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The 5 best charcoal grills in 2024 to bring the flavor this summer and beyond

The 5 best charcoal grills in 2024
Kamado Joe

When it comes to backyard grilling, people love the benefits of a charcoal grill. Grillmasters swear by the flavor, of course, but also the greater control they get over the heat, not to mention the longer cooking times they can get without having to add additional fuel.

With July 4 right around the corner, we're bringing you our picks for the best charcoal grills of 2024 so you can make the most of your summer barbecues. 

What is the best charcoal grill in 2024?

Charcoal grills come in a wide range of sizes -- some are portable and can easily be taken camping or a tailgate party, while others are designed to be a permanent fixture in a backyard or on a patio. These bigger models tend to offer a ton of extra features, not to mention the ability to prep food for more folks at the same time. 

Whatever your needs and budget, we've curated this roundup of the best charcoal grill options you can get right now. But if you're looking for a grill that offers the latest smart tech -- and makes outdoor grilling practically foolproof -- be sure to check our list of the best smart grills for 2024. Or, if you're looking to give your entire patio a makeover, you'll definitely want to see our favorite 10 ways to upgrade your patio with picks from Amazon, Walmart, West Elm and more.

For reviews, roundups and more, be sure to read our continuously updated tech and home, kitchen and outdoor coverage.

Best charcoal grill overall: Weber Original Kettle Premium

Weber Original Kettle Premium

When it comes to charcoal grills, this one is a classic. It offers excellent heat retention, a one-touch cleaning system, a thermometer built into the lid and durable steel construction. The grill is also available in your choice of copper, black or green. 

Enjoy 363 square inches of premium cooking space from this 22-inch grill.  This is enough space to prepare 13 burgers at once. It offers a porcelain-enameled bowl and lid, along with a plated steel-hinged cooking grate. The lid height is 7.5 inches.

As you're cooking, the charcoal ash falls into a high-capacity catcher tray that's easily removable when it needs to be emptied. Without even having to lift the lid, you can control the grill's temperature by adjusting its dampers. When you close the dampers completely, this cuts off oxygen flow and extinguishes the coals. And the lid's handle has a built-in heat shield that keeps it from getting too hot. 

Between its classic design, durability and ease of use, you can't go wrong with this Original Kettle Premium grill from Weber. And it's offered at a great price, too.

Best portable charcoal grill: Cuisinart CCG-190

Cuisinart CCG190

The biggest benefit of this charcoal grill is that it can be set up virtually anywhere outdoors, so you can take it on a camping trip, set it up at a tailgate party, park it on a patio, or tuck it onto a deck.

The entire unit measures just 14.5 x 14.5 x 15 inches and weighs a mere two pounds. To keep everything together during transport, it has three built-in lid locks. The grill also includes an ash catcher and a dual venting system.

This Cuisinart grill is available in black with a red cover or all black. For cooking space, there's a full 196 square inches. And the cooking rack is chrome-plated, so it helps to distribute heat more evenly. 

A slightly larger model is also available ($30). It offers the same design, but 200 square inches of cooking space.

Best value charcoal grill: Royal Gourmet CC1830

Royal Gourmet CC1830FC Charcoal Grill Offset Smoker
Royal Gourmet

This charcoal grill from Royal Gourmet is certainly not the least expensive on the market, but its mere $108 price tag makes it a really good value. It'll make an excellent addition to your backyard space.

The grill offers a primary 443-square-inch cooking space that uses a porcelain-enameled steel wire cooking grate. This is accompanied by an 184-square-inch, chrome-plated steel wire warming rack. When you're done cooking, simply close the lid and the side air vent to extinguish the coals faster. The removable charcoal pan makes ash disposal easy.

The Royal Gourmet CC1830 has a six-pound charcoal capacity and a two-level height-adjustable fire pan. The bottom shelf that's built into the unit can hold up to 20 pounds. There's also a built-in side tablet that provides some extra space for food prep.

You can opt to purchase the grill on its own, or for $134, you'll get the grill and a complete 13-piece grilling set as a bundle.

