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Australian grill reviews - Top 5 Best Charcoal BBQ Australia 2024

Australian grill reviews - Top 5 Best Charcoal BBQ Australia 2024

The Ultimate Charcoal bbq Guide 

Picture this: the tantalizing aroma of perfectly grilled food wafting through the air, the sizzle and crackle as flames dance around your culinary masterpiece. This article will be your guiding star and take you on the journey of choosing the perfect charcoal BBQ comparing its features, pros and cons, and finally revealing our top pick. 

Whether you are a seasoned griller or new to this culinary world of charcoal grilling. This holy grail leaves no stone unturned, we will delve into how BBQ grills work and what kinds of food to cook on BBQ grills. From choosing the ideal fuel type to how to place them in the grill for best results, this article will cover everything.

Check out our video version of best charcoal bbq Available in Australia 

 

Let’s dive into the guide as your culinary excellence awaits!

 

masterbuilt hooper being filled

What is a Charcoal Grill?  

A type of grill that uses charcoal as its main fuel source is known as a Charcoal BBQ. It provides a smoky flavour, and its high heat is ideal for searing food and giving a nice crisp. 

  • They are typically made of metal and have a bowl-shaped design with a lid.
  • Some also come in a cart-style design with a side tray and provide more cooking surface.
  • You need some skills and patience to operate the BBQ skilfully controlling the temperature, lighting up the charcoal and creating different temperature zones. 

 

How does a charcoal barbecue work?

This is how to work a charcoal BBQ:

  • First thing up, you need to light up the charcoal. Ideally using a chimney starter will help you light the fuel quickly and safely. 
  • Just fill the chimney with some charcoal; put in some newspaper and light them up. 
  • When the coal is fully grey and covered with ash, dump them out in the grill. And Start cooking!!
  • Ideally, preheat your grill for at least 15 to 20 minutes before you put any food on it.

What Type of Food Can You Cook?

If you are creative and love to experiment, then you can cook almost anything on a charcoal BBQ!!

Here is a quick breakdown if you are a novice griller and need some ideas to get started:

  • Steaks, burgers, and chops: These are best for cooking at direct heat so you can place them over the hot coals. These require less cooking time and leave the food with a nice charred and smoky flavour profile. 
  • Chicken, fish, and vegetables: We recommend cooking them indirectly (placing them away from direct heat and leaving the lid on). This will give a nice subtle smoke to the food without overpowering its natural flavour.
  • Ribs, brisket, and whole chicken: These need a lot of patience and attention as they cook slowly and on exceptionally low heat. You should maintain a steady temperature of 250-350 F and can add wood chips to enhance the overall flavour. The result will leave you with tender juicy and smoky meat that falls right off the bone!

Top 4 Reasons Why You Should Buy

Whether you are a BBQ enthusiast or a newbie, Charcoal BBQ comes as a saviour for everyone! Here are the top reasons why getting a Charcoal BBQ is necessary:

  1. Flavour: You can get that rich smoky flavour that charcoal grilling provides its users. You can vary the flavour by using different charcoals or briquettes and you may add wood pellets to create a different aroma.
  2. Affordability: As compared to gas or hybrid barbeques, charcoal BBQs stand as an economical option. You can get a simple decent charcoal grill for under $100 while gas grills may cost you more. Plus, the fuel is also cheap!
  3. Simplicity: A charcoal grill is ideal for anyone who wants a simple device. You have a container for coals, a food grate on which you put the food and a lid. You do not need to worry about those burners, valves and ignition systems that require maintenance. 
  4. Fun: It is a wonderful way to show off your culinary prowess and play with fire and smoke! It can be joyful and therapeutic to learn the art of lighting coals, controlling temperature, and having control over the entire cooking process.

If you are interested in knowing which one should you use, a pellet smoker or a charcoal one, then visit my guide on the ultimate comparison between pellet smoker vs charcoal smoker. 

