How To Buy The Best Charcoal Grill Without Visiting 10 Other Sites?

Charcoal grills are the ones preferred by purist grillers who love the traditional way of smoking and grilling with wood and charcoal! These are one of the most popular grills used all over the world. 

With this article we try to inform you of the various things to consider while using a charcoal grill. Understanding how a grill works will definitely ease your learning process and help you master the art of grilling. We try to cover basic questions of why do you need a charcoal grill in the first place, what cuts of meat are best prepared in charcoal grills, what charcoal to use, etc.

Why Do You Need A Charcoal Grill?

Charcoal grills come with a certain flexibility of grilling any cut of meat. Be it thick slices of meat like steaks, whole turkey or brisket or thin fish fillets, burgers or vegetables, you can grill it all with a charcoal grill! And then comes the concept of smoking! That is hardly achieved with gas grills!

The most flavorful meats are cooked in a charcoal grill! The natural juices of the meat drip onto the coal creating smoke which is in turn absorbed by the food itself. This is responsible for the smoky flavor!

Also, searing is best done in charcoal grills. Searing involves the deliberate browning of the meat exteriors while the interior still remains pink and tender.

The perfectly seared steaks and lamb chops need very high heat which can be obtained only with charcoal grills. These are certain unique features of charcoal grills!

How To Start Up A Charcoal Grill?

Needless to say, a charcoal grill takes time to light up, the coal pieces needs to be fired up evenly before you can start grilling. Now, the easiest way to start up a charcoal grill is using a chimney starter.

Firstly, cover the base of the grill with an Aluminium foil so as to ease the ash cleaning process. Open up the lid of the grill and place the chimney on the lower grate of the grill.

A chimney typically has two compartments with a rack separating them. Put some paraffin cubes or crumpled up newspapers on the lower part and the charcoal pieces on the upper half. Light up the paraffin or newspapers which would slowly and evenly light up the coal in about twenty minutes.

 The charcoal would glow and have a layer of ash when ready. Put on a pair of gloves and transfer the lit up pieces to the charcoal grate and spread it evenly with a pair of tongs with a long handle.

Now, place the food grate on the grill. Shut the lid, open all the vents and preheat your grill if you need to.

How Do You Arrange Your Fire?

Heat and temperature control plays the most important role in grilling food to desired levels of tenderness or achieving safe internal temperatures without charring the food. For this, it’s essential to know how the coal be arranged on the grill grate. Following are a few ways of doing the same:

  • Two zone heating – This is the most preferred and effective cooking technique. The charcoal is spread on a single layer on one half of the grate only.

There develops two heat zones – one directly on top of the coal(direct zone) and the other half where cooking is done only through convection currents(indirect zone). Food can be cooked on either zone depending on its thickness.

  • Three zone heating – You can develop a three zone cooking area in two ways.

One, you can put equal amounts of coal on either side of the charcoal grill leaving the mid portion empty. This would lead to a formation two direct heat zones on the sides with an indirect zone in the middle.

The other way could be putting the charcoal briquettes in a sloping manner from one side of the grill grate(three layers thick) to the center of the grate(single layer). This would result in three areas of high, medium and indirect heat.

These heat zones can be used effectively in grilling different cuts of meat.

  • You can develop a ring of direct heat if you place the charcoal pieces in a circle along the sides of the grill grate, the center being empty and the area of indirect heat. Food that would be grilled in the center of such a layout would get even heating from all sides.
  • Yet another option is to put the charcoal in the center of the grill grate, which would be the direct heat zone. And there will be a larger indirect zone along the outer area.

This can be really helpful for your backyard parties where you can heat up a number of items simultaneously on the outer periphery of the grate.

What Kind Of Charcoal To Use?

Famous pitmasters and expert grillers have one common thing to say – the type of charcoal isn’t responsible for the flavor of the food! It is responsible for the amount of heat it provides for cooking.

It is only wise to be informed of the options available and the reason for choosing a certain variety of coal.

To understand how charcoal works, you first need to know how it is formed. Wood logs are burnt in a low Oxygen environment for days. It results in vaporizing of all volatile wood components and other toxic gases. What remains behind are lumps of pure charcoal or char. This charcoal, on burning, produces a lot of heat with much less smoke and lesser harmful vapors and is used as a grilling fuel.

