Best Charcoal Grills in 2021
Updated 20-06-2021 – Dan Alvazrez
You will find a lot of different charcoal grills in the market. Some would have too many features while others might be in their most simplistic form but which one is the best? Should you go for the one that has tons of useful features or the one that has only a few? How do you even determine it all?
If all of these questions are revolving around your head and you do not know which charcoal grill to purchase, then you have come to the right place. In this article, we will not only review the best ten charcoal grills but will also talk about the basics of these appliances and how to get the most out of them! So buckle up your seat belt because we are in for an info-binge.
Why do you need a Charcoal Grill?
Charcoal grilling has become very popular recently, especially since the lockdown started. It is a fun, exciting yet peaceful way of cooking fish, chicken, meat, and several vegetables. Just set up a charcoal grill in your balcony or lawn, set up chairs around the grill, play some good songs, and just enjoy a peaceful night of delicious food under the blue starry sky.
If you are a big fan of lamb chops and steak, then you should definitely get a charcoal grill. It keeps the protein crisp on the outside and infuses a rich, smoky flavor to the meat. It is healthy, safe (if you know how to use it properly), and a fun activity to try with your friends and family!
Things to consider when buying a charcoal grill
It is important that you know what to look for in a particular product before you go out to purchase it. Writing down or making a mental note of everything important and your expectations from the device can help you save time as well as the mental exhaustion of visiting various websites or retail stores.
In this small section, we will talk about each and everything that you need to know and consider before you buy a charcoal grill.
Features to look out for:
Quality: You need a grill that will stand the test of time and does not give up on you within a short period. So look at the type of materials it is made of. Usually, charcoal grates are made from heavy-duty plated steel or similar materials, which are strong, robust, and have exceptional durability.
Grates: These usually determine how well your food will be cooked. There are various types of grates; stainless steel, enamel-coated, cast iron, cast aluminum, and plated wire. All of these have different advantages and disadvantages which we will discuss in detail in the next section.
Charcoal Accessibility: You do not want a grill that does not allow you to easily add or remove charcoal when need be. So, look if the product you have your eyes on has a small door on the side that lets you access the coal.
Lid: If you want an ultimate grilling experience, you must search for a charcoal grill that has a lid. The lid captures the heat. While evaluating the lid, notice how well it fits over the main body. Does it fit firmly and tightly or does it wobble? If it wobbles then it means that it will probably let air in and smoke out during your cook which means you will not be able to cook it properly.
Dampers: These are usually at the bottom or lower half of the grill and their function is to fuel the fire with oxygen. A charcoal grill typically requires two dampers; one which acts and an intake and the other which is exhaust. You control the temperature of the grill and the cook on the food via the intake damper. If we describe it in a very simplistic manner, the dampers suck in fresh air so that it can replace the oxygen which is burning by combustion. Keep in mind that the less the air, the lower or cooler the internal temperature of the grill. While looking for dampers, make sure that they fit tightly so you can control the air easily.
Thermometers: Thermometers are essential while cooking on grills. Whether it is a digital or a dial thermometer, it will help you know the internal temperature of the food you are looking at on the steak and ensure that you do not undercook or overcook it.
Temperature Control: One of the key factors that determine whether the food you cook on charcoal grills will be perfect is temperature. In a charcoal grill, you need to look if it has a lid if it allows you to easily adjust the distance between the food and the coals, the dampers, and thermometers. So ensure that the grill you buy has all of these, or at least the first two.
Portability: Though charcoal grills are known to be the most portable, you need to think of the reason you are buying them. If you are buying it for your home or a restaurant where you do not have to move it when a heavy and large grill is best. However, if you travel a lot, then a small one would be ideal.
Ash Removing System: Note whether it is easy to remove the ash from the grill or not. Ash is an insulator which means if it is not removed after every time you use the grill, it can reduce performance and cook your food unevenly.
