Our winning charcoal grill: http://amzn.to/1JirGIY (reflects most recent testing update)
Our best buy charcoal grill: http://amzn.to/1GjfxTy (reflects most recent testing update)
Full testing details and ranking chart: http://cooks.io/1SkVZPh
“Master of the Grill” – Buy our grilling cookbook! http://amzn.to/25JlW4p
Recipes & tips from the book: http://atkgrill.com
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.
Each week, the cast of America’s Test Kitchen brings the recipes, testings, and tastings from Cook’s Illustrated magazine to life on our public television series. With more than 2 million viewers per episode, we are the most-watched cooking show on public television.
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.