The Pros, the Cons, and the Facts About the 10 Best Built-In Charcoal Grills For 2020

Best Built In Charcoal Grills - The Grilling Life

Charcoal or propane? It’s a “heated” debate.

As the battle of the flame rages on, we’d like to share our point of view and some reviews of the 10 best built-in charcoal grills for 2020 with you.

Today’s charcoal grills have evolved to the likes of professional-grade models.

Charcoal grills have come a long way since the days of the small portable Hibachi seen on every truck’s tailgate in the stadium parking lot and the instantly recognizable kettle-shape of the Weber standing pridefully on the deck by the pool in the summertime.

Cooking over an open fire began about 1 million years ago. Wood was the common source of fuel, and lava rocks also kept a type of radiant heat in the fire pits, similar to today’s modern ceramic briquettes.

But the long-held tradition of cooking over an open wood-stoked flame would ultimately lead to the revolutionary charcoal grill in 1897.

33 years later, grillers would discover gas-powered grills. However, there is something ritualistic about piling a pyramid of charcoal briquettes, coal-stained fingers, dousing the black nuggets with fuel, lighting the pile, and sitting back with a cold beer, waiting to see the mesmerizing heatwaves trapped in the core, and watching them turn ashy.

And at that moment, when the coals are white-hot and can be separated and spread out evenly around the grill, a feeling washes over you. It’s a kind of respectful connectedness to all the open-flame grillers that came millenniums before you, and you know then it is time to set down the meats, and infuse that mouth-watering smoky aroma into your steaks, burgers, and chops.

A gas-powered grill may offer instant ignition gratification; however, the patience learned from using a traditional charcoal grill is the stuff of historical reverence when it comes to barbecuing.

As grilling continues to grow in popularity, so does the prospect of building an outdoor kitchen. The centerpiece of any outdoor kitchen is the grill. A built-in charcoal grill is a popular choice for barbecue lovers favoring the “ancestral” charcoal method.

Charcoal offers specific temperatures, as the heat can be moved where it is needed in the grill’s firebox. And using charcoal often costs less than gas-powered alternatives.

That said, we’ve done some in-depth research on the 10 best built-in charcoal grills for 2020.

In this article, we’ll share our findings, and speak to the pros and cons of each built-in charcoal grill in our reviews.

We’ll also share some important facts to consider when shopping for a built-in charcoal grill.

We want you to be as informed as possible. That way, when you’re ready to take the next step, you’ll know which built-in charcoal grill is right for you!

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Why This Guide Will Be Helpful For You

After reading this guide, you will be armed with all the information you’ll need to make an informed decision on your next purchase.  Consider this guide as a checklist for all the categories you should take into consideration before buying.
“As always, my goal is to save you time and money by doing all the research and testing for you, so you don’t have to.”

Choosing the perfect built in charcoal grill can be tough.  What should you look for in a good built in?  How much should you spend on the best products?  I’ll try to answer those questions, and several more, in the information below.

Because built-in charcoal grill inserts are becoming more common, it helps to pay attention to the details of each option and comparison shop before you make a final pick.

But with such a large number of products to choose from, it can still get confusing trying to decide which one best fits your needs, let alone your budget.  It all comes down to being informed on the different choices to help you decide which one is best for you.

That’s where I come in.

There is a broad range in prices depending on features and brands.  Using this guide, I am confident you will find exactly what you are looking for in a built-in charcoal grill for your outdoor living space.

This product overview acts as a buyer’s guide to ten of the best charcoal grill heads on the market today.

I’ll show you what features to look for, and give you several excellent options of built in charcoal grills with a wide range of prices along the way.  My choices are also backed by many strong experts and user reviews so you can count on them.

”Make sure to keep reading after the final review for a buyer’s guide to help you with your decision when it’s time to make your purchase.”

The Rating Criteria – How We Rate These Grills

We use the below expert rating criteria as we reviewed grills from brands we trust, use, and love.

The main criteria we took into consideration when reviewing these charcoal grill inserts are:

Value

There are common misconceptions about built-in charcoal grills. Just because a grill looks nice doesn’t mean its performance matches its looks.

If you’re on a budget and want the best value in a built-in charcoal grill, you have to make a few considerations to get your money’s worth.

Yes, you want something sleek and attractive. But what’s under the hood is what counts.

A quality built-in charcoal grill should match the multifunctionality of a finely crafted stovetop cooking vessel for maintaining and circulating heat. A Dutch oven, for example, is a quality cooking accessory because it perfectly distributes heat. It’s great for braising, baking, stewing, and deep-frying. It’s a reliable investment and a die-hard in the kitchen.

You should expect that quality from a built-in charcoal grill. It’s a workhorse, a substantial and considerable investment. Frankly, it’s one of the first pieces you’ll consider for your outdoor kitchen. You want excellent craftsmanship, helpful features, and perfect heat distribution.

And that’s the value you’ll get from a quality built-in charcoal grill. Its ability to have custom, adjustable heat zones across the grill’s surface allows you to grill, sear, bake, smoke, and rotisserie simultaneously!

You spend good money on excellent cuts of meat—a dependable built-in charcoal grill is integral to sustain the tastes of your edible investments.

The bottom line is that grills that we rate as having excellent value offer the best bang for your buck.

Design & Style

At first glance, built-in charcoal grills all seem to take on a similar appearance. A rectangular metal shape, a lid with a handle, and vents on the bottom, sides, or top.

The design elements in a built-in charcoal grill can be the difference between good barbecue and winning the championship. Lean in and look closely. Inspect the grill, like you would when purchasing a new car.

The best design elements of your built-in charcoal grill are there to assist you throughout the grilling experience.

Consider easy access for start-up features, temperature control, surface area, airflow management, and grill grates.

If you are considering expanding or building an outdoor kitchen, you’ll want to know what accessories are available to compliment your grill as your outdoor kitchen grows.

You’ll learn about some essential design elements about these features and more throughout our reviews.

Construction

As with any major appliance, the construction of a built-in charcoal grill is vital to your safety and the grill’s life. Here are some construction recommendations we consider essential when shopping for a built-in charcoal grill.

Is the grill made with 201 or 304 stainless steel? It can make a difference. Remember, we talked about heat distribution. Heat and steel are very compatible.

