Last updated on August 31st, 2023
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It’s time to get that BBQ out as I look at 10 of the best charcoal barbecues from kettle BBQ models to open brazier BBQs for that incomparable chargrilled taste
I recently tested the best gas BBQ’s where I put the latest Char-Broil Advantage Series 345S Gas BBQ to the test. Interestingly, the BBQ ribs and chicken that came off this BBQ cooked could have been mistaken for coming off a charcoal BBQ once I added the Wood smoker chips.
This review though is just for Charcoal BBQ’s. You see, I’m the kind of person who thinks it’s not a real BBQ unless it’s been smoked on a charcoal BBQ. I’ve even tested barrel style smoker BBQs in the past but these deserved their own review from these traditional charcoal BBQs in this review. Lets dive in to the meat!
It happens every barbeque season at many outdoor gatherings. At some point, someone will inevitably say that the only really tasty barbeque comes from a charcoal grill. Then the arguments start about charcoal vs gas barbeques. And a camping enthusiast usually throws in their thoughts about portable BBQs and grills.
If you’re in the charcoal BBQ camp or want to explore it as an option, this review of the best charcoal BBQs is for you. We present the pros and cons of each model we recommend. We evaluate the best charcoal BBQs around, including some with smokers, and select our top few. In our Buyer’s Guide, you’ll learn about the desirable features in a top-line charcoal BBQ as well as the options you have for them.
My Best Pick overall is the Landmann Taurus 660 Charcoal BBQ. This BBQ can cook enough food for 10 people at once, with more food on the warming grill. With its easy clean up, you may have BBQ parties every weekend.
The Best Pick for Kettle Style BBQ is the Char-Broil Kettleman Charcoal Barbecue Grill. This BBQ combines high style with function as its TRU-Infrared cooking system produces juicy and evenly cooked food using less charcoal than a conventional charcoal BBQ.
Best Smoker BBQ accolades go to the Callow Premium Charcoal Smoker BBQ Grill. Whether BBQing, meat smoking or water smoking, this smoker BBQ has plenty of space to handle a wide range of meats and fish. If you are looking to mainly smoke food, check out my dedicated review on smoker BBQs here.
One of my issues with charcoal BBQs is getting the charcoal going. Check out this review on the best firefighters which also covers charcoal BBQs. Get yourself a charcoal starter, this combined with a handful of Eco firefighters was a gamechanger for me.
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting a good charcoal BBQ. Read through this review and decide which one best suits your needs.
The Best Charcoal BBQ Grills that we have included in our review are listed below:
- Landmann Taurus 660 Charcoal BBQ – BEST PICK
- Char-Broil Kettleman Charcoal Barbecue Grill – BEST KETTLE STYLE PICK
- Kamado Joe KJ23RHC Classic II Charcoal Grill
- Callow Premium Charcoal Smoker BBQ Grill – BEST SMOKER PICK
- FENNEK Portable Charcoal Grill – BEST PORTABLE PICK
- CosmoGrill Outdoor XL Smoker Barbecue
- Weber Compact 47cm Charcoal BBQ
- Azuma Smoker Barbecue Black Barrel BBQ
- Tepro Toronto Trolley Grill Barbecue
- Fire Mountain Deluxe Trolley Charcoal Barbecue
BEST KETTLE STYLE PICK
BEST SMOKER BBQ
Top 10 Best Charcoal BBQs
1. Landmann Tarrus 660 Large Charcoal BBQ
On first handling, you get the impression that the Landmann 31421 is a solid charcoal BBQ simply because of the weight of the box – it’s incredibly heavy. As such, we recommend that it’s set up by two people. Of course, one person can build it, however, it would be a little more difficult due to its weight and the awkwardness of the parts. The assembly instructions are in pictures and you might find it challenging if you are not good with DIY. But if you take your time it’s not too difficult. This charcoal BBQ is quite solid once it’s put up, so it’s not one that gets knocked over accidentally.
Perhaps what you’ll find more impressive on this charcoal BBQ is the vast cooking area that can easily cater for more than 10 people. The surface is square-shaped and measures 60cm x 36cm which is bigger by far than most models we review. You can move the coals up and down to adjust the heat to suit the food and that’s a huge bonus. Your food remains stationary when you do this so you don’t have over-enthusiastic sausages rolling into the coals or on the ground.
The side-mounted shelf is a brilliant idea. However, online reviewers report that it’s a bit flimsy so can only cope well with medium-sized trays of meat on top. The ash removal tray helps in cleaning the BBQ as you simply pull it out to empty it. The fat that drips down from your cooking food also ends up with the ash which is handy.
