For as long as guys have grilled in backyards, they’ve debated which type of grill is better: Charcoal or propane? If you’re a man of convenience and love fancy bells and whistles, you probably argue for propane. But, if you’re a traditionalist that puts flavor above all else, it’s charcoal for you through-and-through.
There’s no denying that there’s an unmistakable flavor that cooking with charcoal adds that propane cannot. Proponents of propane will say, “Taste the meat, not the heat!” Like most things, it comes down to personal preference in the end. We here at The Manual can appreciate a propane grill, but when it comes down to it, give us that sweet smokey flavor. Just for the hell of it, we decided to share with you our picks for the best charcoal grills for 2020.
Best Overall: Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill
If there’s one classic grill brand that has withstood the test of time, it’s Weber. Its original kettle grill has as well. The porcelain-enameled lid and bowl are excellent for retaining heat and won’t rust or peel. The grate flaps for adding more coal and the ash catcher features of the premium edition make it well worth the extra few bucks.
Best Cart-Style: Dyna-Glo Heavy-Duty Stainless Charcoal Grill $206
This Dyna-Glo grill is made for the perfectionist grillmaster. There numerous features that allow for heat adjustment, such as the crank-adjustable charcoal tray, the stainless-steel smoke stack with adjustable flue, and sliding side dampers. The grates are enameled cast-iron, excellent for retaining heat. Finally, the steel access door is lovely for stoking or adding more charcoal.
Best Splurge: Cowboy Cauldron
Although this is technically a cauldron, you can still grill up some ribs or a whole pig. This multi-use cauldron is made from the same stuff army tanks are made, and becomes the focal point of your backyard. Use it for campfires, crawfish boils, grill-outs, or whatever else you can think of. It will last you many lifetimes, and you’ll expect it to for the price.
Best Value: Weber Original Kettle Charcoal Grill
With the original Weber kettle grill, you don’t have to compromise quality for price. This OG grill can perform just as well without all the fancy features of the premium version.
Best Charcoal Grill and Smoker: Dyna-Glo Signature Series Heavy-Duty Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker & Grill
Technically you can smoke with any charcoal grill. But, if you’re a bit more into smoking than grilling yet still want the option to grill, this Dyna-Glo vertical offset charcoal smoker and grill is perfect. It’s got a massive amount of smoking/grilling space at 1382 inches. Also, the removable charcoal grate and ash pan makes it easy to add/remove heat.
Best Camping Charcoal Grill: Weber Smokey Joe 14-Inch Portable Grill, Black
Get all the quality of the Weber original kettle grill miniaturized in this Smokey Joe 14 inch portable grill. We suggest springing for the cover/carrying case to make for super-easy transport.
Best Heavy-Duty Charcoal Grill: Titan 390 Sq. in. Covered Park Grill with Shelf
If you’re looking for a charcoal grill that you can’t bother covering and need it to stand up to the elements, this Titan Covered Park Grill is for you. This grill will bring you back to the days of family outings to the park when you had to get there early to stake a claim to a public grill. This model provides a couple of nice added features like a shelf and cover.
Other Grills We Love
Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 Digital Charcoal Grill + Smoker
This Masterbuilt Gravity Series grill combines grilling, smoking, and convenience that only technology can provide. Through WiFi connectivity, you can control the offset gravity charcoal chamber’s temperature from 225 to 700 degrees. This grill’s nifty high-tech features and solid design make it a very versatile grill/smoker for the money.
Char-Griller AKORN Kamado Charcoal Grill
The ceramic, egg-shaped design of Kamado style grills is preferred by some grillmasters because they say they capture the heat to provide steady, even cooking. This Akorn kamado charcoal grill has a locking lid feature to capture even more heat and prevents your food from escaping (in case you were worried about that).
Char-Griller 2137 Outlaw 1063 Square Inch Charcoal Grill / Smoker
The Char-Griller Outlaw grill/smoker is a great no-frills grill that gives you the added space of a cart-style grill. It’s a great-looking, low-cost grill to your backyard or patio.
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