Best Charcoal Grill – Buyer’s Guide & Cooking Advice!

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a charcoal grill with how coals in it

You are deliberating what kind of charcoal grill station to get, there are so many makes and models, from the cheap steel box like a simple small charcoal grill with the place over the grate to the complex professional electronic IoT devices that cost the price of a small house.

Top-Rated Charcoal Grill List:

Louisiana Grills 61240Louisiana Grills 61240
  • Type- With Smoker
  • Surface- 567 sq. in.
Check Price Amazon
Weber 741001Weber 741001
  • Type- Kettle Style
  • Surface- 363 sq. in.
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Lodge L410Lodge L410
  • Type- Hibachi Style
  • Surface- 155 sq. in.
Check Price Amazon
Broil King 911470Broil King 911470
  • Type- With Smoker
  • Surface- 480 sq. in.
Check Price Amazon
Weber 15501001Weber 15501001
  • Type- Kettle Style
  • Surface- 363 sq. in.
Check Price Amazon
Weber 15502001Weber 15502001
  • Type- Kettle Style
  • Surface- 363 sq. in.
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Char-Griller 06620Char-Griller 06620
  • Type- Insulated Design
  • Surface- 447 sq. in.
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Char-Griller 2137Char-Griller 2137
  • Type- With Smoker
  • Surface- 1063 sq. in.
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Vision Grills Diamond-CutVision Grills Diamond-Cut
  • Type- With Smoker
  • Surface- 137 sq. in.
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Dyna-Glo DGN576DNC-DDyna-Glo DGN576DNC-D
  • Type- With Smoker
  • Surface- 816 sq. in.
Check Price Amazon
Dyna-Glo DGN576SNC-DDyna-Glo DGN576SNC-D
  • Type- With Smoker
  • Surface- 816 sq. in.
Check Price Amazon

Table of Contents

They are American, Japanese, German and Chinese, and come in an assortment of materials, from throwaway units that crumble after three uses, to lifetime durable and portable charcoal grill stations that will be used by your grandchildren. You could consider a tabletop charcoal grill or a hybrid unit that is both a gas and charcoal grill station.

No matter what you choose, when buying a grill, you need to factor in all the conditions and functions that you require, which includes location, serving size per grill, fuel source, cooking functions, and obviously price range.

Also remember, there is no best in charcoal grills, but only perceptual best for you. Sure, there are better models, using better materials and offering wider functionality, but best is always going to be both subjective, perceptual, and in the hands of the chef.

Do not think that a cheap grill provides the same results as an expensive one, but at the same time know that a professional griller will get perfect results even from a hole in the ground.

It’s not so much the tool as the tool holder that counts here, so when buying your grilling station, don’t be tempted to underpay for a cheaper model since this comes at the cost of durability and versatility.

At the same time, don’t bother with an IoT sit back and relax model, because grilling is hands-on, is always hands-on, and will never be replaced by a La-Z-Boy approach.

Lastly, if you are not a fan of smoke and charcoal, but you still want to upgrade your outdoor kitchen, take a look a the best built-in grill models which offer a different approach to outdoor cooking.

Best Charcoal Grill Reviews:

Louisiana Grills 61240 Kamado BBQ Ceramic Grill Cooker

Louisiana Grills 61240

A standalone outdoor ceramic cooker is simply the best choice for an easy and delicious backyard BBQ. This charcoal cooker from Louisiana Grills is a modernized model of an ancient Japanese charcoal-fueled cookstove (Kamado) that was used more than two thousand years ago.

The heavily insulated ceramic double lining holds the heat and moisture inside the grill which gives the food some delicious flavor and juiciness.

You can use an adjustable stainless steel air intake below to control the temperature of the grill. Plus, the cooker also has a cast exhaust at the top for that.

Turn the switch to the left side to make high-class BBQs, and if it’s Thanksgiving day, turn it to the right to make the temperature higher for cooking the perfect holiday turkey, wood-fired pizza, mouth-watering sausages, steaks, burgers, and seafood.

Have I mentioned the thermometer on the lid? It simply makes your cooking process so easy to control!

To start cooking, you just need to drop natural lump charcoal (1/3) and add some wood chunks, open the exhaust and intake, use an electric firestarter (or any type of firestarter) to heat the charcoal, and you’re good to go!

