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If you want to make the most of your summers, charcoal BBQ must be on your to-do list.

Even as gas BBQs become more popular, you can still never go wrong with a traditional charcoal barbecue. It offers that unmatched smoky flavour and smell we all adore.

But how do you find the best charcoal BBQ for your needs? It’s not as simple as simply getting the most affordable one. From the cooking area to the number of grills, there are many factors that go into the perfect choice.

Luckily for you, we’ve done all the research – all you have to do is take your pick from the nine best charcoal BBQs in the UK.

Our List of Best Charcoal BBQs

Explore detailed reviews of our carefully selected top charcoal BBQs. Each model undergoes thorough testing, assuring you of reliable and trustworthy recommendations to elevate your grilling experience.

View at Big Green EggView at Amazon

Elevate your grilling with the Big Green Egg. Its large ceramic design ensures precision cooking, making it a top choice for discerning grill enthusiasts.

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Vonhaus Compact Charcoal Barbecue: Affordable and efficient, this compact charcoal barbecue delivers great value without compromising on performance.

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Lotus Grill Charcoal Barbecue: Exceptionally portable with smoke-free technology, the Lotus Grill is perfect for on-the-go grilling without sacrificing flavor.

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Everdure by Heston Blumenthal Cube Portable Charcoal BBQ: Designed for camping convenience, this portable BBQ by Heston Blumenthal combines style and functionality for an elevated outdoor cooking experience.

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Weber Classic Kettle Barbecue: Time-tested and reliable, the Weber Classic Kettle Barbecue is a top choice for kettle-style grilling enthusiasts, offering consistent results and ease of use.

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Argos Home Charcoal Oil Drum Barbecue: A unique barrel design makes this barbecue stand out, combining style and function to deliver a distinctive grilling experience at an affordable price.

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Napoleon NK22 CHARCOAL: Packed with innovative features, the Napoleon NK22 CHARCOAL grill offers a premium grilling experience with advanced technology for precise temperature control and cooking versatility.

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Kamado Joe Kettle Joe Charcoal BBQ: Perfect for spacious gardens, the Kamado Joe Kettle Joe offers a large cooking area and high-quality construction for those who want to entertain on a grand scale.

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Boss Grill The Egg XS: A compact powerhouse, the Boss Grill The Egg XS delivers exceptional performance in a small package, making it ideal for those who seek top-notch grilling capabilities in a space-saving design.

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Which One Should You Choose?

Choosing the best charcoal BBQ depends on your intended use.

If you’re cooking food for large parties, go for a kettle-style BBQ with at least two grills. If you have limited space or plan to grill on the go, a portable barrel or tabletop charcoal BBQ is ideal.

Those who want to simmer food should consider a kamado-style BBQ, known for excellent heat retention. A ceramic kamado will have great temperature control for lid-down cooking.

Lastly, larger offset smokers are perfect for those focusing on authentic smoke flavour and larger cuts.

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Our List of Best UK Charcoal BBQs

Here are our top picks of the ten best charcoal BBQs in 2024. Learn more about their pros, cons, specs, and our reviews.


Big Green Egg Large Ceramic Grill

01

Best Premium

Big Green Egg Large Ceramic Grill

View at Big Green EggView at Amazon

Reasons to Buy

  • Excellent heat control
  • Gets an impressive smoky flavour every time
  • Comes with a lifetime guarantee
  • Turns into a convector oven
  • Can fit two turkeys at once

Reasons to Avoid

  • Very heavy
  • Doesn't come assembled
  • Hard to move around

The Big Green Egg Large Ceramic Grill is inspired by the Asian kamado. It’s an Insta-famous charcoal BBQ, and we know exactly why.

Serving as both a charcoal grill and oven, it’s one of the best charcoal BQQs for smoking, roasting, and baking. You can even put a pizza stone in it!

The best part is the shuttle-quality ceramic build, with a protective green glaze for maximum durability. Since every part of the Big Green Egg comes with a lifetime warranty, you don’t have to worry about getting your money’s worth.

The grill pan may have some hot spots, but the heat intensity is still fairly controlled. It’s also pretty expensive, but the cooking space, smoking efficiency, and ease of use make up for it.

