Best Charcoal Grills Made in America Top Picks for 2024

Best Charcoal Grills Made in America Top Picks for 2024

american charcoal grill

Types of Charcoal Grills

1. Kettle Grills:

  • Classic Kettle: The most popular type, known for its versatility, affordability, and iconic round shape. Perfect for direct and indirect grilling, searing, and smoking with add-ons. (e.g., Weber Original Kettle)
  • Deep Kettle: Offers a larger cooking area compared to classic kettles, ideal for larger gatherings. Often features a hinged charcoal basket for easier heat control.
  • Portable Kettle: Compact and lightweight, designed for tailgating, camping, or grilling on the go. May have foldable legs and smaller cooking surfaces.

2. Barrel Grills:

  • Offset Smokers: These feature a firebox separated from the main cooking chamber by a barrel. Ideal for low and slow smoking due to excellent heat control and smoke production. (e.g., Oklahoma Joe's Longhorn Reverse Flow Smoker)
  • Santa Maria Style Grills: Known for their long, rectangular shape and open design. Originally used for grilling tri-tip steaks, perfect for searing and achieving a crispy crust.

3. Kamado Grills (aka Ceramic Grills):

  • Highly fuel-efficient and known for exceptional heat retention. Their thick ceramic walls radiate even heat, allowing for precise temperature control for grilling, smoking, and baking. (e.g., Big Green Egg)
  • Durable and weather-resistant.

4. Cabinet Grills:

  • Offer a charcoal grill with additional features like side shelves and storage cabinets. Provide more prep space and organization compared to basic grills. Often larger and heavier, suitable for stationary use on patios or decks.

5. Charcoal Smokers:

  • Vertical Smokers: Tall, upright design with a firebox at the bottom and multiple racks for stacking food above. Great for smoking large cuts of meat like brisket or pork shoulder.
  • Cabinet Smokers: Similar to cabinet grills but with a focus on smoking functionality. May include water pans for moisture control and additional features like insulated walls.
  • Bullet Smokers: Barrel-shaped smoker with a vertical design. Generally more affordable than other smoker types. Popular for beginners due to their simplicity.

Grill Features

1. Size and Cooking Surface:

  • Cooking Area (square inches): Crucial factor depending on how many people you typically grill for. Larger grills offer more flexibility for placing food and cooking multiple items simultaneously.
  • Total Grill Size: Consider available space and portability needs. Larger grills offer more features but require dedicated space on your patio or deck.

2. Portability (stationary, portable carts):

  • Stationary Grills: Large, feature-rich grills meant for permanent placement on a patio or deck. Often made from heavier materials like cast iron or brick.
  • Portable Grills: Compact and lightweight, ideal for tailgating, camping, or balconies with limited space. May have foldable legs and smaller cooking surfaces. Some come with portable carts for easier maneuvering.

3. Fuel Efficiency and Heat Control:

  • Dampers: Adjustable vents that control airflow, affecting temperature and fuel efficiency.
  • Multi-burner Systems: Independent burners allow for creating different heat zones on the grill, ideal for searing and indirect grilling simultaneously.
  • Charcoal Basket Positioning: Ability to adjust the charcoal basket's height allows for finer temperature control in charcoal grills.

4. Ash Management Systems:

  • Removable Ash Pans: Simplify cleaning by collecting ashes for easy disposal.
  • Ash Tray Design: Look for a design that minimizes ash leakage and makes cleaning easier.

5. Side Smoker Boxes:

  • Attach to the grill, allowing for smoking food without taking up valuable grilling space. Perfect for adding smoky flavor to smaller items like vegetables or fish.

6. Warming Racks:

  • Elevated surfaces on the grill for keeping cooked food warm and preventing overcooking. Useful for resting grilled meat before serving.

7. Lid Design:

  • Hinged Lids: Offer convenient access to the grill and can often be locked in place for added stability.
  • Double-Walled Lids: Improve heat retention and fuel efficiency by minimizing heat loss.

8. Material Construction:

  • Steel: Affordable and relatively lightweight, but can rust over time. Look for porcelain-coated steel for better heat retention and rust resistance.
  • Cast Iron: Excellent heat retention and durability, but heavier and requires more maintenance to prevent rust.
  • Ceramic: Top-of-the-line material known for exceptional heat retention, fuel efficiency, and long lifespan. However, ceramic grills are typically the most expensive option.

