Best BBQ Grills for the Money

1. Memphis Grills Pro 28-Inch Pellet Grill – High-End Premium Grilling System

Our rating:

Cooking surface 616 square inches
Set it and forget it function  [usr 5]
Wi-Fi control function  [usr 5]

There are many models out there that claim they belong among the premium grilling units, but they couldn’t be farther from the truth. One of the rare manufacturers that we can praise that they do their job right in designing high-end BBQ systems is Memphis Grills. We can consider their edition of pellet grills premium in every aspect, and for the review, we will present Pro 28-Inch. Just FYI, other models from this company vary mostly in size and price, while the features remain the same.

Pellet BBQs have a unique way of functioning that differs from charcoal or gas alternatives. Some users are still a bit unfamiliar with how everything works, which is why Memphis Grills published a video explaining the entire process. Everything starts with placing the pellets into the hopper. In this case, it is a standard size 18-lb hopper that is dividable into two sections. That gives you the freedom to experiment with various hardwood flavors, and that is just the first hint of the versatility that this unit provides.

Once you equip the BBQ with fuel, it’s time to start it. That will be no sweat thanks to the digital controls located on the left side. Turning on the system requires only pressing a switch, and other controls are there to adjust the desired temperature settings. The model can achieve anywhere from 180F to 650F of heat. That enables at least six cooking options, including barbecuing, grilling, smoking, roasting, braising, and baking. In other words, this is an all-around product, and there’s not much that you can’t cook on it.

The whole process works like this – when you set up the desired temperature, two metal fans provide the intake air, which is then pressurized and heated. The pellets combust and heat the cook box, while smoke and hot air circulate throughout it. The digital thermometer controls the heat and makes sure that it doesn’t vary more than several degrees from the set value.

I believe that this sounds impressive so far, but we are only starting to get into details of Memphis Grills Pro 28-Inch Pellet Grill. We mentioned two heavy-duty metal convection fans. Each of them is 4 inches in diameter, and their purpose is to make sure that the heat circulates the food. They do their job flawlessly, which is why you get the most consistent temperature possible when cooking with this product. Also, the fact that the heat is even throughout the chamber means that this product serves as a perfect substitute for a rotisserie and can deliver equally fantastic results in that area.

Let’s move to the technology perks related to heat control. We already mentioned that the unit automatically keeps the temperature around the set amount. You can see the current heat level in the cook box thanks to the removable meat probe. The results are accurate, which reduces the chances of something going wrong with the cooking process to next to none.

The high-end hardwood pellet grilling systems are famous for their set it and forget it feature. The fact that you don’t need to babysit the grill means a lot, especially if you are slow roasting a chicken. However, Memphis Grills Pro takes this to a whole another level with the built-in Wi-Fi Control. There is an app available for your phone that connects to the grill and receives the data about the current temperature. We risk sounding like a TV commercial, but that is not all! The software has a bunch of recipes for various foods integrated, which means that you don’t have to search the web or practice to master barbecuing that steak. You just need to follow the explicit instructions that explicitly say how much time it takes for different meat cuts to finish cooking.

The dimensions of the product are 47x29x57 inches, and it weighs over 200 pounds. The craftsmanship is superior, and durability of the unit is unbeatable. The highest quality 304 stainless steel, sealed and double walled, was used for constructing the product. Everything was made in the United States, which means no parts were shipped from China or any other place. The grill is resistant to severe weather conditions, and they don’t affect its performance. The thermometer accuracy is flawless even during extreme cold. The product comes with a 7-year limited warranty, but as long as you take little care of it, it can be of use for even longer.

The design is traditional and seems standard for grilling systems. The entire unit rests on a cart with four wheels. They enable mobility if you want to grill in one place and store the product in another. After all, it might not be a bad idea to keep it in the garage or a spot protected from the rain just in case. The shelves on the sides provide a prep area to work on during grilling. The twist is that you can open them and turn them into extra storage space.

Pros

Memphis Grills Pro 28-Inch Pellet Grill is a high-end product and one of the best BBQ grills for the money available on the market. It maximally reduces the effort that a user needs to put to make delicious food. The only thing you need to do is to set the desired temperature and let the BBQ do the rest. The broad temperature range secures impressive versatility and six or seven different cooking options. You can monitor the heat in the cook box on your phone thanks to the wireless connection with the grill. In theory, that even means that you can smoke your favorite food while you are at work!