Finally, there’s also a lid thermometer that helps you to monitor the cooking temperature. You don’t have to keep opening the lid to see if the food is done, and that keeps in the smokey flavour.
Landmann even provides a guide on how to BBQ and how to look after a BBQ which is useful information, especially for new BBQers.
- A large grill that is perfect for larger families.
- Painted lid and fire bowl to protect it again the weather and for good heat retention.
- Enamelled charcoal grid and cooking grill for easy cleaning.
- Large warming rack for keeping food warm whilst you are still cooking other food.
- Removable ash catcher for easy removal of ash and fat.
- Comes with lid thermometer for precise cooking.
- Removable and sturdy side shelf and a lower shelf give you plenty of room to store utensils and condiments.
- Five-year guarantee for full peace of mind.
- Ash tray is a little flimsy.
- Assembly instructions are difficult to follow.
The Landmann Tarrus 660 Large Charcoal BBQ is a substantial piece of kit and is clearly very well made. You will need to have a friend with you to assemble it, but this large BBQ holds enough food to feed 10 to 12 people. Your barbequing skills are greatly helped by the ability to move the coals towards or away from the food on the grill, letting you control the heat more closely. A side shelf and a lower shelf provides room for all your utensils, condiments and even a platter or two for the burgers and buns.
This charcoal BBQ is our Best Pick selection. We like that its size can provide a feast for a family or a meal for a large group, and there’s plenty of storage room for all the bits and pieces that you seem to need when you barbeque.
Read next: Best BBQ Gazebo
2. Char-Broil Kettleman Charcoal Barbecue Grill
BEST KETTLE STYLE BBQ
The Char-Broil Kettleman Charcoal Barbecue Grill is an innovative kettle grill loaded with features to provide the next generation in BBQ grilling. First off, this grill uses TRU-Infrared cooking system that cooks more food with less charcoal, allowing for longer grilling sessions with 50% juicier results.
Its porcelain-coated cooking grates retain and radiate heat evenly over the surface to help reduce cold spots. Consequently, food cooks evenly, retains moisture better and seals in the natural juices of the meat. The flames never come into contact with the food; tiny holes in the grill allow the charcoal’s aroma and smokiness to reach the food for a traditional taste. The fact that there are no large gaps in the cooking grate allows the cooking of slender foods such as shrimp and asparagus.
The hinged lid (with a latch) allows you to tend to your food and charcoal with both hands and without worrying about where to put the lid down safely. The dome-shaped lid is also perfect for roasting whilst a lid-mounted temperature gauge helps you keep an eye on the conditions inside the bowl without needing to open the lid. You can also open the damper to let out excess heat or leave it closed to retain heat. Finally, as you would expect, there is an ash bowl beneath the large kettle to collect any mess. And it’s fully removable for easy cleaning.
This product requires home assembly but thankfully the instructions are very clear unlike a lot of other models we have seen where the instructions have been terrible. All bolts and nuts are clearly labelled so it’s quick to put together and fire up – half an hour and it’s ready to use! The build is high quality and robust with heavy-duty legs providing maximum stability. It also has good quality caster wheels so you can move it around your patio or back garden with ease.
Char-Broil offers a two-year warranty that covers all parts. In case of any damage caused during shipping or any manufacturing default, Char-Broil will replace any part for free so you have full peace of mind. That’s a good deal!
- TRU-Infrared cooking system for more evenly cooked food.
- Lid-mounted temperature gauge monitors the heat inside your grill so you don’t have to keep opening the lid.
- Hinged lid with latch that stays open on its own, leaving you with both hands free to turn the sausages.
- Grilling surface is 66cm in diameter.
- Porcelain-coated cooking grates for easy cleaning.
- No-fall through grate lets you safely cook skinny food.
- Super-sized damper for letting air in and out as needed.
- Heavy-duty steel legs provide maximum stability.
- Large wheels for easy movement around the garden.
- Two-year warranty on all parts for full peace of mind.
- No problems to report. It really is that good.
First things first, with its shiny black finish and sleek appearance, the Char-Broil Kettleman Charcoal Barbecue Grill is the best-looking model on the market. We like the TRU-Infrared cooking system and although it slows down cooking a bit, the result is noticeably juicier food compared with the standard barbecuing style. The cooking area is impressively vast and we like that small food items can’t get lost through the grill.
The Char-Broil Kettleman Charcoal Barbecue Grill is the Best Kettle Style model we found. It only loses out as Best Pick as it has a slightly smaller grilling area than the Landmann Tarrus 660 Large Charcoal BBQ.
