If you want to whip up the finest BBQ you and the missus have ever laid eyes on, then you’ll want a charcoal grill with a big old cast iron cooking grate.
These grills are the real deal. The cast iron grate holds the heat like a champ, cooking the meat nice and evenly and providing sear marks appealing enough to make any carnivore’s mouth water. But with so many brands and models on the market, it can be tough to find the right one for you.
Hold onto your horses, though! Because we’ve got your back as always. We’ve done the due diligence for you and rounded up the top charcoal grills with cast iron cooking grates. They are truly the cream of the crop, capable of cooking up the finest vittles you’ve ever tasted. See below.
Best Charcoal Grills With Cast Iron Grates
This charcoal grill is going to sear up the meanest steaks you've tasted thanks to its porcelain-enameled cast iron grates. And with 686 sq. in. of cooking space, it's got plenty of room to serve you well for a Sunday dinner or proper backyard cookout. It's sure to be a hit with all your friends and family.
This Dyna-Glo Heavy-Duty Charcoal Grill, our number one pick, is just the thing for all of you true-blue grillers out there. It’s built to last and heats up real nice, ensuring an even transfer of heat to your food.
With its powder-coated steel construction and porcelain-enameled cast iron cooking grates, you can trust this grill to handle all your grilling needs. And the porcelain-enameled steel-wire warming rack is just the cherry on top, keeping your cooked food warm while the rest is still sizzling.
And when it comes time to tend to the coals, the grates slide aside for easy access — and the cast iron coal access door allows you to rake and replenish without messing around with the food. Plus, the handle on this bad boy lets you adjust the height of the coal grate so you can get the most out of those embers, even if they’re starting to lose heat.
With 686 total sq. in. of cooking space, this grill provides plenty of room to grill up as many as 24 hamburgers at one time. So go on and fire up the Dyna-Glo Heavy-Duty Charcoal Grill; it performs as advertised and stands up to heavy-duty grilling.
This compact little grill here has heavy-duty steel construction and thick cast-iron grates for durability and a perfect sear. The height-adjustable charcoal tray allows for high heat or low and slow cooking. The ash pan makes clean-up a breeze.
Now this here Oklahoma Joe’s Rambler Tabletop Charcoal Grill is just the thing for those of you with limited space in the backyard, or for those who like to take their heavy-duty grill with them when tailgating or camping.
This small but mighty grill has a sturdy, thick-steel construction and thick cast iron grates that’ll deliver a superior sear to your meats. The height-adjustable charcoal tray lets you tweak the heat as needed, and the big air dampers make heat control a cinch.
When it comes time to clean up, the full-size, removable ash pan makes it a breeze. And with 217 sq. in. of cooking space, you’ll have a reasonable amount of room to cook up a storm, especially if you’re not cooking for a crowd.
So if you want a portable grill that’s built to last and can handle all your grilling needs, the Oklahoma Joe’s Rambler Tabletop Charcoal Grill might very well be the way to go.
If you're willing to pay up, this kamado charcoal grill is gonna deliver. It'll sear your meat to perfection and cook it low and slow thanks to its thick grate and superior insulation. It's a top-notch choice for all you grill masters out there.
If you’re in the market for a kamado grill that’s built to last, look no further than the Broil King KEG 5000. This grill has a durable steel base and metallic charcoal paint finish, and its excellent heat insulation and retention make it perfect for searing and meat smoking.
With 480 sq. in. of combined cooking space on a heavy-duty cast iron grid (with 280 sq. in. of cooking space) and a chrome-coated secondary rack (with 200 sq. in. of cooking space), you’ll have plenty of room to cook up a storm.
The built-in thermometer and fully adjustable dampers make temperature management a breeze. When it comes time to clean up, the removable steel ash container makes that easy.
So go on and fire up the Broil King KEG 5000, it’s a top-notch choice for all you grillers who like to smoke meat out there.
Cast Iron vs. Stainless Steel Grates
When it comes to choosing the right cooking grates for your charcoal grill, you’ve got two main options: cast iron and stainless steel. Let’s take a look at the differences between these two to understand why many a griller consider a cast iron grate superior.
Like cast iron skillets and Dutch ovens over a fire, cast iron grates are known for their heat retention and ability to provide those sought-after sear marks on the meat. They also cook food evenly and can last for years with proper care. On the flip side, cast iron grates are brittle, and they shatter into pieces if dropped on a concrete floor. They also rust if not properly cared for.
Porcelain-enameled cast iron cooking grates don’t rust, and they don’t need to be seasoned before cooking. Most manufacturers have started to fit their grills with them because they provide the heat capacity of cast iron with the no-fuss use and maintenance of stainless steel.
Stainless steel grates are lighter, easier to clean, and less prone to rust. However, they don’t hold heat as well as cast iron grates do — and they may not provide as good of sear marks on the meat, especially if your coals are starting to lose heat.
What to Look For
There are a few things you ought to keep in mind if you want to get a good charcoal grill.
First and foremost, you want to make sure you get a grill with a durable construction. You don’t want something that’s going to fall apart on you after just a season or two of use, especially if you know your way around the grill. Look for something with heavy-duty steel and powder coating for extra protection from the elements.
Next, you want to think about the cooking grates. You want something with thick grates that’ll give you a nice sear on your meats, and cast iron is always the best choice. It’ll hold heat well and provide even cooking.
There are two types of cast iron grates, generally:
- Non-enameled cast iron grates must be seasoned before use, or they will rust;
- Porcelain-enameled cast don’t need seasoning, but they still need to be greased before cooking.
And last but not least, think about the overall cooking space. You want something that’s going to have enough room to cook for your whole family, or for a big group of friends at a barbecue. And if you like to smoke meats, look for a grill with a good amount of space for low and slow cooking.
The primary cooking grate is most important. Secondary grates are a real boon, whether to cook meats at varied temperatures or keep cooked food items warm while the rest are still sizzling, but the primary grate’s where you’ll be doing most of the cooking.
If you’re going to have a dedicated space for your grill, you’ll probably be comfortable buying a big and heavy grill. If you won’t, it may be a good idea to buy a grill that’s maneuverable or, if you want to take it with you on trips, transportable.
If you’ve got a dedicated space for your grill, you’re probably gonna be comfortable with buying a big and heavy one. But if you ain’t got the space — or if you like to take your grill with you on trips — you might want to consider something that’s more maneuverable or transportable. That way, you can easily move it around or pack it up and take it with you wherever you go.
Why Trust Our Picks
We spent 27 hours researching and rounding up the best charcoal grills with cast iron cooking grates so you won’t have to.
We looked at product specs, read through owner’s manuals, and sourced customer reviews, sifting the real from the fake, to come up with a shortlist of contender grills. We then drew on the decades of combined grilling experience of our team to scrutinize our list of favorites and come up with the final selection of winners, which you can see before your eyes:
- Our pick: Dyna-Glo Heavy-Duty Charcoal Grill
- Portable pick: Oklahoma Joe’s Rambler Tabletop Charcoal Grill
- Splurge pick: Broil King KEG 5000
Thank you for reading and we hope you found our buying guide for the best charcoal grills for beach houses helpful. If we missed something you want added to this guide, please let us know by leaving a comment below.