Charcoal Selection and Use

1. Lump Charcoal vs. Briquettes:

Lump Charcoal vs. Briquettes

  • Lump Charcoal:
    • Pros: Burns hotter and cleaner, producing a more intense smoky flavor. Easier to adjust heat by adding or removing pieces.
    • Cons: Lights faster but burns out quicker than briquettes. Can be more expensive and requires some practice for temperature control.
  • Briquettes:
    • Pros: More affordable, readily available, and easier to light and maintain consistent heat.
    • Cons: Burns at lower temperatures with less intense smoke flavor. May contain fillers that can impart an off-flavor.

2. Choosing the Right Charcoal Type:

Wood Charcoal

  • Wood Type: Different woods impart unique smoky flavors. Popular options include:
    • Oak: Neutral and versatile, suitable for most grilling applications.
    • Hickory: Strong, smoky flavor, perfect for red meat and barbecue.
    • Mesquite: Bold, intense smoke flavor, ideal for those who prefer a pronounced smokiness.
    • Fruitwoods (apple, cherry): Sweeter, milder smoke, good for poultry and fish.
  • Charcoal Size: Larger pieces burn longer and provide more consistent heat, while smaller pieces light faster and are ideal for quick grilling. Match the size to your cooking needs.

3. Lighting Techniques:

  • Chimney Starters: Efficient and mess-free way to light charcoal. Fill the chimney with charcoal, place newspaper underneath, and light the paper. Coals are ready when they turn mostly grey with red ash.
  • Electric Starters: Quick and convenient, but may not be as portable as chimney starters.
  • Lighter Fluid: Not recommended due to potential for chemical aftertaste in food. Use natural fire starters like rolled-up newspaper or paraffin cubes instead.

4. Maintaining Charcoal Temperature:

  • Vents: Adjusting the grill's vents controls airflow, which directly affects temperature. Open vents allow for more oxygen and higher heat, while closing them reduces airflow and lowers the temperature.
  • Two-Zone Cooking: Create a hot zone for searing and a cooler zone for indirect grilling by arranging the coals on one side of the grill.
  • Adding More Charcoal: For extended grilling sessions, add a small amount of additional hot coals to maintain desired temperature.

American Charcoal Grilling Techniques

1. Direct vs. Indirect Grilling:

  • Direct Grilling: Food cooks directly over the hot coals, perfect for searing steaks, burgers, and vegetables for a crispy char.
  • Indirect Grilling: Food cooks over a lower heat source with the coals placed off to the side or underneath the food. Ideal for roasts, whole chickens, and delicate items that don't benefit from direct heat.

2. Searing and Finishing Techniques:

  • Searing: Cooking food over high heat for a short time to create a flavorful crust and lock in juices. Use direct heat and a hot grill for optimal searing.
  • Reverse Searing: Low and slow cooking meat first with indirect heat to achieve even doneness, followed by a quick sear over direct heat for a crispy finish.
  • Glazing and Basting: Brushing cooked food with glazes or sauces during the last few minutes of grilling adds flavor and moisture.

3. Smoking with Charcoal:

  • Low and slow cooking with wood smoke infusion. Use indirect heat and add wood chips or chunks to the coals for smoke flavor. Popular for brisket, pork shoulder, and ribs.
  • Water Pan: Placing a water pan under the food helps regulate temperature and adds moisture to prevent drying out during long smoking sessions.

4. Low and Slow Cooking:

  • Indirect heat method used for cooking large cuts of meat or tough proteins. Low temperatures allow the meat to render fat and connective tissues, resulting in tender, flavorful results. Requires patience and maintaining consistent low heat.

5. Two-Zone Cooking:

  • Creating two distinct heat zones on the grill using charcoal placement. Ideal for cooking food that requires both searing and indirect heat, like grilling vegetables alongside a whole chicken. Pile the coals on one side for a hot zone and leave the other side with fewer coals for a cooler zone.

American Charcoal Grill Accessories

1. Grill Tools:

  • Long-handled tongs: Essential for flipping and maneuvering food on the grill without burning yourself. Look for heat-resistant and sturdy options.

    Long-handled tongs Grill Tools

  • Spatulas: Great for handling delicate food like fish or burgers, and scraping off stuck-on bits from the grill grate. Metal spatulas with wide blades are ideal.

    Spatulas Grill Tools

  • Grill forks: Useful for piercing and holding meat while grilling, especially useful for roasts or sausages.

    forks Grill Tools

2. Thermometers:

  • Digital Thermometers: Provide instant and accurate readings of internal food temperature. Crucial for ensuring safe cooking and achieving desired doneness.

