Best Charcoal BBQ | UK Guide | 2023
The best charcoal BBQ will allow you to cook delicious food in the great outdoors. Although these types of barbecue tend to be more limited than gas ones, they are surprisingly versatile and can be used to cook for many hungry guests in little time. There is also a huge range of charcoal BBQ options out there for you to consider, ranging from ultra-small ones that are ideal for camping excursions, to more impressive ones that can be used for hosting summer grills. Our guide is on hand to help you find the best charcoal BBQ for your budget.
Grill Size & Cooking Zones
If you plan on using a charcoal BBQ to prepare food for many people, you will want to go for a larger model. Basic charcoal BBQ models tend to include a single cooking grill, which is fine for cooking the same food item consistently. However, if you want the option to cook different menu items at once, look for BBQ models that include multiple grill panels that can be moved closer to or further away from the coal bed itself.
If you want to purchase a larger charcoal BBQ, you will need to ensure it is made from a high-quality material. Stainless steel is a popular choice of material for charcoal BBQ units as it is fairly lightweight, but incredibly durable. It also has excellent thermal insulation properties, ensuring cooking temperatures are maintained, but the exterior of your BBQ never gets to hot. Anti-scald handles are also a nice feature to have, preventing you from suffering from painful burns as you cook. Ventilation grills around the coal bed will also ensure the internal temperature never climbs to too high a level, while also ensuring cooking fumes are allowed to escape.
Although smaller charcoal BBQ designs are compact enough that they can be picked up with one or two hands, larger ones are harder to move around. If you want something that is large enough to cook for many people at once, you will need one that includes large wheels and an integrated handle.
To make your life easier as you cook, you should look for a BBQ that includes convenient storage platforms and handles. At the least, you will want somewhere to hang tongs and other utensils. However, an additional serving shelf at the side of your grill is a particularly useful addition. Bigger BBQ units will also include a fixed shelf beneath the cooking grill which can be used to store food, plates and other cooking essentials.
Product Reviews – The Best Charcoal BBQs
Planning a summer get-together? Below are some of the best charcoal BBQ options for those keen to whip up a storm outdoors, without breaking the bank.
Grandma Shark BBQ Grill, Outdoor Charcoal BBQ, Stainless Steel Barbecue Grill with Stand, Foldable and portable, Suitable for 5-10 Peoplel bbq, suitable for 5-10 People
This Grandma Shark outdoor charcoal BBQ is perfect for those who want to whip up a delicious grill at home. Although fairly basic, this charcoal BBQ makes it easy to prepare first-rate grilled food. The wide grill section provides you with plenty of cooking space, with a separate section for keeping cooked foods warm as you put the finishing touches to other items on the menu. There is also ample storage here, with a base shelf for storing food, utensils and other items. A separate storage rack is attached to the right-hand side of the grill, which provides you with a convenient place to store tongs and utensils as you cook.
There are also plenty of convenient safety features here. The anti-scalding handles mean you will not have to worry about suffering burns as you cook, with high temperatures quickly dissipating from the material. The sturdy folding frame also means the BBQ will stand firm when in use, with non-slip rubber feet providing extra security. The main body of the BBQ is made from premium stainless steel, ensuring you have an outdoor cooking solution that will stand up well to repeated use.
UTTORA Stainless Steel BBQ Barbecue Grill, Portable Folding Charcoal BBQ Grill Table Barbecue Smoker Grill for Outdoor Picnic Garden Terrace Camping Trip
Need a more compact charcoal BBQ? This UTTORA portable grill is a good choice. This grill table is perfect for camping trips or smaller outdoor spaces. The foldable design makes this BBQ easy to transport and store, while the sturdy build means the grill will stand firmly in place when you get around to using it. This BBQ also features a removable grill net, allowing you to add charcoal to the interior easily. It also makes it easy to keep your BBQ clean. The food-grade stainless steel used here ensures you have a BBQ grill that can be used for a long time, without the worry of rust and distortion.
Side handles make it easy to move this grill around, even when you have coals burning. The grill shelf is also relatively large, meaning you can whip up food for several people at once. However, you are limited to a single cooking area. This means you will only be cooking at a single temperature, which restricts your culinary applications somewhat. However, if you want a basic charcoal BBQ that can brought along when camping or picnicking, this folding model is a suitable option.
Uten Barbecue Grill Stainless Steel BBQ Charcoal Grill Smoker Barbecue Folding Portable for Outdoor Cooking Camping Hiking Picnics Backpacking Large
This folding charcoal grill from Uten is a good option for those who want something portable, but high enough to cook with while standing. Made from premium stainless steel, this BBQ will cope with regular use and is easy to clean. A wide cooking area means you can prepare multiple foodstuffs at once, with three removable cooking racks included. By having multiple racks, you can tailor the amount of coal you are using in different sections, allowing you to cook at varying temperatures. Side vents ensure the internal temperature doesn’t get too hot and cause the BBQ exterior to become dangerous.
