Equipment Review: Best Charcoal Grills

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Could any affordable charcoal grill on the market trump our tried-and-true favorite, the basic Weber kettle? We reviewed 7 charcoal grills—watch to see how we tested them. See which ones heated up the competition, and which ones left us cold.

We tested seven charcoal grills priced at $400 or less.

Grilling: We grilled hamburgers, fish fillets, and beef satay skewers, rating grills on their performance during quick, hot cooking. Grills that provided a thick sear rated highest.

BBQ/Heat Retention: We barbecued baby back ribs for 4 hours, turning them every 30 minutes and adding coals after 2 hours. We also monitored the temperatures of the grills for 2 hours with identical volumes of hot coals and half-open vents, without opening lids. The best grills maintained steady heat with the least temperature drop.

Design: We considered how easy it was to add coals, as well as grill layout, air vent position and control, lid, wheels, handles, and other features that contributed to the grills’ performance, ease of use, and versatility.

Assembly: We timed a pair of testers with no special training as they assembled each grill, noting the quality of the instructions. Faster assembly times earned high marks.

Cleanup: Grills that made it easier to remove ashes rated higher.

Capacity: We tested the fit of 14-pound turkeys under the lid of each grill and whether eight 4-inch hamburgers could be grilled at once.

Construction Quality: We observed the sturdiness of each grill and its condition by the end of testing.

Grate: We preferred cast-iron bars and roomy cooking surfaces.

Favorite Features: We noted parts of the grill that helped it perform better or made it easier to use.

America’s Test Kitchen is a real 2,500 square foot test kitchen located just outside of Boston that is home to more than three dozen full-time cooks and product testers. Our mission is simple: to develop the absolute best recipes for all of your favorite foods. To do this, we test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times, until we arrive at the combination of ingredients, technique, temperature, cooking time, and equipment that yields the best, most-foolproof recipe.

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More than 1.3 million home cooks rely on Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country magazines to provide trusted recipes that work, honest ratings of equipment and supermarket ingredients, and kitchen tips.

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i am a lazy person. if i want my grill moved someplace else i have one of my kids do it.

Seasonings2taste says:

You can buy an attachment to install the lid holder on the cheaper weber. I have the performer and it’s worth it. But I grill 3x a week on it.

Dash Cam Das says:

Weber listen to what people want and are not frightened to update where needed. Not surprising they win again.

Efrain Sanchez says:

thank you sweetie good video

Kim Huff says:

This is basically a Weber ad. No other grill is named.

Mijemu mijemu says:

Weber is whee it is at, I would like to have the Weber Premium 26 inch kettle, I am going to look for one. I find that doing a large brisket 22 inches is kinda too small, I would really like to find a 32 inch Weber, but I don’t think they make one

VinnyFamilyVlogs170 says:

I prefer the Kingsford 32 inch charcoal grill, I have one and it’s excellent. It has everything she described including a built in bottle opener.

TheYoyozo says:

I think they could have ranked the ones they tested. We all know that Weber is very good but it really isn’t informative to just give the best ones as everyone has a different budget.

Sherief Kamal says:

I bought the weber 741001, best grill I ever had.

somo ktich says:


MadeInVolantis says:

That is one hell of a review. They even got it down to a science.

Elias Rivera says:

Love how you are advertising for weber

XiaoXing Liu says:

Turkey with packing? Really?

Daniel Alvarez del Castillo says:

This is advertisement, not a grill review.

josh mrqz says:

lol weber we know what you did here

N Albertsson says:

I bought a 60 buck charcoal kettlle grill and it’s lasted 5 years and is still going…. brilliant performance; smokes, grills, cooks, slow cooks, everything… the point is, it’s the user, not the grill that matters… BBQ was invented by people who didn’t have a pot to piss in, and made their own grills from old oil drums… if you spend over 80 or 90 bucks on a grill, you’re a fucking idiot! They put all these bells and whistles on to try and hoodwink you into paying top dollar for something you could actually knock together yourself with junk.

bluefoam says:

these guys are shills for Weber… don’t trust them. these are just Weber ads



MM 786 says:

Hmm I wonder…

Joey S says:

This was paid by Weber

joseph burtulato says:

@1:31 this was so over dramatic.

Gee DoubleU says:

Akorn cooker is $300 and worth it. Keep your Weber thank you.

orestesdd says:

I don’t agree with either of your choices. One is too expensive and the other is Weber. What a waste!

Mindspring Yahoo says:

had a stok for a while, but overall it wasn’t made very well. Sold it to someone that just wanted the nice cast iron grate out of it.

dynomax666 says:

wheres the old smokey

winddmmy says:

you can’t beat a weber kettle grill!

Mosin Marine says:

Need a updated video!

Neville Chapman says:

Weber fucking nail it. They’re well made, do what they’re supposed to do, last a looooooooong time, and don’t over complicate a simple thing. Just get a weber, leave it in the garden for years and years of great BBq’s.

Ronny op de Beeck says:

weber paid this so called test review, simpel and clear, what a ‘review’…..

Veranda Tales says:

i like the burger back flip form off the PK

John Piggford says:

is this a weber infomercial?

Amir Kazemi says:

is this a sneaky infomercial…..paid for by weber???

Z Mac says:

I love my Weber! Far better than any other brand I’ve owned! Plus the stainless grate is great, especially in the humid climate of the gulf coast where I live. I’ve owned a grill with cast iron grates which rusted horribly with the constant humidity, not to mention it imparted a rusty iron flavor to food which was awful. Definitely loving my Weber! Plus, 3 years, NO rust!

Susan Hall says:

eat. smoker
smoker Jo

Przepisy Joli says:


2Phast4Rocket says:

I have the basic Weber and it’s the perfect charcoal grill, much better than a few propane grills I owned before. I get the smokey charcoal flavour, the temperature control is great, and the grill has generous surface to place my meat for either indirect or direct grilling.

Randy Scott says:

I’ve had a bunch of weber grills , their great right when you get em but they never ever last ! Their disposable ! I now have a P.K. grill from the 60’s Yeah the 60’s and I love it ! P. K. Grills ROCK !

Albert Ortiz says:

Great review

Nun Urbuisness says:

I would just buy the standard Webber and put a cheap hard table by it. the chimney starters work great no need for a propane starter

Rob Shell says:

100 dollars for a weber grill. 350 dollars for a weber grill with a cheap rolling cart an ash catcher and propane starter. So 250 dollars for an ash catcher, rolling cart, and a propane starter. What a deal.

Jose Cordero says:

thanks alot

Darin Bradshaw says:

I have the weber 22 inch 150 dollar grill. It’s awesome!!! Best grill for the price you get. It doesn’t have the amenities as the more expensive grills, but I can always build a table to attach to it!

BrownGirlWhiteBoy says:

this is a weber advert


Please review high end charcoal grills… you know the ones….

Joey S says:

Man, you guys suck a grilling… way too much heat for those burgers… you guys do this for a living?

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