The Best 10 Charcoal Grills
|Weber Original’s 16401001 Charcoal BBQ Grill||Best Product||9.7|
|Pit Boss’ K22 Ceramic Charcoal Grill||Best Value||9.6|
|Char-Griller’s E1224 Smokin Pro Charcoal Grill with Side Fire Box||Premium Product||9.3|
|Barbeques Galore’s Turbo Charcoal Stainless Steel BBQ Grill with Charcoal Tray||Best for Commercial Use||9.1|
|Royal Gourmet’s CD1824A Charcoal Grill||Best Features||9.3|
|Char-Griller’s E06614 Charcoal Grill||Most Constructed||9.4|
|Weber’s 121020 Go-Anywhere Charcoal BBQ Grill||Most Portable Option||9.2|
|Beau Jardin’s Charcoal Grill||Best for Outdoor Camping and Picnics||9.0|
|Cuisinart’s CCG-290 Kettle Charcoal Grill||Most Stable and Secure Product||9.5|
|Amazon Basics’ Charcoal Grill||Most Convenient and Easy to Use||9.2|
1 Weber Original’s 16401001 Charcoal BBQ Grill
The Weber Original Kettle Charcoal Grill possesses a beautiful porcelain-enameled lid and bowl, a steel grate for charcoal, and a stainless steel hinged cooking grate. The total cooking area is about 508 square inches which is more than enough to cook all of your food. The unit has One-Touch Cleaning System which makes cleanup a convenient, easy, and quick chore.
All you have to do is slide the lever back and forth to remove the ash from inside the grill. It falls into a high-capacity ash catcher. Just remove the catcher and dispose of all of the ash. Then reattach it back to the grill and you are done!
Furthermore, it also has one rust-resistant aluminum damper which allows the air to regulate within the grill almost ideally. The unit also features a class-reinforced nylon lid handle which is cool to touch and remains like that throughout the cook. The grill also has a built-in lid thermometer, two char-basket charcoal holders, and glass-reinforced nylon handles with tool hooks.
Lastly, the wheels are very smooth and easily glide over any type of floor without any issue. They are made from high-quality rubber molds that can survive through all sorts of weather conditions.
Installation and using the grill is quite simple. However, if you are facing any difficulty, you can always refer to the instructions guide. It has a detailed stepwise breakdown of installation as well as of basic problems you might encounter.
2 Pit Boss’ K22 Ceramic Charcoal Grill
Pit Boss’ K22 Ceramic Charcoal Grill is made of top-notch materials which give you the finest gourmet experience possible while cooking. The total cooking surface area is 573 square inches and it is perfect for home as well as commercial use. You can easily cook 38 burger patties on it simultaneously! It not only gives your food the perfect char-grilled sears but it also smokes them up with incredible flavors.
It also possesses two fold-down laminated side shelves which are made from bamboo. These shelves are perfect since you can easily place your spatula or other utensils near you without having to move away from your place while cooking.
It is 52 inches in height and 45.9 inches in width. It adorns four high-quality and durable wheels and casters which can roll over a smooth surface, grass, and even uneven surfaces without any trouble. Two of them also have a locking mechanism which means that there is no danger that they will roll away especially if you are on an uneven or slanted surface. Just lock them up and enjoy your day!
It also features a plunger which keeps the appliance protected against accidental slams. The ash tool kit is outstanding and greatly reduces the time while you clean up the aftermath of a great grilling session.
It has two damper vents; one on the top while the other is on the bottom. Both of them work exceptionally well to make sure that the flames are not too high and they are t just the right temperature. Controlling the dampers is also just as easy.
3 Char-Griller’s E1224 Smokin Pro Charcoal Grill with Side Fire Box
Char-Griller’s E1224 Smokin Pro Charcoal Grill has a traditional grill that has a side firebox as you will see in Texas Style barbecue grills. The entire structure is made from heavy-gauge steel which is powder-coated to enhance durability. Furthermore, the grates are made from non-stick cast-iron. So, whether you are cooking at high heat or low heat, there are little to no chances of the food sticking to the grate.
The grill is 62 x 29 x 50 inches in size and weighs about 146 pounds. Also, you will need to assemble the product yourself before firing up the grill. It has a total cooking area of 830 square inches. Out of this, 250 square inches are used by the firebox which is attached to the side.
It features removable charcoal drawers so that you can easily dump in charcoals and move them around during the cook. The drawers are that they have a double bottom to increase their shelf life. Moreover, it also has a temperature gauge which is efficient and gives precise measurements. It also has a storage rack as well.