3. Kamado Joe KJ23RHC Classic II Charcoal Grill
The Kamado Joe KJ23RHC Classic II Charcoal Grill is a premium egg-shaped BBQ that is an improvement on the Classic I version. Its bright red powder-coated aluminium shell makes a statement about your commitment to barbequing whilst its smoking ability lets you go from 107°C to 400°C for a variety of flavour intensities.
The Classic II has several features that enable you to take your BBQ skills to the next level. The ceramic grill is 45cm in diameter but is split into two half-moon shapes. These fit nicely with the multi-level cooking system, in which you can put each half on the same level or different ones. This lets you cook different foods at different distances from the hot coals, and hence at different heats. If you purchase the optional flat stone, you can also cook pizza on this barbeque.
For those who like to have their food smoked, the patented powder-coated cast aluminium dual adjustment top vent lets you more precisely control the temperature inside the barbeque. You can go from a precisely controlled 107°C all the way up to a roaring 400°C for your smoked food process. The integrated temperature gauge wisely lets you see how hot the inside of the shell is without opening the lid.
And speaking of the lid, it’s very light to open due to the Patented Air Lift Hinge. This hinge reduces the weight of the lid by 96% and lets you open it with a single finger. No more having to huff and puff and use your biceps in order to throw the lid backwards.
The Kamado Joe KJ23RHC Classic II Charcoal Grill has other conveniences as well, as you would expect from a premium BBQ. The ash drawer slides out easily and you just tip out the ashes and wipe out the drawer. The BBQ shell is housed on a metal stand that has four caster wheels that make moving it around simple and these casters lock to keep the BBQ safely in position. The two side tables offer places to put plates and other bits and pieces, whilst the front of these tables have hooks on which to hang your utensils or tea towels.
- Egg-shaped aluminium BBQ powder-coated in a bright red colour shows that you’re not shy about your BBQing talents.
- Thick walled, heat-resistant shell, along with the fibreglass mesh gasket keeps most of the heat in.
- Housed in a stand with four locking caster wheels that making moving this BBQ about super easy.
- Unique air-lift hinge lets you open the dome with a single finger so you don’t strain anything when checking on the food.
- Two side shelves with hooks to put your plates on and to hang your utensils from.
- Slide-out ash drawer makes getting rid of the ashes easy.
- Ceramic grill is 45cm in diameter and comes in two halves for separate cooking conditions.
- Multi-level cooking option lets you cook different foods at different temperatures away from the coals.
- Dual adjustment top vent lets you smoke from 107°C to 400°C for a variety of smoking options.
The Kamado Joe KJ23RHC Classic II Charcoal Grill is definitely a premium BBQ and smoker, and its bright red powder-coated aluminium shell screams just that. It barbeques well but its speciality is smoking, with a temperature range from 107°C to 400°C. Its 45cm ceramic grill is in two halves so you can cook foods at different temperatures in its multi-level system. This is a charcoal grill whose design, style and features are made for a BBQ enthusiast.
4. CosmoGrill Outdoor XL Smoker Barbecue
The CosmoGrill Outdoor XL Smoker Barbecue is a solid outdoor barbeque with all the features you need for comfortable cooking and smoking for a family.
This BBQ looks impressive with a black metal finish, a rounded-off lid and a large stainless steel handle along the front. The slatted side tables/shelves and rack at the base of the grill visually break up otherwise solid surfaces. The coal compartment is at the front of the CosmoGrill XL BBQ with a handle underneath to access the ashtray. You can adjust the height of this BBQ with a turn of a simple crack handle. And it has two wheels so you can move it around your patio whenever needed.
You won’t have to worry about staying organised when you grill because the two side tables/shelves are there for storage or food preparation. In addition, one of the side shelves has four hanging hooks for your tongs, basting brush and other utensils. The side tables fold down out of the way when you don’t need them. The slatted rack at the base of the BBQ also provides storage space.
The CosmoGrill Outdoor XL Smoker Barbecue has a large grill at 57cm (22 inches) x 42cm (16 inches); the warming rack is half the size at 57cm x 20cm. The internal size of this BBQ is large enough to smoke a whole chicken or untold ribs and burgers. You can adjust the height of the coal’s space with the coals to direct the heat just where you want it. This is especially useful when the coals are dying down and need to be closer to the food. While cooking, you can add more coals through the flapped door at the front of the BBQ to prolong the BBQ session. You smoke your food in the grilling space because there is not a separate smoker compartment.