Why do we recommend Big Green Egg Large Ceramic Grill?

The Big Green Egg BBQ doubles as a pizza oven, too, so you can make the most of your grill space. We especially love the self-cleaning feature, making it the perfect barbecue for anyone who loves cooking outdoors without the post-BBQ hassle.

Material Stainless steel and ceramic
Weight 73 kg
Dimensions 56 x 80 cm
Functions Grilling, slow-cooking, smoking, roasting, baking

Families looking to cook outdoors and easily clean their BBQs.


Vonhaus Compact Charcoal Barbecue

02

Best Budget

Vonhaus Compact Charcoal Barbecue

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Reasons to Buy

  • Spacious cooking surface
  • Can fit plates and utensils
  • Height-adjustable charcoal tray
  • Incredibly precise cooking
  • Easy to add more charcoal through the vent

Reasons to Avoid

  • Lengthy assembly process
  • Has a learning curve

The Vonhaus Compact Charcoal Barbecue is one of the best charcoal BBQs for anyone on a budget. Don’t worry; you won’t have to compromise quality and performance.

It’s excellent at creating direct and indirect heat zones to go beyond just basic barbecuing. Despite its excellent performance, it doesn’t have enough grilling space to serve an entire family. Instead, it may be better for a party of two or three.

Still, that’s exactly what makes it a portable charcoal BBQ. Weighing only 15 kg, it’s easy to carry around for camping and picnic trips.

We’ll admit that the grill lines aren’t ideal either, but the Vonhaus Compact Charcoal Barbecue has an impressive set of features. A height-adjustable charcoal grill tray, side tables, a lid thermometer, an adjustable firebox – the list goes on. The temperature control is also quite impressive.

There’s one major aspect we had concerns about: “the structural integrity.” It wobbles quite a bit, so it’s not to be overloaded during your grilling session. The porcelain-enamelled bowl may be the reason behind the wobbly legs.

Why do we recommend Vonhaus Compact Charcoal Barbecue?

The Vonhaus Compact Portable Charcoal BBQ offers a wide set of features, a small grill area, and maximum adjustability without breaking the bank. It’s one of the best charcoal BBQs if you plan on using it on a picnic or camping trip.

Material Porcelain enamel firebox and cast iron
Weight 15 kg
Dimensions 108 x 36 cm
Functions Grilling, wood-smoking

People looking for a handy, easy-to-carry charcoal BBQs


Lotus Grill Charcoal Barbecue

03

Best Portable

Lotus Grill Charcoal Barbecue

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Reasons to Buy

  • Very lightweight
  • Fan powered by four batteries
  • Comes with a nylon carry bag
  • Easy to move around
  • Virtually smoke-free

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not suitable for large parties
  • Uneven temperature on the cooking surface
  • Expensive

The Lotus Grill Charcoal Barbecue is the most portable grill you can get, weighing only 4 kg. Carrying it around is a breeze, making it one of the best charcoal BBQs for an outdoor cooking trip. Made from powder-coated steel, this BBQ is built to last.

The best part is that a fan powers it, so it only takes a few minutes to reach the ideal cooking temperature. It also comes with its own nylon carry bag, which we didn’t see in other charcoal BBQs.

If that’s not enough to impress you, this charcoal BBQ also guarantees a smoke-free operation and a huge cooking area to accommodate a pizza stone and tons of food simultaneously. Since it has heat deflectors, this grill can cook food over indirect heat without losing space.

The barbecue’s heat-resistant sides make it safer to use and clean up, while the dishwasher-safe parts add to its appeal. We’d say it’s the perfect investment for anyone with less cooking time for bigger parties.

Why do we recommend Lotus Grill Charcoal Barbecue?

There’s a lot to love about the Lotus Grill, but we especially appreciate its portability and smoke-free operation. Even though it’s expensive, the lightweight body, built-in fan, and ease of use make up for the price.

Material Powder-coated steel
Weight 4 kg
Dimensions 35 x 26 cm
Functions Grilling, charring

An ideal choice for people looking for a smoke-free BBQ.