 Lets dive in to the best charcoal grills

 

1. PK Grill Original - A Culinary Marvel

pk orignal front view

pk grills price check

Pros

  • Best for a space-saving solution with optional lower bin storage and ample shelf space. 
  • It is durable and will last you a lifetime as it is made from high-quality aluminium.
  • The temperature probe access door provides convivence if you want to control your food’s temperature precisely. 
  • It is easy to clean with the ash containment system it comes with, making your cooking experience less of a hassle.

Cons

  • Its portability is limited as compared to the new 360 model. 

pk grills features

Main Features

  1. Comfortable ergonomics: The PK grills are made with comfort in mind. Its no wonder that the unit was designed by a BBQ aficionado. The height is elevated by three inches, so you don’t have to crouch over to do all the cooking! 
  2.  Durahinge™ Heat Retention: The cast shells are high-grade aluminium steel with precise lid sealing of the caskets. This allows for maximum heat and fuel retention making them fuel efficient and economical. The aluminium ensures even high distribution throughout the grill.
  3. Mobility: The tower and the base are supported by customized aluminium heavy-duty rubber tires. They provide a smooth transition from one place to another. This additional feature makes this high-quality cart more portable and durable.
  4. Precise Air Control: The radial venting system with hash marks allows for precise temperature control and can easily allow users to change the temperature needed for the cooking process. 

Other Specification

  1. Versatile Cooking: It is perfect for two zone cooking. The New original works perfectly as a grill and a smoker.
  2. Tel-Thru Thermometer: The in-built thermometer is not only accurate but also makes for a perfect companion to make changes inside like changing heat levels or adding more fuel. 
  3. Hinged Cooking Grid: The hinged hooks on one side of the grate are perfect for managing the number of coals and how much heat you want in the unit at a given time. 

 



2. Argie Grills Classic Model - A Gaucho's Dream

argie grillz classic

 

check price argie grillz

The Gaucho series provides an unparalleled escapade for BBQ enthusiasts! From temperature control to low-maintained yet durable build. This elegant masterpiece will surely be a terrific addition to your outdoor kitchen on the patio. 

Pros

  • You can cook almost anything on it as it provides you with great control over temperature. From steaks to sausages to rotisserie whole chicken and suckling pigs. This grill is made for every experience. 
  • It is very convenient to move around and provides a portable lightweight solution to many BBQ enthusiasts.
  • The V groove grill directs the meat juice and oil into one place which can be used for basting or even in dip sauce which will elevate the flavour even more!
  • It provides you with the flexibility every cook is looking for. Whether it is searing on high-heat coal or doing slow low-heat smoking, you are the one to control the cooking process.

Cons

  • If you want to experience authentic Argentinian grilling but are on a budget, then it might be time to save up as it can be a bit expensive. 

 

Pro-Tip: If this is the case, and you still want to enjoy the marvel, then you can purchase the basic model of Parrilla Grill which comes at half the price!

argie grillz features

Main Features

  1. Height Adjustable Grill: This is perfect for customizing your cooking. Whether you are looking for that high heat near the coals' sizzling sear or you want a low-slow grand roast, The adjustable grate can be adjusted to any height you want. 
  2. Precision Grilling: With the heavy-duty 2 mm stainless steel v-channel removal grill, you can easily control your unit preventing flare-ups and uneven cooking. 
  3. Stability: The four heavy-duty castor wheels not only provide with convenience of freely moving it around, but they also provide stability. The stand is sturdy and stable during grilling sessions, and everything is securely locked in place.
  4. Maintainance: With the removable drip tray, you can avoid the messy grease build-up that comes with BBQing. This allows for a hassle-free cleaning and a seamless post-grilling experience which will leave you with more time to enjoy the food with your loved ones. 
  5. Premium 304 Construction: You can enjoy both durability and style with the robust 304 stainless steel body it is made from. It not only adds a touch of sophistication to your outdoor kitchen but is also a resistant-proof and corrosion-free appliance. 

Interested in Argentine Grills? Head over to my comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about Beginner Guides to Argentine Grills.

