.
Also, this grill offers over 300 cubic inches of grilling space, while being small enough to use on an apartment patio. It comes with a wheeled cart and there are tool hooks for convenience. People who purchased this grill love the exacting performance and the excellent heat control.
To protect your grill, it is highly recommended that you purchase and use a quality grill cover to keep the elements from your grill. It is important to practice safety first near a hot grill to prevent flair ups or tipping.