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The 5 Best Kettle Grills
If you want to get back to grilling basics or are looking for a great first grill, you need the best kettle grill. A good number of people say that food tastes better when cooked with charcoal grills and combo grills compared to natural gas grills or electric grills. If so, it’s sure to taste even better when cooked using the best kettle grill.
The best kettle grill provides features that help you grill the perfect meal. And your friends and family might even think you’re a trained chef. Check out the kettle grill reviews and ratings below for more information.
In This Article
Best Choice: Weber 22-Inch Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill in Black
The Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch, Black is the best kettle grill becuase it has a large capcity and special hooks to hang all of your grilling tools on, so they’re always within reach.
The Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch, Black has a large enough capacity to fit as many as 13 burgers. That makes the grill especially practical if you have friends over, or a large family. And you don’t need to constantly check if anything is getting burned. Since the grill has a built-in lid thermometer, you can easily know if things get too hot.
The device also has adjustable dampers. Using the dampers, you can regulate the heat inside without having to lift the lid. As you know, lifting the lid will reduce the internal temperature too much, which lengthens cooking time. Dampers help you reduce the heat with precision.
If you like all your grilling items within easy reach, this grill serves the purpose too. You’ll find some hooks on the grill handles, where you can conveniently hang your tongs and spatula for easy reach while grilling. Weber also designed this grill for easy mobility. Since you’re sure to use the grill outdoors and store it indoors, it comes with wheels for easy mobility. The wheels are quite durable, capable of withstanding outdoor conditions, making this one of the best kettle grills.
Interested in a Weber grill? Read our Weber Grills review to see what other products they have available.
- Hooks to hang grilling tools
- Heat shield to protect the lid handle
- Hinged cooking grate to conveniently add charcoal
- Insulating porcelain-enameled lid and bowl
- No prep table
- The ash can may be troublesome to remove
Premium Pick: Weber 15401001 22-Inch Performer Premium Charcoal Grill in Black
The Weber 15401001 Performer Premium Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch, Black is the best kettle grill becuase it comes with a built in LCD timer and has a circular grate insert that can be replaced with other inserts.
The Weber 15401001 Performer Premium Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch, Black has an interesting feature not found in several other grills. The feature is a circular grate insert. Apart from providing easy access to add charcoal when grilling, you can also replace the circular grate insert. In its place, you can put in a griddle, pizza stone, poultry roaster or other Gourmet BBQ systems. Clearly, this grill offers far more cooking methods than simply grilling.
Another interesting feature on this premium grill is the mounted timer. This isn’t a feature you’ll easily find in just any cheap grill. Using the LCD timer, you can set a specific grilling duration, so you never have to worry about constantly checking your food. You don’t have to worry about this timer being ruined by the hot grill, because it’s mounted on the worktable attached to the grill.
- Extra hooks for hanging grilling tools
- Insulating porcelain-enameled lid and bowl
- Hinged cooking grate to easily add charcoal
- High-capacity ash-catcher
- The lid can get damaged if you hit it
- Hitting the lid can make the paint fall off
Best Value: Weber Original Kettle 18 Inch Charcoal Grill in Black
The Weber Original Kettle 18 Inch Charcoal Grill Black is the best kettle grill becuase it’s a simple grill that doesn’t cost very much money, but it’s still large enough to cook for the average family or small gathering.
The Weber Original Kettle 18 Inch Charcoal Grill Black is a compact grill that works well for small families or a small group of friends. That also means you don’t need to put in too much charcoal, which would be a waste just to cook a small meal. Even so, it can fit as many as nine burgers. One key aspect you must consider when selecting the best kettle grill is the cooking grate. Having a quality cooking grate is much like having a quality cooking pan. Fortunately, this grill has a durable plated steel cooking grate which ensures even and consistent grilling.
Apart from cooking performance, cleaning is an equally important consideration. If your grill is hard to clean, you’ll probably feel reluctant to use it too frequently. Thankfully, the Weber grill’s one-touch cleaning system makes cleanup hassle-free. It has a simple tray beneath the grill that collects ash for easy disposal. Best of all, the porcelain-enameled lid and bowl retain sufficient heat for faster grilling. It’s so efficient that you can even use the grills to bake bread.
- Durable wheels for mobility
- Heat shield to protect the lid handle
- Dampers for temperature control
- Lid hook to store the lid
- Grill grate not hinged
- It may experience air leakage
Runner Up: Weber 741001 Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill
The Weber 741001 Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill is the best kettle grill becuase it’s lightweight at just slightly over 33 pounds, making it a great grill for taking RV or car camping.
This Weber 741001 Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill weighs only 33.1 pounds. Its weight helps with mobility. After all, if it was heavy, you would have a hard time rolling it around despite having wheels. Most importantly, it has sufficient capacity for as many as 50 pieces of charcoal. With such a large capacity, you can cook many more types of foods, including: steaks, kabobs, chops, and vegetables.
Since it can take lots of charcoal, you can expect your food to be ready in less than 25 minutes. The 9-12 inches of space between the grilling and charcoal grate gives sufficient space for more than one layer of charcoal. That’s complemented by the eight inches of space between the grilling grate and the lid. Such abundant space can comfortably fit a 22-24 pound turkey.
Based on the grill capacity and porcelain enameled lid and bowl, you can expect internal temperatures as high as 500 to 600oF. This helps in faster cooking, especially when you place bulkier meals in the grill.
