Charcoal Barbeque Grills 101


Contents

Charcoal Barbeque Grills - If you want to cut to the chase and buy a the best charcoal grill for you, here is a series of shopping guides we have prepared for you to quickly check out the features of a variety of brands and models.

Below that, there is info on the art of grilling with charcoal and help with deciding what type of grill you need.

Grill Reviews: Four of The Best Charcoal Barbeque Grills

charcoal grills

Char-Broil 30 Inch charcoal grill

charcoal grills

Char-Griller charcoal grill

Weber kettle charcoal barbeque grill

Weber One Touch charcoal grill

weber performer charcoal barbeque grill

Weber Performer charcoal grill

So, What is Charcoal Grilling?

charcoal barbeque grill

Charcoal grill image courtesy of Dinner Series via Flickr under CC licence

The process of cooking with charcoal barbeque grills involves dry heat being applied directly to the surface of food - otherwise known as direct grilling.

This is as opposed to indirect grilling which involves a grill with a lid, but with the meat placed at a distance from the heat source - not directly above it, and therefore lower cooking temperatures. This effectively roasts meat in a more oven-like set up.

You can do both with a grill that has a lid.

Charcoal is still the most popular fuel for barbecuing or grilling, although gas is catching up fast. Where gas grills are highly convenient to use, the charcoal grill is for those who like the ritual of lighting a fire and controlling it to cook to perfection.

Personally I prefer charcoal grilling, they add a smoky char-grilled flavor to meat - and there's something manly about controlling fire to cook on them!

Practicalities of Direct Grilling over Charcoal

Temperatures can reach 500F/260C or more and food cooks quickly, so controlling temperature is the main skill to master. Turn the food frequently and adjust the height of the cooking grid, either closer or further away, as you need to, to maintain constant heat.

Because temperatures are high and cooking times are short your full concentration is required throughout. 

I use tongs rather than a fork for turning, or better still use a hinged grill basket for burgers, sausages, or other juicy things. 

A fork will pierce the food and cause juices to drip on the coals causing flames and therefore burning. Flames = bad i.e. burnt food - I rarely use a fork.

Visit our BBQ tools section for more info on stuff that will actually help you.

So Which is The Best Charcoal Grill For Me?

It depends what you want or how much time and space (or money) you have; or how seriously you take it all. Maybe the following will help you decide.

No Space? No Time? No patience? Prefer to keep it simple?

A simple charcoal barbeque grill consists of a grate to hold the coals, with a metal grid for cooking above it. Cheap and/or portable models may consist of nothing more than this (this type is technically called a brazier).

If you only grill for a few people, the Marsh Allen 717HH-1 Golding Charcoal Grill is very cheap, cheerful and highly portable.

It's real bargain basement stuff, but could last a few years if you keep it your garage between barbecue sessions.


Marsh-Allen charcoal grill
Weber Smokey Joe

A better option might be something like the Weber Smokey Joe charcoal grill, top quality and more stylish, but small enough for a balcony or to take on holiday.

Use a lid for Indirect Grilling

Most charcoal BBQ grills have legs (with or without wheels), a lid (with or without vents), and should have a height adjustable cooking grid. They can be rectangular or circular in shape - or spherical in the case of kettle grills of which I am a big fan - these are well worth considering.

char-griller charcoal grill

The Char-Griller 2222 Pro Deluxe Charcoal Grill at around $150 is a fine example of this type of grill for a great price.

The Weber One Touch kettle grill is another popular example. The Weber Performer is yet another, more top of the range option.

The lid gives you the opportunity to try indirect grilling or barbeque smoking - both ideal for large cuts of meat. But, with the lid up you still can grill burgers, corn on the cob and all the usual favorites.

There are many makes and models of charcoal grills - too many to list here - and of all prices, from unbelievably expensive right down to foil disposable versions.

Replacement Grill Parts

All the main manufacturers produce replacement parts which can be bought, check out these page if that is what you need:

Amazon's whole range of charcoal grills can be seen here

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