The wheels of the grill are made from heavy-duty steel and they work smoothly. It only has only two wheels on one end. The other end does not have wheels but it helps to stabilize and keep the grill in a firm position while you are cooking.
4 Barbeques Galore’s Turbo Charcoal Stainless Steel BBQ Grill with Charcoal Tray
Best for Commercial Use
Barbeques Galore’s Turbo Charcoal Grill is perfect for you if you are looking for a grill for commercial use. It has a large surface area; 30 inches, and a six-inch height-adjustable charcoal tray so that you can easily access everything at all times.
It also has stainless steel grates which are lightweight and rustproof. They heat up incredibly quickly because of their thin size which makes them perfect for grilling thin slices of meat, chicken, or fish. You can also grill prawns, shrimps, and bananas without them sticking to the surface.
The vents are adjustable and they are pretty easy to operate. You have the entire control of what goes on within the grill. Bigger vents mean that the flames inside the grill will be higher whereas smaller vents make sure that the flames are small and that they do not burn the food. So whether it is thick cuts of lean meat or tiny shrimps, you can easily grill them all without worrying about them being overcooked or undercooked.
Furthermore, it also has a slide-out charcoal tray which keeps everything organized and makes cooking cleaner and easier. The temperature gauge is located on the hood and it provides accurate measurements throughout the grilling process.
5 Royal Gourmet’s CD1824A Charcoal Grill
Offering you a cooking space of almost 600 square inches, the Royal Gourmet’s Charcoal Grill is a must-have if you love barbeques. The surface area is divided among the cooking grates which adorns porcelain enamel steel wiring, and the warming rack which has chrome steel wiring. The former uses a space of 395 square inches whereas the latter uses almost 205 square inches of area.
Overall, the cooking area is sufficient enough to be used in restaurant kitchens, for parties, and even if you are a regular BBQ lover who wants a grill for their home. It will work perfectly for every purpose. It also has a charcoal pan adjustment system which gives you more control over the heat and keeps the cooking flexible so that you can cook food as evenly as possible.
The charcoal pan also has holes in it which improves the circulation of oxygen through it. This helps to keep the coals alight at all times. We liked that the front door has an ergonomically-designed handle which remains cool throughout the cook. It excellently blocks all the heat that is coming off from the main body.
The unit has two dampers so that the grill has the most efficient and effective airflow possible. Besides this, it also has a smokestack with includes an adjustable cap. This also massively improves the airflow. Last but not the least, the pull-out drawer catches all of the ashes so cleaning it up takes merely a few minutes.
6 Char-Griller’s E06614 Charcoal Grill
Char-Griller’s E06614 Charcoal Grill contains cast-iron grates, a dump ash pan, dual airflow dampers, and many other features which make it one of the best portable charcoal grills that you can find in the market. It offers a total cooking area of 153 square inches which is more than enough to cook for an entire family.
This Kamado or Egg Grill is ideal if perfect heat retention is at the top of your priority list. If you are going camping, hiking, or any other adventure, then the unit is perfect for it. It weighs only 37 pounds and has a size of 20.5 x 21.5 x 25.3 inches.
The most impressive feature is that the unit is triple-walled insulated which means it will provide remarkable heating properties. It will regulate almost all of the heat that is being produced from the coat and the oval shape is perfect for giving the food heat from all sides evenly.
The dump ash pan makes the cleaning process a lot quicker as well as convenient. After every cook move the lever once so that all the ash falls into the pan, remove the pan, dump the ash, and screw it back on. It is that easy!
The dual damper is present at the top of the lid and you can easily control the airflow within by moving the lever along the length of the damper. It also adorns a built-in temperature gauge which is situated in front of the lid so that you can monitor the temperature without removing the lid.
The lid is also lockable so if you are cooking slowly, then you can look it up so that it gets perfect heat regulation. Plus the lockable grill also makes transferring the unit easy. You won’t have to store each of the different components separately. Just lock the lid and store the entire structure at the corner of the garage.
7 Weber’s 121020 Go-Anywhere Charcoal BBQ Grill
Most Portable Option
Weber’s Go-Anywhere Charcoal BBQ Grill is another great option if you are looking for portable models. It weighs only 8.8 pounds and has dimensions of 12.2 x 21 x 14.5 inches. It is small enough and slim enough to fit in the trunk of most vehicles.
