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The smell of lit charcoal, the heat of a coal fire, the sizzle of meat getting perfectly charred: few cooking methods bring you as close to nature as charcoal grilling.
To find the best charcoal grill, we tested dozens of grills firsthand and interviewed chef Shola Olunloyo of Studio Kitchen, author Steven Raichlen, butcher Pat LaFrieda, executive chef Tobias Dorzon, and Hey Grill Hey founder Susie Bulloch. Our top pick is the Weber Original Kettle 22″, a classic charcoal grill that is moderately priced and made to last.
Ultimately, the best charcoal grill for you (as with the best gas grill or the best BBQ smoker) should come down to size, budget, and material in that order, Olunloyo said. Read on for our picks for all sizes and budgets, and be sure to check out our guide to the best grills for our picks across every category.
Our top picks for the best charcoal grill
Best overall: Weber Original Kettle 22″ – See at Amazon
Weber’s Original Kettle Grill has a tried and true design that grills perfectly, lasts years, and doesn’t break the bank.
Best barrel grill: Char-Griller Grand Champ XD – See at The Home Depot
Char-Griller’s Grand Champ XD offers impressively thick, 12-gauge steel, excellent heat retention, and an all-around sturdy build for a price that fits most budgets.
Best upgrade: Kamado Joe Classic II – See at Amazon
The Kamado Joe Classic II is a ceramic grill with a teardrop design that burns charcoal efficiently, doubles as a smoker, and retains heat best.
Best self-feeding: Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050 – See at Amazon
One of the only self-feeding charcoal grills on the market, this is charcoal grilling as easy as it gets without sacrificing any of the flavor.
Best cart-style: PK300 Grill and Smoker – See at Amazon
The New Original PK300 Grill and Smoker is an updated design of the classic PK built to last decades and ready for most backyard barbecues.
Best portable: Weber Smokey Joe 14″ – See at Amazon
Weber’s Smokey Joe is everything we love about the brand’s Original Kettle grill, but is travel-sized and even more affordable.
Best for entertaining: Nuke Delta 40-Inch Gaucho Grill – See at Nuke BBQ
Cooking for a crowd is easier and more fun with the adjustable grill grates, 40-inch cooking surface, and Argentinian-style construction of the Delta Grill.