Everdure by Heston Blumenthal

04

Best for Camping

Everdure by Heston Blumenthal Cube Portable Charcoal BBQ

View at EverdureView at Amazon

Reasons to Buy

  • Available in many colours
  • Easy to move around
  • Compact and easy to store
  • Includes storage lid and chopping board
  • Ideal for small gardens

Reasons to Avoid

  • The lid can't be used while cooking
  • Can't be left outside
  • Hard to clean

The Everdure by Heston Blumenthal Cube Portable Charcoal BBQ gets a 5 out of 5 for camping use.

Despite its compact size and weight, the Everdure has a smooth and robust main body. The cool-touch handles allow you to move the BBQ around while cooking food. The exterior has a built-in heat protection shield, so you don’t have to worry about burning your hands.

The assembly is hassle-free and tool-free, while the charcoal BBQ takes only six minutes to reach the ideal temperature. The only issue is that you may need to buy a separate lid for the cooking process; the one included is only for storage.

Why do we recommend Everdure by Heston Blumenthal Cube Portable Charcoal BBQ?

Out of all tested charcoal barbecues, the Everdure served the best for camping. It perfects slow-cook sessions (you may need to buy a separate lid) and even comes with its own chopping board.

Material Stainless steel
Weight 8.1 kg
Dimensions 23 x 24 cm
Functions Grilling, slow-cooking

Ideal choice for people who like camping and take their BBQs seriously.


Weber Classic Kettle Barbecue

05

Best Kettle

Weber Classic Kettle Barbecue

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Reasons to Buy

  • Hinged grates
  • Doesn't have rogue hot spots
  • Heats up fast
  • Easy to assemble
  • Excellent venting

Reasons to Avoid

  • No advanced features
  • Hard to clean the ash catch
  • Unstable construction

The Web Classic Kettle Charcoal Grill caught our eye with its durable build, made from rust-resistant aluminium and plated steel. Its simple design makes it one of the best charcoal BBQs for beginners.

The grill is big enough to cook enough burgers, sausages, and vegetable skewers for a family of six. Once you’re done cooking, the ash collection, lid hook, and easy cleaning features will help you wrap up quickly.

The best part is the 10-year warranty, making one thing clear: the brand is super confident about the durability of the Weber Classic Kettle Charcoal Grill. That was enough to make us excited about using this grill.

Why do we recommend Weber Classic Kettle Barbecue?

The Weber Classic is the best charcoal kettle grill barbecue to get behind. With its hinged grates, impeccable venting, and ability to maintain low and slow heat, there’s nothing you won’t love about this grill. It’s among the best charcoal BBQs for beginners.

Material Rust-resistant aluminium and plated steel
Weight 14 kg
Dimensions 22.5 x 22.5 cm
Functions Grilling and smoking

People who are new to BBQ as it has all the features and control a beginner might need.


Argos Home Charcoal Oil Drum Barbecue

06

Best Barrel

Argos Home Charcoal Oil Drum Barbecue

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Reasons to Buy

  • Affordable price
  • Easy to use
  • Simple to assemble
  • Excellent heat coverage
  • Doesn't take up too much space

Reasons to Avoid

  • No built-in thermometer storage
  • Poor quality build
  • Missing thread for a screw

The best charcoal barbecues often come in barrel form, which is why the Argos Home Charcoal Oil Drum is one of our favourites.

Not only does it offer incredible value for money, but it also has plenty of space to cook for two to four people. We’d be willing to pay more than the retail price for this heavy-duty BBQ.

It has multiple vents at the bottom, allowing the grill to get hotter quickly and evenly. The shape of this oil drum makes it even better to maintain the right temperature while cooking so you can get the tastiest results every time.

Overall, we’d say you can’t get a better charcoal barbecue than this for the same price.

Why do we recommend Argos Home Charcoal Oil Drum Barbecue?

The Argos Home Charcoal Oil Drum is an impeccable option if you need a generously sized barbecue. Even though the charcoal grilling area is big, the BBQ itself isn’t. Plus, it’s affordable!