    Digital Thermometers Grill Tools

  • Instant-Read Thermometers: Fast and reliable way to check internal food temperature without leaving the grill open for extended periods.

3. Grill Covers:

  • Protect your grill from the elements like rain, sun, and dust. A well-fitting cover extends the life of your grill and keeps it looking good.

4. Charcoal Baskets and Starters:

  • Charcoal Baskets: Simplify charcoal management by holding the coals together and allowing for easier heat control. Available in different shapes and sizes to fit your grill.

    Charcoal Baskets

  • Chimney Starters: Efficient and mess-free way to light charcoal quickly and easily. Fill the chimney with charcoal, light the paper underneath, and wait for the coals to turn grey with red ash before using.

5. Cast Iron Skillets and Griddles:

  • Cast Iron Skillets: Versatile cookware perfect for searing steaks, cooking vegetables, or even baking on the grill. Cast iron retains heat exceptionally well and adds a nice sear to food.

    Cast Iron Skillets Grill Tools

  • Griddles: Expand your grilling options by allowing you to cook pancakes, eggs, or other breakfast items directly on the grill. Look for griddles made from durable materials like cast iron or stainless steel.

6. Smoking Accessories:

  • Wood Chips: Smaller wood pieces that add a burst of smoke flavor during grilling. Ideal for shorter smoking sessions on vegetables or fish.

    Wood Chips Grill Tools

  • Wood Chunks: Larger wood pieces that burn slower and provide sustained smoke flavor for longer smoking sessions on meats like brisket or pork shoulder. Soak wood chunks in water before using for better smoke production.

    Wood Chunks Grill Tools

Bonus Accessories:

  • Grill Gloves: Protect your hands from the heat while handling hot coals or grill grates.
  • Grill Brushes: Essential for cleaning the grill grate after each use. Look for stiff wire bristles and a long handle for safe cleaning.

    Grill Brushes Grill Tools

  • Grill Mats: Non-stick mats placed on the grill grate to prevent food from sticking and simplify cleanup. May not be suitable for high heat grilling.

Best Charcoal Grills Made in America

Unleash your inner grill master with our American-made charcoal grills.

These grills are built to sear, smoke, and last, crafted with premium US materials and engineered for precision. They're perfect for anyone who wants to elevate their BBQ game and experience the difference of American craftsmanship.

Go beyond grilling, explore true outdoor cooking mastery.

  1. M1 Charcoal Grill, Smoker and Stick Burner - American Made

    M1 Charcoal Grill, Smoker and Stick Burner

    Here are the specifications for the M1 Charcoal Grill, Smoker and Stick Burner according to M Grills' website:

    • Size and Cooking Surface:

      • Overall Height: 48 inches
      • Overall Width: 47.5 inches with counters (32 inches grill body width)
      • Overall Length: 27 inches without front hand crank
      • Top grilling surface: 481 sq in
      • Secondary smoke rack: 328 sq in (optional additional space)
      • Two 13"x18.5" cooking grates
      • One 23.25"x14.125" bottom coal grate (doubles as secondary smoking grate)
    • Material Construction:

      • Thick 10 gauge steel construction
      • 1/4" thick 304 stainless steel firebox door
      • 1/4" thick solid 304 stainless steel grates
      • 16 gauge stainless steel counters and shelves
      • High gloss powder coated finish
    • Features:

      • Integrated firebox for low and slow smoking with slide-out charcoal basket and ash pan
      • External height adjustable coal grate for grilling and searing
      • Reverse airflow charcoal smoking capabilities
      • Thermal insulated firebox
      • Nomex high-temperature gaskets around the lid and firebox door
      • Heavy-duty stainless steel hinges
      • Stainless steel handles and hardware
      • Removable 304 stainless steel top shelf extension
    • Weight: 400 lbs

    Note: It's important to consider that M Grills doesn't publicly disclose information like BTU output, which might be a relevant specification for some users.