Other Specification

  1. Detachable Groove Grill: It provides a foolproof way to avoid flare-ups from any juice drippings plus it makes it much easier to clean up afterwards.
  2. Movability: The castor wheel makes the unit easy to move. You may set it in one place by locking in the wheel. 
  3. Cleaning: The simple and clean design is effective when it comes to cleaning the build-up. The detachable drip tray and groove grill only make the job a lot easier! 
  4. Ease Handling: The round handle is designed for seamless manoeuvrability. It comes with a comfortable grip and makes the movement easy to control.

3. MasterBuilt 800 - Gravity Series Excellence

masterbuilt smoker front view

 

check price masterbuilt

It is an innovative outdoor cooking powerhouse suitable for every grilling, smoking, and griddling experience. From making succulent meat to achieving that perfect sear on steaks, this charcoal BBQ adds a delectable smoky flavour to every dish. Be prepared to elevate your backyard gatherings with this culinary arsenal at your disposal. 

Pros

  • The Gravity charcoal hopper provides a hands-free cleaning process for burning fuel bringing the highest level of convivence. 
  • The stainless-steel shelves on the front and side give you ample space for food prep.
  • From cooking your breakfast favourite to sizzling burgers and fajitas, the removable flat-top griddle provides you with a diverse range of experiences. 
  • The Digital Fan™ technology will keep the temperatures accurate during both grilling and smoking sessions. 

Cons

  • On the downside, it has a bulky build and is difficult to move around. So, it is not suitable for people looking for a lightweight portable option. 

 

masterbuilt 800 features

Main Features

  1. Impressive Build: Built with attention to detail, the MasterBuilt has a durable and sturdy construction and thoughtful design. The assembly requires two people, but the result will be a freestanding 622 by 1371 by 1320  mm.  It also includes shelving and storage options.
  2. Innovative Convenience: Comes equipped with a countdown and count-up timer to make sure cooking remains a breeze for you. It also comes with a probe port to precisely cook your food. 
  3. Dual Cooking Mode: Users can easily switch between grilling and griddling as reversible smoke and sear grates are designed to provide perfect grilling marks and optimal smoking, The unit also comes with hooks so you can hang the grate when you are not using them leaving you plenty of space to organize and prep food. 
  4. Unmatched Temperature Range: It provides a generous space for cooking all kinds of food on multiple levels which include a main grate with additional surfaces according to your needs. This grill does everything from low and slow smoking to intense high-heat searing.

 

masterbuilt 800 specs

Other Specification

  1. Cooking Space: There are around 20320 square mm of space and multi-level cooking surfaces add versatility. 
  2. Temperature Range: To accommodate every cooking style, the temperature ranges from 65 to 370 degrees Celsius using a digital control panel. 
  3. Seamless Mode Transition: You can effortlessly switch between cooking modes such as grilling and searing allowing for a diverse cooking experience.
  4. App Connectivity: You can control your Masterbuilt with its app, adjust the temperature, and cooking times, monitor meat probes or even shut down your grill altogether from the fingertips of your smartphone.

4. Kamado Joe Series 1 - The Ceramic Marvel

 

kamado Joe classic front viewcheck price kamado Joe

Are you looking for a seamless culinary journey? Then this Kamado Joe Classic is one of the best ceramic cookers you should start with. It is perfect for every cook who wants an easy-to-use and easy-to-clean grill on a budget. The Kamado Joe isn’t just a BBQ cooker, it is a cooking companion that will elevate your charcoal grilling skills.

Pros

  • It is perfect for people looking to cook versatile options since it has deflector plates, skillets, rotisseries skewers, a grill, a griddle and even a paella pan.
  • It is ideal for both high and quick cooking barbequing chicken thighs, and slow and low cooking like smoking a brisket. 
  • It holds the temperature and fuel quite well with its venting system and felt gaskets. 
  • The fold-out shelves come with hooks to hand your BBQ tools which not only provide you ample space, but your hands can also enjoy the freedom they deserve.