Smoke, roast, sear, bake, or char-grill, enjoying the cooking process and freedom of choice with Louisiana Grills. And don’t forget to add your favorite sauce!


  • Dimensions – 48.5″ x 30.3″ x 53.1″
  • Weight – 214 pounds
  • Height – 30.3″
  • Diameter – 48.5″
  • Griddle material – stainless steel
  • Grill/Smoker category- Kamado
  • Ignition type – manual
  • Primary cooking space – 657 sq. in.


  • Ceramic lid and hold in position
  • Opening bottom side
  • Low ash production
  • Good price/quality ratio
  • Includes special metal tool for easy cleaning
  • Includes thermometer for easy cooking control
  • Reliable foldable bamboo side tables for convenience and easy storage
  • The double-decked cooking grid provides more space for the most encapsulated heat
  • Heavy-duty stainless steel stand and hardware, wood handle

Weber 741001 Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill

1. Weber 741001 Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill

The Weber 741001 is an original no-nonsense charcoal grill design that delivers a comprehensive and easy-to-use grilling station.

This model comes with a plated steel cooking grate and a heavy gauge steel charcoal grate. The body is a porcelain-enameled shell with a porcelain-enameled lid that provides an easy to clean, and corrosion-resistant surface.

This unit comes with a bottom wire rack and a removable aluminum ash catching tray. The lid comes with an internal angled hook, and the lid handle comes with an integrated heat shield. This station also comes with a one-touch aluminized steel cleaning system and a spring clip with push pin leg assembly for fast set up and disassembly.


  • Dimensions (lid closed): 5″H X 22.5″W X 25″D
  • Cooking Diameter: 22”
  • Primary Cooking Area: 363 square inches
  • Fuel Type: Charcoal
  • Handles: 2 x Glass reinforced nylon
  • Wheels: 2
  • Dampers: 1 x Aluminum

Lodge Cast Iron Sportsman’s Grill. Large Charcoal Hibachi-Style Grill

2. Lodge Cast Iron Sportsman's Grill. Large Charcoal Hibachi-Style Grill

The Lodge 410 cast iron Sportsman’s grill is a feat of pure delight and performance. If you are seeking more than just a grill, and want those cast-iron results that only professionals can produce, then this is the grilling station you want.

The Lodge 410 comes with two adjustable heights and does not come with a lid. This is a straightforward open grill, not an oven, and is for cooking small cuts and faster food preparations in the wild. This s great hiking, climbing, hunting, and fishing performance product.

If it’s a perfect sear on every steak hamburger, and hot dot dog, or even that freshly caught game and fish, then this is the model you want.


  • Grill Grate Size: 17-1/4 in. x 9-in.
  • Grill Grate Material: Cast iron
  • Airflow: Sliding mechanism
  • Fuel Type: Charcoal
  • Fuel Feed: Door
  • Overall Dimensions: 19-in. W x 10-1/4 in. D x 9-in. H
  • Made in USA

Broil King 911470 Keg 5000 Charcoal Barbecue Grill

3. Broil King 911470 Keg 5000 Charcoal Barbecue Grill

The Broil King® Keg™ 5000 features have so many characteristics, it was hard to choose which ones would be placed in the “key” section. This 126 lbs., heavy-duty model comes with a 480 sq. in. total cooking space and includes a chrome coated secondary rack with heavy-duty cast iron cooking grid. To top all this off, there are many more features, including a removable ashtray, two resin side shelves, and a durable steel base with a metallic charcoal paint finish.

The cast iron upper damper is solid, bold, and extremely efficient. The rust-resistant porcelain-coated cooking chamber makes it easy to clean and maintain. This model comes with heavy-duty resin handles for easy manipulation even when hot.

The two front handle bottle openers make life with a brewsky easy, and the insulated dual wall steel construction provides both rugged durabilities as well as good heat transfer properties. The cooking grids are made of heavy-duty cast iron for that perfect sear.

You secure the hood with the Latch and lock lid mechanism, making it secured, and there is an excellent removable steel ashtray with a chrome damper, so you can easily clean the base.

This model provides you with removable resin side shelves with integrated tool hooks so you can gain more prep and workspace while grilling, and the durable stand comes with two large wheels for added maneuverability.

Since this device is designed to be portable, it comes with trailer hitch compatibility, The finish is a high-quality epoxy grey paint, and to finish the finish comes to an Accu-Temp™ thermometer for performance grilling.