But while the popular 200 series stainless steel grills do have corrosion-free properties, the 300 series stainless steel constructed grills “resist oxidation, are an easier fabrication, clean mostly streak-free, and are high strength with low weight.”

On that note, look for solid stainless-steel construction. The grill should be all-welded, meaning the frame shows no gaps. This is important as shoddy welding causes gaps in the seaming which allows grease and moisture accumulation, which causes corrosion.

Consider functionality. You’ll be removing and replacing burgers, steaks, and veggies. Unless you want to hold the lid, a spring-assisted hood keeps the cover raised and out of the way and lets you work with both hands.

Innovation

Today’s built-in charcoal grills are a technological work of craftsmanship, engineering, and design. Many talents and teams collaborate and take every grilling experience as seriously as you do.

To ensure your safety and improve your grilling, a company that stands behind their grill products uses dedicated prototyping.

The concept of the built-in grill is continuously evaluated and upgraded. In-depth research backs up the grill’s performance, ensuring a lifetime of quality results.

After all, you want efficiency and expect quality. Your barbecue five years from now should taste as delicious as the first day you pulled steaks from that built-in charcoal grill.

You’ll experience the durability and performance of a quality built-in charcoal grill, knowing it’s been both heat tested for performance and chef tested to ensure excellent results for every type, cut, and size of meat.

Temperature Management

Unlike propane and gas grills, which have sophisticated temperature control settings, the distribution of radiant heat in a charcoal grill relies on two things: the amount of charcoal you place in the grill’s firebox and how long you wait to get the coals to the “perfect” temperature.

And when you do reach that optimal temperature, you typically have to work quicker than you would on a gas-powered grill.

So how do you manage the temperature on a built-in charcoal grill? We recommend you look for the following:

  • Easy-flow air temperature control vents – there is a point when you’re grilling with charcoal that the coals’ temperature is optimal. Leaving the hood closed as much as possible is essential. You may occasionally lift the hood to baste, but each time you open the grill’s hood, you’re releasing a massive amount of heat. Circular air vents allow you to adjust the airflow, which lowers the grill’s internal temperature.

 

  • Font-loading Fuel Access Door – lifting hot grill grates to add more charcoal or wood is challenging. Many of the built-in charcoal grills in this article have a drawbridge type door that opens on the grill’s front panel. This configuration allows you to safely add more wood or charcoal while you’re cooking without having to lift the grill grates or interrupt the cooking process.

Digital Thermometer

Most built-in grills feature an integrated analog thermometer. Some thermometers only indicate LOW-MED-HIGH, while others have detailed graduated temperature degrees in C° – F°.

A thermometer indicates the overall internal temperature of the coal’s radiant heat. A wireless digital thermometer for both the grill and the food you’re cooking are foolproof ways to get utterly delicious results every time.

Ease of Cleaning

Cleaning a charcoal grill is nobody’s favorite thing to do. We like the full-width easy-pull ash pans located at the bottom of the built-in charcoal grills we’ve reviewed.

The ash pan is a one-and-done solution that removes all of the leftover coals and ash left after the barbecued goodies come off the grill. If you have to lift the grates and scoop out the burned charcoal, it isn’t worth your time or money.

Plus, a drip tray or ash pan that collects everything also saves you from possible flare-ups since everything drops to the pan, so make sure you give the grill grates a thorough cleaning too, so you’re using only one pan to collect everything.

We’ll take a moment to call out the charcoal grill’s grates. The better the grill grates construction, the better the sear AND the ability to clean the grates without using a lot of elbow grease.

You will learn in our reviews about different manufacturer treatments that make the grates non-stick, which manufacturer’s don’t, and understand the importance of the grates spacing for easy cleaning.

Availability of Accessories

Ok, this is the fun part. We’ve discovered that grill manufacturers’ varying price points determine what accessories come with the grill and which accessories are separate.

One thing we can say for sure; much like buying a new vehicle, you start with a factory model and add features you want until you’ve created the perfect ride.

When you’re shopping for a built-in charcoal grill, the factory or stock model typically has the same solid welded construction, quality grill grates, and charcoal tray.

The Temperature Management and Ease of Cleaning recommendations we made should be standard features in the charcoal grill you’re purchasing. If not, keep shopping.

As you shop for the right built-in charcoal grill, think about what you want to cook that doesn’t touch down on the grill grates.

These are our must-have accessory recommendations:

Rotisserie Kit – 3 whole chickens or a whole prime rib slowly spinning over perfectly heated coals. Is there anything better? Look for a rotisserie kit from the manufacturer of the grill. A 40-pound or high torque motor is best, and be sure the kit includes the spit and the forks. Some rotisserie kits have a built-in halogen light. Although this rotisserie kit costs a little more, this is a 2-for-1 purchase if the charcoal grill doesn’t come with built-in halogen lights for nighttime grilling.

Drop-in Griddle – It makes sense to have a hot flat surface to cook food on. A drop in stainless steel griddle is excellent for the breakfast items, like pancakes and hashbrowns. Did we mention grilled cheese sandwiches or my favorite, Smash Burgers? Now we did!

Stainless Steel Pot Insert – Think griddle with a precision-cut hole in the middle. Soups and stews sit flush without touching the heat, keep foods warm or bring a pot of water to a boil for fresh, sweet corn on the cob or lobster tails!

Custom Fit Cover – An excellent idea to have if the grill remains outdoors year-round. Protect from inclement weather, dust, and critters.

Charcoal Chimney – An organized way to keep the coals compact and bypass the lighter fluid. Once the chimney coals are red hot, release them into the grill’s firebox and distribute them accordingly.

Charcoal Firestarter – The alternative to lighter fluid, this “curling iron looking” device works with infrared light and a fan and blows an intense blast of heat onto the coals until they spark and light. 

You’ll find many other grilling accessories, like spatulas, grilling baskets, tongs, forks, skewers, clip-on lights, dry rubs, marinades, and insulated jackets to protect the grill. Visit the manufacturer’s websites for more information on various accessories.

You’ll discover some awesome accessory options for each grill in the reviews.

Customer Service

When you don’t know, where do you go? To the people that do know. Nothing beats fantastic customer support.

