Charcoal Grills Cook The Best Summer Meals

Meat never tastes better than it does grilled over charcoal, but charcoal grills vary in functionality, size, and efficiency. Here’s how to pick your best summertime meal maker.

In the classic charcoal vs. gas grill debate, charcoal wins the most important category: taste. Although a basic grill capable of cooking good meals can cost very little, higher-end grills now combine grilling and smoking functions. With the wide range of features and prices available, the perfect charcoal grill for you is out there.

Ceramic Grates For Easy Cleanup

Cook hot and fast or low and slow with this big, versatile, budget-priced unit that features a separate section for burning wood chips. Royal Gourmet

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A warming rack can be a handy extra in a charcoal grill. You can use it to keep food warm, to toast buns above the flame, or even sear a steak on the main grill, and then finish it on the raised warming rack.

Reduces Charcoal And Ash Hassles

Hinged cooking grate lets you add briquets easily while a built-in ash receptacle makes for easy cleanup. Weber

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Charcoal grates have to be kept clean. Look for a grill with ceramic-coated, stainless or plated steel grates, and be sure to clean the grate while it’s still warm after you’re done cooking and before food and grease harden. After you clean the grate, rub it with some vegetable oil.

Thick Walls Keep Smoke And Heat In

A ceramic firebox heats from 225 to 750 degrees and affords excellent temperature control, so you can do everything from smoking to searing. Kamado Joe

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Make sure the grill you buy is big enough to cook for all your guests. No one likes to wait for their burger while others are eating, but you don’t want to cram all the meat too close together when cooking. It needs room to cook evenly and room for you to flip it. Allow at least 20-21 square inches of grill space for one four-inch raw hamburger.