One thing that most Americans have in common is the love for grilled meat. Nothing can beat the time spent outdoors in the lawn, garden, or patio on a sunny afternoon cooking meat on a grill for friends and family members.
And most BBQ purists believe that a steak dinner is not real unless it’s prepared on a charcoal grill. The grills give a rich flavor to the meat. From burgers to hot dogs, meat cooked on charcoal grills tastes the best. The smoky taste is the main reason most people prefer charcoal grills.
If you are thinking about buying a charcoal goal on a budget, this guide will definitely help you out. In this post, we have scoured the net to select the 5 best charcoal grills that are available under $500. Moreover, we have listed some tips that can help you select the best grill for different occasion.
Why Select Charcoal Grill Over Other Grills?
Charcoal grills are less costly as compared to electric or gas grills. The grill is also portable, allowing you to easily chuck it into a car and take it to a beach or park.
Charcoal not only cooks the meat but also add a distinct flavor due to the smoke and high heat it produces. The grills reach a higher temperature (as much as 500°F) compared to other grills.
You can also control the temperature of different spots on the grill by shifting coals. This allows the meat to become evenly crisp while retaining juice and flavor. Moreover, the high heat of charcoal sears the meat quickly creating a smoky flavor and delectable caramelized exterior.
Best Charcoal Grills Under $500
1. Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch, Black
Weber Original Kettle Charcoal Grill is the best quality charcoal grill that has earned rave reviews. Most users praise the portability and large grill space. The grill is lightweight and easy to move around. This premium version has a hinged cooking grate that allows you to easily add charcoal when grilling.
The one-touch cleaning system makes cleaning the grill a breeze. A high capacity ash catcher allows you to clean the grill in no time.
This grill has a porcelain enameled lid and bowl that won’t rust peel. The lid also helps in retaining the heat resulting in optimal cooking. You don’t have to place the lid on the ground as with some other types of charcoal grills. The angled lid hook allows you to hang the lid on the side of the grill. Moreover, the handle of the lid is heat resistant that doesn’t get too hot when cooking meat.
You can hang grilling tool on the hooks on the side of the grill. This allows you to organize and easily access the tools like tongs and spatula.
- Product Size: 5 x 22.5 x 27 inches
- Product Weight: 3 pounds
2. Uten BBQ Charcoal Grill Smoker for Outdoors
Another top-rated Charcoal grill is Uten BBQ charcoal grill. The small extremely lightweight charcoal grill is perfect for grilling outdoors. You can take the grill with you for a beach party or a road trip. This is great for grilling meat for a party of three to five individuals.
Made of cold rolled iron and chrome wire mesh, the grill is scratch and heat resistant. The sturdy design ensures that the grill will stay for a long time with you.
You can start a fire faster due to the 12 airway vent design. The grill can be cleaned by pulling the braking net. You can easily fold the grill after use. The handle makes it easy to carry the grill with you anywhere.
The chrome plate wire mesh and solid iron support results in durability of the grill. The grill allows the meat to cook slowly thereby allowing the meat to remain tender and moist.
- Product Size: 8 x 10.6 x 7.9 inches
- Product Weight: 1 pound
3. Giantex BBQ Grill Charcoal Grill
Giantex BBQ charcoal grill is yet another top-rated grill. Customers have praised the easy to install and portability feature of the grill. The grill is made of sturdy black steel that makes it best for outdoors.
Wooden handles ensure safe grilling experience. A thermometer on the top lid shows the temperature. There is a convenient storage shelf. The front portion contains a foldable wood shelf where you can put spices and grilling tools. There is also a shelf at the bottom where you can put additional items. The extra storage is something that you won’t find in most other charcoal grills.
The special design of the grill ensures less smoke and smooth airflow. The steel firebox reduces the heat while the side vent allows air to flow smoothly. There won’t be much smoke when using this charcoal grill. This ensures a pleasant grilling experience outdoors.
This charcoal grill is best for a large dinner party. The large surface area allows you to grill a lot of meat. You can cook the meat in three different ways including slow smoking, barbecuing, and grilling.
The porcelain cooking grates and high-temperature powder lid allows improved heat retention.
The anti-rust construction makes it perfect for using near the beach. You can use the grill to enjoy outdoor cooking with friends and family members.
- Product Size: 5 x 25.5 x 42.5 inches
- Product Weight: 5 pounds
4. Beau Jardin Portable Charcoal Grill
Beau Jardin is another quality charcoal grill that you can buy online. The grill has a large cooking grate that allows you to heat a lot of meat in one go. The kettle grill has high heat retention and control. The aluminum vent allows you to control the heat without lifting the lid.