From the early stages when you’re shopping built-in charcoal grills, when you’re measuring the cut out for the grill to fit, and having fun collecting all the accessories and other appliances and add-ons, a knowledgeable, helpful, and accessible customer support team is essential.

In each of our reviews, we spell out different ways to reach the grill company’s support network and how customers have responded to that support.

Warranty And Company Reputation

This brings us to the warranty. A reputable grill manufacturing company that stands behind the quality and durability should offer the best warranty available.

Warranties can range from 1-year to a lifetime. Know your warranty and register your grill with the manufacturer before the first barbecue.

Although it seems arbitrary, it is essential to read the fine print. Ask questions to make sure you know what parts of your grill are covered under warranty. These include the burners, body and air vent covers, and what may be covered under a limited warranty, like a rotisserie motor.

Warranty information is included in all of our reviews.

Real User Feedback And Reviews

Who better to tell you, besides us, how a built-in charcoal grill performs than the barbecue enthusiast that owns the grill!

While the warranty certainly stands behind the manufacturer’s promises, it’s the real user feedback that puts the proof in the pudding.

Grillers are transparent and tell it straight. If a review says, “best grill ever,” or “the attention to detail on this grill makes it the best value around,” best believe, it’s coming from a user excited to share their opinion. To pass along some nuggets of wisdom, so you are well informed about your built-in charcoal grill purchase.

We share the pros and cons of each grill in our reviews and constructive and helpful user reviews and feedback.

The Top 10 Best Built In Charcoal Grills

Using the above criteria, I’ve compiled a list of the 10 best built in charcoal grill inserts to act as a guide.

The list includes a variety of grills, prices, sizes, and features. You should always do your own due diligence, however.  Don’t be swayed by pushy salespeople and never buy a grill on-sight.

On to my picks for 2020!

“Editor’s Choice – Best Built-In Charcoal Grill For 2020”

#1 Cajun Grill Preaux 36-Inch Built-In Stainless Steel Charcoal Grill

Editors’ Choice
Cajun Grill Preaux 36-Inch Built-In Stainless Steel Charcoal Grill - Best Built In Charcoal Grills

🔥HOT FEATURES:

✅ Heavy-duty 16 gauge 304 stainless steel construction

✅ Double-walled 304 stainless steel hood

✅ Two 12 gauge independent adjustable height charcoal baskets

✅ Two control arms for raising or lowering charcoal baskets

✅ Two swivel air vents for controlling heat

✅ Removable 304 stainless steel ash pan

 

We’ll use this sentence to thank Percy Guidry for his blacksmithing skills. What began as a simple business in 1945, making iron tools and horseshoes, has grown into a reputable company focused on producing the finest built-in charcoal grills.

Percy’s son, inspired by his father’s love of crafting with metal, built a stainless steel charcoal grill for his father’s birthday. So moved by this gift, Percy and his son would work to revolutionize charcoal grills for 55 years. Their work paid off and the Cajun Grill was born.

The time-honored tradition of Percy’s professional blacksmithing skills are built into every Cajun Grill. The Preaux 36-in built-in charcoal grill is welded using 16 gauge 304 solid stainless steel.

Cajun Grill Preaux 36-in charcoal grill measures 36¼” W x 24″ D x 30″ H and weighs 150 pounds.

Lift the dual-walled stainless steel hood with a built-in analog thermometer and discover 748 square inches of grilling surface area; enough space to grill 33 hamburgers.

Two removable electropolished 304 stainless steel grilling grids measure 34″ x 22″ and make excellent sear marks to capture the best flavors.

Place your charcoal, or wood, in the two 12 gauge stainless steel V-shaped adjustable perforated charcoal baskets. Bottom line, we love this feature. Here’s why…

Using the two vertical control arms on the grill’s front panel lets you raise and lower the charcoal baskets in 7 different positions.

Controlling the height of the charcoal baskets lets you create separate cooking zones. Grill hearty steaks and delicate shrimp and vegetables simultaneously. What a fantastic feature!

Two dual combustion air vents allow you to control the temperature while you’re grilling. Swivel the circular stainless steel vent cover to control the airflow into the charcoal baskets.

Two additional exhaust vents built into the hood offer additional temperature control. When you’re done grilling, pull out the full-width ash pan for easy cleanup.

Consider these Cajun Grill accessories to help you take the barbecue to the next level.

Rotisserie Kit – includes a 40-pound capacity motor, forks, spit rods, and brackets. Food spins in the middle of the grill capturing the best 360° radiant heat.

Stainless Steel Pot Holder Insert – grill your shrimp, sausage on one side, then add it to the steaming pot of Gumbo you’ve got warming on the other side!

Cajun Grill Spatula – Unique design fits between the cooking grids so you can easily flip your burgers. And it doubles as a scraper!

The Cajun Grill Preaux 36-in built-in charcoal grill is not a commercial-grade, multi-user grill.

Unfortunately, this grill does not come with built-in lights for nighttime grilling, and the hood doesn’t have a spring-assisted feature to lock it in place while you’re grilling.

The manufacturer recommends ONLY installing this grill in a non-combustible cabinet. If you have any questions about the grill, Cajun Grill’s customer support is super knowledgeable and happy to help.

Your Cajun Grill Preaux 36-Inch Built-In Stainless Steel Charcoal Grill is covered with a lifetime warranty from the date of purchase.

Want a free-standing version of this grill? Ask about the stainless steel cart with locking casters. And while you’re at it, consider the Combeaux Smoker and Charcoal Grill duo.

PROs

Made in the USA

Heavy-duty construction, built exceptionally well

Ability to create heat zones to cook at different temperatures

Has useful optional accessories

304 stainless steel cooking grates

Best-in-class Lifetime Warranty

CONS

Hood doesn’t have a spring-assisted feature

Does not come with built-in lights for nighttime grilling

“Best Buy – Best Built-In Charcoal Grill”

#2 Blaze 32-Inch Built-In Stainless Steel Charcoal Grill

Best Buy
Blaze 32-Inch Built-In Stainless Steel Charcoal Grill - Best Built In Charcoal Grills

🔥HOT FEATURES:

✅ Heavy-duty 304 stainless steel construction

✅ Double-lined grill hood

✅ 304 stainless steel rod cooking grates

✅ Easy hook and hang system on the cooking grates

✅ Adjustable rear vents for more control over the airflow

✅ Full-width pull out ash pan

 

Blaze makes amazing grills that “smoke the competition.” And the 32-inch built in charcoal grill is impressive. Blaze uses precision cut 304 solid stainless steel for lasting durability.

