6 Best Charcoal Grill under $100
Charcoal grills are one of the hottest grilling gadgets for a good reason.
They’re easy to use, relatively inexpensive, and can produce some delicious results.
If you’re new to charcoal grilling or just looking for some tips on how to improve your grilling game, then this guide is for you. We’ll cover everything from choosing the best charcoal grill under $100 to how to light it, control the temperature, and cook your food to perfection.
So, let’s get started!
Choosing the Right Charcoal for grilling
There are two significant categories of charcoal: briquettes and lumps. Briquettes are made from sawdust and other wood scraps that have been compacted together and then carbonized (i.e., heated in the absence of oxygen until all the volatile compounds have been burned off).
Lump charcoal comes from whole pieces of wood that have been carbonized.
Read this: Choosing The Best Lump Charcoal
Briquettes are generally cheaper and easier to find than lump charcoal, but they can contain additives like borax, which is used to help the briquettes hold together. On the other hand, Lump charcoal is pure wood and burns cleaner and hotter. For these reasons, we recommend using lump charcoal for grilling.
How to Light Charcoal
There are a few different ways to light charcoal, but I prefer the chimney starter method. To use a chimney starter, you’ll need a metal cylinder with holes in the bottom and a grate. You’ll also need some newspaper or other combustible material.
To use the chimney starter, simply place it on the ground or on a stable surface. Crush an old newspaper and stuff it into the bottom of the cylinder. Next, fill the cylinder with charcoal. Once the charcoal is in, light the newspaper and wait for the flames to reach the top of the cylinder.
Once the flames die and the charcoal has begun to ash over (i.e., it’s covered in a grayish-white powder), it’s ready to be dumped into your grill.
Controlling the Temperature
Among the most critical factors about grilling is learning how to control the temperature. After all, you don’t want your food to be either undercooked or burnt. The best way to control the temperature is by using two thermometers: one placed near the coals and one placed in the middle of the grill.
You can also control the temperature by adjusting the amount of air allowed to flow through the grill. If you need to increase the temperature, open the vents wider. If you need to decrease the temperature, close the vents partially.
Cooking Your Food
Now that your charcoal is lit and your grill is at the right temperature, it’s time to start cooking!
Here are a few unforgettable reminders for cooking on a charcoal grill:
– Use indirect heat for large or thick cuts of meat. Direct heat is fine for smaller or thinner cuts of meat, but you’ll want to cook larger or thicker cuts indirectly. Simply push the coals to one side of the grill and place your food on the other side.
– Preheat your grill prior to cooking. It ensures your food cooks evenly.
– Use a grill brush to clean the grates before cooking. This will prevent your food from sticking and make cleanup easier.
– Be patient! Don’t be tempted to move your food around too much. Let it cook for the specified amount of time before flipping or moving it.
How to get the best charcoal grill under $100?
It’s time to choose a grill that suits your budget and needs. Check on these features while you’re choosing a charcoal grill:
How much space do you have for a grill? If you have a small patio or a congested balcony, you’ll want to choose a smaller grill. You can go for a larger grill if you have a large backyard.
Charcoal grills can range from around $30 to $500 or more. Decide how much you’re willing to spend on a grill before beginning your search.
Check out these best grills under $300
Some charcoal grills come with side shelves, wheels for easy moving, and built-in thermometers. Decide which features are essential to you, and look for a grill that has them. This is the most essential part of every buying guide because everyone has a different need for their grill.
Some charcoal grills come with a warranty. If you’re planning on using your grill often, it might be worth it to choose a grill with a warranty.
Now that you know the essential “how-to(s)” of grilling with charcoal, it’s time to fire up your and start cooking!
Here’re my recommendations for the best grill under $100!
The 150-square-inch portable Cuisinart charcoal grill is perfect for tailgating, picnics, and camping.
It features a dual-ventilating system and heavy-duty chrome-plated cooking racks. The CCG-190 grill also has a removable ash catcher for easy cleanup.
This portable charcoal grill is great for cooking burgers, hot dogs, steaks, etc.