Cleaning the CosmoGrill XL is a snap. The enamel-coated larger grill is in two parts and fits easily into your dishwasher. Remove the ashes by pulling out the ash tray, wipe down the rest of the BBQ with a damp sponge and you’re done. However, assembling the CosmoGrill XL is a bit of a challenge because it comes completely dismantled, with a questionable instruction book and no tools. Two people working well together can manage to do it in a couple of hours.
- Built-in thermometer to check that your food is cooking at the right temperature.
- Coal capacity to a maximum of 2.7kg of charcoal briquettes and 1.35kg coal; this lasts for a lengthy cooking session.
- Grill space of 57cm (22 inches) x 42cm (16 inches) for cooking for a family.
- Easy to clean grill is in two parts and fits into the dishwasher for cleaning.
- Warming rack of 57cm by 20cm for keeping the food warm whilst someone makes the salad.
- Adjustable coal space lets you direct the heat just where you need it.
- Stainless steel handle to lift and lower the hood easily.
- Two foldable side shelves/tables for preparation or extra storage with four hooks on one side to hang utensils tidily.
- Adjustable height by using a crank.
- The air supply is adjustable for just the right degree of heat.
- Two wheels for easy manoeuvrability.
- Ash removal opening conveniently on the front of the BBQ.
- Beer bottle opener on the front.
- Difficult to clean inside the ash compartment.
- Instructions not very clear or thorough.
The CosmoGrill Outdoor XL Smoker Barbecue will suit a family who wants to mainly BBQ and occasionally smoke their food. There is no separate smoker section so the grilling part provides both the heat and the space. The CosmoGrill XL is a fairly compact BBQ when the side tables/shelves are folded down. Its two wheels allow you to move it around your outdoor space, perhaps under shelter when it rains.
The CosmoGrill Outdoor XL Smoker Barbecue is a good family-sized BBQ, with plenty of surface space to hold all the utensils and platters you need when you cook outside.
5. Weber Compact 47cm Charcoal BBQ
The Weber Compact 47cm Charcoal BBQ truly lives up to its name as it’s a perfect choice for anyone who has limited on outside space. It’s a good option for small patios, balconies and smaller outdoor living areas.
The design of this BBQ has been well thought out to ensure that it’s not only easy to live with but also durable. Despite its compact nature, it provides a large 1735cm2 cooking area that’s big enough to cook for four adults.
The porcelain enamelled bowl (with lid) has two weatherproof handles for easier carrying. Protective heat shields on the lid handles make it safer to lift the lid when checking the state of the food. The lid even features rustproof vents which, together with the rustproof vents at the base of the bowl, to allow proper airflow for perfect heat when barbecuing. Its triple-plated cooking grate is highly resistant to rust and acidity, thus maintaining the original looks while remaining easy to clean.
Right below the bowl is an ash catcher for collecting the ash and embers that fall through the base air vents. This helps reduce burn or scorch marks on the ground below the BBQ, plus serving to prevent fires starting. At the base of the stand is a handy triangular-shaped tray that offers a place to store food or utensils that need to be accessed quickly when barbecuing. This unit also has crackproof wheels on one side to help move it to and from the perfect BBQ spot.
Last but certainly not least, this product is covered by Weber’s unbeatable 10-year warranty. That’s the best warranty in the business.
- Porcelain-enamelled bowl and lid to retain the heat.
- Two weatherproof handles make it easy to lift the lid.
- Lid handle with protective heat shield so you don’t burn your fingers on the lid.
- Rustproof aluminium lid vents allow proper airflow for perfect heat control.
- 47cm diameter triple-coated (1735cm2) cooking grate large enough for cooking food for four people.
- Rustproof aluminium ash collector that’s easy to clean.
- Crackproof all-weather wheels makes this a mobile BBQ.
- Ten-year warranty really relieves all your worries about the quality of this product.
The Weber Compact 47cmCharcoal BBQ is a compact BBQ that’s well-suited to those in flats with balconies or who have just a small outside space. This is an affordable model that doesn’t skimp on quality as highlighted by the ten-year warranty. There’s even a triangular shelf at the base of the stand for your grilling utensils.
This is a great basic charcoal BBQ for those looking for a quality compact model.
6. Fennek Portable Picnic Grill
BEST PORTABLE PICK
The FENNEK Portable Picnic Grill is the ideal portable grill to take on your fishing or camping trips or just out to the park for a BBQ. This portable grill is designed to work despite the weather, whether it’s sunny, cloudy or rainy.
The FENNEK portable grill is a clever piece of engineering. Assembly is quick, taking no longer than five minutes as the pieces lock together easily. This BBQ weighs just under seven pounds, plus the bag of coals of course. The grill conveniently folds up into an aluminium box the size of a small laptop; everything folds in together so you can carry it by itself or in a rucksack.
