Cooking is a great activity that you can spend with your family. This list of the best charcoal grills under 500 will get you the best barbecue weekends without having to spend too much money.
Grills are a great appliance and one of the most versatile types of cooking options. You can make any type of food in them, and the food will always turn great with nice grill marks on them.
There are many types of grills that you can choose from, and while that is a benefit, it can also be a type of nuisance as you will get confused with which one is the better choice.
But if you want to go with more authenticity on the food you are cooking, it is best to go with charcoal grills. There are also a lot of options if you choose to go with charcoal grills.
These grills give you that unique barbecue flavor that you cannot get from gas or electric grills. They help make the food better by adding a little bit of authentic flavor to them.
So here, we have listed down the best options that you can choose from without going over the set budget of $500. They are the best on the market right now so they will surely satisfy you.
vBest Charcoal Grills Under 500
1. Weber Performance Deluxe Charcoal Grill
Although charcoal grills have less advanced features in them, this grill does not go out of style. It has some settings that you can only get with other types of grills without costing too much.
Weber’s grill has the best materials and perfect for cooking without paying too much attention to the cooking process. You will get to spend some time with your guests.
With a stainless steel grill body and grill grate, this charcoal grill will last for years. It is perfect for your barbecue as it can resist any type of weather and it will not rust for a long time.
The grill grates are porcelain-coated stainless steel, which allows you to cook almost anything. They give the best grill marks on the food and help reduce the food residuals stuck on the grill.
It uses charcoal as fuel, but it also incorporates some features that you can find in other grills types. Features such as the electronic Touch-N-Go will help you make the cooking easier.
You can set the ignition and the temperature with just a push of a button. It is also a hybrid of a propane gas grill as it uses propane to ignite the charcoals in the firebox and get it going.
With a weight of just over 90 pounds and two big wheels on the cart, you will still be able to move this grill around in case you want to relocate it to your patio or get it in the storage area.
It has a cooking area of 363 square inches, which means you can cook multiple foods simultaneously. I love this grill because of its unique properties that other charcoal grills do not have.
There is also a small space on the side, which made it easy for me to prepare the ingredients that I needed. It cooks well, and I did not have to worry too much about controlling it.
2. The Original Portable Kitchen Grill
If you want a smaller option or a grill that does not have too many controls, then this one’s for you. It is one of the simplest grills on the market, and you only control the temperature manually.
It is a grill with a robust build that is made possible by combining its size and materials. It is rust-proof aluminum that resists any type of corrosion from any weather condition.
Because of the aluminum, this grill can also keep the temperature for long periods. You can grill and even smoke with this grill as it can maintain low temperatures as well.
This grill has a total cooking area of 300 square inches. Large enough to cook multiple steaks at once and small enough if you just want to cook something for a small group of people.
With a deep firebox, you do not have to worry about burning your food. There is enough space and ventilation for this grill to provide intense and indirect heat that cooks the food evenly.
Despite having a pretty basic design and a small stature, this grill has four points of ventilation. This is what helps it provide more intense yet indirect heat, which helps in cooking any food.
You will surely be satisfied with this grill as most users have chosen it. It is a well-known grill that has garnered multiple awards in recent years to prove its quality and service.
I like this grill because of its small size. It meant that I could bring it anywhere I want such as on tailgating trips or camping where I wanted to cook in a more natural environment.
It is also a huge plus that the cast-aluminum build got the best ability to maintain the temperature. Even with a few charcoals left, it still lasted for hours of smoking the food in it.
3. Dyna Glo Dual Zone Premium Charcoal Grill
This grill highlights versatility thanks to its dual-zone cooking ability. It can cook different recipes in one go as you can divide the firebox to create two different temperature zones.
The removable firebox divider allows you to put the charcoal on one side to keep the other side cooler. It can warm up the other side by transferring the heat through the lid.
As you fire up one side of the grill and put the lid down, the smoke and the heat go on top and then rolls over the other side, which then helps cook the food on that side in slow and low heat.