Material Steel
Weight 15 kg
Dimensions 90 x 93 cm
Functions Slow-cooking, grilling, smoking

Families and individuals looking for maximum value for their bucks.


Napoleon NK22 CHARCOAL

07

Best Features

Napoleon NK22 CHARCOAL

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Reasons to Buy

  • Comes with a 10-year warranty
  • Hinged grill
  • Three height adjustments
  • Very wide cooking area
  • Large shelf

Reasons to Avoid

  • Doesn't come assembled
  • Takes time to heat up
  • Hard to assemble

If you’re a pro BBQer who only works with the best charcoal barbecues, the Napoleon NK22 CHARCOAL is all you need. Let’s talk about some of its features.

The 73 cm cooking space is enough to accommodate food for a large party while also allowing you to create zones. You can grill, bake, broil, and smoke on this grill, while the three height adjustments let you even fit a whole turkey in. Features like the hinged grill and bottle opener really took the cooking experience to another level.

Our only problem was that the BBQ didn’t come assembled, and the assembly was nowhere near quick.

Why do we recommend Napoleon NK22 CHARCOAL?

From a hinged grill to a generous shelf, the Napoleon NK22 CHARCOAL is packed with advanced features for pro-BBQers. The assembly takes half an hour, but the 10-year warranty and impressive performance make it all worth it.

Material Steel and porcelain-coated iron
Weight 46 kg
Dimensions 114 x 73 cm
Functions Grilling, baking, smoking, slow-cooking

People looking for advanced features.


Kamado Joe Kettle Joe Charcoal BBQ

08

Best for Large Gardens

Kamado Joe Kettle Joe Charcoal BBQ

View at Amazon

Reasons to Buy

  • Built-in thermometer
  • Decent price
  • Cast-iron adjustable air vent
  • Incredible build
  • Great for slow-cooked food

Reasons to Avoid

  • Hard to move around
  • Somewhat heavy

If you have the space to accommodate it, don’t miss out on the Kamado Joe Kettle Joe Charcoal BBQ. It’s big, it’s efficient, and it’s durable. What more could a BBQer ask for?

Surprisingly, the bright red exterior was a crowd-pleaser, as coloured kitchen appliances are becoming more vogue. Beyond the looks, you’ll be shocked at how much you can really smoke in this BBQ. It’s enough for a big family and more.

Even though the build is durable, the BBQ is somewhat short. You’ll be stooping over it throughout the cooking session, which can get a bit tiring.

Why do we recommend Kamado Joe Kettle Joe Charcoal BBQ?

The Kamado Joe Kettle Joe tops our choices of the best charcoal BBQs for those who entertain large parties. The charcoal grills and warming rack have plenty of space, but the cast-iron build and slow-cooking results impress even more.

Material High-temperature fired ceramic grills
Weight 33 kg
Dimensions 69 x 53 cm
Functions Grilling, smoking, slow-cooking

For large parties and gatherings.


Boss Grill The Egg XS

09

Best Ceramic

Boss Grill The Egg XS

View at Amazon

Reasons to Buy

  • Easy to assemble
  • Includes temperature gauge
  • Compact build
  • Perfect for tabletops
  • Reasonably priced

Reasons to Avoid

  • Subpar temperature control
  • Not for large parties
  • The heatproof handle doesn't work

The Boss Grill The Egg XS fits on a countertop, but don’t underestimate its power. Beyond just grilling and roasting, you can even use this BBQ to make your own pizza.

The assembly is simple and quick, allowing you to start on a good note. When lowering the dome onto the low stand, you’ll see that it’s padded to prevent scratching. The lid is also spring-loaded to prevent slamming it shut.

What’s really impressive is that it can hold 3 kgs of charcoal at a time. But since it’s a small grill, it’ll heat up too quickly and burn through the ingredients before the food is fully cooked. After some trial and error, you can turn it into the perfect grilling companion for family meals.

During testing, we loved using this grill to toast marshmallows.

Why do we recommend Boss Grill The Egg XS?

We love that the Boss Grill The Egg XS is essentially a ceramic version of the Big Green Egg. With a temperature gauge and ceramic interior panels, this grill has unique features you won’t mind in most other charcoal barbecues.