Best charcoal grill for large groups: Royal Gourmet CC2036F

Royal Gourmet CC2036F Charcoal Grill with Offset Smoker
Royal Gourmet

From the popular Royal Gourmet CC2036F charcoal grill, you get a vast 1,200 square inches of total cooking space, which makes preparing food for a large group a breeze. In addition to offering a classic barrel grill design, this model includes a smoker, which provides added cooking options.  All of the cooking grates are made from porcelain-enameled steel wire.

The grill is primarily constructed from alloy steel. It measures 29.92 x 65.94 x 51.18 inches and weighs 87.5 pounds. Built into the base are two wheels, which makes positioning the grill easier. 

Once this grill heats up, it'll be ready to prepare food for eight to 10 people at once. The 1,200 square inches of cooking space is divided into three areas -- a 668-square-inch primary cooking space, a 260-square-inch warming rack and a 272-square-inch offset smoker. The smoker attaches to the main body of the grill. 

The primary cooking area takes advantage of a three-level adjustable charcoal pan, which can hold up to 7.7 pounds of charcoal. The smoker unit holds up to 2.6 pounds of charcoal. When it comes to quick cleanup, the grill has a grease drip cup and a removable charcoal pan. Built into the grill's lid is a handy thermometer. 

Best premium charcoal grill: Kamado Joe Classic III

Kamado Joe Classic III
Kamado Joe

If you're looking for a charcoal grill that not only makes a bold visual statement but also offers a ton of useful features, we recommend the Kamado Joe Classic III charcoal grill. It comes in a blaze-red color with black accents and measures 24 x 42 x 41.98 inches. 

When you open the lid, you'll discover an 18-inch-wide, circular ceramic cooking grate. The grill's base is made from heavy-duty galvanized steel and has a rolling cart design with locking wheels. 

One of the most interesting things about this grill is that it offers a patent-pending design that creates a hyperbolic smoke chamber. In other words, Harvard science transforms the Kamado Joe grill into one of the world's best smokers. By distributing smoke and heat in rolling, recirculating waves, the cooking chamber surrounds food in clouds of delicious smoke, while evenly distributing heat. This results in enhanced flavor, with significantly reduced hot spots.

This grill is also equipped with a handy, multi-level, half-moon design that allows you to cook different foods in different styles at different temperatures -- at the same time. The top vent helps you maintain a consistent air setting for precise airflow management during dome opening and closing. 

We love that the Classic III is constructed of powder-coated cast aluminum. The dual-adjustment top vent is rain- and mold-resistant. It allows you to smoke from 225 to 750 degrees Fahrenheit. So while you'll pay more for this premium grill, what you get for your investment is added flavor, versatility, durability and efficiency.

How to choose a charcoal grill

With so many options when it comes to charcoal grills, here are five things to consider: 

  • Overall size: Based on the size of your yard, patio or porch, make sure your grill will fit safely within that space, without posing a fire risk if it's set up too close to your home, decking, or overhanging trees.
  • Cooking space: This impacts how much food you can make at once. Keep in mind that some grill brands include the warming rack in their calculations for overall cooking space. For a family of four, 400 to 500 square inches of cooking space is enough. For eight to 10 people, you'll want 650 and 800 square inches of primary cooking space. A wider cooking space is best for preparing a rack of ribs. If you plan to grill a large turkey, also pay attention to the height of the cooking space.
  • Grill grates: Most grill grates are made from stainless steel, porcelain enameled cast iron, or porcelain enameled steel. All of these options are durable and easy to clean. When cooking steak, these grate materials create impressive sear marks.
  • Materials and durability: For the main housing of a charcoal grill, you want a durable material that retains heat well. Stainless steel, cast iron, enamel or sheet metal are the most common options. Out of these, stainless steel is the strongest material. It can withstand outdoor conditions the best.
  • Ease of cleanup: Charcoal dust and grease can make a mess. Get a grill that offers a design and uses materials that are easy to clean, but be sure to follow the cleaning directions in the owner's manual to prevent damage to the grill or the possibility of mixing harmful chemicals into your food.

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