There are a lot of different kinds of charcoal grills that offer many different features. I've picked the 10 best charcoal grills from the simple kettle grill to large full functional charcoal grills that can cost well over $2,000. Pick the grill that is right for you and right for your pocket book. These grills represent the diversity of charcoal grills on the market whether you are looking for one that can smoke, one that can grill like no ones business or just let you cook up a simple meal. Updated for 2014.
Weber-Stephen Products Company
This is the grill that launched Weber. While there are lots of imitators this grill is built to last and has superior cooking abilities. The round design focuses heat and the multiple vents allow you to control it. This one charcoal grill can do most everything including smoking on a limited basis. The large grilling area gives you plenty of space for direct and indirect grilling. You can even get an optional rotisserie kit.
Big Green Egg
Okay, this is marketed as a charcoal grill, but its ability to hold low temperatures for an incredible amount of time has made it and other Kamado cookers very popular amongst smokers. Giving you the best of both worlds, the Big Green Egg may just be the only piece of outdoor cooking equipment you'll ever need (because it will probably last longer than you will).
Old Smokey Products Company
Easy to use and highly durable, the Old Smokey 22 inch charcoal grill is perfect not only for your backyard barbecue, but can be taken most anywhere since it only weights 19 pounds, making it a great portable charcoal grill as well.. Made of aluminized steel, the Old Smokey #22 has no paint to peel or burn off and it taken care of can easily last for decades. Because of the tight construction you can hold temperatures down for low and slow barbecue. This charcoal grill comes from a small company in Texas (where it is still made) that has been in the same location, making quality products since 1923.
Portable Kitchen Inc.
The best feature of the Portable Kitchen Cooker is its amazing longevity. Stories of people using these grills for more than four decades are common and the current version of this grill is identical to the one that Milton Meigs first invented in 1952. The design is primative, some would say retro, and simple. It is this simplicity that makes it a great grill capable of high temperature grilling and low and slow smoking. The only limitation is the small size. At 301 square inches it is only a little larger than an 18.5 inch Weber Kettle.
Some people manage to get it right the first time. Grant Hastings got it right when he built the first Hasty Bake Grill in 1948. This charcoal grill has changed little in function since then. Basically it is a closed box with a charcoal pan mounted so it can be adjusted close to the cooking grate for high, direct heat, or lowered as much as 14 inches to low temperature cooking. Add the removable heat diffuser and it grills, smokes or bakes indirectly. This makes the Hasty Bake design one of the most versatile on the market. There are many models and this version, the one of the least expensive, starts are around $1,000USD, so this isn't an inexpensive product. However, the quality construction (made in the US) means it will last a very long time.
In 2011, Napoleon reinvented the kettle charcoal grill with a new design for airflow that helps create an even charcoal fire. For 2012, they have taken this grill and mounted it into a metal cart with folding side table, providing workspace and stability. While more expensive than most metal charcoal grills, this grill has a extras that make it worth the increased price, particularly the heavy cast iron cooking grate that fits into three positions and is hinged to allow access to the fire. This charcoal grill is comparable, very comparable to the Weber Performer charcoal grill.
IN ZONE Brands Inc
The Broil King Steel Keg is so closely modeled on the size and shape of the Big Green Egg
that grates and accessories are interchangeable, yet this metal version has some truly impressive innovative features and design. Capable of hitting very high temperatures while staying cool on the outside with great temperature control, this grill really is an amazing unit. You can even mount it onto your trailer hitch and take it tailgating
, something you would have trouble doing with similar ceramic kamado cookers. While a great grilling grill there are some small problems with the design that might give you issues.
Weber-Stephen Products Company
The Weber Charcoal Grill is the most successful product of its type ever made. It is sold world wide and recognized for its versatility, quality, and capacity. The Weber Performer Platinum is the $350USD version of this iconic charcoal grill. This model comes with a large table, gas powered charcoal lighter, digital timer, and all the bells and whistles. It is, simply put, a great charcoal grill, capable of so many cooking styles and capable of creating that authentic cookout experience. This version is for the person who wants it all.
First of all this is an expensive grill. At about $2,500 it is one of the more expensive charcoal grills on the market. It is also a very basic grill. Though it comes with a rotisserie kit is doesn't come with a lid. This is pure grilling. Heat can be adjusted by a rotary crank that changes the cooking grate height. It is completely stainless steels and a great grill for grilling, if you want to spend the money.
Epicoa Rotisseries, Inc.
If Q, the James Bond weapons maker, was invited to a cookout, he might show up with one of these. This is a 7-skewer, charcoal fired, Brazilian style rotisserie cooker, that folds up into a metal suitcase. Literally in minutes you can set this unit up, light the charcoal, and start cooking. Pull off the skewers and just like in the Brazilian steakhouses you can walk around carving steak, sausages, vegetables, and pineapple onto peoples plates. Of course at around $900USD this isn't an inexpensive solution to churrascaria style cooking, but it certainly is cool.