Need help buying a charcoal grill

buckytom

Grill Master
now that we're going to be grilling again, i thought it was time to get back into using a charcoal grill.

i crossed over to the dark side a few years ago switching to a gas grill, mainly for convenience/laziness.

but this past winter, we had the opportunity to enjoy real charcoal grilled burgers a few times when we went skiing. they were just so darned good, and they apparently made a big impression on my son. so much so that he remebered them months later and asked if we could make them at home.

well, like the scene when darth vader saves luke from the power of the dark side, i decided i need to get a charcoal grill for when i have the time to do it right for the little guy.

so, what would be everyone's recommendations for a good charcoal grill? i don't think i'd be interested in a big green egg just because of the price (which would seem like a waste considering how often it will be used).

my first inclinations are for a weber kettle grill. i have a a really old smokey joe that i use on canoe/camping trips, but i definitely would like something larger for home.

tia for any suggestions. :bbq3: :bbq:
 

JoeV

Dough Boy
Site Supporter
I got this Char-Griller off of Craigs List for $40. I modified the main cooking chamber for even smoke/heat distribution when using the smoker, and really like it. With the mods I did and a cover for it, I have less than $80 in it. If it ever stops raining here I might even get to use it soon.













 

QSis

Grill Master
Staff member
Gold Site Supporter
I use a Weber One-Touch Gold kettle. It's been my only grill for almost 20 years.

You can get fancier versions: the Performer is a kettle set in a cart with a table, and has a gas igniter just to light the charcoal. Another version has two attached side tables, which is very nice.

Lee
 

Keltin

New member
Gold Site Supporter
Gonna second Qsis' recommendation. The Weber Kettles are outstanding. The 18" is great for 2-4 people, but you'll probably want the 22" inch.

Not only can the kettles be used for direct grilling, but by offsetting your coals, they can be a smoker, which is another great reason to get the larger 22". Make sure to get the 22" that has the hinged cooking grates on the side. This allows you to lift the hinged part to add more coal when you are smoking.

The design of the kettle (the rounded domed shape) makes flare ups all but impossible when the lid is closed. This is a BIG plus when direct grilling fatty meats like burgers and chicken. With the larger 22", you can put most of your coals to one side and leave a "cool" area to move meats in case of a flare up that may happen when you open the lid to flip the meat.

Also, the 22" is large enough to cook a whole meal. You can cook your meat, foil pack veggies and potatoes, as well as put canned items like pork-n-beans or veggies directly on the grill. Just take the paper off the can, and place the can on the grill in the middle where the domed lid is high enough that the can won't hit the lid.

The Weber Kettles are porcelain coated, and made of thick steel and will literally last a lifetime! The only thing you may have to replace over the life of the grill is the charcoal grate which will eventually rust and warp. But, even that will take 5 or more years to happen! :w00t:
 

FooD

New member
Can't go wrong with a Weber kettle. Most versatile cooker on the planet.....amazingly efficient, you can slow cook for several hours on just one chimney of charcoal.
I picked up a 22.5" One Touch Gold off of Craigslist for $30 several years ago.
 
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Leni

New member
I also have the CharGriller with the side smoker. I like that it has a rotisserie. I've had it so long that the grill is warped and needs replacement. How did you modify yours JoeV?
 

buckytom

Grill Master
thanks for the info, guys.

i think i'm leaning towards the 22" weber kettle.

i'd love a grill with the side firebox, but i think i'll wait until i have a bigger backyard.

i'm hoping to be in a new house by the winter. dw finally seems onboard with the idea, so...
 

Keltin

New member
Gold Site Supporter
thanks for the info, guys.

i think i'm leaning towards the 22" weber kettle.

i'd love a grill with the side firebox, but i think i'll wait until i have a bigger backyard.

i'm hoping to be in a new house by the winter. dw finally seems onboard with the idea, so...


The side fire box units are primarily SMOKERS, and like the ECB smokers, are a pain in the butt unless you do the mods like JoeV did. Without mods, you have a hot side near the firebox vent, and a cool side at the exit end. Very hard to regulate temps without those mods. Without mods, you can move the meat constantly, but that makes true smoking a bit of a pain.

As a grill, those units are fair to midling, and flareups can be a problem.

For a GRILL that can also be used to smoke, go with the 22" Kettle.
 

buckytom

Grill Master
thanks k. i had assumed you could put coals directly inder the grates in the main section besides in the fire box to make it more of a grill.
 

Keltin

New member
Gold Site Supporter
thanks k. i had assumed you could put coals directly inder the grates in the main section besides in the fire box to make it more of a grill.

You can!

But the design of those make flareups a huge problem. Same with square grills and open air rigs.