Material Ceramic and cast iron
Weight 38 kg
Dimensions 62 x 55 cm
Functions Grilling, roasting, baking, smoking, pizza-cooking

People who want the most out of their charcoal BBQ without compromising on the looks.

Best Charcoal BBQs Buyer’s Guide

If it’s your first time buying one, how do you know what the charcoal BBQ looks like? Here are a few elements to look for.

Number of Grills

Indirect cooking involves using shelves or inserts to keep delicate food away from the main heat source. The number of grills in your charcoal BBQ determines whether you can cook on indirect and direct heat simultaneously.

Multiple grills will allow different temperature zones on the same BBQ. You can place food directly over the coals on one grill for searing while using another cooler area for slower cooking or keeping items warm.

Size

The best charcoal BBQ size depends on your intended use.

For example, a compact charcoal BBQ will do if you need it for camping trips and picnics. Meanwhile, those who entertain large parties will need a cart or barrel BBQ. Remember, the bigger the grill, the more charcoal you’ll need.

Besides that, a 20 to 25-inch charcoal BBQ would be a great fit for two to four people. A kettle charcoal grill is another great choice, with enough cooking area for one or two pork shoulders.

Air Vents

Air vents are crucial to keep the fire going and control temperature. Still, it depends on the type of charcoal BBQ.

For example, you don’t really need to worry about airflow when cooking in an open, hibachi style. But closed-lid smoking and grilling would be unsafe and ineffective without the right amount of airflow. Air must enter the grill’s bottom to feed the fire, making hot air travel across your food.

Without enough air vents, you’ll never get a consistent temperature. The charcoal barbecue will always be too hot or not hot enough.

Portability

Portability is another crucial factor, especially if you enjoy camping, tailgating, or moving your charcoal BBQ to different locations. Look for features like sturdy wheels, lightweight build, and foldability that make moving and storage more manageable. Portable charcoal BBQs are perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy the smoky flavour of charcoal-cooked food on the go.

How to Safely Use a Charcoal BBQ

For first-time users, charcoal barbecues can be quite daunting. Follow this guide to use your brand-new charcoal BBQ safely.

Fuel and Lighting

Charcoal BBQs are not the most environmentally friendly option, but you can still reduce your carbon footprint. Keep these fuel and lighting tips in mind.

  • Look for an FSC logo on your charcoal barbecue fuel bag. If possible, buy sustainable charcoal - it can be expensive.
  • Don't use briquettes or self-lighting charcoal; they contain chemicals, and the odour can impact the taste of your food.
  • Never use firelights, chemicals, or petrol to light your charcoal barbecue, especially if it's a ceramic grill. Natural firelighters are a safer option.

Extinguishing Charcoal Barbecues

Once you’re done using your charcoal BBQ, it’s time to extinguish it. Keep these steps in mind.

  1. Close any air vents to cut off the oxygen supply to the hot coals. Let them cool down for a few hours.
  2. Use a shovel to scoop the hot ashes in a container, but make sure it isn’t paper or plastic.
  3. Soak the coals in water until they’re completely saturated.
  4. Repeat until there are no glowing embers.

Cleaning Charcoal BBQs

Cooking on a charcoal BBQ won’t be mess-free, so you’ll need to clean it after every use to lengthen its lifespan. Here’s how to clean it.

  1. Use a wire brush to scrape and clean the grates and remove any leftover ashes from the bottom of the grill.
  2. Use soapy water and a sponge to clean the inside of the grill.
  3. Make sure the vents don’t have any built-up debris.
  4. Store the charcoal barbecue in a cool and dry area.

FAQs

Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about Charcoal BBQs.

Charcoal BBQs offer versatile cooking, imparting distinct flavors, and are suitable for various occasions, from casual gatherings to outdoor celebrations.

Consider factors like portability, cooking area, and special features tailored to the occasion. For example, portable options for picnics or larger grills for hosting events.

Regular cleaning, proper storage, and adherence to manufacturer guidelines for maintenance are crucial. Additionally, mastering temperature control enhances the BBQ’s longevity and performance for every occasion.