  • Fuel Type: Charcoal
  • Full dimensions: 0 in. x 27.5 in. x 41.0 in.
  • Weight: 126 Lbs.
  • Cooking Surface: 19 in. x 19 in.
  • Primary Cooking Area: 280 sq. in. / 1,806 sq. cm
  • Total Cooking Area: 480 sq. in. / 3,097 sq. cm

Weber 15501001 Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch, Black

4. Weber 15501001 Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch, Black

The Weber 15501001 comes with a Black Finish, and an electric flame ignition system makes charcoal lighting issues a thing of the past. This model comes with an Open Cart design in a Heavy-duty Steel Cart Frame and a Bottom wire rack.

The cover comes with a heat shielded lid handle and a tuck-away lid holder. The underside comes with a removable, high-capacity aluminum ash catcher that is part of an aluminized steel one-touch cleaning system.

This makes it easy and efficient to maintain after use. There is also a removable backlit LCD cook timer that makes life even easier for the lazy chef.


  • Dimensions (lid closed): 5″H X 48″W X 30″D
  • Grill Diameter: 22”
  • Cooking Area: 363 square cm.
  • Fuel Type: Charcoal
  • Handles: 1 x glass reinforced nylon
  • Wheels: 1 x swivel lock caster, 2 wheels
  • Tool Hooks: 3
  • Dampers: 1 x aluminum
  • Fuel Holder: 2
  • Battery: AA, AAA

Weber 15502001 Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch, Copper

5. Weber 15502001 Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch, Copper

The Weber 15502001 comes with a Copper Finish and is the same model as the 15501001, which gives an electric flame ignition system that makes charcoal lighting issues a thing of the past. This model comes with an Open Cart design in a Heavy-duty Steel Cart Frame and a Bottom wire rack.

The copper-colored cover comes with a heat shielded lid handle and a tuck-away lid holder. The underside comes with a removable, high-capacity aluminum ash catcher that is part of an aluminized steel one-touch cleaning system.

This makes it easy and efficient to maintain after use. There is also a removable backlit LCD cook timer that makes life even easier for the lazy chef.


  • Dimensions (lid closed): 5″H X 48″W X 30″D
  • Grill Diameter: 22”
  • Cooking Area: 363 square cm.
  • Fuel Type: Charcoal
  • Handles: 1 x glass reinforced nylon
  • Wheels: 1 x swivel lock caster, 2 wheels
  • Tool Hooks: 3
  • Dampers: 1 x aluminum
  • Fuel Holder: 2
  • Battery: AA, AAA

Char-Griller 06620 Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Barbecue Grill and Smoker, Red

6. Char-Griller 06620 Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Barbecue Grill and Smoker, Red

The Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Kooker is an extremely well thought out and solid design that comes with a Triple Wall insulated steel constructed body that holds a 20” diameter cast-iron grilling grate.

This kamado style griller sits on large 8” locking caster wheels that make it versatile and maneuverable as well as solid and stock when locked. The easy dump ash pan does cleaning that much easier, and the porcelain paint surface provides a very easy to clean and corrosion-resistant surface.

This model comes with Folding Side Shelves and a removable Warming Rack which just adds to the overall professionalism of this exceptional grilling station.


  • Dimensions: 45” x 31” x 47”
  • Weight: 97 Lbs.
  • Body Material: Triple Wall Steel
  • Grate Material: Cast Iron
  • Wheels: Large 8″ Locking Caster Wheels
  • Cooking Size: 20″ Diameter
  • Cooking Area: 314 square inches

Char-Griller 2137 Outlaw 1063 Square Inch Charcoal Grill Smoker

7. Char-Griller 2137 Outlaw 1063 Square Inch Charcoal Grill Smoker

The Char-Griller™ Outlaw BBQ Grill is a professional-level grilling station, and this is the one you want for those really big parties. It comes with a grilling capacity of 950 sq. in., and you can add the Side Fire Box to get that smoker going too.

This model is made of an extremely rugged and thick steel frame, the cast iron grate is heavy-duty and provides an excellent sear and maintains heat. The model also provides rotisserie compatibility which makes this an all-around grilling and cooking station.

Since this is a professional level model, it comes with an adjustable fire grate, and an easy to clean ash dump pan.  The built-in heat gauge gives you total control over your cooking environment and the airtight flanged hood, delivers an optimized heat-maintained cooking area.

