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An Ultimate Buying Guide For Barrel Grill

Do you love backyard grilling with family and friends? If you are planning on buying a barrel grill, here is everything you need to know to decide which is best for you.

For many Americans, a backyard grill is a must-do activity throughout the summer or at any time of year. You may prepare various meals in your outdoor kitchen using your grill. You can make delicious and juicy steaks at home, especially if you have a cast-iron skillet!

In the same way that the range dominates your kitchen, the grill is the centerpiece of your backyard. It can be overwhelming to pick the right grill. So, I have made a buying guide to make your life easier.

What Is Barrel Grill?

barrel grill

Barrel grills are pretty easy to use. They look like a barrel that’s been cut in half. If you want to have more surface area, this is great for you. It also has more features, like the ability to grill and smoke your food at the same time.

The size is usually around 36 inches long, with a cooking area of 435 square inches. It is large enough to fit and is built primarily for smoking, grilling, and barbecuing.

You can keep a consistent temperature and cook and smoke large amounts of food. Barrel grills are usually come with wheeled stands to make moving them around easier.

Why Should You Get A Barrel Grill?

barrel grill

You should buy one if you like to hold barbeque parties in your backyard or simply enjoy spending time cooking and enjoying a barbeque with your family.

A barrel grill is ideal for grilling large amounts of food or different types of food at once. It’s also better for slow cooking and smoking. Plus, many people prefer the smoke taste of a charcoal grill.

The barrel grill is also versatile.  You can use wood chips, charcoal, or pellets to create a fire. You can even use wood logs if you have a larger barrel grill. But, you will have to pay more if you want the huge ones.

You might as well invest in a tong that is perfect for grilling.

What’s The Difference Between a Kettle Grill and a Barrel Grill?

kettle grill

A kettle grill is a traditional American classic found in almost every backyard across the country. 

The ordinary kettle has a smaller cooking surface than barrel grills and is spherical. It has a dome-shaped lid with air vents perfect for smoking while also trapping heat inside to ensure even cooking. 

Kettle grills are ideal for high-heat grilling over direct heat. But you can also use it for low-heat barbecuing of meat and vegetables.

While barrel grills are slightly different from kettle grills, you can use them for smoking and cooking. It is made out of steel drums that have been modified. It has charcoal baskets, grilling racks, meat hooks, air vents, and a chimney. They keep a constant temperature, and you can cook and smoke a lot of food, especially if you need to cook it for a long time. 

It has a larger cooking surface that lets you cook large amounts of foods or cook different foods simultaneously.

Factors To Consider When Buying A Barrel Grill

Before you go out and buy your barrel grill, here are some factors that you might want to consider.

barrel grill


Charcoal grills like the barrel grill use airflow to keep the heat at the right level. If you want to cook low and slow, you need to control how much air passes over the coals. It means that a fire can get hotter if more air passes over the coals. Models that have tight lids and strong dampers or vents are the best.


If you buy a barrel grill, you should know that it will cost a lot to maintain it. Before buying any type of grill, you need to know the proper maintenance.

barrel grill gauge

You can avoid the rusting issue with the barrel grill if you follow the preventive measures. You don’t have to open the door because a barrel grill has a chimney for the draft. However, if ash builds up inside the chimney, you need to clean it before using it to ensure appropriate airflow.

Adjustable Cooking Grates

Foods close to the coals grill faster, but they can burn before cooking. Look for a barrel grill with a coal bed or cooking grates that can be raised or lowered with a crank. It will give you another way to control the flames and the heat.

Accessible Coal Bed

accessible coal bed in barrel grill

You’ll need to add coals if you’re cooking for an extended time. Look for a barrel grill with a dedicated door for adding coals to your fire. There are also hinged grates that allow you to sneak in more coals or rearrange them while cooking.


The design is the last thing you should think about. There may not be much of a difference when it comes to design. However, look for a barrel grill that will complement the decor of your backyard or outdoor kitchen.

You can make a barrel grill at home if you are skilled with DIY. Here’s a video for you to watch!

People Also Ask

Can you use a charcoal barrel grill to smoke meat?

If your grill is a barrel-style charcoal grill without a side smoker, smoking is still possible with that setup but you’ll need to use some charcoal instead of wood.

How much charcoal goes in a barrel grill?

For smaller or portable grills, a good rule of thumb is about 30 briquettes, and for larger barrel and Kettleman grills, 50 to 75 briquettes. On cold, windy, or rainy days, you’ll need more charcoal.

How long must charcoal burn before it can be used to cook?

Before adding food, the grill must need to get really hot. Cover the grill with the lid and let the charcoal heat up for at least 15 minutes after you light it. When it looks gray and ashy, you’ll know it’s ready.


As long as you have a barrel grill, you can make the best burgers and steaks for yourself and your family and friends! A barrel grill is bigger and takes up more space and money.

However, even though it costs a lot, it can guarantee much use. You can cook different types of foods using direct and indirect heating. 

This grill will come in handy if you are a more experienced griller, smoke large quantities of food, or regularly grill for a large group.

Have you decided whether a barrel grill is the best option for you? Let me know what you think in the comments!