The lid locks firmly so that you can keep the entire grill together in one-piece while traveling or even when you are storing it. The handle on either side of the grill as well as on the top of the lid is made from glass-reinforced nylon and they remain cool throughout the grilling session.
It offers a total cooking area of 160 square inches and is sufficient enough to grill six burgers at once. It has a sleek and shiny porcelain-enameled lid and main body. The materials help to make the grill efficient in regulating as well as retaining the heat.
It adorns four dampers which are made from aluminum and are resistant to corrosion. These dampers allow the air to regular optimally through the grill and ensure that whatever food that you are cooking comes out crispy, with brownish sear marks, and a tender interior.
The grates are made from steel and have incredible durability. The legs are also made from steel. Thus, not only is the product portable but it also can withstand accidental bumps and slams.
8 Beau Jardin’s Charcoal Grill
Best for Outdoor Camping and Picnics
Beau Jardin’s Charcoal is 18 x 18 x 28 inches in dimensions. Its components are made from three types of materials; Aluminum, steel, and porcelain which provide excellent shelf life. The unit has two handles on the main bowl and one of the lids. All of the handles are cool to touch and they are excellent at preventing the heat from traveling into the handles.
The rust-proof and corrosion-resistant damper make sure that you have the optimal heat and airflow while you are cooking the food. It lets you control the heat level accurately and you won’t even have to open the lid to check the temperature.
The grates are made from heavy-duty steel which is efficient in transferring the heat from the coals to the food at a consistent rate. The lid and the bow have porcelain enameled coating which also improves the heat retention of the grill. So whether you are cooking on direct or indirect heat, you can be sure that the food will come out with just the right cook.
There is an ash leak at the bottom of the grill. All you have to do is rotate is using the small lever and all of the ash will fall out onto the ash catcher. Then all you have to do is remove the plate-shaped catcher from the hooks and dispose of the ash. After that just place it back in its place and you are good to go.
There is a wire rack at the bottom of the grill as well. This can be used to put utensils and condiments that are to be used during the cook. The two wheels can easily maneuver through marble, cracked, and uneven surfaces. It can also easily roll through the grass.
With its durable structure and various features, the grill is ideal if you are going out for a picnic.
9 Cuisinart’s CCG-290 Kettle Charcoal Grill
Most Stable and Secure Product
The 150-square inches charcoal grill by Cuisinart is one of the most stable four-legged options that you will find in the market. It has two wheels that roll smoothly through everything and anything while the other two legs have a stopper at the end which stabilizes the unit on the ground.
The grates are chrome plated which provide offers good heat transfer. Furthermore, the unit has a dual venting system which further improves heat regulation throughout the grill and makes sure that the food is cooked evenly from all sides. The lid also helps to enhance the airflow.
There are three secure locks on the lid that keeps the unit safe and sound during travel. It also makes it easier to store the unit as a whole and keeps the bugs, dirt, and other pollutants out of the grill. To make cleanup easier, there is an enamel-coated firebox and an ash catcher.
The noteworthy feature of the unit is that it has a hinged top grate. You can open up the grate from one side to load the bottom with coals. You will also notice a small yet visible thermometer gauge on top of the lid that gives a correct measurement of the temperature which is particularly useful if you are cooking briskets or ribs.
Whether you are cooking hot dogs or steak, the grill is perfect for each purpose. It gives perfect sear marks and has the perfect height so that everyone can easily cook on it. It is 23.5 x 23/1 x 36.5 inches in size.
10 Amazon Basics’ Charcoal Grill
Most Convenient and Easy to Use
Amazon Basics’ Charcoal Grill is 25.8 pounds in weight and 27 x 22.5 x 39.5 inches in size. The total cooking area provided is 363 square inches and it can roughly cook 12 burgers at the same time.
The grates are chrome-plated and distribute the heat equally throughout the surface. The lid and the firebox are coated with enamel which enhances their durability and ensures that they can withstand different weather conditions as well as accidental bumps.