It’s easy to set up assembly and usage features, so you’ll be grilling in no time. The grill’s compact size and weight make it easy to carry, transport, and store. So whether you’re heading on to the park or campground, this grill is perfect for your next outdoor adventure. For added convenience, the legs of the grill fold up for easy transport and storage.
- Enamel-coated firebox
- Portable and easy to transport
- Fold-up legs for easy storage
- Some reviewers found the grill challenging to assemble, flimsy, and unsafe while operating.
- The ash catcher can be challenging to clean
- Paint chips off easily.
This grill’s porcelain-enameled lid and bowl retain heat, while the venting system provides proper airflow for optimal grilling.
It has a heavy-duty plated steel cooking grate hinged for easy access to coals and adds 180 square inches of cooking area. The legs are welded onto the bowl for stability. This grill also features a built-in ash catcher that makes cleanup simple.
This 18-inch diameter Weber Original Kettle charcoal grill is just the right size for small gatherings of family and friends. It’s big enough to cook eight burgers at once, yet it’s small enough to fit on most balconies or patios.
The 3D interactive assembly instructions will help you put it together in no time. And once you’re done grilling, the ash catcher makes clean up a snap. So ring this Kettle grill home, invite your friends over and get ready to enjoy some delicious grilled food.
- Porcelain-enameled lid and bowl retain heat
- The venting system provides proper airflow
- Heavy-duty plated steel cooking grate
- Hinged for easy access to coals
- Welded legs for stability
- Built-in thermometer
- Ash catcher included
- Users complained about grease and gas leakage
- The hinged grate is a little flimsy.
#3 Weber Go-Anywhere
It features durable steel cooking grates with 160 square inches of cooking space, making it the perfect size for gatherings. This grill’s porcelain-enameled bowl and lid are designed to withstand high temperatures, and then its legs fold up for easy transport and storage. A coal tray with a weather-resistant coating helps keep your charcoal dry, while an aluminum ash catcher makes cleanup quick and easy.
This grill lets you take your grilling anywhere with its compact size and easy portability. Whether you’re at the park or in your own backyard, the Go-Anywhere Grill will give you the perfect grilled meal every time.
- The lid locks are great for easy transport, and the legs fold up for storage
- 160 square inches of cooking space
- Coal tray with a weather-resistant coating
- Perfect for tailgating, picnics, and more!
- Some reviewers found the grill challenging to assemble and unable to use more than 3 times.
- May rust if not correctly cared for.
- Instructions could be more precise.
The Char-Griller E22424 Table Top Charcoal Grill and Side Fire Box are great for cooking delicious food for your family and friends.
This grill features durable steel construction with a powder-coated finish built to last. The 222 square inch grilling surface provides plenty of space to cook your favorite foods, and the side firebox is excellent for cooking snacks or side dishes. The removable ash pan makes cleanup a breeze, and the adjustable air damper allows you to control the temperature of your grill. Whether you’re grilling burgers, hot dogs, or steaks, the Table Top Charcoal Grill and Side Fire Box will help you cook up a feast that your loved ones will enjoy.
- Durable steel construction with powder-coated finish
- Large grilling surface
- Side firebox for cooking snacks or side dishes
- Removable ash pan for easy cleanup
- Adjustable air damper for temperature control
- May rust if not properly cared for
- The Grill surface may not be big enough for some families or gatherings
#5 Beau Jardin
This premium charcoal grill is ideal for outdoor cooking, barbecue, camping, and tailgating. The heavy-duty round grilling bowl is thickened steel for durability and heat retention.
The grill also features two wheels for portability and a lid with vents to control the airflow and temperature. This grill is perfect for small patios, backyards, and tailgating. The enormous cooking capacity of the grill saves you from last-minute hassle at larger gatherings. It allows you to cook the meal in greater quantity than other grills.
The Ash leak system of this grill makes it the coolest among its competitors. It makes cleaning and maintenance a life-changing game. You just have to move the ash leak that drops the entire charcoal waste to the catcher.