- Durable plated steel cooking grate
- Dampers for precise temperature control
- Has a lid hook
- Porcelain-enameled lid and bowl
- No hinged grates
- The lid may leak air
Honorable Mention: Weber 15301001 22-Inch Performer Charcoal Grill in Black
The Weber 15301001 Performer Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch, Black is the best kettle grill becuase it has a built-in thermometer to tell you how hot it is inside, and it even has a handy lid holder.
The small fold-down table attached to this Weber 15301001 Performer Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch in Black is a particularly useful feature. Since it’s a substantially high capacity grill, you’ll certainly need that extra table space for food preparation. Otherwise, you might have a hard time moving around all the food you need to fill the 22-inch-capacity grill. But that’s not the only useful space. The grill also has a shelf beneath it – a good place to store more charcoal that you’ll probably need to add while grilling. No need to go out looking for more charcoal when your food is already cooking.
Best of all, it has durable wheels on all four legs. Quite a number of grills have only three legs with wheels on two of them. That means, to move such grills, you have to lift up the leg that doesn’t have any wheel. Since this grill has wheels on all legs, you don’t need to lift it up, but simply push it. Having four legs makes the grill far more stable than a three-legged grill.
- Built-in lid thermometer
- Hooks for grilling tools
- Hinged cooking grate
- Special tuck-away lid holder
- The grill is topheavy
- The table hangs over the side
Features to Consider for the Best Kettle Grill
Regardless of how good the best kettle grill is, if you don’t select the right features that suit you, it won’t serve you well.Here are some of the features to consider and why.
The right size kettle grill will help you avoid wasting too much charcoal. If you pick a large-size grill, you’ll end up using more charcoal to heat up the extra space. Instead, first consider how much food you’ll be grilling, so you can identify the right size.
On the other hand, using an undersized kettle grill means your cooking time will be unnecessarily long. You might have to grill your food in smaller portions. And you’ll also have to go through the trouble of repeatedly adding charcoal to keep the fire going.
Lid Handle and Holder
The lid is one part of your kettle grill that you’ll constantly handle. Hence, the best kettle grill should have a good handle and a proper holder when you take it off the grill. A good handle must have a heat shield. When you’re cooking, the lid is sure to be super-hot. Without a heat shield, that heat is conducted to the handle, which will burn your hands. A good holder for the lid will also reduce the chances of getting nasty burns. Some grills have a hook and others have special holders attached to the grill.
The best kettle grills provide more cooking options beyond simply grilling. If the grill has sufficient space, you can use indirect grilling as well as direct grilling. With direct grilling, place your food on the cooking grate above the charcoal. That’s different from indirect grilling whereby you place a pan adjacent to the charcoal. With such variety, you can prepare different types of meals.
Benefits of Using a Kettle Grill
If kettle grills offered no clear benefit over other types of grills, few people would buy them. Evidently, the grill has sufficient advantages, considering the number of people buying this item. Here are some benefits.
Due to their compact size and light weight, kettle grills are great options for portable grills, much like a two burner grill. The best kettle grills have wheels so you don’t need to carry them around. You can conveniently place your grill in the best location outdoors. Some varieties come with a table and shelf, which help with food preparation and storing more charcoal. Such designs make it possible to prepare your whole meal from start to finish without moving up and down for supplies. Good portability also makes kettle grills good for using as camping grills.
Despite using charcoal for fuel, the compact size of kettle grills makes it possible to control internal temperatures easily. The grill won’t accumulate too much heat beyond what you can handle outdoors. Many grills also have a damper to regulate the internal temperature. That means you don’t have to lift up the lid every time to raise or lower the internal temperature.
Food cooked in charcoal kettle grills generally tastes better than food cooked in gas or electric grills. Meat, in particular, becomes more savory due to the Maillard Reaction. In this process, proteins in meat break down into amino acids. Those amino acids then react with carbohydrates to produce a savory scent and satisfying taste.
No Grill Stand Required
Some grills, like some tailgate grills, require a grill stand in order to prop them up safely. Kettle grills all come with their own built-in supports, so you never have to worry about needitn to supply your own. However, you may want to bring a small table to put your tools or food on.
Precautions When Using a Kettle Grill
Although the best kettle grills are designed with safety in mind, any cooking process requires extra precautions. This is especially so when using charcoal and cooking outdoors. To avoid harm, observe these precautions for grilling safety.
Grill Away from Flammable Items
You must position your grill as far away from any flammable items as possible. If your lawn has dried leaves or other types of flammable items, clear them out before lighting up your grill. This also means that you shouldn’t wear any loose-fitting clothes when grilling. Check that you don’t place the grill under overhanging tree branches. As the heat rises, the branches can catch fire.
Ensure Stability before Grilling
Always place your grill on flat, stable ground. If the ground is sloping and the grill has wheels, it can easily roll down the slope. That can lead to disaster if it hits something, falls over, and the hot charcoal pours out.
When using a kettle grill, don’t apply unnecessary pressure on or hit it. If you’re not careful and you lean on the grill, it might topple over. In the worst case scenario, the hot charcoal will spill all over you feet. In that regard, make sure everyone in the vicinity takes extra precaution around the grill. Make sure the kids don’t play anywhere near it.
Because of this grill’s instability, it isn’t recommended for use as a boat grill.
Dispose of Charcoal Safely
Always ensure charcoal is completely cool before disposing of it. Even when you take out the charcoal, make sure the kettle grill is completely cool too. Don’t store your grill before it cools down. And make sure you clean it completely before storage. If not, you might leave tiny embers which can start a fire if they come into contact with any flammable item.
From our selection of top kettle grills, the Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill offers the best value for its price. Despite not being the highest-priced kettle grill, it offers many features that you can find in premium models. Such features as a damper, in-built thermometer, and lid hook make it the best kettle grill.