This model comes with 3 shelves and a warming rack, and the finish is powder coating for extra corrosion resistance including from wear and tear.


  • Material: Steel
  • Grid Material: Cast Iron
  • Fuel: Charcoal
  • Dimensions: 49” x 29” x 50”
  • Weight: 114 Lbs.
  • Shelves: Front, fixed side.
  • Accessories: Temperature Gauge, Utensil Hooks, Rotisserie Compatible, Side fire box compatible.

Vision Grills Diamond-Cut Cadet Kamado Grill (Crimson Red)

8. Vision Grills Diamond-Cut Cadet Kamado Grill (Crimson Red)

The Vision Grills Professional C-Series is a serious grilling station for professional chefs. This C-Series grill comes with a solid heavy-duty ceramic fire bowl and exterior body, which makes this perfect for heat transfer as well as for cleaning.

The grill grate and air vent are made of cast iron, and this is a two-tier cooking grate system that provides 604 square inches of stainless steel dual flip grate surface.

The controls are highly accurate, and after using the electronic ignition, you control the height of your flame with accurate grilling control knobs.

The body is covered in a red honeycomb ceramic finish, and the lid comes with a built-in thermometer.

The bottom draft vent uses the Patented ProZone™ system that comes with an Electric Starter Port for quick lighting.

The ash drawer is designed for fast removal, cleaning, and return, and the top draft vent is made of cast iron to maximize the heat insulation properties of the cooking area. You also get a night light for those dark evening cooks.


  • Cooking Area: 18 7/8″ diameter
  • Top Grate Diameter: 18 1/8″
  • Grate Material: Cast Iron
  • Dimensions: 8” x 47” x 22.5” (52” width with open side shelves)
  • Weight: 227 lbs (103 kgs)
  • Materials: Stainless Steel (Frame), Ceramic (Bowl), Cast Iron (Grate, Vent)
  • Wheels: 4 swivel casters, 2 locking casters
  • Accessories: 100% Natural Lava Stone

Dyna-Glo DGN576DNC-D Premium Charcoal Grill

9. Dyna-Glo DGN576DNC-D Premium Charcoal Grill

The Dyna-Glo DGN576DNC-D is an all-around charcoal grilling station that is used at any time of the day and night. This model comes with porcelain-enameled cast-iron grates that provide perfect sears while being very easy to clean.

There is a charcoal door for easy relocating of fuel, and the ash cleaning tray is easy to manipulate. This model comes with a stainless smoke stack that provides an adjustable flue delivering additional temperature control.

The Charcoal tray comes with an adjustment crank, and the doors are made of cast iron with steel fitments to maintain insulation and heat properties inside the firebox.

This model comes with a stainless-steel temperature gauge and includes bottle openers too.


  • Cooking Area: 816 square inches
  • Grate Material: Porcelain enameled Cast iron
  • Hood Construction:                Single wall, powder coated steel
  • End Cap Type: Powder coated steel
  • Warming Rack: Steel wire, porcelain enameled with chrome-plated supports
  • Charcoal Access Door: Cast iron and steel
  • Charcoal Adjustment System: Dual Crank
  • Smokestack Material & Finish: Stainless Steel

Dyna-Glo DGN576SNC-D Dual Zone Premium Charcoal Grill

10. Dyna-Glo DGN576SNC-D Dual Zone Premium Charcoal Grill

The Dyna-Glo DGN576SNC-D is another exceptional grilling station from Dyna-Glo. This model is slightly smaller than the previous one reviewed, but it comes with excellent features and a great price too.

This model comes with a stainless smoke stack that provides you with an adjustable flue for additional temperature control, and the double-walled lid and front firebox insulate you even more from excessive heat transfer.

The cast-iron doors for reloading coals retain the heat as well as protect you from its thermal insulation properties.

The charcoal tray comes with a single action adjustment crank, and the hi-gloss porcelain enameled cast iron cook grates to make for perfect searing as well as optimized cleaning performance.

This mode comes with a stainless steel temperature gauge, an easy to manipulate removable ash pan, and heavy-duty locking casters for maneuverability as well as solid cooking surface conditions.