- Heavy-duty round grilling bowl made of thickened steel for durability and heat retention
- Features two wheels for portability
- Lid with vents to control the airflow and temperature
- Perfect for small patios, backyards, and tailgating
- Not all customers were found happy with the delivery and assembly procedure of the product.
It’s hard to beat the classic kettle grill design, and that’s precisely what you’ll get with the Kingsford OGD2001901-KF Charcoal Kettle Grill. This 22.5-inch grill is made from heavy-duty steel for long-lasting durability, and it features a porcelain-coated cooking surface that’s easy to clean.
The air vents in the grill allow you to control the temperature for perfect grilling every time, and the stay-cool handle makes it easy to check on your food without opening the lid and letting heat escape. Simply remove the ash catcher for easy cleanup when you’re done grilling. Whether you’re whipping up burgers for a backyard barbecue or smoking some ribs for a summer cookout, the Kingsford OGD2001901-KF Charcoal Kettle Grill will become your go-to grill.
- Heavy-duty steel construction for durability
- Porcelain-coated cooking surface for easy cleaning
- Air vents for temperature control
- Stay-cool handles for checking on food without opening the lid
- Ash catcher for easy cleanup
- Malfunctioned design and material cause the grill to warp and rust easily. Also, the air vents do not provide accurate temperature control.
Frequently asked questions about charcoal grills.
1. What are the benefits of using a charcoal grill?
There are many benefits to using a charcoal grill, including that it can help create a more intense flavor in your food. Additionally, charcoal grills typically reach higher temperatures than gas grills, benefiting specific cooking methods.
2. How do I light a charcoal grill?
There are several ways to light a charcoal grill, but one of the most common methods is to use lighter fluid. Simply soak your charcoal in the fluid and ignite it with a match or lighter. Once the coals are lit, you can begin cooking your food.
3. How do I control the temperature on a charcoal grill?
One way to control the temperature on a charcoal grill is to adjust the air that can flow through the grill. You can help regulate the coals’ temperature by opening or closing the vents and ultimately controlling how hot your grill gets.
4. How long does it take for charcoal to be ready to cook?
It typically takes around 20-30 minutes for the charcoal to be fully lit and ready to cook. However, this will vary based on the charcoal you are using and how much you have lit.
5. What are some tips for grilling with charcoal?
Some tips for grilling with charcoal include prepping your food ahead of time to minimize the cooking time. Additionally, it can be helpful to use a charcoal chimney starter to get your coals lit more quickly and easily. Keep an eye on your food so that it doesn’t overcook.
6. How do I clean a charcoal grill?
Cleaning a charcoal grill is typically relatively easy to do.
- First, remove any food or debris from the grilling surface.
- Use a wire brush to scrub any built-up residue from the grates.
- Finally, empty out the ashes from the bottom of the grill and give it a good rinse with some water.
7. What are the safety concerns with using a charcoal grill?
Some safety concerns come with using a charcoal grill, such as that it can easily catch fire if you’re not careful. Additionally, it’s essential to ensure that your grill is adequately ventilated so that you don’t inhale harmful fumes.
Important Tip: Keep track of your food while cooking to prevent it from burning.
8. Are our charcoal grills safe for health?
There is always a debate surrounding the safety of charcoal grills in terms of health. Some believe that the smoke from the grill can be harmful, while others argue that there is no solid evidence that can support this claim. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide whether or not they feel comfortable using a charcoal grill.
9. Why charcoal grills are better for camping?
There are a few reasons why charcoal grills might be better for camping than other grills.
For one, they tend to be more compact and easy to transport. Also, charcoal grills typically don’t require propane or electricity, which can benefit you when you’re in a remote location. Many people believe that the flavor of food cooked on a charcoal grill is superior to food cooked on a gas grill.
10. How do I choose the right charcoal grill?
When choosing a charcoal grill, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind.
- Consider the size of the grill and how many people you typically cook for.
- Think about how often you’ll use the grill and whether you want something easy to transport.
- Finally, factor in your budget and any other special features you might be interested in.
The best charcoal grill under $100 can boost your grilling experience 300 times more than traditional ones.