Humans started cooking with charcoal more than 30,000 years ago.
Today, charcoal grills are still incredibly popular.
They’re seeing a resurgence as people look for more affordable and more enjoyable ways to cook outdoors.
Charcoal grills are less expensive than their gas counterparts and with a cooking process that requires more finesse, they come with a huge sense of satisfaction.
Of course, there’s also the flavor.
Charcoal can hit higher temperatures than gas burners, so food can be seared perfectly for a flavorful crust.
Or, you can burn the coals down low and cook over a longer period for authentic smoky BBQ flavor.
If you’re considering a charcoal grill, you probably have a question.
Are charcoal grills worth it? Yes, they are, and these are the reasons why.
Charcoal Grills Produce High Heat
Heat is important in the cooking process.
Only the very best gas grills will produce as much heat as an affordable charcoal grill.
This makes all the difference when searing meat.
High temperatures cause fats and liquids to render from meat.
These vaporize on the hot coals and reintegrate with food as rich flavor compounds. Food seared at high heat simply tastes better.
Charcoal produces some smoke during the initial burn but is clean once up to temperature.
The smoky flavor associated with charcoal grilling is a result of the temperature and cooking time, rather than smoke from the coals.
Because of this, charcoal grilling is an inherently safe way to cook.
Charcoal Grills are Versatile
Have you ever wanted to add smoke flavor to your ingredients?
You could use liquid smoke, but there’s always a mild artificial note to the flavor.
You could add a smoker box to a gas grill, but this means using one more accessory with some added cost.
With a charcoal grill, you can add wood chips or pellets directly into the firebox.
You don’t need extra accessories because charcoal grills are designed to burn solid fuel.
If you want smoke flavor and are wondering if charcoal grills are worth it, the answer is a simple yes.
You Can Cook with Multiple Zones
Large gas grills are often touted as having multiple zones for cooking at different temperatures.
Having multiple burners also means you can cook food over a longer period, away from the direct heat.
Charcoal grills have this ability by default.
You can arrange the coals however you want to create different heating zones.
Keep the charcoal on one side of the grill and you can cook with indirect heat on the other side.
Arrange more or fewer coals across the grill and this will adjust the surface temperature at those points.
Because charcoal grills are controlled through ventilation, the heat of the charcoal is relative.
You can have different zones and adjust the ventilation to bring temperatures up or down at all zones with a good level of consistency.
Doing this with a gas grill would require a significant amount of tweaking.
Are charcoal grills worth it for indirect and multi-zone cooking? Absolutely.
Charcoal Grills are Worth it Because They’re Less Expensive
Most importantly, charcoal grills are worth it because they cost less. You can spend a little but get a whole lot of grilling potential.
The Weber Kettle Grill is the most popular charcoal grill ever produced.
It’s an American icon recognized all over the world. It’s surprisingly affordable yet still durable.
If you want a low-cost grill to last for many seasons, this is one of the best options.
- Holds up to 13 burgers made with a Weber burger press; Built-in lid thermometer. Rust-resistant aluminum dampers
- One-Touch cleaning system with high-capacity ash catcher provides hassle-free ash cleanup
- Porcelain-enameled lid and bowl retain heat, and won’t rust or peel
- Use the lid hook to avoid placing the lid on the ground while grilling
- Cooking grate is hinged for easily adding charcoal while grilling
Even if you want a combined charcoal grill and smoker with a barrel design, you’ll find options like the Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker and Grill.
It offers versatility and simplicity at a very affordable price.
- Combination Offset Smoker, BBQ & Charcoal Grill
- 290 square inch cooking surface in main chamber
- 140 sq. in. cooking surface in firebox chamber
- Adjustable height steel fire grate
- Clean-out door for easy ash removal with adjustable built-in damper
Charcoal grills are worth it. With a few extra steps, you’ll enjoy a more rewarding cooking experience than gas, with a flavor that is hard to beat.