Once the portable picnic grill is assembled, you’ll notice a few handy features. The coal holder is raised above the ground so it won’t scorch what’s beneath it; the outside of the storage box works as a base for the BBQ and the lid comes off and can be positioned as a windbreak for rain or wind and for reflecting the heat for more even cooking.
The grill itself is made out of heat-resistant stainless steel which makes for even cooking of the food. The grill is 27cm (10.6 inches) x 18cm (7.2in) in dimension. It’s large enough to hold all the food for two hungry people but also to cook, with some planning, enough for a family of four. Air circulates through ventilation holes and combustion chambers under the charcoal grid and distributes the heat evenly for the best-tasting charcoal barbequed food.
Clearing up is easy. Dispose of the coals safely and then fold everything down into the box. When you get home just run everything through the dishwasher. However, some online reviewers report that you can’t get off all the grime from burning the coals and debris from the fat in the food. The BBQ does end up looking a little messy and used, and lacking its initial shiny appearance.
- Light and portable charcoal BBQ that weighs 3.1kg (6.8 pounds).
- Easy and quick to set up so suitable for spontaneous BBQ gatherings.
- Grill is made of heat-resistant stainless steel for even cooking.
- Grill surface is 27cm (10.6 inches) x 18cm (7.2in) and holds enough food for two hungry people or a not-so-hungry family of four (with some planning).
- Lightweight at 6.8lb so you can carry it without straining and huffing.
- Removable grill lid doubles as protection for the food from wind and rain; it also reflects the heat for more efficient and even cooking.
- Elevated coal section doesn’t scorch the ground beneath the BBQ.
- BBQ folds down into an aluminium box the size of a small laptop.
- All parts are dishwasher safe for ease of clean up.
- Difficult to clean the BBQ entirely, even in the dishwasher; residue builds up and spoils the shiny look.
- Small enough to fit in a backpack but too heavy to carry on a long trek.
If you want the flavour of charcoal-grilled food in the great outdoors, the FENNEK Portable Picnic Grill is the portable BBQ for you. All its parts fit beautifully together into a (supplied) case the size of a small laptop only 2.4cm (1 inch) thick and weighing just over 3kg. Its grill holds enough meat, fish, veggies and fruit for two people whose appetites have increased in the fresh air.
We’re so impressed with the FENNEK Portable Picnic Grill that we’ve made it the Best Pick of the Portable BBQs in our charcoal BBQ review.
7. Azuma Smoker Barbecue Black Barrel BBQ
The Azuma Smoker Barbecue Black Barrel BBQ is a BBQ that gives your meat, poultry and fish a genuine smoked flavour. No liquid smoke flavouring needed here.
This Azuma Smoker Barbeque is an impressive 125cm-wide black machine with two barrels. The smaller fire barrel is offset to one size and the larger grilling barrel has a chimney reaching up from it. The chambers are made from 1.0mm thick steel and have a black powder coating. Two wheels enable you to move this fairly heavy, 33.4kg, BBQ around your patio. You’ll need to find a friend to assemble this BBQ with you because it’s quite cumbersome to do and the instructions are difficult to follow.
The shelf across the front of the BBQ holds your utensils and condiments, whilst the lower rack at the base is good for storing plates and serving trays.
The enamelled grilling rack in the larger barrel is big enough to cook 18 beef burgers at the same time while keeping another 12 warm on the warming rack. This is a BBQ intended for a large party.
To smoke your ribs or pork roast, place the food in the grilling barrel and light a fire of woodchips in the fire chamber. The smoke and heat from the fire circulate around the slow-cooking food. Smoked meat comes out succulent and, well, smoky.
It’s important to regulate the cooking temperature, especially during the long period of smoking. The vent in the offset firebox is adjustable and lets you increase the heat of the fire by bringing in more oxygen. The damper on the chimney of the larger barrel controls the level of smoke and temperature inside it. Finally, the temperature gauge on the lid of the large barrel takes the guesswork out of the temperature that your food is cooking at.
- Steel smoker barrel barbeque takes charcoal or wood as fuel.
- Temperature gauge for accurate cooking.
- Chimney with a vent (on the lid) controls the smoke.
- Grill and smoke food separately to the fire with the offset smoker box.
- Main chamber size is 68cm (26 inches) long with one rack for grilling and another for warming.
- Shelf across the front of the BBQ to hold utensils or supplies.
- The lower slatted rack can hold plates and food trays.
- Wooden handles to protect you from being burned.
- The firebox for smoking is offset to the side and is 39cm (15 inches) long.