Two kinds of charcoal fuel are found and used:Lump Charcoal – Lump charcoal is mostly made from hardwood scraps and mostly referred to as natural charcoal as it does not involve any external ingredient. It produces lesser ash for the same reason. However, these have a number of disadvantages. Lump charcoal is more expensive than charcoal briquettes. They are formed in irregular and uneven lumps and are carbonized to different extents. So, naturally there isn’t any fixed amount of heat associated with these. Also, the flavor of the smoke would vary with the type of wood used to produce it. These factors make it unreliable.

  • Charcoal Briquette – On the other hand, these are the most recommended and consistent type. Outdoor grilling already involves a lot of variables. So, a steady and reliable heat source is desirable. The most used are the Kingsford briquettes. These briquettes are formed by mixing burnt up wood with other components which serve as binders to form even shaped charcoal briquettes. These external binders are responsible for producing more ash.

However, the advantage with these briquettes is that they burn much more evenly and proves to be a steady source of heat when compared to hardwood lumps.

How To Buy A Charcoal Grill?

Things To Consider While Buying A Charcoal Grill

Charcoal grills come with a variety of options and features which might leave you confused as to which one to buy. So it’s important that you figure out your personal needs from the grill. Here’s a basic checklist to help you select:

  • Type of food: What are you going to grill? The equipment would differ in the type of grills which would only grill burgers and chops and the ones which would slow cook ribs.

If you intend to cook whole chicken or turkey, then the grill should have enough surface area to form a two-zone cooking area.

If you plan to grill a chicken on beer can, then the height of the dome should allow so.

  • Price: Charcoal grills are available from over 100$ to over 1000$. So your budget also decides what you want.
  • Construction:When buying a grill, you sure want it to last. So check the material it’s built of – ceramics or stainless steel. Also, look for a thicker wall which better holds in the heat for longer periods.

Check the material of the grill grates. Cast iron lasts long while stainless steel corrodes less.

  • Cleaning mechanism:Make sure that the grill comes with an easy cleaning mechanism. You don’t want the cleaning up to become a tedious job. Some grills come with removable ash trays.

You also need to keep in mind the number of people you are going to cook for. A small grill would be enough if you are cooking for yourself or just your family. But for larger gatherings, you would need a larger grill surface to simultaneously grill a greater number of items.

Also, you should look for a grill with the option of putting out the fire when cooking is done. It helps to save the remaining coal briquettes for the next cookout and reduces your fuel expenses.

Top Models Of Charcoal Grills Of 2017

Once you get an idea about how charcoal grills work, you can proceed towards buying one. To help you with it, we have listed the top five models of charcoal grills under three different categories.

Best-Rated Charcoal Grills

1.Weber Original Kettle 22” Charcoal Grill– The best-selling, most versatile charcoal grill.

2.Portable Kitchen PK Cast Aluminium Grill– Basic, durable model easily taken out of cart for camping purpose.

3.Weber Performer Deluxe– Quality grill with gas powered charcoal lighter.

4.Napolean Charcoal Kettle Grill– Comes with additional features and extra workspace.

5.Big Green Egg(Large)– The grill that lasts forever! Superior heat retention as well.

Best Portable Charcoal Grills:

1. Weber Go-Anywhere Portable Charcoal Grill –Sturdy, compact structure makes it easy to carry.

2. Weber Smokey Joey 14-inch Portable Charcoal Grill – Known for even heating and perfect smoking of food.

3. Son Of Hibachi Portable Charcoal Grill – Special self-cleaning option which saves on remaining coal.

4.Cuisinart 14-inch Portable Tabletop Charcoal Grill – Better temperature control with dual vents. 5.Char-Broil Table Top Grill – Sturdy, light with easy cleaning options.

Best Value For Money Charcoal Grills

1. Weber Premium 22” Charcoal Grill–The oldest andmost popular grill that lasts forever for less than 200$.

2.Napolean NK22CK-C Charcoal Kettle Grill – Unique features of extra workspace and adjustable cooking grate height.

3.Portable Kitchen Grill – Basic, durable model easily taken out of cart for camping purpose.

4. Char-Broil CB940X Charcoal Grill – Large capacity with an adjustable coal tray to change the height as per the requirement.

5. Dancook 1900 Charcoal Grill – A double-walled dome with quality construction and performance.

So, we hope you found this information useful and that it would better your grilling experience.