This grill measures 32½” W x 28” D x 21¼” H and weighs 114 pounds. You’ll grill 24 hamburgers at once on 550 square inches of grilling surface area.

The double-lined hood prevents discoloration and maintains heat, like a convection oven when the lid is closed.

Use the easy “hook & hang” system to lift any of the four individual cooking grids to hang it on a hook built into the lid. Easily add more wood or charcoal while you’re grilling. A combination of wood and charcoal is recommended.

The large round cooking grids will give your meats and vegetables deliciously impressive sear marks.

The Blaze doesn’t offer you the ability to make separate heat zones using separate charcoal trays, but the full-width adjustable perforated charcoal tray lets you control the height of the tray to the ratio of the charcoal. Turn the handle on the front panel higher for seared steaks and lower for your vegetables and delicate fish fillets.

Clean up is a breeze; just pull out the full-width ash pan built in at the base.

Want a free-standing version of this grill? For around $465 more you can make that happen.

These accessories take your charcoal grilling adventure to the next level:

  • Pro Smoker Steamer – get the best smoked flavor. Use dry or add the liquid tray to ramp up the flavors.
  • 4-in-1 stainless steel cooking plate – keep your pots and dutch ovens filled with stews and soups warm, griddle pancakes and hashbrowns, it’s more durable than a pizza stone, and use the plate for heat deflection.
  • Custom grill cover – protect your investment from inclement weather.

The Blaze 32-Inch Built-In Stainless Steel Charcoal Grill does not have lights for night time grilling, and the hood doesn’t have a spring-assisted latch to stay open.

Blaze offers a lifetime warranty and offers terrific customer support.

Customers love this grill. After shopping for a charcoal grill with all the features they wanted, Blaze answered the call and offered the best price!

For an additional $465, you can place your Blaze 32-inch charcoal grill on a freestanding cart.

PROs

Built to last

Great features at this price point

Very easy to add charcoal or wood

Has useful optional accessories

Outstanding customer service

Very affordably priced; best in class lifetime warranty

CONS

Hood doesn’t have a spring-assisted feature

Does not come with built-in lights for nighttime grilling

“Top Pick – Best Built-In Charcoal Grill”

#3 Coyote 36-Inch Built-In Stainless Steel Charcoal Grill

Top Pick
Coyote 36-Inch Built-In Stainless Steel Charcoal Grill - Best Built In Charcoal Grills

🔥HOT FEATURES:

✅ 304-grade stainless steel construction

✅ Double-lined grill hood

✅ Continuously hand-welded grill boxes

✅ Adjustable fuel tray

✅ Front-loading charcoal drawer

✅ Adjustable air dampers for controlling airflow

✅ Integrated wind guard

✅ Full-width drip tray

Coyote builds grills that make outdoor living more fun and enrich lives; because grilling sparks creativity and provides a “source of comfort and relaxation”. We couldn’t agree more!

The Coyote 36-inch built-in stainless steel charcoal grill is designed with 18-gauge, 304 solid stainless steel.

This Coyote charcoal grill measures 35½” W x 25½” D x 23″ H.

Grill 33 burgers on 875 square inches of grilling surface area. Use charcoal, wood, or a combination of both to create the perfect radiant heat.

Adjustable dampers built into the back of the grill’s body control airflow, which helps you control the coals’ temperature.

The built-in analog thermometer is easy to read and gives you the exact temperature as you cook.

The double-lined stainless steel construction keeps the outer part of the hood from discoloring and corroding.

Add charcoal and wood by pulling the easy-rolling fuel tray. No more lifting the grates and adding coals or wood from the top of the grill.

Coyote might look like a standard grill, but it’s performance and construction are noted as being what makes this grill the best. We agree with those customer’s comments!

You can add signature Coyote options and accessories to make your charcoal grill more versatile.

Laser-cut signature grates – create a better-heated surface area, airflow, and heat penetration to your food.

14″ stainless steel drop in griddle – because breakfast for dinner!

Customer fit cover – because it rains!

Coyote signature 20# bag hardwood lump charcoal – the flavor you want.

Welded stainless steel cart – make you barbecue a mobile adventure.

This grill doesn’t feature a built-in halogen light for outdoor grilling nor a handy spring-assisted hood latch. However, the cost of this grill allows you to add a few of the Coyote accessories for a great value.

Customers agree on one thing regarding the Coyote 36-Inch Built-In Stainless Steel Charcoal Grill: They love it!

The Coyote 36-inch charcoal grill is a built-in model only.

PROs

Construction is designed to endure the elements

Great cooking performance

Pull out tray makes it easy to add charcoal or wood while cooking

Good value for the money

CONS

Hood doesn’t have a spring-assisted feature

Does not come with built-in lights for nighttime grilling

“Top Pick – Best Built-In Charcoal Grill”

#4 Twin Eagles 30-Inch Built-In Stainless Steel Charcoal Grill

Top Pick
Twin Eagles 30-Inch Built-In Stainless Steel Charcoal Grill - Best Built In Charcoal Grills

🔥HOT FEATURES:

✅ 304 stainless steel offering quality construction

✅ Double-lined grill hood

✅ Adjustable height charcoal tray

✅ Three easy to use air temperature control vents

✅ Front access charcoal tray

✅ 3/8 inch stainless steel hexagonal cooking grates

✅ Full-width pull out ash pan

Twin Eagle builds their grills in “honor of the backyard purist.” Start the marinating!

This solid stainless steel welded charcoal grill is a moderate 200 pounds and measures 30” W x 29.6” D x 26/4” H.

Three large circular easy-flow air temperature control vents allow you to control the amount of smoke and temperature as the coals or wood perfect your food’s flavors.
Use the easy-to-read integrated analog thermometer for precise cooking temperatures.

A drawbridge style access door on the front of the grill allows you to fuel up the grill while cooking. This unique design keeps your hands away from the flames and helps you “manage the subtle mechanics of the charcoal artform.”

