If you’re in the market for a kettle-style charcoal grill, it’s hard to go wrong with a Weber. The founder of the company actually invented this type of grill, and the Weber name has been going strong ever since. What we now know as a Weber kettle grill evolved from an invention by George Stephens in the 1950s.
The thickness of metal that the grill is made from is measured as the “gauge.” As the gauge number increases, the material thickness decreases and this makes comparing grills easy, explained Lilly. “Thicker metal makes for a longer lasting grill and better insulation,” portable bbq he said. Next, we tested each grill’s medium heat cooking capability by roasting whole chickens. The trick here is to keep the grills at a hot enough temperature to cook a chicken for upward of two hours. Napoleon delivered excellent cooking results in our ribs test.
The grill grate on a Napoleon is made of a thicker and flatter cast iron, which is an upgrade from the usual lightweight, stainless steel grates you see on most charcoal grills. However, it takes longer to heat up and is a different cooking experience from traditional charcoal grills. During our tests, we were only able to get our hamburgers to cook to rare, and our chicken did not sear and crisp up as well as it did on all the other grills. Because of this, the Napoleon is definitely not a grill for charcoal beginners. The Weber Original Kettle Charcoal Grill 22’’ features a plated steel cooking grate, a heavy-gauge steel charcoal grate, porcelain-enameled bowl and lid, and a bottom wire rack. It also has a lid handle with heat shield, aluminum ash catcher, aluminized steel one-touch cleaning system, and a spring clip-push pin leg assembly.
Since it’s the same for both units, however, there’s no winner in this category. The 22-inch unit also offers a low and slow vent setting, so this unit can pull double duty as a smoker. It can be difficult for amateurs to get a grasp on how this system works at first. Nonetheless, portable bbq it’s an impressive feature that gives the smaller Weber the top prize in this department. PKs are extremely high quality charcoal grills made of thick cast aluminum and will NEVER rust. The fan base for PK Grills is smaller than Weber but they are just as fanatical.
It prepared a tender and juicy rack in just four hours, 30 minutes. In our chicken test it held a high temperature for longer than any other grill portable bbq in the lineup. The Napoleon Freestanding Charcoal Kettle Grill took the longest to set up, clocking in at an hour and five minutes of build time.
Over the course of two days, we put three charcoal grills through a battery of tests designed to demonstrate their qualities and highlight their differences. We cooked burgers on high heat to see how well the grills seared meat and how even and intense a heat they could generate across the whole grate surface. Then we slow-grilled cut-up chickens to see if our contenders could hold a low temperature evenly across the whole grate. Finally, we roasted whole chickens indirectly to see if the grills could create browned skin and perfectly cook meat without charring. Sam Sifton, editor for the Cooking section of The New York Times , joined us for these tests.