  • Cooking Area: 686 square inches
  • Grate Material: Porcelain enameled Cast iron
  • Hood Construction: Double-wall, galvanized steel inner liner with stainless outer
  • End Cap Type: Powder coated steel
  • Warming Rack: Steel wire, porcelain enameled with chrome-plated supports
  • Charcoal Access Door: Cast iron and steel
  • Charcoal Adjustment System: Crank
  • Smokestack Material & Finish: Stainless Steel

A-Maze-N Smoke Generators

A-Maze-N is the manufacturer of simple grill accessories for cold smoking. Whether it’s meat, vegetables, nuts, cheese, or fish. All their smoke generators have gone through serious testing, resulting in the perfect design and food flavor.

People use them for their grills and enjoy delicious meals flavored with great smoke that occurs from high-quality sawdust that you can get with the A-Maze-N tubes, it will not leave any mess to clean up afterward.

They are easy to use, durable (stainless steel + no rust), do not provide additional heat inside your grill, and emit smoke up to 8-10 hours!

How it works

You just get yourself an A-Maze-N Smoker tube, fill it with pellets, lay it on the side of your grill’s grate (horizontally or vertically), and turn your charcoal or gas grill into a smoker! And you know that smokers provide the best smoky flavor for your meat, right?

The next thing is you just light it up with a portable burner, close the lid of your grill, and it starts smoking your meat, resulting in a mouth-watering perfectly tasting smoky dish.

Whatever the A-Maze-N smoke generator you will choose (e.g. tubes, 6×6 or 5×8 maze boxes), it will be a perfect upgrade for your grill and the flavor will change drastically. There are various sizes, but these generators do not take much space at all, so you can fit them into your grill.

Simply amazing cold and hot (up to 180 F temperatures) smoking accessories that will change your cooking routine forever!


How to use a charcoal grill

The first golden rule of charcoal grilling is that fire requires oxygen, oxygen is maintained through proper venting. So, when you set up your griller, make sure your charcoal is well vented. This is charcoal grilling 101, always make an oxygen-rich environment.

The second golden rule is cleanliness. Never cook in a dirty grill, you might be stuck in the middle of a sewer (beware of natural methane) but the grill must be clean. This means a clean ash box, a clean firebox, and clean grates.

Now down to basics:
  • Remember that wider vents lead to more oxygen that leads to hotter flames and faster coal burning. Smaller vents mean less oxygen and slower flames.
  • You do not need a coal lighting fluid or briquette, make a charcoal chimney, stack up to the coals properly, and you will be able to ignite a flame in seconds.
  • Use newspaper or wood slivers to get the initial flame going and feed you do this by covering the base with newspaper, then covering that with coals. You use the chimney unit for this, and if you don’t have one, make a stacked column like a chimney from the coals.
  • Make sure the top grate is off, and light the newspaper. Once your fire is going, give it around 5-10 minutes and then either remove the chimney and spread the coals around, or just spread the coals around. Also, in the meantime, oil your grate with cooking oil, this helps create a charcoal sear on the grate that defies meat sticking to the surface. Now cover the coals with the cooking grate.
  • Maintain the flame by using a fan to heat it up, or by opening the vents, and make sure you constantly replace the charcoals with new ones, after they have started to deplete into ash.

How to start a charcoal grill?

Method 1: The Flat Lighting Method with Briquettes
  1. Remove the lid and cooking grate.
  2. Clean out the ash pan and sweep away all ashes from the inside of the box. Use a damp towel for true cleaning.
  3. If your grill comes with a bottom vent system, open this so air will reach the coals during ignition.
  4. If you want speed, either use self-lighting briquettes or use a lighting block material dispersed among the natural charcoals. The basic approach is to use the newspaper.
  5. For a more intense flavor and smoke, prefer hardwood charcoal, these burn faster than briquettes and don’t give you that diesel fuel taste. In fact, many hardwood charcoals come with different flavors that smoke the meat while cooking too.
  6. For optimum results, use a mixture of briquettes with hardwood charcoal, this will make lighting easy as well as deliver great flavor, and provide a long-lasting ember.
  7. Remember to adjust the vents for temperature control.
Method 2: Using Lighter Fluid
  1. Make a pyramid out of your charcoal.
  2. The base must be as wide as the box, and you pour in the number of coals you want for your initial grill.
  3. Heap up the extra layers into a pyramid shape.
  4. Cover the pyramid with a lot of lighter fluid, don’t be skimpy with this, splash it on and drown them. After covering them with liquid, leave them for 3-5 minutes so that the coal sucks up the fluid into its core, if you don’t wait and light immediately, you will just burn the fluid off the surface, and the coals will not ignite internally.
  5. Make sure you are not splattered with lighter fluid if so, change your clothes.
  6. An option for lighter fluid is cooking oil, but this you will douse over the newspaper and place it under the coals.
  7. After waiting 3-5 minutes, add another dash of lighter fluid to the construct.
  8. Taking a long match, carefully (yes you chuck the match in like most of us do…damned cowards) and the coals should burst into the flame where touched by the match. Do this on all four sides of the pyramid for an evenly distributed effect.
  9. Let the pyramid burn for around 5-10 minutes and then disperse the coals in the box. If there are cold spots, do not squirt on more fluid, mix hot coals with cold ones and let them simmer together.
  10. Make sure the lighter fluid is burnt out of the coals, you don’t want to cook with the taste of lighter fluid in your food.
  11. Golden Rule: Never add lighter fluid once the coals are lit. This is a potential fire hazard and will not make the coals burn faster since the fluid ignites before it seeps into the coals.
  12. After spreading your coals around, cover them with a grate and get ready to cook. (Don’t forget to oil the grate for a non-stick performance)
Method 3: Igniting with a Charcoal Chimney

