Charcoal grills have a long and illustrious history in the North Americas. Edward G Kingsford, a relative of Henry Ford, invented the modern charcoal grill. The charcoal was made from wood waste generated at Ford's Model T assembly line!
Since then, charcoal grills have come a long way to transform into efficient outdoor stoves for gourmet barbeque cooking. Today, 71% of grillers endorse them as their preferred choice. If you are thinking of buying a charcoal grill, get all the necessary information from this article. Maybe, it will provide you with the "fuel" to make your smoked ribs the talk of the town.
How do you determine the efficiency of charcoal grills?
Charcoal grills work on the principle of radiation. Coal embers emit a lot of radiation which is converted into heat when it comes in contact with food to be cooked. The grill that you are considering to buy must have the below-mentioned features to ensure its efficient operation.
- Controlled heating. This means controlling the temperature at which charcoals burn, and controlling the amount of heat that reaches the food to be cooked. Good charcoal designs will have tight-fitting lids that prevent heat from escaping, and well-placed vents that stoke consistent fire inside the grill.
- Adjustable height of the charcoal tray. Pushing this tray up or down will bring the embers closer to the cooking food or move them apart, giving you control over the direct heat transmission.
- Accurate temperature reading. Make sure that your charcoal grill has a digital device to give you accurate heat reading. It is important that your cook BBQ varieties at the right temperature to give the sumptuous bite that feels right.
- Spacious charcoal chamber. Apart from providing enough space for charcoal fuel and air circulation, a roomy chamber will let you shift and shuffle embers. This will control or concentrate heat areas as desired.
- Charcoal adding mechanism. The charcoal grill should have a sliding or hinged opening that lets you easily add or remove the charcoal. It should operate smoothly, or you may burn your hands while struggling to open it. A good opening of appropriate size and shape will also let you "shake off" ash from the embers. Being a good insulation agent, excess ash can hamper the heat generation process.
- Grating surface. A good grate is the one that offers superior heat radiation, holds various foods properly, it does not cause over or under-cooking, and gives uniform burn on the food surface. We recommend the old-fashioned wire grill to other fancy grates. It still has the ideal grid system to facilitate proper BBQ cooking. Avoid cast iron, as it is difficult to maintain and does not hold meat and some other foods properly.
Which Are the Main Types of Charcoal Grills to Check Out?
BBQ recipes have their charm around authentic and "rustic" cooking. The exotic smoky flavor of grilled pork chops or the burnt aroma of bombs offers unmatched culinary delights. Below are the types of charcoal grills that make it all happen.
This is an all-time classic design. Although there are many variations available today, the basic design and operation remain unchanged. Their body consists of two halves – a dome-shaped upper lid and a globular lower half. Inside, there are the charcoal chamber, cooking grate, lid, and other assemblies.
The kettle grill looks like… a kettle. So, how is this shape helpful? The globular lower half which houses the charcoal tray distributes heat more evenly than a flat charcoal bed; hence, cooking is uniform. And the upper dome traps heat efficiently, adding to cooking efficiency and retaining the smoky flavor.
Kettle grills are also available as mobile outdoor stoves fitted with castors. If your outdoor space is compact, you can move them away once the cooking is done.
It is a more basic version of the kettle grill, and also its predecessor. It has lesser parts but offers the same function and flavor as the kettle grill. Cost-effectiveness and space-saving are its main benefits. You would want a brazier charcoal grill if your BBQ menu isn't very extensive, and your garden space and pocket space are limited.
This really is your type if you prefer elaborate BBQ preparations on laid-back weekends. This grill first burns wood pellets to turn them into charcoal and then cooks food at slow-cooker temperature (About 150 0 F) to give you perfectly authentic barbecue recipes.
Because of slow cooking, brazier charcoal grills give an excellent smoky flavor, so you will not need a separate smoker. To pamper your guests further, you can choose from maple, oak, apple, and other wood pellets; each gives a distinct smoky flavor. Being large-sized, they are more like BBQ stations and can cook in quantity. You also won't need a separate smoker.
Like everything Japanese, these are compact and portable metal charcoal grills. They look more like kitchen-top gadgets. Typically, they consist of two cooking grates placed above the charcoal tray. The grates' distance from the charcoal tray is adjustable, so you can have you can burn food varyingly.
Hibachi charcoal grills are for working couples, live-in partners, solo souls, and the likes. They can cook in the kitchen or balconies also, so it's okay if you live in a rented apartment. Do you? Then choose the Hibachi charcoal grill.
This is perhaps the most versatile and high-performance charcoal grill. The usually globular ceramic body stands on a legged armature that may have castor fittings. The operation of ceramic charcoal grills is standard and its parts are also similar to other grill types. However, the ceramic material does the magic in BBQ cooking. It can retain heat and moisture far better than the other models.
The strategically placed vents offer consistent temperature control. Hence, the quality of burn and smoky flavor are truly gourmet grade. Imagine barbeque being cooked at a uniform 750 0 F temperature inside a closed ceramic turbine, with dense smoke constantly churning inside, and food being cooked neither too harshly nor too mildly. Indeed, ceramic charcoal grills create dream BBQ recipes.
With such excellent smoking characteristics of this grill, you will not need a separate smoker. And lastly, you can also bake pizzas and other items in these grills.
If you want to treat yourself and your guests with discerning barbeque food, if you want a dreamy smoky flavor, and if you want a multi-purpose high-end charcoal grill, there is no other like this one.
They are literally like moving carts, with the grill either adjacent to or on top of a storage cabinet. The grill is of barrel shape or rectangular, with the top and bottom halves hinged. Both the halves are adjustable, so you can have different temperature levels.
You will come across cart charcoal grills in various sizes and cooking capacities. Select the one that suits your requirement. Benefit from its mobility and in-built storage space features. You won't need a separate crockery rack if you buy a cart charcoal grill.
As the name suggests, they look like a barrel turned side-ways and cut into two vertical halves, joined with hinges. The top half acts as the lid and the lower half accommodates the charcoal plate and the cooking grate. A chimney at the top of the lid acts as a smoke trap. Vents in the bottom half help to funnel the fire. The barrel stands on a 4-legged structure which often has castors.
Because of the chimney, barrel charcoal grills offer the benefit of excellent smoky flavor. The vents provide fanning to create an ideal temperature inside the grill. The combined effect is perfectly cooked, deliciously smoky grill pork or kebab. Serve with pride!
Which are the charcoal types to use for charcoal grills?
There are two types of charcoal that you can use for grilling:
Lump charcoal is the natural variant that emits organic charcoal smoke, so your barbeque food will have that authentic smoky taste and aroma.
Other benefits of lump charcoal are:
- Easy to ignite
- Produces less ash
- Highly reactive to oxygen, hence gives quality fire
Briquette charcoal is processed material, using a chemical process. There are some claims that these chemicals emit during the initial burning process are hazardous to health. On the positive side, you benefit from:
- Uniform size
- Uniform burning period
- Easy to ignite
Quality-wise, we would advise you to opt for natural charcoal. However, also keep some quantity of charcoal briquettes handy, just in case a spontaneous BBQ party idea materializes from thin air.
Charcoal grills recreate ancient cooking traditions in our backyards. Revel in their culinary delight. Begin by choosing the right charcoal grill.