Porcelain-enameled coating bowl allows maximum heat retention. You can adjust the air vent damper to the desired grilling condition. The charcoal grill has a lid hanger due to which you won’t have to hold the lid when cooking.
The coated finishing prevents peeling and rusts formation in high temperature. The charcoal grate can also withstand high temperature resulting in perfect cooking. Steel construction of the grill also gives high durability to the grill. The grill is easy to transport and clean.
- Product Size: 22 x 22 x 35 inches
- Product Weight: 8 pounds
5. Xiangban Portable BBQ Charcoal Grill Set with Fork & Spatula
The Xiangban portable outdoor grill is yet another great charcoal grill that provides great value for money. The grill has four corner brackets that allow easy assembling. Two claws that are U-shaped help in adjusting the grill position and also control the flame size. The three vents of sides of the grill ventilate and burn the smoke.
The grill has a soft steel scratch and resistant build that does not rust or deform easily. The grill comes with a barbecue fork and shovel that helps in grilling. The small BBQ grill is easy to move and carry around making it great for outdoor picnics.
This charcoal grill comes with a baking shovel and a baking bin. In addition, the grill comes with a net bracket that can help control the fire.
A great thing about this grill is the easy portability. The grill is lightweight and small. You can carry the portable grill with you like a suitcase. To use the grill, you simply open the box and put down the foldable brackets.
- Product Size: 3 x 7.3 x 5.1 inches
- Product Weight: 45 pounds
Tips for Selecting the Best Charcoal Grill
Cost is the foremost consideration when buying a charcoal grill. The good news is that most of the grill available online are well under $500. The cheapest option is the basic kettle grill. But if you want to grill lots of meat, you should consider going for a barrel grill.
You can buy a charcoal grill for less than $50. But you will have to compromise with a small cooking surface. Also, the construction of cheap grills is not sturdier, scratch or rust resistant. Consider spending a little extra if you want to get the best value for money.
2. Use of the Grill
The use of Charcoal grill will also determine the best grill for you. You can grill hot dogs and burgers on almost any type of grill. However, if you want to cook a variety of meat, you should go for a kamado grill. The grill provides the best texture and flavor to the meat.
Barrel and bullet grills are the best option for meats that you want to cook slowly. For the beat all around flavor, you should consider getting one with ceramic grills. You can bake all kinds of food item in a ceramic charcoal grill including pizza and bread.
3. Size of Charcoal Grill
Size of the charcoal grill is another factor that you should consider when buying a grill. If you will be cooking for more than four persons, you should buy a large charcoal grill with a bigger cooking surface.
You should look at the product dimensions to know about the size of the charcoal grill. Most manufacturers give the product specification on the company website.
If you want to take the grill to the beach or camping, you should select a grill that is lightweight and portable. However, if you want the grill to remain fixed at one spot, you should consider a larger size grill.
Ceramic and kettle grills are the best if you want smaller size grills. These grills take up much less space due to which you can place them just about anywhere. However, ceramic grills tend to be heavier so you can’t easily carry them around from one place to another.
5. Easy of Cleaning
Ease of cleaning is another factor that you should consider when buying a charcoal grill. You will want a grill that allows cleaning with not much effort. Consider a grill with easy one-touch cleaning that contains a tray for removing all the ash. You can simply pull out the tray and dump the ash instead of scraping it out.
6. Control of Temperature
Charcoal grill with temperature control will be ideal for grillers that want precision when grilling meat. Consider a charcoal grill with a tight fitting lid that will allow more control over the temperature.
The vents of the grill also will help in temperature control. You consider a grill that has at least two vents — one for exhaust and the other for letting in oxygen. Additional vents will give more ability to control temperature, particularly for larger grills.
In addition, grills that lets you move the coal around allow better temperature control. You can adjust how much heat is provided to a particular section of meat.
Grills with egg-shaped design offer the best temperature control. But you need some practice to regulate the temperature to the precise setting.
7. Extra Accessories
You should also buy extra accessories for the best grilling experience. Consider buying a charcoal chimney starter. The accessory will help in getting the charcoals hot quickly. You just have to fill the hollow cylinder with charcoal and use lighter cubes to get the charcoals hot. Once the charcoals are hot, you can transfer them to the grill to cook meat.
Another accessory that you should consider is a surface thermometer. The thermometer will help you monitor the temperature and adjust the heat accordingly.
A charcoal rake is another important accessory. You can use the rake to wrangle the charcoal easily when grilling meat.
For cleaning the grill, you should buy a bench brush. You can use the brush to clean the bottom of the grill. Other must-have accessories for charcoal grill include grill gloves, grill cover, and charcoal storage bin.