Over the last several weeks, we’ve researched many different charcoal barbecues ranging from the iconic Weber One-Touch Kettles to the awe-inspiring Kamado Joe ProJoe. Among the grills we reviewed, we found three distinct groups: portable, standard, and kamados. Of course, those aren’t the only types of charcoal barbecues out there, but they are the three categories where we’ve reviewed enough products to be able to draw conclusions and make recommendations.
If you’re looking for a small, portable barbecue grill, we highly recommend the Weber Smokey Joe. It’s essentially a miniaturized version of the classic Weber kettles, featuring the same look and the same high-quality construction as its full-size counterparts. The Smokey Joe is assembled and almost all of its parts are materials-sourced and manufactured in Weber’s Huntley, Illinois factory, earning the grill a 5/5 American Alternative score. In comparison, the Charbroil Charcoal Table-Top and Weber Charcoal Go Anywhere grills are only designed and engineered in the USA. They are sourced, manufactured, and assembled in China.
For a high-quality, standard-sized barbecue grill we recommend either a PK Grill or one of the Weber One-Touch Kettles. Both of them are designed and manufactured in America, receiving 5/5 star reviews. They also both come from longstanding American brands that have great histories behind them. Between the two of them, the Weber One-Touch Kettles are more affordable and come in a multiple configurations to suit your exact needs and budget. The PK Grills are more expensive but feature a unique rust-proof Aluminum construction. The PK Grills are also slightly more American-made (both grills round to a 5/5 score but the Weber One-Touch Kettles received a slightly lower raw score). At the end of the day though, either would make a great choice over the Chinese-made Charbroil 600-Series American Gourmet or the Char-Griller barbecue grills.
Finally, for the ultimate step up in quality and versatility (and price) in a charcoal barbecue, there are the ceramic kamado cookers, which you can use to grill, steam, roast, and bake. And among these exotic barbecues, we recommend the Primo kamados such as the Primo Oval Jr and the Primo Oval XL. Unlike the Kamado Joe ClassicJoes (which scored 1.5/5 stars) or the better known Big Green Eggs (which scored 2/5 stars), the Primo kamados are entirely made in the USA for a 5/5 star American Alternative rating.
Note that we also reviewed the Kamado Joe ProJoe and gave it a 5/5 star rating like the Primo kamados. But despite the fact that the ProJoe is entirely made in the USA, we can’t compare it with the other kamados on account of its whopping $8000 price tag.
Here’s a list of all the charcoal barbecue grills that we reviewed (click the links to go to our full review of each of the grills):