It has a primary cooking area of 576 square inches, which means that you can use this grill at big parties. You can cook up to 15 burgers at a time or cook up to two turkeys at once.
Aside from the primary cooking area, there is also the secondary cooking area that you can use for other recipes or side dishes. It has a total cooking area of 240 square inches.
It is like having two grills working together to cook multiple dishes at the same time. There are also two shelves that you can use to prepare your ingredients to make the process faster.
I liked how easy it was to control the temperature of this grill. It has adjustable coal trays, so you can easily put away the excess ash from the firebox and adjust the heat inside the grill as well.
You can also adjust the chimney and the dampers around this grill. That way, you have more control over the grill’s temperature and cook anything with ease of control.
I also liked how I was able to store my fuel within the grill. This grill’s bottom shelf made it possible for me not to go back and forth to get fuel whenever I needed to refill the firebox.
4. Royal Gourmet BBQ Charcoal Grill
This is a multi-purpose grill that you can either use to make barbecues and grill other foods or make it an offset smoker to cook meat with the slow and low type of cooking style.
It is a relatively large charcoal grill with a total cooking area of 800 square inches on its main grill. The offset smoker option provides just enough space for a slab of meat with 183 square inches.
There is no ignition system on this charcoal grill, so you get to experience the manual starting of the fire. You will need to get in the firebox and put some starters in there to get it going.
I liked how this large grill was pretty easy to clean. I cleaned out the burnt ashes and the charcoal with its removable ash pan without going too deep in the firebox.
There is also a chrome-plated warming rack, so if you finish cooking one food, you can keep it fresh and warm while waiting for the other food to finish cooking in the main cooking area.
This grill includes its temperature gauge, which made it easier to cook at the right temperature. I was able to keep track of the heat inside the grill when cooking certain types of food.
The chimney and dampers also helped in controlling the temperature. They are easy to use and adjust, so the grill’s temperature was easy to control without even opening the lid.
There are two shelves, one on the front and one on the side, that made it easier to prepare food. I was able to put the food immediately on the grill once I finished preparing the ingredients.
The shelf underneath the grill was perfect for storing the charcoal and wood chips for smoking meat. It also has two wheels, which made it easier to transfer the grill when not in use.
5. Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill
This is another model of the grill from Weber, and it is the perfect grill for you if you want something simpler than the first model on the list. It is a small and easy-to-control grill.
This product is improved ever since, and it should be the standard for making powerful charcoal grills. It is a small and less expensive option with great power and features.
It is porcelain-enameled stainless steel, which provides the proper protection from corrosion and weather conditions. It can withstand both heavy rain and sunlight.
Even the cooking grate is porcelain-coated stainless steel; this makes the grill grate excellent for any type of cooking as they never rust or peel even after decades of cooking with it.
The grill grates also connect with the grill itself using hinges. That way, you will not have to remove the entire cooking grate when you need to refill the firebox with more charcoal.
It also has a built-in lid hook that allows you to put the lid on the grill body if you need to take a look inside it. You do not have to put the lid on the ground whenever you remove it.
This grill is a small one, which also made it easier for me to clean it. It has its ash catcher, which has a large capacity, so I did not need to clean it out too frequently.
The heat and airflow were also easy to control with its damper on the lid. It gives off the right temperature to cook the food from all sides without the risk of burning the outer parts of the food.
The following charcoal girls are much simpler than the models on the list. They are charcoal grills that will fit into your budget while also offering an exceptional grilling performance.
6. Uten Barbecue Charcoal Grill
This charcoal grill is perfect for tailgating and camping trips. It is a small grill that you can use to cook for a small group of people as it has a small cooking area and grill grates.
This grill’s design allows the perfect air circulation for the charcoal to get up to high temperatures without burning the food. It takes advantage of the outdoors to lessen the work.
It also improves the environment as the design of this charcoal grill allows it to reflect the heat that it produces. That way, it uses up less carbon without compromising its performance.
The material used for this grill is a 430-grade rust-proof stainless steel, which is not easily deformed. The foldable features make it easy for you to store it in a small space or bring it to your car.