The venting system works ideally and gives you full control over the temperature ranges. The thermometer gauge at the top of the lid reads the accurate temperature of the grill and the vents smoothly rotate around their axis to allow you to change its size conveniently.
The entire structure is supported on three legs; two of them have wheels on their end while the last one has a blunt end which is covered with a rubber stopper. The wheels move smoothly over any surface and the blunt end helps to stabilize the structure over grass, patio, deck, or any other terrain.
Lastly, the unit has a grill-grade lift tool and an ash collector at the bottom of the grill. You can either clean the ash after every use or let the ash cleaner fill up before disposing of the waste. However, most people suggest that you should always clean up the ash after every use. This way, you do not have to worry about ash stains.
Buying Guide How to use Charcoal Grill
Using a charcoal grill is extremely easy. They are blazingly hot, inexpensive, burn longer, light in weight but they do burn out fast. All charcoal grills function with some basic similarities. So, in this section, we will discuss how to use the grill properly.
- The first thing that you need to do is clean out your grill if you didn’t do it before your last cook. The ash and carbon can produce a very unpleasant flavor to your food so make sure you scrape and throw out the old ash.
- Also, make sure that the grill grates are clean. If they are not, use a brush or a scrubber to clean it up as best as you can before proceeding. Stiff bristled brush works the best for this job.
- After this, open the vents. Coals need oxygen for burning effectively.
- Place old newspaper at the bottom of the charcoal chimney. Most of them have a small space right under the wire rack for the newspaper.
- Fill up the chimney with small to medium-sized charcoal pieces.
- Remove the top grate of the grill and then place the chimney inside it.
- Light up the newspaper and let the charcoal burn for about five to ten minutes, if the heat is high. When you are using medium heat, this process will usually take 25-30 minutes. Although, you need to let the coal burn the top layer turns into white-gray-ish ash.
- You can also add pre-soak wood chips to the hot coal if you have a rich smoky flavor. However, this step is optional. Mesquite works ideally with beef whereas hickory is perfect for chicken and pork.
- Wear any protective, heat-proof gloves.
- Grab the chimney by its handles and dump all of the charcoal into the grill.
- Place the top grate back on and let it heat up a few minutes.
- Soak a newspaper in vegetable oil and brush it across the grates using tongs. This trick is used by many users to keep the food from sticking to the grill.
- Keep adjusting the temperature of the grill by adjusting the vents. If the vents are wide, it means the flames will be hotter and the fire has more oxygen. On the other hand, smaller vents are ideal for cooler cooking temperatures. Make sure to never close them up all the way because that means you are cutting off the oxygen and hence, the flames will wither away.
- After cooking the food, clean the grill grates while they are still hot. This will prevent stubborn residue.
And that is it! Following this method, you can grill whenever and whatever you want!
Different Types of Grills
Grills are generally categorized into five different types. Though the focus of this particular article is a charcoal grill, it is important that we talk about all the other types of grills so that you know exactly which one to buy for your intended purpose. Each of the following types has its type of fuel sources, pros, and cons. So, let’s take a look at them!
Charcoal grills have been one of the most primitive types of grills. They are ideal for outdoor cooking as they are very easy to use and it enhances the taste of almost any meat, vegetable or fruit that you put on it.
One of the major advantages of charcoal grills is that you can control the air intake and exhaust. This helps a lot to make sure that the temperature remains constant and cooks the food evenly throughout the cook. It is perfect for cooking thick and tougher pieces of meat for an extended time as the coal allows the meat to transform into a tender form with an exuberant, rich, charcoal taste.
Charcoal Kettle Grills
These grills are a type of charcoal grill that is popular for its simplicity. It is in a shape of a kettle, a rounded bottom, a removable lid, and grill grates. Charcoal is placed at the bottom of the grill. However, it is elevated on a small grate so that all the ash can fall away easily. Besides, this also helps to main a leveled airflow over the coals.
One of the major advantages of these grills is that they are lighter in weight than typical charcoal grills. You can easily take them with you wherever you want without any problem.
Ceramic smokers, or Kamado grills/ egg grill, are considered more sophisticated than charcoal grills. They became popular over the last decade due to their consistent and even heat flow. These products have a similar mechanism as those of kettle grills but they are slightly modified.
