I'm thinking about outdoor grilling already and always loving charcoal. That doesn't mean I won't pull together a great list of gas barbeque grills, but my heart will always start with charcoal (no pun intended). This one up top is a great small one from Bodum that has changed over the years, but is always simpler and super cute. Comes in two colors:
• Silicone handle stays cool to the touch and is also used to adjust air flow into the grill while in use
• Silicone clips lock lid into place for easy and safe transport
- Weber Smokey Joe - $29.99
The classic smallest grill from Weber, the Smokey Joe is your standard and tough to beat if you don't care about any extra flash.
In the hibachi style, this cast iron Lodge design is old school and lovely for small jobs. Sometimes you don't need a big grill: " A draft door regulates the heat so in addition to grilling or frying. Ideal for anywhere you need a self contained cooking source Coals are accessible behind a flip down door. Grill has two adjustable heights."
Another hibachi design, I really like the dual lifting grills here as well as the wooden handles. This is only slightly bigger than the Lodge and also all cast iron.
A breakthrough British design in that this grill folds flat to 1", this is perfect for those who need to carry it in the car or to the beach: "Constructed of high heat resistant painted steel, this sturdy grill folds flat to create its own carrying case."
$99 is perhaps all you'll ever have to pay to grill beautifully while standing in the great outdoors and schmoozing your guests, I've had a number of these and love them (aside from the fact that I find the legs fall off when I roll it too far). Coming in a standard black, but available in a few other custom colors if you dig. The Sweethome also gave this highest marks, but they prefer the Gold model with an ash catcher cleaning system. I'm not sure it's worth it!
- Weber Blue Deluxe Charcoal Grill - $399 On Sale Now
What if you want to bump your Weber up a big notch and give it some landing space and easy start features? This would be your solution. On sale right now at Crate and Barrel's custom blue color, if you're a real neatnick and don't need to get all outdoor woodsman this is a really nice thing to have. This makes it a lot easier: "Features include a spacious cooking surface, convenient hinged cooking grate, painted metal work table, Tuck-Away ™ lid holder, removable LCD cook timer and built-in thermometer. Electronic gas ignition system lights charcoal briquettes with the push of a button (coals will be ready in 20 minutes)."
I have two friends who swear by these high end Kamodo style cookers, which allow you to cook very hot on the grill or very slowly at high heat with an oven effect. Both a grill, oven and a smoker, the Green Egg is designed to contain its heat when you want to or simply just grill in the open position: "The shape of the Big Green Egg is designed to contain the heat with only a small vent at the top to create a draft to keep the fire going. Today's Big Green Egg is manufactured from high fiber ceramics developed for the Space Shuttle program designed to reflect heat and this allows temperatures of up to 650 °C (1,202 °F) to be reached. The external surface has a high gloss ceramic glaze applied to provide crack and weather resistance."
- Weber Ranch Kettle - $1,299
This is what I graduated to about four years ago, the Ranch Kettle is like having a big nine burner commercial stove for a charcoal grill. The huge surface allows you to cook at many different temperatures and to slow cook around the outside while high heat takes up the middle. You can even warm plates on the edge of this thing. It's a joy to cook on, even for a dinner for four.
- The Grillworks 20 - $3,275
If you want to go to the top of the line, here you go: Grillworks, founded over 30 years ago in an effort to capture the deliciousness of open air grilling in Europe and South America, makes many models; this one, the 20", is the standard bearer. With countless special features, including a cast aluminum wheel crank that allows you to lower and raise the grill on demand and a slanted, channeled grill that captures juices and avoids flare ups, this baby is the most serious thing I've seen and would be FUN to use. The bigger version, The Inferno (below), was designed for Dan Barber's Stone Barns restaurant near New York City and is awesome to behold.