Turn a large, well-constructed crank handle to adjust the charcoal tray; up to get the perfect sear, down for low and slow to lock in the juices.

The durable double-lined grill keeps the outer layer from discoloring.

Now for the best part: grilling! Rest your burgers, steaks, chops, and salmon fillet planks on ⅜” hexagonal cooking grates. Food makes more contact, and you get Steakhouse quality grill marks.

When the coals have cooled, pull out the full-width ash pan for easy clean up after grilling.

Twin Eagles 30-inch built-in charcoal grill isn’t equipped with a light for nighttime grilling and doesn’t have a spring-assisted hood latch. This model is not a commercial multi-user grill.

We recommend these Twin Eagles accessories to protect your charcoal grill and make breakfast outdoors.

Custom-fit vinyl cover

• Stainless steel griddle plate

The Twin Eagles 30-inch built-in charcoal grill comes with a comprehensive lifetime warranty.

It is a substantial investment, but it is a bit on the pricier side; however, for the price you pay for this well-constructed grill, you’ll agree with the consumer’s who say on the 1-10 scale that this grill gets a 10 for construction, durability, features and temperature control.

Twin Eagles 30-inch charcoal grill is a built-in model only.

PROs

Made in the USA

Beautiful looking and well-designed grill

Excellent temperature control

Very good warranty

CONS

On the expensive side

Does not come with built-in lights or spring-assisted hood

“Best Buy – Best Built-In Charcoal Grill”

#5 Turbo 32-Inch Built-In Stainless Steel Charcoal Grill

Best Buy
Turbo 32-Inch Built-In Stainless Steel Charcoal Grill - Best Built In Charcoal Grills

🔥HOT FEATURES:

✅ Durable 304 stainless steel construction

✅ Heavy-duty stainless-steel grates and warming rack

✅ 6-inch height-adjustable charcoal tray

✅ Unique handle crank design

✅ Dual airflow control vents

✅ Slide-out ash tray for easier cleanup

 

For 30 years, Barbecue’s Galore has manufactured grills’ blending form, function, and value.” And the quality construction is a definite callout.

Barbecue’s Galore Turbo uses only quality 304 solid stainless steel construction. The 32-inch built-in charcoal grill measures 32.5″ W x 23.75″ D x 23.25″ H and weighs 150 pounds.

Adjustable circular hood vents let you control the airflow for perfect temperature control.

Achieve 6″ height adjustability by turning the beautifully crafted handle. Raise or lower the coal tray for perfect grilling.

A built-in analog thermometer in the grill’s lid lets you get to just the right cooking temperatures, as you cook on 740 square inches of grilling surface area. A generous warming rack keeps vegetables and delicate foods warm without over-cooking.

There are three downsides to purchasing this grill: it doesn’t have nighttime grilling lights, a spring-assisted hood latch, nor recommended as a commercial-grade multi-user grill.

The grill doesn’t have or let you accessorize folding side panels, a rotisserie kit, or build-in with an insulated jacket. Barbecue’s Galore recommends not building the grill into an outdoor kitchen space with ANY combustible material.

Many happy customers highly recommend their Turbo 32-inch built-in charcoal grill and have owned one for 10+ years.

One recurring theme in the grill reviews is a struggle to retrofit an insulated jacket that does fit the cutout dimensions. Several users feel the grill provides poor airflow control.

The affordable Barbecue’s Galore Turbo charcoal grill comes with a full 1-year warranty from the purchase date; stainless steel components are covered for three years, while all other parts, two years.

Notable addon’s include”

• Copper Wok, Skillet, or Basket – Grill a simultaneous smorgasbord!

• Charcoal chimney starter – Take the guesswork out of igniting the coals.

• Flexible barbecue basket – Grill anything with this wonderful accessory.

• Rib roast rack – Better when that roast comes off the grill than out of the oven.

• Grill Topper – Keep the shrimp from falling between the grates!

• Pizza Stone – Pizza on the grill is a trend growing in popularity!

• Bacon grilling rack – no explanation needed!

Check out the Barbecue’s Galore BBQ Learning Center or talk to their friendly customer service department when you need professional and courteous assistance.
Set you Turbo on a free-standing cart for an additional purchase.

PROs

Well know and trusted brand

Easy to use

Built to last

Very affordably price

CONS

Burns hot

Warranty could be better

#6 Luxor 42-Inch Built-In Charcoal Grill

Luxor 42-Inch Built-In Charcoal Grill - Best Built In Charcoal Grills

🔥HOT FEATURES:

✅ 304 stainless steel build

✅ Crank lift to adjust charcoal pan

✅ Charcoal access door

✅ Solid 3/8″ Dia. Stainless Steel rod cooking grills

✅ Removable ash pan

The Luxor 42-in built-in charcoal grill is as commercial as a charcoal grill gets. And you can choose the grill with a hood or pay around $300 less for the same outstanding quality for the grill without a hood.

Like our other reviews in this class, the Luxor uses only welded 304 stainless steel. You won’t see a single seem in the construction.

The main grilling surface measures 490 square inches, and the large, deep warming rack measures 240 square inches, for a total of 730 generous square inches to cook.

Add charcoal and wood using the wide charcoal access door on the front panel of the grill. Turn the stainless steel handle to raise and lower the charcoal tray.

Generous ⅜” diameter cooking grids are solid stainless steel for superior grill marks.

The clip-on halogen light and rotisserie kit are optional purchases, and we recommend them for outdoor grilling and impressing the neighbors with your excellent Prime Rib grilling skills.

See temperatures at a glance with the large integrated analog thermometer. And when you’re done grilling, pull on the sturdy removable ash pan for a quick clean up.

Luxor’s focus is perfecting the outdoor kitchen, so other than the rotisserie kit and the clip-on halogen light, look to Luxor for a wide range of impeccably tasteful and complimentary outdoor kitchen accessories to complete your dream barbecue party space.

Luxor customer service is a professional as it gets, and their design team can help you figure out how to fit your new 42-inch charcoal grill into any space you want!

The extended warranty includes lifetime on material and workmanship, five years on interior/exterior parts and drip pan, and one-year for ancillary components.

Check out the Luxor free-standing version available for an additional purchase.