The design deserved praise as well. The sealed and double walled stainless steel of top quality is a guarantee that severe weather or rust can’t do anything to this product. All the components were made in North America, which is something you don’t often see with grills nowadays.

Cons

If you are ever going to splash the cash on any product, we suggest it’s this one! That being said, you should know that the price of the unit is over $3,800 on Amazon, which means it is not cheap. However, can you put a cost tag on enjoying deliciously barbecued food whenever you want?

2. Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill – Care for Excellent Cooking Grates? You Should!

Our rating:

Cooking surface 363 square inches
Cast-iron cooking grates  [usr 5]
Easy ignition system  [usr 4]

The only alternative to wood-fired barbecues that can provide the same juiciness and wonderful taste is charcoal. The one brand that seems never to disappoint us with their grilling products is Weber. You would think that, if you combine those two, you cannot go wrong. And you would be right!

Although Weber has been on the market for decades, it was never old news. Instead, the company has always strived to offer innovation and new intriguing things that will keep the market interested in their products. Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill is not a new product, considering that it has been available for several years, but it still belongs to the best BBQ grills for the money you can get.

The dimensions of the unit are 41 x 29 x 50 inches, which means that it’s not a small product. In fact, you will need to make sure to have an adequate amount of space for grilling. The good news is that there are wheels on the cart which secure mobility. Two of them are big, and two have locking casters to make sure that the grill remains in position once you push it to the desired spot. It weighs 99 pounds, which means that it is not easy to move, but thanks to the wheels, you can roll it around your backyard.

However, it is not a portable grilling system. If you want to transport it, you need to disassemble it. The good news is that putting everything together takes no more than 20 minutes (providing you follow the instructions). However, it is still a hassle to take everything apart and then assemble it again, especially considering the weight, so forget about portability.

The design of the grill reminds of a shopping cart and, quite frankly, we are not sure that we think about it. There are undoubtedly other models that look more pleasing to the eye, but you can’t deny the ample storage and prep space that this product offers. Oh, and if the kettle seems familiar, it’s because you might know it from Weber Original Kettle. The bowl and the lid are both porcelain-enameled for extended durability and better results. The base construction is of stainless steel, while the table is of painted metal. The aluminum vent secures excellent resistance to rust, while the handle remains cool to the touch thanks to the glass reinforcement.

However, there is one area where Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill is unbeatable. If you know a thing or two about barbecue, you are aware that in charcoal units, it’s the cooking grates that make the difference. With a gas grill the BTU output plays a significant factor, too, but here the grates decide whether you will enjoy a tender and juicy steak or one that you burned despite maximum efforts.

The task of the grates is to provide heat retention and make sure that it is evenly distributed across the entire area. That enables the food to BBQ well, but there is also that extra touch that keeps the burgers from sticking to the surface. All those tasks that we listed the cooking grates of Performer do flawlessly. They are made of cast iron, and they have the ideal thickness needed for various food types. The moisture and juiciness are two descriptions that you will continually have with steaks or other meals prepared on this unit. We should also pinpoint the fact that you will be cooking in a bowl. That enhances the versatility of the product and enables you to place ribs or whole chicken in there. The total cooking surface is 363 square inches, which is enough for a moderate-sized crowd. Oh, if you want new sears, we suggest testing the Gourmet BBQ System Sear Grate.

Everything works just the way it should during the process, but the beginning and the end are also a pure pleasure. At the start, you will ignite the grill by just pressing a button thanks to the gas ignition system called Touch-N-Go. That puts this model among hybrid grilling systems because it uses gas to ignite, but charcoal to cook food.

As for the end, we didn’t think about eating the burgers or steaks (although that’s where most of the pleasure is), but about the cleaning process. The ash catcher will make sure that you don’t make a mess. It collects the residue in an aluminum pan that is easily removable. As for regular maintenance, we suggest using the official Weber Cleaning Kit.