7. Giantex BBQ Grill Charcoal Barbecue Grill
This one is a charcoal grill that you can also bring to campings and tailgating trips. It is a small model made with sturdy materials such as iron for its stand and stainless steel parts.
There are two detachable boards on the sides of this charcoal grill. That way, when you go outdoors with it, you do not have to worry about the area where you can prepare the food.
With just enough cooking area, this grill will allow you to serve up to 8 people. The grill can handle many foods and cook them evenly with its open fire design and indirect heating.
The stainless steel in this charcoal grill is smooth, so cleaning it will not be too much of a hassle. You only need to wipe the grease off when done and empty the firebox.
Why Choose Charcoal Grills?
You can opt for a more convenient electric grill or go for a gas grill if you want real flames. However, there are just things that you cannot get when you have these types of grills.
Here are a few of the many benefits that you can get when you go with charcoal grills. You will cook like no other with charcoal grills because of the many advantages they have.
1. Charcoal grills have intense heat. Within reasonable heat, charcoal grills are virtually limitless when it comes to the temperature they produce since you can add more fuel to them anytime.
They can get up to temperatures that are much higher than gas and electric grills. That goes without saying that they do have a limit, but the temperature is much better with charcoal grills.
2. These types of grills are extremely versatile. Charcoal grills can produce both direct and indirect heat, giving you more options on how or what to cook without changing the appliance.
3. There are also many designs of charcoal grills. Depending on the design that you choose, charcoal grills can allow you to grill, smoker, roast, bake, and many more types of cooking style.
4. It is easier to cook in different temperatures with charcoal grills. Since you can easily shove the fuel around the firebox, you can set the area where the food will receive the most heat.
That makes the charcoal grills even more versatile as you can cook different types of recipes at once. You can sear meat on one side while giving the other food a cooler finish on the other.
5. Cooking with charcoal grills gives your food more flavor. You get to have a more authentic finish on your food from the wood flavor that the charcoal fuel produces and transfers to the food.
You can also make the charcoal grill even more authentic by adding some wood chips on top of the charcoals. That way, you will enhance the smoky flavor that the food will be absorbing.
6. Charcoal grills are also generally less expensive. Most charcoal grills do not have complicated settings or features, so their price is reasonably lower than gas and electric grills.
What To Look For In A Charcoal Grill
While it will entirely depend on your personal preference, there are some things that you need to know to make the best choice when it comes to choosing your next charcoal grill.
Here, we have listed some of the major features and properties of charcoal grills that you should look for when you are planning to buy one with a limited budget in mind.
You may not be able to test the grill right on the spot when buying, but there are things you can do to know whether or not the grill distributes the heat evenly throughout its cooking area.
Heat distribution is important to know what and what not to cook on the grill. See if the firebox has a divider or if the lid has a perfect dome shape and dampers, as both of those will help distribute the heat.
If the firebox has a cover that blocks it from the main cooking grates, that is beneficial. It means that it does not apply direct heat to the food, which then evenly distributes the heat.
First, you need to know the space where you are planning to set the grill up. Charcoal grills under $500 do not usually have a large stature, but it is always best to know it beforehand.
Make sure that the grill you choose will fit in the dedicated area. When we discuss the size, we also mean the total cooking area of the charcoal grill you plan to buy.
You should know how much food it can handle in one go. That way, you will know where and where not to use it, such as events, parties, or small gatherings with your friends.
You are only spending a specific amount of money, so you might as well go with the grills that have the most accessories to limit the budget and not spend on separate tools for the grill.
Charcoal grills that include covers, shelves, warming racks, thermometers, and such are the best options. That way, you get to protect your grill and make the cooking process easier at the same time.
If you plan to go anywhere with your grill, you should look for features that make it portable. If the grill has foldable legs, a removable chimney, and such, then go for it.
Know where you would like to use the grill to select the grill that you can either bring on camping trips or if you just want a grill that is reliable at all times in the backyard.
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