Cons

  • It might be a bit snug if you have a big family. It works perfectly well for a family of four but if you have guests over most of the time then it might be time to move to a Bigger Joe series.

kamado Joe features

Main Features

  1. Manuervability: The ceramic firebox is settled on a heavy-duty cradle and has 4 casting wheels so you can move it around your patio and outdoor kitchen wherever you want. 
  2. Flexible Cooking Space: It is a two-tier divide-and-conquer system where you can cook food that different temperatures at the same time. For low and slow smoking, we love setting the grill on the higher end and shifting the meat to the lower skillet to get the perfect sear with a dollop of butter that we guarantee will give that extra oomph!
  3. Multiple Accessories: From Rotisserie kits for roasting that whole chicken to DoJoe which cooks pizza in a matter of minutes making your pizza party easy breezy! The Kamado Joe has it all. You can also buy a heavy-duty canopy BBQ cover which protects it from rain and dust.

 

kamado Joe smoker inside

Other Specification

    1. Cooking space: The maximum space for cooking is 16130 mm2.
    2. Built-in Dome Thermometer: A precise reading is provided by this thermometer to allow you to control the temperature according to what you want.
    3. Folding Shelves: They are excellent for providing extra space to prep those side dishes. These powder-coated side shelves made from steel do not fade over time nor do they rust. 
    4. Easy Cleanup: their patented ash drawer is excellent for collecting the coal remains and leaves the grill mess-free.

5. PK Grills PK360 BBQ - Silver Elegance

 

pk grills 360 front view

pk grills check price

 

This is the result of multiple years of research and design development. Overall, the pk 360 is a very stylish mid-sized grill with a smoker awesome design and build quality which produces great results for cooking almost anything! Though this is not an inexpensive model, it will certainly stand the test of time. It not only looks good but is also rust-proof and provides solid performance.

Pros

  • It has utility hooks which are quite useful when cleaning out the ash making it easy to clean.
  • Tactile cast handles do well against heat when opening and closing the capsule.
  • Comes with two ash cover plates that stop the grease and ash from falling into the intake airflow system.

Cons

  • The addition of mini off-road tyres could’ve greatly improved manoeuvrability.

pk grills 360 features

Main Features

  1. Design: The upper and lower cast shells are formed by precision-injected moulded cast aluminium finished to an elevated level. It is not only light and durable but also conducts heat 2 and ½ times more efficiently than cast iron and 4 times more than steel. So, heat is distributed more evenly!
  2. Venting System: It has a four-point venting system for greater precision air control and heat management. This is ideal for both direct and indirect cooking. On the top shelf, you will see two radial vent exhausts and a twin-cylinder air intake system on the lower end shelf. This is ideal to easily dial in the perfect cooking temperature that you want. 
  3. Durability: The food grate is made from high-quality hefty marine-grade stainless steel and expands as much as 9144 square mm. It also has a removable hinge access section useful for refuelling the grill. The marine grade stainless steel is more resistant to rust and pitting as compared to regular stainless steel. 

 

pk grills side angle

Other Specification

  1. Cooking Size: The surface of the grate is 629 by 400 mm, making it more than enough for most purposes. But if you want more space then you can go for the Kookamore rack which sits on top of the grill.
  2. Shelving Storage: These are both stable and vast and made from glass fibre polyester material making them heat resistant and durable. Plus, they are also easy to clean!!
  3. Stainless Steel Accessory Bar: They run along each of the shelves to hang your towels and other BBQ tools!
  4. Removable Shelf: The two handles quickly release the tower knob and lift off the capsule. It is great for when you want to load it into the back of your car or use it on a fireproof surface without the base.

Essential Tools and Accessories - The Basic Starter Pack

Before embarking on your charcoal grilling journey, it is crucial to know what bbq accessories you need to smoothly ease into the realm of BBQing:

  1. Charcoal grill: This is the main device that holds all of the charcoal and food. There are various kinds of charcoal grills such as.
    • Kettle
    • Barrel
    • Ceramic
    • Pellet

Each one of them has its advantages and disadvantages but go for something sturdy and durable.