PROs

Well designed and built grill

Easy to add charcoal and wood while cooking

Extended warranty is great

Great customer service

CONS

The rotisserie kit and the clip-on halogen light are separate purchases

Does not have a spring-assisted hood

#7 Fire Magic Legacy 30-Inch Built-In Smoker Charcoal Grill

Fire Magic Legacy 30-Inch Built-In Smoker Charcoal Grill - Best Built In Charcoal Grills

🔥HOT FEATURES:

✅ 304 stainless steel construction

✅ Heavy-duty stainless smoker hood

✅ 304 Stainless Steel cooking grids

✅ Adjustable charcoal tray for direct or indirect heating

✅ Easy access front door for loading charcoal while cooking

✅ Adjustable Air vents for temperature control

While researching the Fire Magic Legacy 30-inch Built-in Smoker Charcoal Grill, we uncovered some impressive proprietary features to make the flavors of the food pop, turning your grilling adventures into memorable occasions.

For starters, this grill is very affordable. If you end up liking what our research uncovered about this grill, you can schedule a virtual consultation with Fire Magic from the comfort of your home!

The Fire Magic Legacy 30-in Built-in Smoker and Charcoal Grill is 304 solid stainless steel, measures 32¼” W x 19¾” D x 25” W and weighs 165 pounds.

As you lift the spring-assisted hood, the 12” deep warming rack remains flat, so there are no worries of already cooked or delicate food dropping onto a hot grill or in between the grates.

The cooking grates are an outstanding feature of this grill. Using Diamond Sear technology, the 540 square foot cooking surface uses Fire Magic’s patent design.

Unlike the conventional round or hexagonal thinner grates, the wide, flat stainless steel bars on the Fire Magic Legacy measure .35” wide and cover 1½ of the total cooking surface area. For context, that thickness is the same as five quarters stacked together.

Control the sear, and the low and slow, with the charcoal tray adjustability, use the crank handle at the front of the grill.

Control the internal temperature using the built-in adjustable hood vents.

Need more heat? The drawbridge-style door with extra-large handle lets you add more coals and heat without lifting the grill grates.

This design is unique as it optimally transfers heat to more surface area on the food faster and provides a more even sear. If that wasn’t enough, the steel bars are supported structurally by heavy-duty cross rods. Solid grilling!

Impressive still? The grill bars are bead-blasted, a technique that leaves the surface a matte, non-stick surface.

As you transfer the 24 hamburgers simultaneously cooking on the grill’s surface, you can use the charcoal smoking shield to add delicate foods and control the amount of heat to the warming rack.

Fire Magic offers a best-in-class lifetime warranty, and you can purchase a rolling cart with locking casters to make your Fire Magic a freestanding charcoal grill portable!

PROs

Low learning curve. Very easy to use

Gets hot fast

Very fuel-efficient

Maintains heat very well

Best-in-class lifetime warranty

CONS

Not easy to shutdown causing all the coals to burn to ash

Does not have a spring-assisted hood

#8 Hasty-Bake The Hastings Built-In Charcoal Grill

Hasty-Bake The Hastings Built-In Charcoal Grill - Best Built In Charcoal Grills

🔥Top Features:

✅ Stainless steel construction

✅ Rollback Hood Design

✅ Stainless steel cooking grids

✅ Two Individually Controlled Fireboxes

✅ Adjustable charcoal trays

✅ Double doors on front for easy charcoal loading

✅ Dual Thermometers Guaranteed to be within 99% Accurate

 

The Hastings built-in charcoal grill has a lofty price tag, but what you’re ultimately paying for is a mighty charcoal grill.

The body and hood, and the grill grates are 304 16- and 18- gauge stainless steel. The coal tray and fireboxes are 304 12- and 18-gauge stainless steel, respectively.

Measurement-wise, you’re looking at a 44” W x 21” D x 34.5” H grill that weighs 225 pounds.

Did we say fireboxes? We sure did. Hastings is unique for a few reasons. For starters, it offers a whopping 1,194 square inches of grilling surface area, which includes a warming rack large enough to hold large cuts of meat.

Grill up to 36 hamburgers at once on a 42” x 19” cooking grid.

This dual firebox design lets you light separate quantities of coal or wood for controlled heating—veggies on one side, meats on the other, simultaneously. No more keeping the steaks and burgers warm while the second round of zucchini, onions, and corn are grilling.

Two handles on the front of the grill, work the individual coal trays.

The hood on The Hastings rolls back and stays open for uninterrupted cooking. Two analog thermometers are built into the hood and are guaranteed to be 99% accurate.

Add a well-made rotisserie kit for approximately $170, and a custom-fit grill cover will cost an additional $200.

Enjoy 10-year parts and workmanship warranty.

Customers say that buying the Hasty-Bake The Hastings Built-In Charcoal Grill was an “easy decision,” and some users say that they had owned a smaller Hasty-Bake charcoal grill model and upgraded to the larger square footage model because it “just made sense.” We support that way of thinking! More food!

The Hasty-Bake The Hastings charcoal model is available as a built-in grill and has a free-standing cart option.

PROs

Very well built and durable grill

Efficient use of charcoal

Maintains heat for long periods

Ability to create heat zones to cook at different temperatures

CONS

Warranty is not the best on this list

Rotisserie kit is sold separately

#9 Hasty-Bake Fiesta Built-In Charcoal Grill

Hasty-Bake Fiesta Built-In Charcoal Grill - Best Built In Charcoal Grills

🔥HOT FEATURES:

✅ Stainless Steel Construction

✅ 20-gauge hood with 3/16 inch tempered glass window

✅ Stainless steel cooking grids

✅ Adjustable charcoal tray

✅ Door in the front for easy charcoal access

This Hasty-Bake model has the word Fiesta aka PARTY in its name. The unique design of this charcoal grill may just be the life of all your outdoor barbecue parties!

It is also very affordable.

Similar to The Hastings, the Hasty-Bake Fiesta body and grill grates are all 18-gauge, 304 polished solid stainless steel.

The adjustable charcoal tray is shaped like a deep baking pan and made of 18-gauge stainless steel, the fire box is 12-gauge. The gill measurements are 30⅛” W x 21” D x 36” H. The Hasty-Bake Fiesta weighs 135 pounds.

