The Best BBQ: A Guide to Charcoal Grills

Nothing says summertime like barbeque. If you are a traditionalist, then your preferred type of BBQ is with charcoal grills. And who could blame you. The taste you get from charcoals grills is deep and authentic. There’s nothing like the taste of a steak or burger infused with the smoky flavour you can only get from an old-fashioned grill. Cooking with charcoal takes a bit more technique, but the result is worth the effort. Everything starts with your equipment so you want to make sure to invest in a good grill. When it comes to the charcoal grill, there are many to choose from, but not all of them are the same. Since there are models that are relative inexpensive, you might be tempted to go with the cheapest one. But keep in mind that a good grill can last for years, so it will definitely be worth the money to buy a good barbeque.

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Charcoal Grills

When looking at charcoal grills, you want something with a good sized cooking area. This is where charcoal barbeques can fall short compared to gas models. But while gas grills might give you more room, they still can’t give you the same flavour. So compensate for less cooking space by timing properly. Also consider portability when it comes to your BBQ. You might not want to keep it in your backyard all the time, so something you can throw in the trunk of your car might come in handy. You’ll also have to assemble your BBQ so make sure to get something that isn’t too complicated. And last but not least, you want a sturdy model with a good height that can handle a lot of heat. Find all of these features and you’ve got a great grill.

Meco Charcoal Grills

Meco is a company that makes quality barbeques. In fact, I have one that I still use that is over 10 years old. Since buying my original Meco, I’ve also purchased other barbeques, but I still bring out my Meco from time to time. As long as you keep it clean, then a Meco brand will last at least 3-5 years.

Meco Series 4100 Model 4106 Square Utility Charcoal Grill (Red)

This model builds on the most basic kind of Meco by adding wooden side tables. These fold-out tables really come in handy when you’ve got a lot of food to cook. The bright red dome lid forms a great seal once it’s closed and it allows you to really contain the heat. There are two vents, one on the top, and one on the bottom to allow for good air flow. It also features three possible positions for the grill. The lowest setting may be too close for comfort for rookie grill masters, and the top level will probably be the one you use the most.

Meco Swinger Charcoal Grill (Black)

There is also a version of the Meco Charcoal grill that comes in black but it is a bit more expensive. The extra cost goes towards a heavier, sturdier structure. However, this model does not come with the side tables. So you’ll have to decide what’s more important to you – better durability, or greater convenience.

Weber Charcoal Grills

Weber 751001 22.5-Inch One-Touch Gold Charcoal Grill

This is a great charcoal BBQ that is worth the cost. I have one and it looks like it will last me a really long time. It’s designed in a way that is exactly what you think of when you imagine a barbeque. It can hold a lot of coal and there’s a great feature that allows you to add more while you’re cooking. There are adequate vent holes and also an ash catcher to make the whole thing easier to keep clean. The best part about this model is that it’s durable. You can leave it out in the rain (which I do) and it will be perfectly fine. It’s a bit heavier than my Meco so I would say it’s not as portable. But overall it’s everything a charcoal grill should be

Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill

Don’t worry if you can’t bring your regular Weber charcoal grill to the park. This mini-model is a great alternative. I’ve taken this model camping with me and it works like a charm. The cooking area is significantly smaller than a regular barbeque, but again, just make sure to time things properly so that all your food is done at the same time. Just be careful not to touch the BBQ until the coals have died down. On more than one occasion I’ve been tempted to pick this thing up and carry it in my arms because it just looks so portable. Overall, this tiny BBQ is one my favourite purchases that I’ve ever made for my camping adventures.

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Get your grill on

Charcoal grills are great because they allow you to do so much. If you want a bit more smoky flavour, you can drop some moistened woods chips onto the coals. If you want a nice char on your steak, then expose it a bit more to the flames. You can bring your grill to a friend’s house, camping, or to the beach. Cooking with a charcoal grill seems like more of an art than regular cooking methods. It might take some getting used to but once you do, the results can be awesome. When you find the right grill, it’s easy to get attached to it. I’ve had mine for many years and even if they rust and become unusable, I’m never going to throw them away. There’s just too many good memories for me to dump my BBQ like a piece of metal. You can’t go wrong with any of the models I’ve mentioned. Even the companies themselves produce the same models year after year with a few minor improvements here and there. Here’s to healthy and happy BBQ!

 Last updated on February 13, 2011

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Paul Edmondson profile image

Paul Edmondson 4 years ago from Burlingame, CA Level 1 Commenter

I have a Kamado bbq that takes wood or charcoal. It's pretty expensive, but you can control the heat amazingly well. It has to be one of the best charcoal grill out there.

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    HubPages AuthorFebruary 13, 2011

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