If you have a coal chimney option, then you need newspaper and coals.

  • Stuff newspaper at the bottom of the chimney. You can cover the newspaper in cooking oil or leave it dry. (usually, make a mix of both).
  • Fill the chimney with coals, and make sure they reach the top.
  • Place the chimney over the cooking grate, this acts as an oxygen source as well as lets the ash fall down into the firebox. Using a match or lighter, ignite the newspaper carefully.
  • Leave the chimney to burn for around 20-30 minutes, and make sure the flame is constant; you adjust the flame with air.
  • Once the coals are white, ashy with a glowing red center, pour them into the box and cover them with the grate. You are ready to cook.

Charcoal vs. Gas grill

OK, this is a standard question, and there is a standard veteran’s reply.

Both have different purposes, so let’s look at these differences and understand that both are good, one is not better than the other since each one delivers different results. If you are not a fan of charcoal or standard grills for that matter, take a look at the best outdoor gas griddles. Let’s answer the question what is better? By asking another question:

What does a grill provide?

A grill provides three types of cooking conditions:

  1. Direct heat with no cover for grilling, frying, boiling and any other surface flame application.
  2. Indirect heat with convection for roasting, baking, and broiling in closed conditions.
  3. Smoking from a smoke source, either from the flames or from a smoke box (indirect source).

Both Charcoal and Gas provide the three conditions described above, but one might outdo the other in performance, and what is performance measured in? Many features, so let’s analyze performance:

Fuel Source

A gas grill requires gas bottles, without this it won’t work, and you cannot use the box for coals and wood since the burners are built-in features. As such, a gas grill is limited to the source of fuel availability. However, some people prefer gas grills for their versatility. If you are one of them, check out the best small gas grills and see what’s on the market.

A charcoal grill is a fuel box that can burn anything you want, from charcoal to wood to even wood pellets as well as hay and anything else you want to use. This means that you get more versatility and are not limited to your solid fuel supply.


A gas grill is as portable as the gas tank you bring with you. So if you use a small single cell unit, it’s very portable, but with a limited gas supply. If you own a large professional model that connects to a large tank or even gas mains, then you have a less portable but highly efficient model.

A charcoal grill is as portable as the grill unit needs to be and the bags of fuel you want to bring along. You do not need to attach any connectors to set this unit up.


A gas grill requires a lot of safety measures with the hose and connectors, as well as the flow of gas is regulated at the source and the grill station. As such, a gas grill is dangerous.

A charcoal grill is only dangerous when in use, and you need to be careful of the bits of hot embers that might fly away and ignite a nearby dry spot of vegetation if you are grilling in the wild. Other than that, a charcoal grilling unit is safe to use.


A gas grill has much more versatility when coming with full functionality. This includes all the bells and whistles of a convection oven, an infra-red unit, side burners, smoker boxes, and IoT connectivity.

A charcoal grill usually comes with less functionality; even the more expensive ones are designed with fewer features. However, you can get exceptionally versatile charcoal cooking units, that will cover most of your requirements.

Ignition and Flame Control

A gas grill is fast to ignite; there is no question here, just turn the gas on, ignite the flame, and away you go. Control is down to 5% in the more advanced models, making gas grillers extremely accurate devices for cooking professional meals.

