For most of us, summer usually means spending time with families and friends, which is a great time to bring out the charcoal grill and get cookin’ in the backyard. Charcoal grills are for grill masters who are fond of savoring meat’s juicy flavor and enjoying the whole grilling process (though it’s a long one, mind you).
If you’re transitioning from propane grills to charcoal, then be ready to allot more time and patience to perfecting the art of charcoal grilling. And we don’t mean to scare you there. From kettle types to kamados, here’s our roundup of the best charcoal grills for 2021, all guaranteed to reward you with smoky yet flavorful slabs of meat.
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, both features of the premium edition, make it well worth the extra few bucks. We recommend investing in this wallet-friendly option if you’re looking for the best grills under $500.
Best Cart-Style: Dyna-Glo Heavy-Duty Stainless Charcoal Grill
This Dyna-Glo grill is made for the perfectionist grill master. It boasts numerous features that allow for heat adjustment, such as a crank-adjustable charcoal tray, a 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 Fire Pit
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 of, and it will become 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 a lifetime — 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 the price. This OG grill boasts a durable porcelain-enameled lid and bowl for excellent heat retention when cooking up to 13 burgers, protecting said components from rust and cracking.
The grill’s adjustable dampers offer precise temperature control without lifting the lid. After a cookout, close the dampers to put out the coals in a jiffy. It’s simple and hassle-free. Overall, Weber’s 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 Charcoal Smoker & Grill
Technically, you can smoke with any charcoal grill. But if you’re a bit more into 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 and grilling space at 1,382 square inches. Also, the removable charcoal grate and ash pan make it easy to add or remove heat.
Best Camping Charcoal Grill: Weber Smokey Joe 14-Inch Portable Grill
Looking for a camping grill? Get all the quality of the Weber original kettle grill miniaturized in the Smokey Joe 14-inch portable grill. It comes bundled with an easy-to-clean plated steel cooking grate for retaining heat and grilling five burgers. Lightweight and compact, the Smokey Joe makes the perfect go-to outdoor cooking equipment. Embarking on a road trip? Camping in the woods? We suggest springing for the cover or carrying case for super-easy transport.
Other Grills We Love
Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 Digital Charcoal Grill and Smoker
This Masterbuilt Gravity Series grill combines grilling, smoking, and convenience that only technology can provide. Through Wi-Fi 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 a Kamado-style grill is preferred by some grill masters who 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 prevent your food from escaping (in case you were worried about that).
Titan Park Grill
If you’re looking for a charcoal grill that you don’t want to bother covering, and you need it to stand up to the elements, this Titan Covered Park Grill is for you. This heavy-duty charcoal 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 at a public grill.
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