Pros

Cooking grates are the essence of any charcoal grill, and Weber Performer Deluxe has one of the best we have ever seen. The superb heat retention and distribution with ample surface provided in the cooking bowl make this product incredibly versatile.

In fact, the entire cooking process is straightforward and suitable for both newbies and skilled grillers. Although it is a charcoal grill, it uses gas for automatic ignition which only requires you to push a switch to get it going. The side table and the cart provide a lot of work and storage space, while the cleaning is also a convenient process and only requires minimum effort.

Cons

The product comes with an LCD timer that counts down the time required for the cooking process to finish. While that is something that should, in theory, enable you to move away from the grill, it doesn’t do much except showing time, which makes it a redundant feature. Also, there is a heat gauge on the lid, but that’s not something you should count on when checking the temperature inside the bowl. Instead, purchase a meat probe on Amazon.

3. Kamado Joe Classic Joe KJ23RH – Even Better Than in Ancient Times!

Our rating:

Cooking surface 660 square inches
Stainless steel and ceramic combo  [usr 5]
Multiple cooking options  [usr 5]

If we are talking solely about barbecuing, there is no way in life that we are going to overlook kamado ceramic grills. For starters, let us tell you that kamados were old pots used to cook food over an open flame. They have a specific design, and today they are, in most cases, made of ceramic. One of the best models on the market is Kamado Joe Classic Joe KJ23RH.

The unit packs the core component of the grill, a tool for collecting ash with a slide-out drawer, thermometer, and wheels. We liked the so-called grill expander feature. It’s a supplementary grid that is raised in comparison to the main one and provides increased cooking space. The manufacturer named this feature “divide and conquer” as it improves versatility by adding more of the cooking zone.

Let’s talk about the feature called a heat deflector, which is an extra accessory with other grills, but you get it for free here. It has two different parts, which enables a high level of freedom. Combining it with two optional racks, you can do pretty much whatever you want with the ready to use cooking surface.Mix and match direct and indirect cooking zones any way that you see fit.

Let’s start with the assembly instructions. They are straightforward but keep in mind that you will need a wrench to tighten the brands. In case you get confused by the manual, take a look at this video that thoroughly explains the setting up process. As for the visual impression, the manufacturer has been using the red color in other models, too, and it does help the BBQ to look impressive even from afar.

The default dimensions of the unit are 28 x 46.5 x 48 inches and weigh 188 pounds. The body of the grill is made from ceramic that is resistant to heat. There is an extra surface coating just in case since the heat output can achieve impressive levels. There is a thermometer mounted on the body that shows the temperature inside the cook box, and it does a rather good job. The cast iron upper vent is powder coated. If you need a boost in heat, you can open the vent on its side.

As for the interior, the cooking grid in the cook box is made of stainless steel. It is also hinged at the front to ensure that you can put in additional wood chips without any issues. Other components are also made of stainless steel, which includes cap nuts, hinge springs, and draft door. The grill itself stands on four legs that have wheels with locking casters. The stand needs to be sturdy because of the heaviness of the product, and Kamado Joe Classic does a fantastic job in that area.

We had a chance to talk to some potential users that were worried that the lid is too heavy to lift, which is why they reject considering this grill. However, that’s not an issue you have to worry about with this unit, and it’s one of the reasons why it is among the best BBQ grills for the money. The lid has an air-lift hinge, which is a feature that makes opening the lid 96% easier. In layman’s terms, you are using the power of air to lift the cover.

Pros

You can see the high-quality of construction every step of the way with Kamado Joe Classic. The combination of stainless steel and ceramic has excellent durability, and the manufacturer puts maximum trust in the ceramic components, considering that they provide a lifetime warranty.

Although this grilling system is all-powerful, it also has incredible versatility. You can do far more than grilling hears. Baking, searing, and smoking are among other options, but the best results are when you are barbecuing. The insulating capability of the unit is what sets it apart from the others, and the product doesn’t even need extremely high temperatures for efficient cooking.

Cons

The product is one of the heaviest among similar models, which speaks about the quality of construction, but it also influences its mobility. Despite the wheels, it’s not easy to move around, which is why it is recommended to assemble and keep it in one place. Also, there is the issue of the price, but that’s trumped by the fact that you can a versatile and durable product.

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