In those barrels, if you build smaller fires and leave open cool spots (no coals under the grate) for moving the meat, you're ok. Coal count is critical in those as most people see a big open area and put a LOT of coal in it turning the thing into a blast furnace. Even with moderate coals and a cool spot, they can be tricky, but overload makes them horrible.

The Kettle design makes it a near no-brainer when you leave the lid on. Air flow and coal burn is automatically controlled due to the kettle design - WHEN the lid is on.
 

buckytom

Grill Master
thanks very much.

i'm definitely a no-brainer kinda guy when it comes to cooking, so that'll work for me. now i have to go check prices for weber kettles.

oh, btw, i wanted to thank you again for the tip about monoprice.com a few years ago.

i've ordered many hdmi cables of various sizes and connector types from them and they've all been good quality. the one i bought from best buy for $50 when i bought my first hdtv fell apart recently so i'll be ordering from them again soon. i need one to replace the one from my dvd burner, and a micro to type a hdmi for my phone.

thanks again.
 

QSis

Grill Master
Staff member
Gold Site Supporter
I meant to thank JoeV for posting those photos of his incredible barbecued meats!

Man, those ribs in particular, are making my mouth water! I'm doing those next!

Lee
 

Wart

Banned
Best grill I've ever had is the "Lodge L410 Hibachi Iron Sportsman Grill "



Oddly this isn't listed on the Lodge site.

Unfortunately for more than two people the Sportsman isn't practical. Getting more than 14~16 wings on it, or more than 3 burgers, or ... no, not happening.

If grilling for more than just my wife and I I use this Binkman.



Mines the same thing except it isn't stainless.

Problem with this grill is you have to be really good with running fire. I'm getting better, haven't quite perfected it though. With this grill fire tongs are your friend.

I've used the Webber Kettle and I really didn't like it. I don't know, I had heard so many glowing things about the Webber maybe by the time I first got to use one I was expecting too much.

After years of using something like/I] my Binkman, just smaller, and having to control fire without intake venting control, and the Webber having wasted space because fire can't be made near under the entire grill area, and once I put a 14 inch iron griddle in it and couldn't use it fopr anything else, I guess it really wasn't big enough. I was using a 22" and couldn't get direct heat under more than 200 of its 300+ square inches

....

The Binkman can hold 6~7 medium size racks of ribs, with mods. Can be used for direct heat smoking and with mods indirect smoking, will hold up to two chickens.

But the Sportsman is the best grill I've used, I'm thinking of applying the theory to a larger home built.
 

buckytom

Grill Master
wart, my parents had one of those cast iron hibachis when i was a kid. they were so cool. or hot really.

they really concentrated the heat of just a small amount of coals once they got hot.

ok, so i'm decided on a weber 22.5 or 27 inch one touch gold. now the deal hunting begins.

current prices ate $150 for the 22.5, and $275 for the 27.

in my best dolph lundgren, "i must brake you"...
 

Keltin

New member
Gold Site Supporter
wart, my parents had one of those cast iron hibachis when i was a kid. they were so cool. or hot really.

they really concentrated the heat of just a small amount of coals once they got hot.

ok, so i'm decided on a weber 22.5 or 27 inch one touch gold. now the deal hunting begins.

current prices ate $150 for the 22.5, and $275 for the 27.

in my best dolph lundgren, "i must brake you"...


Interesting! I didn't know Weber made a 27! I did know about the 37.5 though.....what a monster!! :lol: Thanks for pointing out they have a 27 BT! Click the link below to see the 37.5........sticker shock may cause you to pass out though!

[ame]http://www.amazon.com/Weber-60020-Ranch-Charcoal-Kettle/dp/B00004U9LN[/ame]
 

FooD

New member
But the Sportsman is the best grill I've used, I'm thinking of applying the theory to a larger home built.

I have that grill and use it regularly.
If you're thinking of that grill on a larger scale what you need is a Santa Maria grill. People fabricate these types of grills all the time.


Here's my little Lodge hibachi
 

luvs

'lil Chef
Gold Site Supporter
obtain a few old barrels, old garbage-type barrels, make them into grills w/ some elbow grease & some effort. those make excellent & rewarding food!
the most lovely foods 'er cooked in them. mmmmmm. there's a guy not 15 minutes from here that grills on 1; i'm 'goin there when the weather permits.
1 guy, he plopped a chix/rib place in the area i used to reside in, & the area was strongly populated by folks that generally don't injest pork. so obviously his place failed, & fast. he used a drum grill, & his 'que would make me wanna wilt in appreciation. delicious!~
 

Love2"Q"

New member
keep an eye on lowes .. every year before memorial day they put the weber preformer on sale for just under 200 ..thats about 130 off ..
 
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