The folding legs are surprisingly sturdy, with non-slip feet ensuring it will not topple over, even on smooth surfaces. It also makes this BBQ easy to store and transport. There are some downsides to this model, however. One of the big drawbacks of this charcoal BBQ is that it does not include any storage shelves for utensils and condiments. However, the side handles can be utilised for hanging utensils as you cook.
bigzzia BBQ Grill Charcoal Barbecue Grill with Side Shelf and Hook For Outdoor Backyard Cooking (Black)
The Azuma Rhino is a more impressive choice of charcoal BBQ. This BBQ is made to an incredibly high standard, with alloy steel making up the bulk of the unit. Although you only have one cooking area here, you have the benefit of a closing lid that allows you to use this BBQ as a smoker unit. You also have door panel access for loading coals, meaning you not have to worry about lifting potentially hot cooking grill racks. The door also features a solid metal handle, preventing the chance of you suffering from scalding injuries as you open it to add new coals.
You also have a huge amount of storage provided here. The lower section of this BBQ features a wire rack that can house plates, utensils or further food items in need of grilling. There is also a spacious shelf to the right side of the grill, as well as a thick bar for storing utensils or cloths. This BBQ is also easy to transport, with two heavy-duty wheels allowing you to roll it into position. The metal storage bar doubles up as a lifting and steering handle to make moving the BBQ as effortless as possible.
If you are keen to purchase a more impressive charcoal BBQ, this 3-in-1 unit from SUNLIFER is a good choice. This charcoal smoker and grill features an integrated thermometer, granting you a reliable temperature scale so you can always be confident that your food is cooking to perfection. There are also two adjustable air vents included, allowing you to maintain much more refined temperature control. You also have a generous capacity for charcoal here, granting you long smoking time without you needing to replace and reload coal reserves. A removable pan makes it easy to get rid of ash safely and efficiently.
This 3-in-1 model is also a good option for those looking for a long-lasting and durable BBQ. The heavy-duty steel housing makes it highly suited to cooking at high temperatures, with the hard-wearing exterior also able to cope with some exposure to the elements. This BBQ also includes two separate doors, allowing you to check on the progress of your cooking, without affecting temperatures too much. There is also plenty of cooking space on offer here, meaning you will have no trouble preparing burgers, kebabs and other grilled food for the whole family.
ZUOFENG Foldable Barbecue Charcoal Grill, Portable Charcoal Barbecues Desk Tabletop Outdoor Indoor Stainless Steel Smoker BBQ for Picnic Garden Terrace Camping.(55CM)
This folding charcoal grill from ZUOFENG is a good choice for those who want something portable and compact. With its folding base frame and robust cooking grill, this BBQ is deigned with outdoor use in mind. The stainless steel body makes it particularly hard-wearing and able to withstand regular exposure to hot coals. It is also easy to clean, with no need to worry about rust and wear.
Although this BBQ is a good option for those who want to be able to take their grill with them to camping spots and outdoor spaces, there are some limitations to it. For example, there is only one cooking area on offer here. This means you can only prepare foods at one temperature range. However, there is plenty of vents scattered around the cooking chamber, meaning you do not need to worry about scalding risks. There is also no real storage provided here, with the base frame fairly streamlined.
Laelr BBQ Grill Portable Camping Grill Grates Folding Campfire Charcoal Grill Compact Barbecue Grilling Basket Rack Stainless Steel Grids Grill With Charcoal Brazier, 12.6 * 8.6in
This charcoal BBQ grill from Laelr has been designed with camping convenience in mind. This is one of the most compact charcoal BBQ grills in our shortlist, although this does not mean it is an ineffective model. This BBQ comes with two main components. The heavy-duty tray clips onto an adjustable wire frame, allowing you to easily add coals without too much effort. It also makes clean up a breeze. The folding frame attaches to the charcoal pan securely, although it does offer limited cooking space. You will only be able to cook a few items at a time with this grill, while the lack of variable temperature means you will have to cook different dishes in phases.
One of the handy features of this BBQ option is that you can use the folding grill over direct flames. If you are planning on going camping, this gives you the option to enjoy a classic campfire cook out. The stripped-back design of this charcoal grill also makes it very easy to store and clean.
Charcoal BBQ Buying Checklist
A charcoal BBQ is one of the cheapest options for those who want to cook outdoors. If you want something very basic, a simple tray to house smouldering coals and a separate wire grill is all you need to cook delicious food outside. However, more substantial charcoal barbecues are readily available. If you do opt for something bigger, look for models that include adjustable racks to allow you to cook food at different temperatures. Storage shelves and hanging space are also very useful for those who plan on extended cooking sessions.