  2. M80 High-End Performance Charcoal Grill - Made in USA

    M80 High-End Performance Charcoal Grill

    here are the specifications for the M80 High-End Performance Charcoal Grill:

    • Material: Handcrafted with American 12 gauge 316 stainless steel throughout
    • Weight: 44 lbs (grill only); 84 lbs (with competition cart, sold separately)
    • Dimensions:
      • Lid: 10.9" width x 17" length x 4.75" height
      • Bottom: 10.875" width x 17" length x 7.25" height
    • Cooking Surface: Covered entirely by three GrillGrate panels (size not specified)
    • Features:
      • Quad Damper system for precise temperature control (low and slow or high heat)
      • Removable lid, charcoal basket, and ash pan
      • Designed for easy breakdown and transport

    Additional Notes:

    • The M80 is advertised as a high-performance, portable charcoal grill.
    • No information is provided on the specific size of the cooking surface.
    • The competition cart is sold separately.
  3. M16-S Precision Temperature Control Charcoal Grill

    M16-S Precision Temperature Control Charcoal Grill

    Here are the specifications for the M16-S Precision Temperature Control Charcoal Grill:

    • Construction: Handcrafted 12 gauge stainless steel
    • Dimensions:
      • Lid: 20.28" W x 19.25" L (including handle) x 10.5" H
      • Bottom: 26.75" W (including handles) x 16" L x 10" H
    • Weight:
      • Lid: 28 lbs
      • Bottom: 39 lbs
      • Removable Coal Basket: 19 lbs
      • Removable Ash Pan: 2 lbs
    • Grate Height: 34" from the ground (with lid open)
    • Features:
      • Precision temperature control system (details not specified)
      • QUAD Damper system for even airflow
      • Gasket sealed lid for heat retention
      • Removable coal basket for easy ash management
      • Removable ash pan for easy cleaning
      • Stainless steel construction for durability
      • Easily broken down for competitions or tailgating (indicates portability)
    • Cart: Sold separately (specifications not available)
    • Total Weight with Cart: Approximately 128 lbs (based on individual component weights)

    Note: The M Grills website doesn't specify the details of the "Precision temperature control system." It's possible it uses dampers and airflow management for control, but further information might be needed from the manufacturer.

    If you'd like to know more about a specific feature or have any other questions about the M16-S, I recommend reaching out to M Grills directly through their website or social media channels.

  4. C4 Portable, Insulated Charcoal Grill

    C4 Portable, Insulated Charcoal Grill

    Here are the specifications for the C4 Portable, Insulated Charcoal Grill based on the information found online:

    • Dimensions:
      • Total Height: 13.125 inches
      • Total Width: 10 inches
      • Total Length: 13 inches
      • Cooking Area: 11 inches x 9.5 inches
      • Grate Size: 10.25 inches x 9.25 inches
      • Distance Between Grates: 4.75 inches
    • Weight:
      • With Grates: 19 lbs
      • Without Grates: 14 lbs
    • Material: Thick 12 gauge steel construction
    • Features:
      • Insulated with a 304 stainless steel sleeve (increases heat retention and fuel efficiency)
      • Hinged lid with a rubber-tipped latch for easy closing
      • Double grates (removable for cleaning)
      • Portable design (small and lightweight)
      • Made in Texas, USA
    • Possible Uses:
      • Grilling meat and vegetables
      • Boiling fluids
      • Using as a stove top with skillets
      • Fire pit (with top grate removed)

    Note: I couldn't find information about the following specifications:

    • Fuel capacity (amount of charcoal it can hold)
    • Maximum temperature it can reach
  5. M36 MOAG "The Mother of All Grills" - Made in America

    M36 MOAG The Mother of All Grills

  6. B2

    B2 American Grills

  7. M1-S

    M1-S American Grill

  8. M36-S MOAG

    M36-S MOAG American Grill

    Dimensions:

    • Overall Height: 50 inches
    • Cooking Surface: 37.5 inches x 19.25 inches
    • Overall Width: 58 inches with counters, 43.5 inches without counters
    • Overall Length: 28 inches
    • Weight: 500 lbs

    Material:

    • 10 gauge steel firebox construction
    • 16 gauge stainless steel counters
    • Stainless steel handles and hardware

    Features:

    • 1/4-inch thick firebox door with solid stainless steel handles
    • Heavy-duty stainless steel hinges
    • Heavy-duty 6-inch metal swivel casters with hard rubber wheels
    • Grate tool holder cutout in the counter
    • Comes with a set of Grate Tools for easy grate removal

    Please note: I couldn't find information on the following specifications:

    • Cooking grate material
    • Number of cooking grates
    • Fuel capacity
    • Warming rack details
    • Lid details (material, double-walled)
    • Ash management system

    Here are some resources where you might find more detailed information:

    • M Grills & Blaz'n Grills website (https://mgrills.com/collections/all) product page for the M36-S MOAG (if available)
    • Online retailer listings for the M36-S MOAG (be sure to check the specifications section)
    • Reviews of the M36-S MOAG (reviews often mention features not listed in the official specifications)
  9. M16 Grunt or Cerakote

    M16 Grunt or Cerakote American Grill