Ceramic smokers are more elongated than the Kettle ones and they almost resemble the shape of an egg hence the name ‘Egg Grills’. They are heavier due to the thick ceramic that is used to make them. Typically these products weigh around 150-500 pounds and they come in various sizes.
Just like the kettle grill, the airflow, as well as the temperature, is circulated through the top and the bottom of the grill. However, these have thermal mass so the temperature changes drastically in it. The lid is attached to the end of the grill via hinges and it is never completely taken off.
You need to preheat ceramic smokers for almost 45 minutes before you start cooking on them. Since the walls are thick, it does take time to heat up to the desired temperature. It uses all-natural coal as its heating source and produces much less ash than the charcoal briquettes which are manufactured commercially. Also, the real charcoals give a decadent taste to the food.
Another thing that makes them so appealing is their versatility when it comes to cooking. The unit has an appliance called a heat deflector which acts as a barrier between the charcoals and the food. It is in a shape of a large pizza stone and it resembles an oven. The heat from the coals is transferred into the food from every direction. You can cook pizzas, cakes, cupcakes, and many other things in these types of grills!
Pellet grills have been around for almost three decades. They are popular because they can function as a hybrid; it works as a grill as well as a smoker. Wood pellets are used as a heat source. These small black-eye pea-sized pellets are loaded into the hopper of the grill which then is transferred by an auger to the burn pot.
The grill also has a thermostat that works with the burn pot electronically so that the appliance operates at the desired temperature. Furthermore, you enter in your desired temperature range and the temperature controls keep on adjusting the grill within the set limits. The only disadvantage is that once you turn on the cooker, you cannot make any adjustments.
Though, this can be seen as an advantage as well in some cases. Briskets, large roasts, and ribs can cook slow and steadily inside the grill without you worrying about the temperature. It saves you from monitoring the device constantly. Besides this, they require an electronic source to operate. Lastly, these grills are ideal for people who want to brown the meat instead of searing it.
Gas and Propane Grills
These are probably the most common types of grills that are used in homes all around the world. It has burners that give off heat around 40,000 BTU (British thermal unit; it is the heat that is used to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree).
Moreover, it includes three or more burners on which you can easily cook your food either using direct or indirect heat. The heat only spreads through the bottom of the burners just like when you use gas stoves.
These grills are attractive to users because they heat up quickly, they are convenient, and since they are so popular, you will find a lot of accessories in the market that can help you improve your cooking skills. Some of these accessories include integrated food thermometers, side burners, and lights.
The best thing is, engineers are always trying to bring the next best innovation to the market, so you will always be able to find something that makes the cooking experience easier and enjoyable. However, though these grills are super convenient, and have pre-heat time, they add little to no flavor to your food. So, if you are looking for a grill that only cooks your food properly and does not add flavor to it (smoke, charcoal, etc), then you should buy this type of grill for your use.
Different Types of Grill Grates
Grill grates are the most important part of a charcoal grill. These elongated poles come in direct contact with your food and determine how your food is cooked. A cooking surface should have exception heat retention, impeccable durability, and keeps your food from sticking on the grates.
In this section, we will talk in detail about all the different types of grill grates that you will find in the market and their various advantages and disadvantages.
Stainless Steel Grates
These are the most common type of grates that you will find in the market. They are affordable, lightweight, and rust-proof. They heat up quickly because they are very thin. But the disadvantage of this is that the thinness reduces their heat retention property. Hence, if you are cooking cook on these, you need to keep the coals burning so that the food is cooked perfectly.
It is important to maintain them otherwise the gunk and the heat can degrade it and cause the surface to stick. So, make sure you clean these up after every time you use the grill. Although, never use a scrubber or similar tools because it will damage the outer layer and reduces its heat-retention, durability and makes it prone to corrosion.
Furthermore, if you travel a lot, then you should get these types of grates because it would be easier to carry them around. Cast iron grates are too heavy to be carried around on regular basis and might be inconvenient so these come to the rescue.
Cast Iron Grates
They are perfect if you want an even cook over any type of protein; whether it is meat, chicken, or fish. They are popular because of their excellent heat retention properties. They are thicker than stainless steel grates and hence, take longer to warm up. Although, it gives the kind of sear marks that you see on a steak in a commercial.