- Height of the charcoal or wood platform is adjustable to three levels.
- Two wheels for easy lift-and-roll moving.
- One-year warranty.
- Poor instructions for assembling the BBQ.
- Heavy; needs two people for assembly.
- Smoker barrel is difficult to empty out.
The Azuma Smoker Barbecue Black Barrel BBQ is a serious smoker BBQ with enough cooking space to feed a large group. The Azuma Smoker BBQ takes either charcoal or woodchips as its fuel, giving you a choice of cooking techniques and taste. This is the smoker barbeque to have for a large gathering as you can have 18 burgers on the grill and another 12 on the warming rack.
If you have a large family or frequently barbeque for friends, then seriously consider this Azuma Smoker Barbecue Black Barrel BBQ.
8. Callow Premium Charcoal Smoker BBQ Grill
The Callow Premium Charcoal Smoker BBQGrill is another decent option for anyone on a budget. The body is made of high-density 0.9mm carbon steel metal with a powder-coated finish that looks good. This model includes a hood, barrel body, bottom bowl and supporting feet, which are all connected together by four stainless steel locks.
Two food racks of 14in diameter allow you to cook plenty of food at once. There’s also a smoking rack that can be hung from the top of the BBQs mouth for smoking or grilling fish for that unmistakable smoked flavour.
You also receive six hooks for smoking fish, sausages, ribs and other foods. Unfortunately, there is no side door to access the lower rack so the only way in is through the top. On the plus side, the top rack is designed to move out of the way when you want to access the bottom rack.
A lid-mounted thermometer with temperature gauge allows you to monitor the cooking/smoking conditions, whilst adjustable air vents at the base and in the lid allow decent airflow and improved temperature control. The charcoal pan is accessible via a hinged front door, allowing you to top up the coals without losing most of the heat. The fully ventilated charcoal pan also delivers a good distribution of heat to ensure your food cooks more evenly. And when your food is ready, the lid clips out of the way on its heat-resistant handles for safe serving.
Assembling this model is pretty straightforward. All the nuts and screws are clearly labelled and the instructions are easy to follow. A weatherproof cover completes the package to protect your investment during the predictable British weather.
- Premium quality 0.9 carbon steel construction with powder coating for improved performance and longer life span.
- Four stainless steel locks connect all part together and can be easily open when needed.
- Built-in thermometer in the lid and 2 meat thermometer probe access points give you an accurate picture of how your food is doing.
- Adjustable air vents for better ventilation and temperature control.
- Heat-resistant lid handles for your safety.
- Hinged front door for easy access to charcoal and water pans.
- Ventilated charcoal pan provides proper airflow.
- Two cooking grates, smoking rack and six hooks for hanging food.
- Comes with weatherproof cover to provide extra protection when not in use.
The Callow Premium Charcoal Smoker BBQ Grill is an affordable model that offers great value for money. This BBQ grill does the job and is especially wonderful for smoking stuff, which is what it is really designed for rather than being a typical BBQ. It even includes a cover, something that is sold separately with many other models.
If you really like the taste of smoked food and would eat it whenever you could, this is definitely the smoker barbeque for you.
9. Tepro Toronto Trolley Grill Barbecue
The Tepro Toronto Trolley Grill Barbecue is an affordable charcoal BBQ that is well designed for family barbeques, with a couple of unusual yet welcome features.
This trolley grill is advertised as “American” style, that is, with wheels, even though it is named after a Canadian city. Regardless, the two wheels are useful for tipping the cart on it’s side by the handle to move it around your patio or garden. The handle is also handy to hang tea towels over. Additional storage is found on the shelf at the base of the trolley and the side shelf is useful to put your utensils on.
The Toronto grill has two grilling surfaces, each 41.5cm by 27.5cm, in two tiers, the lower one is the one used to cook the food and the upper one is generally used to keep food warm or to cook food that is more delicate and doesn’t need to be so close to the heat source (indirect grilling).
A handy feature in controlling how near the food is to the coals is the crank handle that raises or lowers the grate of coals in relation to the lower grill plate. The heat vents also control the flames and so the heat by controlling the amount of air flowing over the flames. Use the temperature gauge to tell you how your food’s doing rather than opening the lid and losing all the heat you’ve built up inside the BBQ.
The extra features we mentioned include a bottle opener attached to the front of the trolley. Your beer won’t get warm whilst you search around for the bottle opener. In addition, six hooks hang from the side of the side shelf/table. If you’re diligent about always hanging up your utensils when you’ve finished using them, you’ll know where they are when flames engulf your food and you need to rescue it.
- Charcoal black BBQ on a wheeled trolley for ease moving it around.
