When it comes to charcoal BBQ grills, there’s really only one suggestion I have.
In fact I have two suggestions based on size preferences and portability, but they’re basically the same.
If you want to buy the best charcoal BBQ grill, you should consider the kettle grills from Weber.
Bottom line, they are the best products in this category.
Weber Charcoal BBQ Grills
Weber has a few models in this general product line. There is the Original Kettle grill, the Premium, and the Master Touch. These are both 22 inches in diameter.
If you want something smaller and more portable, then consider the Weber Smokey Joe which is 14 inches in diameter.
The point is, get a Weber.
The Original comes in 2 sizes, 18 and 22 inches, however right away I would suggest you go with the 22 inch model as you will find the extra size beneficial.
The exterior is very well built, with steel that will avoid any corrosion. The handles are also well built so you won’t have to worry about them breaking down.
There is a no rush aluminium vent which helps you create a specific cooking environment for your grill. The grill itself is plated steel and there are handles on each side which makes removal very easy.
Below the cooking grill, there is a charcoal grill which separates the coal from the ashes. Below that, you have Weber’s patented one touch cleaning system. There are blades which you can control for air flow, and to sweep the bottom of the grill to help with cleaning up.
There is a collection pan at the bottom of the grill which the ash is supposed to fall into, making cleaning up pretty easy.
Lastly, it comes with all weather crack proof wheels.
This is the cheaper of the 3 models, and excellent value for your money.
It has received some of the best reviews from consumers on any barbecue type of product out on the market today.
The Premium grill is available in black, green and copper.
Other than some colour options, it has a few additional features when compared to the Original.
There is a built in thermometer, and a heat shield on the top handle of the kettle. The side handles have a few extra hooks for places your cleaning brushes or tongs.
The grill has also been updated. On each side of the cook grill there are hinges, allow you to easily add charcoal to each side. This allows you to add more charcoal to the barbecue without having to remove your food from the grill.
Another new feature is the ash catching system beneath the kettle. There is a lever to sweep the ashes into a container which you can store the ashes and remove once it's filled up. You will get less of a mess with this system.
You're looking at a $50 increase for these added features: Thermometer, hand shield, extra hooks, ash catcher.
The main advantage in this new Premium model is the ash catcher. If you feel this is not a big deal, you can save some money and just stick with the Weber Original Kettle.
The Master Touch is ideal if you want a larger grill.
Although its diameter is the same size (22 inches) it comes with an extra inside rack.
There are charcoal baskets on the sides, and in the center you can remove a circular grate which will allow you to add any of Weber's other accessories like a cast iron wok, poultry roaster, siring grate and so on.
It also has the ash catching system, some new rubber wheels, and a very handy lever for you to rest the kettle on when removing it to check on your food.
These additional features are great if you're looking for more versatility in your grill. If you want a basic grill, stick with the Original, however if you're interested in making use of all these extra features then it could be worth the upgrade.
Best Bang For Your Buck
So which grill should you choose?
Well in my opinion, the best bang for your buck is the Original Kettle.
At $99, you just can't beat the value. For the money, this is the best charcoal grill on the market.
But what if you want these extra features? Which option is recommended?
For an extra $50 dollars you will get the thermometer and the ash catching tray. These are not totally necessary, but they are useful, especially the ash catching device. These are found on the Premium.
If you upgrade from the Original to the Master Touch, it will cost you $100. For this you will get everything in the Premium (hand shield, ash catcher, thermometer), and also the extra grilling space and features which allow you to use other cooking devices within the grill.
But If You're Going To Upgrade, Do It Right!
Some of the features of the Premium and Master Touch are very useful.
If you like them and want to spend less than $200 on a charcoal grill you'll be quite happy. Remember that all these grills are recommended and they're all amazing. It's just a decision on which extra features you might like.
But there's one other grill I haven't mentioned yet...
It's the Weber Performer Premium:
If you have the extra space, and extra budget, this is by far the best grill on the market in this category.
This is the one grill that has it all!
It has the same 22 inch kettle grill, but it's set into this great cart which is sturdy and easily manoeuvrable.
It has a built in thermometer, a lid holder, tool hooks, and an ash catching bucket (similar to the Master Touch).
What separates it from all the others, is that it also comes with a gas ignition and a side table which can very convenient. This table lets you put down tools and platters and will come in handy for almost everyone.
The attached gas ignition will allow you to start the coals without the need of matchers or chimney starters. With a small propane tank attached, you can start your grill with the push of a button.
You get the convenience of gas, with the flavour of charcoal!
If you're serious about grilling, and you want these extra features, this grill is priced at $350, and is well worth it in my opinion.
If you're not interested in spending that much, then the other grills are still great value.
Other Things You May Need
What About Portability?
If you're looking for a portable charcoal grill, this is your best option.
The Weber Smokey Joe is 14 inches in diameter, and the base model retails for $39.99.
It's portable making it great for parties, tailgating, and cookouts. It's the same build quality as the other Weber grills, just in a smaller size.