The fastest charcoal grill will take at least 15 minutes until the charcoals are ready, even when using briquettes, you need to wait for the lighter fluid to burn out. Even with all the controls, a charcoal griller will never be as accurate as a gas unit.


Both units need to have the grilling surface cleaned and maintained, the main differences are:

A gas griller requires much more maintenance, the burners need to be cleaned regularly, and the grill has a lot of nooks and crannies where dirt and grime can accumulate. While there is not an ash box, there is a need for a grease collection system.

A charcoal grill, even the most advanced unit is easy to maintain and clean. You just need to clean out the ash and firebox units.


Now we come to the land of mystery and perception. Does charcoal imbibe more flavor than gas?

Let’s start with the basics: A charcoal grill will always outsell a gas grill due to the nature of the heat source. Coals produce more infra-red heat; they provide a hotter caramelizing heat.

Having stated this, there is a point in favor of the gas grill units, and just to make a point, most restaurants (90%), especially those that have Michelin stars, use gas grills for the versatility and speed at which they work.

This also goes to prove that charcoal is not necessarily a flavor imbibe, and also that the smoke involved in charcoal would not go well with the customers.

These gas grills used by professionals come with a special broiler unit, now, since most of us don’t cook in a restaurant, investing a gas broiler is idiotic, and you don’t want to start lugging around equipment in the outback when camping, hiking, hunting, or just sitting in your backyard with a good beer.

As such, a home charcoal grill that heats up to 900oF is more than enough to provide those juicy steak sears that are synonymous and famous in the charcoal grill family.

Now let’s look at the smoke impact.

Charcoal creates a lot of smoke from the fats and juices that drip down from the meats onto the embers.  The smoke from charcoal is different from that smoke that is made in a gas burner.

The smoke from a gas burner originates from the splatter of those fluids onto the burner protection units or the burners themselves. The evaporated gasses of steam from these protected burners infuse back into the cooking meats but do not impart that coal smoke effect, and that is why gas burners come with special smoking units.

Charcoal is enough to change the flavor of longer grilled meats such as chicken wings, steaks, and other larger products, The shorter cooked meats such as hamburgers, kebabs, and hot dogs will not grill for time enough to allow the smoke an impact on the flavor.

If you want, you can convert a charcoal grill into a smoker by adding flavor-filled wood chips and lowering the heat, covering the grill, and letting the smoke imbue the meats with its taste.

Bottom line, charcoal grillers outperform in smoking while cooking, but gas grills have that added smoke box advantage, so this is an issue of preference.

Another issue with flavor comes from the use of briquettes or lighter fuels. Gas grills do not have a taste issue since they are constant. Briquettes and lighter fluid when not burned off properly will impart their bitter taste into the meats and this will ruin your meal.

Also, more importantly, unburnt lighter fuel and briquettes are carcinogenic. The best way to combat this issue is to use a charcoal chimney for preparing your fuel-free embers.


Charcoal grills are great for a walk in the woods, a day by the beach, a mountain climb, a cycling pit stop, and just about any outdoor activity that doesn’t require too much heavy packaging. They are also great BBQ talking stops, where the preparation process is a ritual.

Gas grilling is for faster and easier maintained grills, preferably fixed at home and providing a larger and faster grilling environment.

How to cook a brisket on a charcoal grill

So, we have looked at the difference between charcoal and gas, we know how to ignite our charcoal, and we know how to use the grill. It’s to cook, so here is a simple brisket recipe for your charcoal grill.

This is a Texan Beef brisket recipe, and it comes after a century of accumulated experience in managing smoky, low heat, long-time cooking. The beauty of a good brisket is that it only has one ingredient, the brisket. You don’t even need to prep it or rub it; you just need to cook it.

The choice of meat is key to success, before starting any meal, you must assure your star product is perfect. For this, you will want an untrimmed thick sheath of fat on your brisket, and you must start by searing the sides in a pan.

This will lock in the juices, preventing them from leaking out during the grill, as well as allowing the smoke from the grill to penetrate and provide maximum flavor.

Now, a whole restaurant-grade brisket will weigh in the region of eighteen to twenty pounds. I doubt if you will want to cook that unless you have invited half the neighborhood. Generally, most households cook a five to six pond brisket cut.