- Built-in thermometer lets you know how hot your food is.
- Height adjustable charcoal grate with a crank mechanism lets you put the coals as close to the food as you want.
- Easy to access ashtray through a large opening at the front of the unit.
- Chrome-plated warming rack can also be used for indirect grilling.
- Grill rack and warming rack are each 41.5cm by 27.5cm for ample cooking area.
- Straightforward assembly though two people make it easier.
- Bottle opener, hooks, hanging rack and lower shelf are all handy accessories and storage spaces.
The Tepro Toronto Trolley Grill Barbecue is a handy mobile charcoal BBQ that’s large enough for a family. With a grilling plate and a warming plate, you have the choice of direct and indirect grilling as well as the facility to keep food warm. We especially like the ability to raise and lower the charcoal grate in relation to the grilling surface, depending on the cook that we want on our food. The integrated bottle opener, side table, hanging rack and hooks are all welcome features that make BBQing life even more pleasant.
The Tepro Toronto Trolley Grill Barbecue is a well-designed charcoal BBQ on a mobile trolley that suits outdoors family life.
10. Fire Mountain Deluxe Trolley Charcoal Barbecue
The Fire Mountain Deluxe Trolley Charcoal BBQ is one of the cheapest BBQs in this review and for the price you get a fantastic BBQ. We are always impressed by Fire Mountain BBQs, however, you may have noticed from the photo that this model doesn’t have a lid.
This charcoal BBQ is constructed of powder-coated steel in a black finish. It’s fairly straightforward to put together following the instructions and takes about one hour. The higher level of the large two-level cooking surface can act as a warming plate when the BBQ is on its highest setting. But be aware that the lack of a lid means that you can’t do indirect grilling in which the food sits enclosed in heat.
Of great use are the two side shelves/tables. Use these to place the plates of the uncooked food one whilst the BBQ is heating or perhaps use one for all the sauces and rubs you need for your burgers.
At the base of the stand, hidden behind the fabric front screen, is a large shelf. As it’s enclosed, this is a good place to safely store the plates, cutlery and glasses that you want to keep out of the way of kids and pets running around. But be sure to remove them if you move the unit to a different place on your patio using its two wheels.
- Comes with two adjustable grills that can be set at three heights.
- Three levels of cooking or keeping food warm give you options as to how to cook your food.
- Constructed from tough, powder-coated steel for durability.
- Two side shelves offer places to put food and other BBQing necessities.
- Cooking area: 63 cm width, 38.5cm depth.
- Size: 123x99x50cm.
- Assembly instructions are a bit lacking.
- Charcoal section has a small area.
- Doesn’t have a lid.
The Fire Mountain Deluxe Trolley Charcoal Barbecue is an affordable mobile BBQ. With three levels of cooking and warming food, it’s one of the most versatile charcoal grills in our review. It does lack any kind of lid and we can’t help wonder if this would become an issue if it started to rain.
Buyers have diverse needs with regards to purchasing a charcoal barbecue. Here are the most critical things to consider when looking for the best charcoal grill, starting with what type of BBQ food you prefer, smoked being a big favourite for many.
Check out the beginner’s guide video below by Kitchen Alpha on everything you need to know about using a charcoal BBQ
Kettle BBQs and Smoker BBQs
Sausages and beef burgers are relatively easy to cook on any type of BBQ grill. However, if you want to refine your skills on how you cook your meat, then working with a charcoal grill might be the best idea for you. Barrel or kettle BBQs with lids are perfect for smoking meat and you can even buy a smoker BBQ designed with this in mind.
For the best BBQ food, you need a BBQ that has some some temperature control. This is essential if your guests insist on food that is cooked evenly. Make sure to buy a BBQ with a lid to achieve this. The cover or lid of your grill assumes a major part in temperature control and a tight-fitting top is essential regardless of the model you choose.
Some charcoal grills come with an adjustable height grill that allows you to alter the distance between the coals and the cooking surface. This allows you to increase or reduce the amount of heat your food is exposed to rapidly and effortlessly.
Other models come installed with temperature gauges that give somewhat accurate readings for you to know when to make the height adjustment or to add more charcoal.
Convenience & cleaning
While charcoal BBQs give a superior flavour (we think!), one of the drawbacks of choosing charcoal over gas BBQs is that they need more work to get started and clean afterwards. Look for BBQs with easy to access ash drawers or trays. If you BBQ a lot it may be worth investing in an ash vacuum because this can make cleaning the BBQ much easier, especially if you have a large unit.
Look for BBQ models that have an extra door or pivoted cooking grates so you can add extra charcoal bricks without needing to remove the grate along with the part-cooked food.