As discussed above, these grates are heavy so they are not ideal for traveling. Unfortunately, their thick size also makes it difficult to access the coals. This means that cleaning them does require effort and hard work. Also, cast-iron grates have a porous surface which can corrode much quicker than stainless steel grates. However, if you know how to properly maintain them, then they have remarkable durability.
Enamel Coated Grates
These are either stainless steel grates or cast iron grates which are coating in a smooth layer of enamel. The main advantage of these is that they have a non-stick surface which prevents the metal surface from falling to its demise. Furthermore, they have much better heat retention qualities than stainless steel.
One of the main disadvantages of enamel coated grates is that they can easily chip, which means that it allows moisture to accumulate on the surface of the metal and this causes rust. Furthermore, the chipped surface can make the food stick to the surface.
How to effectively clean up the grill
Cleaning up all the gunk of the grill can be such an exhausting and difficult task. However, if you know the right techniques, it can become exponentially easier.
Determine whether your grill has grease or carbon residue
The first thing that you need to know while cleaning up the grill is to recognize the kind of gunk buildup. There are two main types –Carbon and Grease. If you notice crusty black pieces on the grill grates and the lid, then it is mostly carbon. It makes the protein stick to the grates. If you give it a taste (which we do not recommend), it would taste like burnt toast.
On the other hand, grease can easily become rancid and can vaporize as well. It usually accumulates at the bottom of the grates. It can also flavor your food and makes it smell like pungent and acetic soot. So it is important to remove grease, as well as carbon if you want fresh yet delicious tasting meat.
Ways to clean up the Grill
There are several ways that you can clean a grill; you can use a scrubber, a wire brush, or other cleaning tools available in the market. But before we dive into the details of the different ways, let’s talk about the items you might need.
You do not need all of the following items at once, each of these points except the last one constitutes a way of cleaning the grill. If you have any one of these items, you can easily clean up the appliance and have it looking new.
- A scrubber (or a DIY one which is made up of crumpled up aluminum foil)
- A Scraper (you can also make your own by taking a piece of hardwood)
- A Wire brush
- A Handheld steam cleaner
- A liquid cleaner
- Heat-Proof Gloves
All you have to do is fire up the grill and let it become hot enough so that all of the grease and carbon residues loosens up before using any one of these tools. Just keep in mind that no matter which ways you chose; make sure that you wear heat-proof gloves. All of these ways require heating the grill so always proceed with the gloves or else you will end up with burns.
Using a scrubber, scraper, and wire brush are simple. All you have to do is wait till the grill is cool enough to touch and start scrubbing away. Although, if you are using a wire brush, make sure that none of the bristles fall off. Those are dangerous and can be hazardous for individuals.
In the case of a steam cleaner, it lathers the entire grill with steam which softens the gunk. After that, its brush cleans up all the mess. These are recommended especially if you have very stubborn carbon on your grill’s surface.
Mild enzymatic cleaners are very much effective in cleaning grease, but not so much for carbon. Chemical cleaners should be avoided; you can use them but they can be toxic.
It is always better to clean up your grill after each cook. It is quick, easy, and convenient. The grill is hot which makes it easier to remove all the grease. Just let the coals burn out, they will become ash which can easily be brushed off, and then you can wash it with water.
Lay the grates on a towel or any other cloth. Scrub both sides of the grates with a mixture of hot water and dishwasher. You can use a brush, a scrubber, steel wool, or anything which is firm enough to remove the thickened residues. However, do not use a scrubber on cast iron because this will cause it to lose some of its nonstick properties. In this case, make sure to dry and oil the grates as well.
Never ever put the grates in a dishwasher. The grease can damage its entire mechanism and then, it will also cast a thick coat over all of the other utensils placed in it.
Should you cook with a lid or without a lid?
Cooking in the grill can be done either way; you can either cook without a lid or a lid, depending on the type of food you are cooking.
Cooking with the Lid on: The basic concept behind cooking with the lid on is that you keep most of the heat inside the grill. This allows whichever food you have put on the grates to cook evenly from all sides. It will have crispy, char-grilled from top and bottom, and tender on the inside.