Brisket is best cooked on a charcoal grill for the smoke it imbues, as such, make sure you have a good source of fuel, a good source of flavor chips and doesn’t lift the lid during the cook.

Cooking Instructions

Prepare the grill beforehand, and have it set to 225-250oF, this should take around 30 minutes from prep to ready. Once the coals are burning hot, with white ash, adjust the vents and make sure the temperature is stabilized.

Place the brisket, fat side up, on the indirect heat zone, and close the lid. Make sure the vents are set to smoke the meat. Do not open the lid once the process starts or you will damage the temperature and this will lead to the uncooked end product.

Maintain the temperature of your grill by adding new coal and wood chips, from experience this is around 4-5 new coals or briquettes every 60 to 90-minute intervals.

A brisket of this size takes around 3.5 hours to cook, and it only works when the temperature is maintained steadily throughout the cook. Once you reach 3.5 hours, open the lid and check the core temperature of your meat with a thermometer, it should read 165oF.

If the meat core is at 165oF, take it off the grill and wrap it in foil. This holds the juices in the wrap, and place the wrapped brisket over direct heat until the core reaches 185oF. This means a constant vigil and it should take around 30 minutes.

Once your brisket has hit the magic 185oF core temperature, take it off the grill and let it rest a further 30 minutes. If you can wait longer, an hour is perfect. However, it is now ready for slicing and serving.

How to cook ribs on a charcoal grill

So, we just cooked a Brisket, now let’s cook up some ribs in the meantime since the brisket will come later. This is a classic sticky, smoky rib recipe.

The time to prepare is 20 minutes and the cooking time is 3.5 hours.

  • 1 cup Barbecue Sauce
  • 2 slabs baby back ribs
  • Applewood Charcoal
  • Liquid Seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon dry rub mix
  • ¼ cup apple jelly
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ cup apple cider
Dry Rub
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 4 teaspoons garlic salt
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt

Start by making the dry rub, have it ready on the side before prepping the meat. Once it’s ready, take the ribs and remove the back membrane. Using the dry rub and saving a tablespoon for later, rub the ribs well with the mixture to the front and back sides.


On the charcoal grill, place at the back on the “void side” a small pan of water (aluminum or steel), close the lid, and when the grill temperature reaches250°F, place the ribs on a grill plate, so you cook them indirectly for 2 hours and 15 minutes.

During this time, take that tablespoon of dry rub and mix it with the liquid seasoning, prepare a double square of aluminum foil that can wrap the ribs entirely.

Baste and Cook

After the cooking time is up, and you did not live the lid once, open the lid and remove the ribs, place them on the double layer of aluminum foil. Now take that wet rub mixture and coat the ribs all over, pour around ½ cup over the slab, and then wrap the ribs with the aluminum foil.

Place it back in the grill and cook for 1 hour at 250°F.

After the time is up, remove the ribs to uncover the foil and brush on the barbeque sauce on both sides. Return them to the open grill for around 15 minutes or until the sauce caramelizes, whichever comes first.

Now you are ready to serve.

How to grill steak on a charcoal grill

The king of the grill, nothing beats a charcoal-grilled juicy, succulent thick steak. This is a very simple, very foolproof, and very tasty recipe. Essentially, steak, like brisket doesn’t need much preparation, what you do need to do, is buy the right cut of meat.

  • 4 x 1 ¼” to 1 ½”-thick boneless rib-eye or New York strip steaks. These will weigh around 12 ounces each. Or you can use trimmed filets mignons that weigh 8 to 10 ounces each.
  • 2 tablespoons canola or extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

After you have ignited the barbeque and are waiting for the coals to heat up, take the steak out from the refrigerator and leave covered on the side for 20 minutes.

When you are ready to grill, rub the steaks with oil, salt, and pepper and place them on the grill.


Make sure the heat is high, and cook the steaks for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown with a slight char. Then, turn the steak over and do the same on the other side.

Temperature Rules

Have a meat thermometer ready:

  • 3 -5 minutes for medium-rare; internal temperature of 135oF
  • 5 to 7 minutes for medium; internal temperature of 140oF
  • 8 to 10 minutes for medium-well; internal temperature of 150oF

Place the steak on a waiting board and let them sit with foil for around 5 minutes, this resting allows the excess juices to run out, and then transfer the steak to the serving plate, or cut it into strips and serve.

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