In the last few decades, we've seen innovative technology applied to the world of grilling. Many folks are turning to fancy electric high-powered cook tops and propane-fueled machines. The convenience and power of these types can't be denied. However, they fall short compared to their charcoal powered cousins when it comes to a traditional barbecue cooking experience. If you're looking for that smokey tasting barbecue that can only be replicated by burning charcoal, look no further. Here's are some of the top affordable charcoal grills.
Best Charcoal Grill Under $200
This grill by Kingsford is arguably one of the top mid-range grills out there. While buying it won't break your bank, it's not exactly cheap, either. The GR1031 is suited for cooking in large areas, such as when hosting a backyard barbecue party. In fact, this one can cook up to 30 burgers at once. If smoked BBQ is your thing, don't worry, you can smoke food in this it without the need for a smoke box. This Kingsford comes with convenient shelves and a bottom rack for storing various utensils. Hauling this thing around your house is pretty easy thanks to its wheels. What makes it stand out is the built-in thermometer for precise temperature control. The only barrier you'll find with this one is the lengthy assembly time.
- Large cooking area
- Smoking options
- Lots of space for cooking tools
- Solid long lasting construction
- Not super portable
- Possibly difficult to put together depending on your skill level
Best Small Charcoal Grill Under $100
The Weber 741001 is a kettle with 363 square inches of cooking space. Being that this cooker has a kettle design, it can act like an oven when the top is on. The 741001 is very rust resistant due to its porcelain covering, and comes with an aluminum ash catcher. If you're in the mood for smoked ribs, all you need to do is adjust the damper to a low setting. Weber advertises its patented one-touch cleaning system, which is a really convenient feature that empties out your ash onto the ash catcher in one fell swoop. The thing that stood out the most about this model was how quickly it heated up to cooking temperature. The only con we found for this model was the weak legs which tend to fall off.
- Great heat
- Good sized cooking area
- Good heat control
- No place for cooking tools
- Somewhat "flimsy" compared to other more expensive types
Best Value Portable Charcoal Grill
When it comes to portable, the Weber 121020 is unparalleled. It's one of the most affordable grills available today, it's built to last, and can be hauled (almost) anywhere for delicious barbecue. The legs on this tiny masterpiece can act as a locking mechanism to hold the lid in place when carrying it around. Setting up seems almost too easy to be true: you simply unlock the legs, open the lid, and load up your charcoal. This unit can cook for 3-4 people at once which is perfect for your wife and kids. This Weber has been in production for 20 years, and some owners have had their 121020 since it came out! Durability is not one aspect you'll have to worry about. A word of caution, however, this little heat machine can get hot quickly. Luckily, it will cool down pretty quickly if all the vent holes are closed.
- Easy to transport
- Cooking area big enough for at least two people
- Easy to store
- Needs a flat surface
- Cooking surface close to the coals
- Handles get hot
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