  1. Charcoal chimney: This metallic handy cylindrical tool makes lighting up charcoal a breeze. All you need to do is fill up the charcoal, place some newspaper or light cubes at the bottom, and light them up. Once they are glowing, dump them into the grill and arrange them in different zones. 
  2. Grill brush: We all know that keeping the grates is no joke! So, investing in an excellent quality grill brush is ideal for removing food debris and residue. I highly suggest getting one for optimal grilling cleaning.
  3. Long-handled tongs and spatula: Getting the heat-resistant handles that are long will help you maneuver the food without getting too close to the heat. The last thing you want while enjoying that scrumptious meat is to worry about a second-degree hand burn.
  4. Instant-read thermometer: An instant-read thermometer is a must-have to gauge the inner temperature in no time at all. This will guarantee that the food is neither overcooked nor undercooked but made to perfection!
  5. Grill gloves: Getting yourself a pair of heat-resistant grill gloves is a lifesaver! You will be able to handle the hot grates, utensils, and food with seamless ease.

 

5 Common Grilling Mistakes for Beginners

  • Mistake #1: Using Lighter Fluid
  • Lighter fluid leaves behind a chemical taste and smell giving food an unpleasant taste. It might even cause flare-ups and uneven burning of charcoal. We suggest lighting your charcoal by using a chimney starting which utilizes newspaper and allows better airflow for coal ignition.

  • Mistake #2: Igniting Prematurely

  • The key to perfecting your BBQ is to allow the charcoal to be fully grey and covered with ash before you spread it across. This will allow the coals to be hot enough to cook food properly. If you pour the black charcoal, then you will have trouble controlling the temperature and cooking time of your food.

  • Mistake #3: Neglecting Cooking Zone

  •  Creating different temperature zones is crucial to control the cooking process. This will allow you to cook different foods at various speeds and move them around as needed. For instance, if you create two zones, one for searing and the other for cooling zone to rest the meat. 

  • Mistake #4: Insufficient Time for the Grill to Heat Up

  • We suggest pre-heating your grill for a minimum of 15 to 20 minutes before starting to cook. Why? This will help you achieve a good sear, prevent sticking, and make sure the food is evenly cooked. You may also use this time to clean up and oil the grates.

  • Mistake #5: Rushing the Cooking Process

  • Rome was not built in a day. The same rule applies to cooking. The best chefs know that if you are looking, then you are not cooking. Try to avoid flipping the food too often as it will lose the juice and flavour. Also, try to keep the lid closed as much as you can. Opening the lid will lower the temperature and extend the cooking time. Follow the recommended cooking times for different cuts and use a food thermometer to check the doneness of food.

    Arrangement Techniques

    Above we mentioned how it is crucial to make a heat zone. Here we will discuss what kinds of cooking zones you can make and when should you use them.

  • Placing Charcoal - Where and How?

  • When you embark on that charcoal grilling journey, the first thing you need to do is light up the charcoal with either a 

    • Chimney starter
    • Lighter Fluid, or
    • Match Light Briquets

    Now you need to decide where to put and how to spread the coals on the charcoal grate. You may use the whole grate for direct fire or create different heat zones to control the cooking process. We’ll dive into those now.

  • Direct Grilling - Intense Heat, Quick Cooking

  • This method is ideal for high-heat grilling and thin cuts of meat such as

    • Burgers
    • Steaks
    • Fish
    • Vegetables

    How to do this: Spread the lit coals across the entire grate to create direct fire. This will produce even heat across the cooking space creating a nice crusty sear and the grill marks we all want.

  • Two-Zone Indirect Fire

  • This method is recommended for meats that require longer cooking time and gentle heat. You may use the two-zone indirect fire method for

    • roasts, 
    • whole birds, 
    • ribs

    How to do this: Create two zones, place the coals on one side of the grill, and leave the other side empty. Now you will place the meat on the empty side and close the lid. The convection heat will act like an oven and cook the food evenly without burning it from outside. 

  • Two-Zone Direct Fire

  • Similar to the above method, you will create two zones. Pile up the majority of the coal on one side of the grill and scatter some on the other side. This will allow you to sear the food on the hotter end and finish on the remaining side.

  •  Three-Zone Split-Fire

  • It is ideal to give you more flexibility and gain more control over the cooking process. You can move your meat from high to low heat on how you want.