The generous removable warming rack practically measures the depth of the grill. The total grilling surface area is 834 square inches, the primary grilling area, 523 square inches.

The cooking grid is slightly concave, allowing the juices to run down and into the charcoal tray. Cleaning the Fiesta is super easy.

What makes this charcoal grill so different? It has a window! A bi-fold lid consisting of two parts – a 20-gauge stainless steel rectangular plate, and a 3/16” tempered glass panel.

When you open the window section to access the food; the stainless steel plate acts as a “roof” to capture the steam and redistribute it as flavor back into the food as it cooks. Both pieces fold back if you want to gain access above the grill grates.

When the window is closed, though, guests are sure to gather around to watch the food (like bread baking in an oven) cook without the scorching heat blasting up into their faces. We can already hear the Oohs and Aahs.

The Hasty-Bake Fiesta doesn’t have internal halogen lights for nighttime grilling, but with that window, we’re pretty sure seeing the food, backlit by those toasty embers won’t be a problem.

Enjoy the Hasty-Bake 10-year parts and workmanship warranty.

The Hasty-Bake Fiesta charcoal is built-in only, no free-standing version is available.

PROs

Same quality craftsmanship of there stand-alone model

Unique airflow system

Maintains heat well

Ability to see your food while cooking without opening the lid

CONS

Warranty is not the best on this list

Single lined hood

#10 Cal Flame G-Charcoal 31-Inch Built-In Charcoal BBQ Grill

Cal Flame G-Charcoal 31-Inch Built-In Charcoal BBQ Grill - Best Built In Charcoal Grills

🔥HOT FEATURES:

✅ Stainless Steel Construction

✅ Signature Cal Flame heavy-duty V-patterned grates

✅ Height adjustable charcoal tray

✅ Front splash guard with vent

✅ Full-width drip tray

Rounding out our top 10 best built-in charcoal grills of 2020, we have the Cal Flame 31-inch charcoal grill that has an attractive price tag and offers a few bangs for the buck.

The grill measures 31.75″” W x 23″” D x 22.4″” H, and weighs a mere 124 pounds.

The Cal Flame is the only grill in our review constructed with solid 430 solid stainless steel. This steel has a more robust chemical composition, which makes it indestructible and 100% corrosive-free.

Open the dual-lined hood with the full-width solid stainless steel handle to find proprietary V-shaped grill grates, which can simultaneously handle 24 hamburgers on 800 square inches of grilling surface area.

Use the 2-position full-width warming rack for tenting your ribeyes while you throw on some portobello mushrooms and Tiger prawns.

Check the temperature with the impressive extra-large analog thermometer.

Crank the charcoal tray up to sear and down to heat with the built-in easy-turn handle crank.

A full-width drip tray glides smoothly on rollers to make clean up a breeze. The grill’s front upper panel has a vented splash guard, so you won’t be wearing any of the marinade or splashback while the food sizzles away.

Take it up a notch with these Cal Flame accessories:

• Smoker Box

• Flat Griddle Insert

• Custom Fit Cover

• Pizza Brick – this is probably one of the most coveted accessories for all barbecue fans on the market today. Pick one up or gift one. Who doesn’t love wood-fired pizza?

Accessory ALERT!

• Deep Fryer Set – this is an unbelievably cool accessory. A deep drop-in pan to hold the oil and two fray baskets to make tempura vegetables and french fries while you’re grilling hotdogs and hamburgers. Check with the manufacturer for specifications.

Cal Flame offers a 10-year warranty on all of their charcoal grill models. You’ll get one of the most impressive customer support teams in the grilling business when you contact Cal Flame for any reason.

Customers are unanimous about this grill. Grillers chose the Cal Flame G-Charcoal 31-Inch Built-In Charcoal BBQ Grill over the more expensive competitor’s charcoal grill and found that it was just as reliable and grilled meat and vegetables as good if not better than the gas-powered grills at twice the cost.

This Cal Flame charcoal is built-in only; no free-standing version is available.

PROs

Plenty of accessory options makes this a very versatile grill

Adjustable charcoal tray for controlling the heat

If it’s looks you’re after, this is a very attractive grill

Plenty of cooking space

CONS

Made with 430-grade stainless steel, not 403 grade

Not as easy to control the heat like most other grills in the price range

You must remove the grates to add additional charcoal

Buyers Guide – What To Look For In A Built In Charcoal Grill

At the top of our 10 Best Built-In Charcoal Grills article, we mentioned several essential factors that we think are paramount to achieving the best barbecue results.

While these factors mostly revolved around how the grill provides heat, we’d like to expand on a few more topics, so you know what important features to look for in a built-in charcoal grill.

Multiple Charcoal Trays To Create Separated Heat Zones

Gas-powered grills have continued to evolve to include heat zone separation features.

We were delighted to discover that several of the top 10 best built-in charcoal grills for 2020 we reviewed are following suit and having multiple coal trays – operated by individual handle cranks and stainless steel separation panels.

Better to have the ability to section off different heat zones in the grill to provide simultaneous cooking options. Having this option saves time and money and gets most, if not all, the food on the table at once.

A Safe And Easy Way To Add Charcoal Or Wood While You’re Grilling

Adding raw materials to the grill to stoke the fire should be seamless and safe.

If you’re lifting the grill grates to add more charcoal and wood, make sure that the grill has a built-in hook-and-latch system. Hang the grill grate safely on a hook inside the lid, then add the extra briquettes.

Many of the grills we reviewed have a front-loading drawbridge style door that pulls open, allowing you to add additional charcoal or wood from the front. This type of fuel control system doesn’t interrupt the grilling process and is safer.

SAFETY FIRST: NEVER add a flammable liquid accelerant to burning coals.

At A Minimum, A Lifetime Warranty

Lifetime warranties should cover manufacturer defects, the body, hood, and all major components of the grill.

If a lifetime warranty isn’t an option, reach out to the manufacturer first before purchasing the grill. Ask WHAT is covered and for HOW LONG. If any part of a warranty says, “all other parts are covered for XZ years,” ask what parts are explicitly covered.

Reading reviews can give you clues about the warranty. It isn’t uncommon for users to write about how long they’ve owned the grill and frustrations behind parts failing unexpectedly.
To err is human, but if you take the time to get to know your “peers,” you’ll learn a lot about their experience with the grill, the PROS, and CONS, helping you make an informed decision before pulling out the credit card.

