Our expert grillmasters at Hungry Fan have been quite busy recently. (We solemnly swear we're up to no good. Kidding.) We've been heads down investigating dozens of grills for our annual roundup of the best outdoor grills! While this may be the weirdest summer any of us can remember, it's still grilling time!
While compiling this "best of" list, we evaluated several factors that make all the difference, whether you're a novice, intermediate or pro griller. We looked at heat exchange, searing capability, tool storage and portability. And we're feeling pretty confident this list will help guide you on your grill purchasing journey straight to maximum BBQ and meat smoking enjoyment this summer!
1. Best Smoker: Traeger Pro Series
Described as the "evolution of fire," Traeger's next generation of pellet grills brings an unrivaled wood flavor to meats, veggies, and more.
These set-it-and-forget-it grills allow smoke masters to smoke, bake, roast, braise, and BBQ all year long. New models even have Wi-Fi capability (whoa snap!), and there's commercial and portable options to choose from.
2. Best Pit Barrel Cooker: PBC Company
They call it a "Be-All-End-All Cooker" for a reason. The Pit Barrel Cooker comes in either a 18.5 or 14-inch barrel. Both options allow meat (such as mouthwatering, juicy ribs) to hang vertically over hot coals while heat circulates and tenderizes the meat. If falling off the bone is what you're looking for…we may have just found your new favorite toy. Besides, what beats cooking in a literal barrel of fire and has a cool horseshoe handle to boot?!
3. Best Wood Burner: KUDU Outdoor Grill
The KUDU sautés, fries, boils, smokes, steams, and sears. (Can it also do our laundry please?) It sports a very sturdy foundation, perfect for holding ample amounts of wood, over which sit helpful elevation bars to help you cook at different temperatures. And its stainless steel base feels durable and long-lasting.
Despite this grill's perhaps complicated appearance, you can assemble this baby in less than 3 minutes. Did we mention it's actually quite easy to operate and tough as hell? If you're looking for the ultimate summer cookout companion, this might just be it.
4. Best Interior Cooker: Otto Lite Steak Grill
Looking for a five-star steak in your home kitchen? (Yep, we snuck in one indoor/outdoor grill for good measure.) The Otto Lite Steak Grill is our favorite for year-round, flavor-sealed, perfectly grilled meals.
The German-engineered Otto makes cooking steaks that are deliciously browned on the outside and tender on the inside entirely doable and ridiculously easy—in as little as three minutes.
5. Best Camper: All-In-One Cast Iron Grill
Grill, sauce, smoke, bake, braise, roast, and deep fry…all on the fly. With a simple yet ingenious design, this all-in-one cast iron grill quite simply does it all.
Functionality, functionality, functionality! The cast iron body doubles as a cooking surface and grill base while its steel plate functions as a baking sheet, skillet, and griddle. Better still, this impressive multi-tasker comes with a lifetime warranty.
6. Best Propane Camper: Coleman Gas Camper
Packing a punch at 20,000 total BTUs, the Coleman Gas Camping Stove grabbed our attention. Well, it was that and some of its other features such as wind-blocking panels, a pressure regulator, and a three-year warranty to top it off.
Each propane cylinder (16.4 ounces) burns up to 1 hour, which is plenty of time to fire up some burgers, hot dogs, or fresh-caught fish on your next camping trip.
7. Best Griddle: Royal Gourmet Propane Griddle
This easy-to-assemble dual cooker comes with one flat griddle and 584 square inches of total cooking space, along with removable drip pans for easy cleanup.
The Royal Gourmet combo also includes four stainless steel burners and four different cook zones, so you can make an array of yummy treats, sides, and more. We really dig how sturdy this baby is along with the (material) quality of the griddle surface. But our favorite part (aside from the slew of grilled cheese sandwiches and pancakes we made while testing this puppy)? We found it to be gas-friendlier than some of the larger gas grills we tried. Two enthusiastic thumbs up for saving money on propane when you can!
8. Best Charcoal: Kamado Joe
This formidable 18-inch ceramic grill with a cast iron cart and wheels is known as the Kamado Joe Classic II. It's got a 2-tier divide and flexible cooking system, which means you can cook different foods at different temperatures—all at once. (This is not a joke. And yes, we find this impressive too.)
Keeping the theme of awesome functionality going, the Kamado Joe's "Kontrol Tower Top Vent" allows you to increase or decrease temperatures as needed, so you can sear or smoke to perfection. You can achieve temperatures from 225 to 750 degrees F. Now that's hot.
9. Best Tailgater: Blackstone Tailgater Combo
If you're a fan of Hungry Fan, you know tailgating is the name of the game. Needless to say, we noticed the name of this griddle/grill combo and were immediately intrigued. Would it live up to our high hopes with a name like that? Well, for starters, it packs 35,000 BTUs, which is more than enough to get us going on game day. Check. It's a combination cooker that allows you to cook different foods at different temperatures. Double check! So yeah, it made the list.