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The 18″ IG Charcoal Barrel Grill, rough and ready.

  • The IG Charcoal Grill is stainless steel, and weatherproof (we left it outside for two years).
  • It’ll far outlast any grill at its price, and can hold 15 to 20 burgers at a time.
  • Right now you can get it for 20% off with code INSIDER20 as part of Insider Reviews Grill Week deals.

Charcoal BBQ (small)

The IG Charcoal Grill is a simplistic but sturdy take on a simple, age-old design that, sadly, not a lot of grill manufacturers strive toward these days.

I’m not naming names, but it’s been a long time since I’ve owned a grill that didn’t immediately show signs of wear and tear, let alone last a full year (four seasons in the temperate Northeast of the U.S.) out in the open, pelted with everything from wind (upwards of 60 mph), rain, hail, snow, salt (it lives less than 100 yards from the sea), and merciless summer sunlight. Here’s the real shocker, though: It has no cover.

Yep, this grill has been out in the elements through winter, spring, summer, and fall, and I’ve put it through everything I could possibly think of, save for a two-story drop test, which is a ridiculous thing to put a grill through in the first place. (However, if you disagree, I’m open to talking.)

And while grills can be notoriously difficult and laborious to assemble, this one was pretty straightforward; even this fumbling reporter had it up and running, coals aflare, in under an hour.

Design and specs

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Two folding tables and a shelf beneath the basin means you have plenty of space to store, prep, and organize your food, mise en place, and tools.

First of all, at 18 inches (dimensions: 61.5″ x 18″ x 36.5″), this is a very large grill, but don’t let it intimidate you. You don’t have to fill it with charcoal, and I actually find that the extra space to move it into and out of the heat can make cooking just about anything far less hectic. If I’m not cooking for, say, a party of eight to 10 (which in my case is rare), then I’ll pile my coals on one side and leave the other to warm or slow-cook, if I’m slow-cooking anything.

There’s really everything you need here. The side tables are great for prepped food, further prepping, and even mise en place, and the shelf below can handle all your grilling tools while keeping them out of the way. The stainless steel grill grate (which breaks in two) is large, wide, and easy to handle (thanks to two raised synthetic-but-heat-proof-coated wooden handles), which allows you access into the charcoal bed while cooking, should you need to reload or, heaven forbid, recover anything of importance.

The commercial-grade wheels (and everything is commercial-grade on this grill) also lock in place, naturally (but it’s still worth pointing out), so you don’t have to worry about your grill rolling away. Just make sure you remember to lock them.

The best thing about this grill might be that it’s so easy to assemble. It comes with rudimentary hardware, which means that, should anything break or pop off, you’ll be able to fix it with a quick trip to the hardware store if worst comes to worst. And yes, it does come with a reasonable one-year warranty, under which replacement parts are covered, as are shipping and handling charges.

How to adjust the IG Charcoal Grill’s heat

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A rotating handle to raise and lower the coal bed is, in part, what makes this grill such a dream.

The rotating handle, which allows you to raise and lower the coal bed as needed, makes temperature control a cinch. It doesn’t require all that much explanation but just think of all the times you’ve overcooked your dinner because your charcoal grill was too hot. This solves it. It’s also, dare I say, kind of fun.

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A sliding ash-collector tray elevates your coals from your ash so you get a clean burn, and little to no ash in your food like with some grills.

All too often, charcoal grills get choked out by ash, and once you’ve got a fire lit, there’s not too much you can do. This tray is nothing revolutionary, but it’s something you won’t find in most consumer-grade charcoal grills – which, frankly, this is not. You’d be forgiven for letting the price fool you, though.

Cooking on the IG Charcoal Grill

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Plenty of room, which translates to plenty of space to move things around find the right heat.

Okay, so things might have gotten a little too hot (see slight charring above) at one point, but do you see how well it corrected? Thank you, magically adjustable charcoal bed.

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That’ll do.

We didn’t have a lot to cook – maybe two pounds of pork – but the IG Charcoal Grill was still our favored grill of choice this night. For the record, we have three grills to choose from here, and all of which are charcoal.

We easily could have used the smallest grill on the patio, which would have barely fit these two boneless country ribs, but we wouldn’t have had nearly as much room to move them around or adjust the coal bed level and find the sweet spot with the heat. And, remember, just because you’re using this large grill does not mean you have to fill it with charcoal (or food). No dish or fire is too small.

The bottom line

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Folding side tables on either side of the 18″ grill mean you can multitask, or at least plate something like a real chef, without leaving your station.

I’ll be blunt here, because it feels appropriate, and because this is my time and your time at stake, and I would be beyond remiss to waste it: If it’s time for you to look for a new charcoal grill, look no further. Buy this grill. I mean it.

It is among my most beloved cooking contraptions, and I can’t imagine going back to life without it. It can handle everything, but it is still worth lighting up for relatively nothing (see photo above). The elements do not seem to penetrate it, it’s user-friendly, and, hey, it doesn’t look all that bad, either.

This grill is a brute, and plain and simply put: It just works.

Charcoal BBQ (button)

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