Built In Charcoal Grills FAQ

User Tips And Product Care Guide For Your Built In Grill

Does A Built-In Charcoal Grill Cost Less Than A Built-In Gas Grill?

Yes, typically, a built-in charcoal grill costs less than a built-in gas grill. With a built-in charcoal grill, you’re trading flavor, and the ability to burn hotter temperatures for optimal smoking and searing for the many accessories, and the quick convenience of igniting and cooking on a gas grill.

You’ll find some fun accessories to complement your built-in charcoal grill, so don’t shy away from purchasing a rotisserie kit or drop-in griddle. You’ll still pay less than a built-in gas grill.

Is An Insulated Jacket For My Built-In Charcoal Grill Necessary?

Short answer, yes.

Beyond the delicious results, built-in charcoal grilling includes a fair amount of safety protocols. A built-in charcoal grill, for lack of a better explanation, is an open fire pit. Some investigation is required with any outdoor cooking space and configuration before installing the charcoal grill and lighting the coals.

An insulated jacket is a specially manufactured metal casing that the grill fits into, like a cold hand in a wool glove. The job of an insulated jacket is three-fold: it keeps the area around the charcoal grill cool, from warping or catching fire, shields other appliances from excessive heat, and protects the bottom of the grill from corrosion and rust.

How Far Away From The House Should A Built-In Charcoal Grill Be Placed?

Keep a charcoal grill 10 feet from the side of the house, garage, railings, steps, and shrubbery. Unlike ceramic briquettes and controlled gas flames, lit coals and embers can travel out of the coal tray at the slightest gust of wind.

The bottom line: give yourself plenty of distance. Typically, you need about 30 charcoal briquettes per pound of meat, and the flame shouldn’t be that big that it’s noticeable from space.

How Often Does A Charcoal Grill Need To Be Cleaned?

Ideally, after every barbecue. For two significant reasons. A dirty grill can affect the taste of your food, and a dirty grill can cause unnecessary flare-ups that scorch the food and burn you while you’re cooking.

Thoroughly clean the grill’s grates, and keep the ash pan free of soot. One blast of breeze into your face from a soot-filled ash pan while you’re grilling, and we bet you’ll make sure that the grill is clean every single time.

How Does A Built-In Charcoal Grill Compare To A Built-In Gas Grill?

You have much more control over specific temperatures with a gas grill, and the choice of a few accessories that don’t work with a charcoal grill.

However, gas grills burn cooler. Charcoal grills have better smoking capabilities and usually impart better flavors, especially if you’re grilling with wood or a combination of charcoal and wood chips. Potatoes and corn, wrapped in foil, can be placed directly into the coals, and you can sear in seconds on the smoking hot surface area of a charcoal grill.

Fun Fact: Gas grills produce more steam; charcoal grills burn hotter.

Also, charcoal grills are a favorite choice for the die-hard outdoor cooking types that respect the low and slow cooking style and want to build personalized heat control from scratch instead of pushing an ignition button and turning a dial.

Are There Different Ways To Light Charcoal?

Yes, charcoal can be lit using lighter fluid and kindling or newspaper or a Charcoal Chimney Starter.

The charcoal chimney has a handle and allows you to stack the coals in the cylinder and light them all at once. The coals are compacted into the chimney and will burn faster, quicker, and more evenly.

Use lighter cubes, or wadded newspaper. Light the combustible and place the charcoal chimney directly over the flame. When the coals have reached optimal temperature, flip the chimney using the handle, and distribute them across the grill’s coal tray.

Here’s a previous write up on How To Use A Charcoal Chimney Starter that may be helpful.

How Is Heat Regulated In A Charcoal Grill?

A charcoal grill should have adjustable air vents in the hood and base. Adjustable airflow vents are the equivalent of turning the temperature gauge on a gas-powered grill.

A single hand-cranked coal tray allows you to raise the coals towards the food for direct heating, lower the coals for delicate foods, finish cooking, and create even radiant heat throughout the grill box. Bonus if the built-in charcoal grill has two separate coal trays operated by two individual hand cranks.

Simultaneously grilling hearty and delicate foods on a charcoal grill, without moving the hot coals around in the grill box, is truly an innovative feature and takes out the guesswork of finding optimal coal temperatures.

Final Thoughts On Buying The Best Built-In Charcoal Grill

Grilling is all about balance. The amount of marinade, the proximity to the flame, the time it takes for each side of the thick and robust foods to sear, and the delicate morsels to achieve their peak flavors. It’s a dance between the griller and the flame.

There is something extraordinary about traditional charcoal or wood-fueled barbecues. The air permeates with the lingering aromas of childhood. The food infuses with one of the most recognizably popular flavors and textures in culinary history.

If you’re considering a built-in charcoal grill, then looking closer at each grill on this list is a must!

We hope you’ve enjoyed our reviews of the top 10 best built-in charcoal grills for 2020.

We’ll end with a quote from chef and author, Barton Seaver. And while there are so many fun and exciting ways to barbecue, we think his words sum up why you should consider one of our picks from our top 10 best built-in charcoal grills of 2020 buyer’s guide.

“While there are many varieties of grills, each with their virtues to be sure, I prefer the standard [charcoal] grill. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you need fancy gadgets to take advantage of cooking over a live fire. Just a good set of tongs and you’re set.”

Happy grilling!

Best Built In Charcoal Grills - The Grilling Life

Now It’s Your Turn

I want to hear from you:

Which brand of gas grill have you used before?

Have you used any of the gas grill brands listed above and have any feedback to share?

What features do you typically like to see in a built-in grill?

Are you going to be purchasing a built-in grill in the future?  Or do you plan on looking at a pellet grill, smoker, standalone gas grill, or charcoal model?

Let me know by leaving a quick comment below.

If you still have questions, please feel free to send me a message.

Cheers,

Patrick

Disclosure At The Grilling Life, I am committed to researching and writing thoughtful, informative and editorially independent reviews of the best products for your outdoor cooking needs.  If you like what I do, you can support me through my chosen links, which earn me a commission.  This allows me to continue sharing with you my love for all things barbecue.  Your support is truly appreciated.


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