If there is one tradition that most people enjoy, that is grilling outdoors. Grilling outdoors can be a practical way to prepare a meal. For starters, one doesn’t have to heat up the house to have a delicious meal and done right, little clean up as well.
However, for most people, the flavor of charcoaled food is the main attraction. Naturally, it takes a quality grill to get the job done right and full of that delicious taste. A good charcoal grill has proper heat production, retention, and distribution so you have more control over the food you prepare on the grill.
It’s All About The Heat
Just like with your home oven, cooking on a grill is all about the heat. There are three specific aspects of heating that concern charcoal grills and other grills for that matter and that is heat production, heat retention, and heat distribution. The best grills offer a balance between all three. A grill that has great heat production but lacks in the other areas will likely overcook or char the food inappropriately, whereas a grill with bad heat production will cause cooking times to significantly increase.
Heat retention is in relation to heat production, too much heat loss can cause cooking times to increase or can allow for the formation of hot and cold spots in the food, causing it to cook unevenly. Lacking in good heat distribution can also cause hot and cold spots or uneven cooking. These are critical to charcoal grills because charcoal has a heat curve in which the heat increases over time then decreases, thus having the right balance between the three allows you to take advantage of the time in the middle of the curve for optimal cooking times and to get the right flavor. Finally, you also want a grill that will last.
Five Great Charcoal Grills Under $200
Best Charcoal Grill for the Price
The original kettle style grill and it comes in three colors, this one green – Weber Model #14407001 Grill. What makes the kettle grill different is the shape of the bowl, as it allows the heat to move up the sides as well as the center in order to produce an even heat.
The porcelain coated metal helps to retain the heat and distribute it as well, thus making the kettle an efficient heat producers. This model is well constructed and it has the one touch ash cleaning system to make clean up easy and fast. Those that have this grill really love how well it heats and how well it cooks all types of foods.
Top Rated Kettle Charcoal Grill
This grill – Char-Broil Santa Fe Series Grill is a simple and elegant design that takes the box type shape of the old aluminum grills and combines it with the surface area of a barrel style grill, thus making this model a fusion of two grilling styles. It is easy to assemble and the fire grates are adjustable to help you get the heat right for your specific dish or food.
It has a built in temp gauge and the vents are located on the side of the lid for exhaust heat while the front door provides easy access to the fire area so you don’t lose heat opening the lid. People who have this grill like the large cooking area and the easy assembly of this grill.
Best Large Charcoal Grill / Smoker
Built based on the Texas BBQ barrel design concept, this grill – Char-Griller Model #2137 Outlaw Series Grill is great for a wide range of grilling styles and techniques. The wide surface area allows for more or larger cuts of meat and this model is equipped with an adjustable grate to help you tailor your heat for your specific item.
Where this grill excels is with the cast iron cooking grates, as these ensure proper distribution of the heat while also providing perfect sear marks. This grill offers plenty of room for cooking and accessories and those that use this grill love how well it performs for their cooking needs.
Best Heavy Duty Charcoal Grill
The Dyna-Glo Model #DGN405DNC-D Grill is a heavy duty grill with a deep fire box for quality performance across all three categories. This model has porcelain-coated, cast iron cooking grates that are the ultimate expression in cooking grates and heat distribution. This grill provides a lot of control over the heat with the smokestack and the front fire door.
The fire level is adjustable so you can adjust the heat as necessary and this model as plenty of room for cooking and accessories. The heavy duty construction also means this grill will last for season after season. Those that use this grill really love the exacting control this grill provides for the heat.
Best Charcoal Grill under $200
The second Weber in the list and while this grill looks like the original Kettle style earlier in the list, looks can be deceiving. The shape is the kettle style as it provides optimal heating across all three categories but this model – Weber Model #14501001 Grill has a gourmet cooking grate and system on the inside.
This system allows for other surfaces to be used including a pizza stone and other Weber accessories to open up the versatility of your grill. It has the one touch ash removal system and the lid is equipped with vents for more exacting heat control but the people who have this grill really enjoy the Master Touch grilling grates and how well it performs for them.
To get the most out of your grill, be sure to read and follow all manufacturer’s instructions concerning the care and operation of your grill.