    How to do this: You need to split up the coals into three sections, 

    •  One with a maximum concentration of coals
    • The middle one with a medium concentration
    • The other one is 3 or 4 briskets scattered around.
  • Offset Cooking - Low and Slow Perfection

  • This method is perfect for smoking and barbequing large cuts of meats such as

    • Brisket
    • Pork Shoulder
    • Ribs

    It creates a moist and smoky environment and keeps the temperature low for slow cooking without drying out the meat.

    How to do this: Pile up the coals on one side of the grate. Now place the foil roasting pan filled with water on the other. Place the food above the water pan and close the lid.

    If you are interested in learning about how to use a pellet smoker, then check out our article here. 

  • Adding Wood Chunks for flavour

  • To enhance and increase the palate of your grilled food, we highly recommend adding wood chunks and chips with the coal. In this way, you can get different aromas and dynamic effects. You can try out:

    • Hickory
    • Apple
    • Cherry
    • Oak

    How to do this: You can either soak the pellets in water for at least an hour or try using them dry for a more powerful punch.

    Choosing the Right Fuel

    BBQ grilling is not just throwing meat on a grill grate. It is science. Every aspect of it adds to not just the experience but also the flavour. Let’s dive into which bbq charcoal is best suited for your needs: 

    1. Lump Charcoal: It is made from natural hardwood favoured for its pure and natural flavour. It burns hotter and faster than briquettes making them ideal for high-heat grilling.
    2. Briquettes: These are made from compressed charcoal dust and additives. They tend to burn evenly and for longer times. They can be an option for slow cooking but try to let them burn until they are covered with white ash before proceeding to cook with them.
    3. Charcoal Briquettes: These are the best of both worlds, combining the convivence of briquettes and the flavour of wood. They add a nice aroma to your BBQ but may overpower the natural flavours of your food. I recommend them for smoking rather than grilling. Use them sparingly with regular coal for that nice subtle flavour profile.
    4. Coconut shell charcoal: Made from coconut shells serves as an eco-friendly and renewable source of fuel. They burn longer and produce less smoke and ash. It is ideal for grilling due to its high heat value and the neutral flavour. On the downside, this can be a bit experience and harder to light up. 
    5. Binchotan: it is mainly used for Japanese cooking (especially for Yakitori -grilled chicken). It is made from carbonized oak wood and produces little to no ash and smoke. It gives a very subtle flavour enhancing the natural taste of the food. However, it can a difficult to find and needs special equipment to light and use.

    The Charcoal Equation - How Much is Just Right?

    Let’s dive into how much charcoal you need for every cooking process:

    charcoal equation

  • Full Chimney for High Heat

  • A full chimney will contain around one hundred briquettes and burn for an hour at an elevated temperature of 371°C.  This kind of high heat is best for:

    • searing steaks, 
    • burgers, and
    • chops
  •  Half Chimney for Medium Heat

  • A chimney that is half-filled will contain about fifty briquettes which will give you at least 45 minutes burning at 260°C. Best for cooking:

    • chicken, 
    • fish, and
    • vegetables
  • Quarter Chimney for Low and Slow

  • A quarter chimney will contain a total of 25 briquettes and will burn for 30 minutes at a temperature of 149 °C. This makes an environment for low and slow heat making it ideal for:

    • Ribs 
    • Brisket
    • Smoking Large Meats

    Conclusion- Our Verdict!

    Here comes the finale. We have picked the best charcoal grills in Australia and pitted them against each other. There is one winner that emerges!

    The PK 360 Charcoal grill stands out as a top contender and in my opinion is the best charcoal bbq among its rivals. This unit brings practicality and innovation all in one! It is not only a classic but the brand also has a loyal fanbase. 

    The smooth airflow prevents flare-ups, and the durable resistant proof shell and removable hingers for coal management and clean-up. The large side shelves also provide ample space for preparation. All of this has received accolades from novice users and expert chefs alike!

    It goes beyond the Classic Model and provides you with more space. Plus it is more portable as it comes with a removable shell casket so you can load it in your trunk and go camping!

     






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