How to choose your next charcoal grill
Author: John Smith Date Posted: 26 September 2018
Grilling is a quintessential part of the summer. There’s nothing quite like the full-bodied charcoal flavour sweltering from your rack of juicy prime cut ribs complemented by a cold beer and some good old grilled veggies. No matter how many different types of BBQ grills or cooking methods come onto the scene, nothing quite adds flavour quite like a charcoal grill.
After all, the more serious grillers always prefer charcoal grills, given that low and slow barbeques tend to enrich the flavour of the meat. Charcoal grills are ideal for most seasons, despite being synonymous with summer, and there’s no legitimate reason why you should not bust out your grill mid-autumn.
With that in mind, here are a few tips you need to follow before making your purchase.
The size of your charcoal grill
You have two main considerations when it comes to size.
First, how big is the grill itself? If you like to hold big parties, you’ll most likely need something a bit bigger. If you’re the type of person who hosts a lot of guests, opt for larger grills in order to facilitate more space.
If you’re more of a casual griller who entertains only a few guests, smaller grills would more than suffice similar to this 3 in 1 charcoal BBQ smoker. However, keep in mind that it’s good to be aware that even smaller grills can cook quite a lot of food at once and at many barbeque parties the food doesn’t need to all be ready at the same time. Part of the fun is going back for more, asking the often self-appointed chef if the next batch of burgers are ready.
Temperature control on your charcoal grill
Home grillers that care about precision will want to choose a grill that allows for some temperature control. The lid of your grill plays a big role in temperature control – a tight-fitting lid is important no matter the type of brand you go with.
The other main factor that influences how much power you’ll have over the temperature are the dampers the grill offers. Any grill you buy should have at least two dampers - one for letting oxygen in and another for letting the exhaust out.
Additional dampers or vents will give you a little more control, especially for larger grills. Keep in mind that charcoal grills can go above 500 degrees, so they cook food faster and sear better. The only caveat with these grills is that you must watch your food closely.
Ease of use and cleaning of your charcoal grill
Once you get the hang of it, using a charcoal grill will become second nature. However, cleaning can always be a cumbersome task, which is why you need to factor this into your decision.
However, there are a few key features you can look for to make using and cleaning charcoal grills easier. Some grills are designed with an extra door or hinged cooking grates that make it easier to add more charcoal when needed without removing the food or grates on the grill. Other grills have a removable ash catcher that will make it easy to remove the ash produced by coals. Choose the option that best compliments your needs.
When you are choosing a charcoal grill, you obviously want to make sure it doesn’t fizzle out in a few months. Durability, therefore, is key. The best charcoal grills, if properly maintained, can last for many summers of BBQs.
The most important things to look out for if you want to find a grill with solid durability are the quality of the materials used to make it, the reviews by previous buyers, and the type/range of warranty offered.
As with most types of cooking, safety is largely in the hands of the user. Make sure you understand how the grill works, read the instructions and follow some basic safety tips for grilling with charcoal. Keep your exhaust damper open any time you’re cooking, and don’t dump the ashes until they’re fully extinguished.
The main thing to look for in a charcoal grill in terms of safety is one that’s sturdy so it won't tip over and become a major fire hazard.
The relevant add ons
There are a plethora of gadgets and add-ons to further enrich your grilling experience. A personal favourite is the rotating BBQ rotisserie near a hot fire. This is done by inserting a sturdy metal rod through your food and then attaching the rod to a heavy-duty motor.
The motor slowly turns the food near the fire until it is cooked, which makes the food cook more evenly and bastes itself internally as the food rotates. Yum yum and yum.
To learn more about what is at ‘steak’, visit our site for more tips on how to get your charcoal grill on and browse our BBQ section - where you can choose from a wide range of grills to suit your needs.