The only real drawback with charcoal BBQs is perhaps having to wait for the coals to heat up ready for cooking. Remember to allow a good 60-90 minutes before you want to start cooking your food for the coals to heat up enough.
Durability & quality
The best BBQs are made from high-quality materials and should last through many years of barbecuing. Most BBQs feature stainless steel construction which is the toughest material but the quality and thickness may differ. Customer reviews and the product warranty might also tell you something about the model’s durability, if you can’t see it assembled the price usually gives quality away. Cheap BBQs are cheap for a reason and we think that it’s worth paying a little more to get better value for money.
If you need a charcoal grill that you can take with you outdoors or over to a friend’s house, you’ll need one that is moderately light, versatile and somewhat portable like the Fennek Portable Charcoal Grill (or other portable BBQs we’ve reviewed). The size of the cooking surface also matters. If you won’t be regularly cooking for more than four people at any given moment, then any size of grill surface will do.
In case you want to have the capacity to hold enormous patio BBQs for a bigger gathering, then you’ll need something larger. All things considered, you’ll need to find a charcoal BBQ with a moderately extensive cooking surface.
Most retailers give figures on the number of burgers you can fit on the cooking surface so you can get an unmistakable picture of what’s in store.
Most customers equate price to their various needs but expensive is not always better. If affordability is your top priority, then a basic barbecue is your best option. If you need a large cooking surface but are on a budget, you can find charcoal BBQs that aren’t necessarily expensive. While you can still get a BBQ relatively inexpensively, spending more can get you a bigger cooking surface, a sturdier grill or one that gives exceptional flavour. The charcoal BBQs in this review fall within a wide range of prices.
As with any type of cooking, especially around open flames, safety is to a great extent in the hands of the person who is BBQing. Ensure you check how the grill functions and read the instructions on some fundamental safety tips for charcoal barbecuing. Some things though only need common sense, like it’s not safe to dispose of the ashes until they’re completely cold. The primary thing to look for in a charcoal grill as far as safety is concerned is one that is solid. Make sure that it won’t tip over while you’re using it by placing it on level ground. Don’t forget to keep children and pets away too because BBQs can get very very hot.
How do you control the heat on a charcoal BBQ?
Air flowing over heated charcoal bricks makes them hotter. Many charcoal BBQs have air vents on the side or the bottom that you open and close to control the airflow. It helps if you have a built-in temperature gauge to let you know how hot it is inside the BBQ. Open the vents to increase the heat and close the vents to make it cooler.
Some models of charcoal BBQ let you raise or lower the charcoal grate to bring the coals closer to or further away from the food on the grilling grate. This regulates how much heat reaches the food without changing the temperature inside the BBQ.
Can I add more charcoal while I’m grilling?
Yes you can, though be aware that adding new charcoal bricks will lower the temperature of the BBQ until they’re up to heat. If you have to remove the grill (with food on it) to put new charcoal in, remember that everything’s very hot and wear fireproof gloves.
What utensils do I need when barbequing?
This is a good question where need and want often become mixed up. We think that the very basics you need are a pair of tongs, a spatula, a heat-proof brush to put marinade on the food, an apron, a wire brush to clean the grill and some fireproof grill gloves. But asking around brought up some other “needs”: bottle openers for beer and wine, an ice bucket, someone else doing it, a digital thermometer and people’s favourite varieties of charcoal.
Our Final Conclusion
Smoky flavours are awesome, yet the entire experience of BBQing outside with family and buddies is an essential part of the equation. Many people say that real (and the best) barbequed food comes only from a charcoal BBQ. Whether you agree with this or not, our Best Picks will each produce a barbequing experience that you’ll remember.
The overall Best Pick – the Landmann Taurus 660 Charcoal BBQ can handle the appetites of up to 10 people as well as keep more food warm.
The Best Pick for a kettle-style BBQ is the Char-Broil Kettleman Charcoal Barbecue Grill which can also feed a large family. It has a TRU-infrared cooking system for an alternative cooking method.
Our Best Smoker BBQ can grill, smoke and water-smoke your food. The Callow Premium Charcoal Smoker BBQ Grill has two cooking racks and one smoking rack to handle this.
If you’ve been using your old kitchen utensils for BBQing, why not treat yourself to some specialist BBQ tools that you will need to up your BBQ game.
And if you find yourself entertaining more with your new BBQ, think about investing in new patio furniture for your outdoor living space.
We hope you’ve learned from the best charcoal grills from our product reviews and next time you want to buy one remember to go back to our guide.
Last update on 2023-11-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API