Though, you can cook almost anything while keeping the lid on. Most experts argue that if your food is thicker than 3.4 inches, then you need to put the lid on. This will allow the heat to infuse perfectly into the food and ensure that it has the beautiful smoky flavor that we all love. Keeping the lid on such ingredients will also minimize the chances of you overcooking or undercooking it.
Lastly, it helps to retain the moisture in the food and also keeps all sorts of flies, bugs, and dirt out of your food.
Cooking without the Lid: Any type of food that is 3/4 inches or less in thickness needs to be cooked without the lid. The charcoal will heat the food from the bottom and gradually transport the heat throughout the food without burning or overcooking it.
The type of foods that you can cook this way includes small seafood items like shrimp or fruits like pineapples. While making such items, make sure that you slip them after every minute so that they do not burn. This also helps to give them a delicious char on the outside without overcooking or burning, the interior.
Although, at the end of the day, your cooking skills and your knowledge about the charcoal grill will determine how well you cook the meat. Sometimes, even if you are cooking with the lid on, you might have to remove the lid for a while. This usually happens when the temperature becomes too hot inside and the heat starts burning up the food. So, during these scenarios, you might have to open the lid a few inches.
If you are facing trouble while cooking the food correctly over the grill, then buy a digital or dial thermometer. They help you to determine whether the food that you are cooking is too hot, or not enough hot, and if it is safe to pull it out. So search the market for a good thermometer for grills and you will be good to grill.
How many times can you use charcoal in a grill?
This depends on how long you are planning to use a grill. Most people recommend that filling up the tank two or three times is sufficient during a single cook. If you are cooking for longer hours, you might even need to add the charcoals even more times. Make sure, that the charcoals are spread evenly across the bottom of the grill otherwise hot spots will develop which will cook the food unevenly.
Why can’t I keep my charcoal grill lit?
You cannot keep the charcoal grill ignited probably because you have not cleared out the previous ash soot from the ash catcher. Ash can not only reduce the heat retention of the coals but it can also infuse in an acrid flavor which is extremely unpleasant. The ash also makes the coals burn a lot slower than usual. So clean out the grill after every use to prevent this from happening.
What to do with coals after grilling?
If the coals are partially burned, then you can store them and use them for the next time. Make sure that the coals are completely cooled off before you pick them up, otherwise, you might get burnt. One way to cool them down is by scarcely spraying them with water. Once they have cooled down, allow them to dry off completely before storing them. The other way is to wait. Usually, coals cool down completely within a day or two.
Contrarily, if the coals are completely white, then throw them away. If you touch these coals, they will instantly disintegrate into ash.
Is charcoal ash good for anything?
Some types of charcoal ashes are useful while others are not. If the ash is additive-free, then you can use it as a fertilizer. It contains potassium carbonate, or potash, which provides nutrition to many plants. However, do not use ash on newly planted seedlings and acid-loving plants.
Ash from treated coals is harmful and should be disposed of. These coals are usually sold with the label of ‘easy to light’ and contain various harmful toxins.
What is the average lifespan of a charcoal grill?
This depends on the material used to construct them. However, on average, most charcoal grills can last as long as 10 years if you are taking care of it and properly servicing it after every use.
Can I pour water on my charcoal grill?
No! Do not pour water on your charcoal grill while it is still hot. This can pose a hazardous fire risk, especially on wooden surfaces. Pouring water on hot coals can emit a thick cloud of steam which can cause serious burns on the skin.
What is the right way to extinguish a charcoal grill?
One of the most commonly used ways of extinguishing a charcoal grill is by lowering the lid on the grill and then closing both vents. This will constrict the oxygen flow to the coals and hence, extinguish the coals. It is advised that you keep the lid and vent closed for a day or two to allow the coals, grates, and the entire body to cool down properly.
Though, if you cannot leave the grill alone for a day or two, like if you are camping or using the grill for a picnic in a park, then at least try to cool it off as much as you can. You can also use a bucket of water and safely transfer coal briquettes one by one into the water via tongs. Close the lid of the grill to keep the embers from blowing into the air and igniting a fire.
Keep a fire extinguisher close by whenever you grill, whether it is at home, a restaurant, or while camping so that if a flame does escape from the grill, you can also put it off properly.
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