The biggest advantage a charcoal BBQ has over its gas-fuelled brethren is the flavour you get from the charcoal. Once you roast a leg of lamb or pork in your new charcoal BBQ, you'll never go back to roasting meat any other way. Make the jump! - Jackson
It is usual in the UK to have a charcoal BBQ, rather than a gas BBQ. The smell is amazing and you can add hickory smoking chips to add a beautiful smoked flavour to the meat.
In terms of clean up, it's pretty quick - you usually just chuck the coals away and clean down the grate. However the time it takes to get it burning is quite long and you will often end up with a less consistent cooking method - with some charred edges of meats or sausages that take ages to get hot in the middle.
This type of BBQ is for the patient person. - cupofchloe
It really depends on what you like to cook and eat! If you want to do stuff like roast pork with crackle, ribs, briskets, you want to cook it slow and get the charcoal smoky flavour. Gas is easy and fine for snags and burgers but you might soon want to go for it and do big slabs of beast. - MartyH
Charcoal has better flavours and more fun but gas is still great and far easier to maintain. Seriously, why not have both? I do and I love it. I do my special meals and showing off with my charcoal / Weber but when I want to keep things simple and whip up sausage sizzle for example, I go with gas.
So it comes down to what you plan to use it for and of course your budget.
But at the end of the day, if you can't be bothered with charcoal… don't. You'll only dread the effort and maintenance and never be happy with your BBQ - ProjectPete
We received the Char Griller Deluxe as a gift and thought it was great! Being a keen fisherman, we love that we can smoke some freshly caught trout on the griller.
Having said that, it is far easier to cook up some steak and snags on a gas BBQ. If we had purchased a BBQ before receiving the griller gift, we would have gone gas as we'd definitely get more use out of it purely based on the effort involved. - aly
Since I started with charcoal, I haven't really gone back to gas, but have it there in case I want a quick cook. Charcoal cooking is a commitment from preparation, clean up and maintenance - but the flavour's amazing. Add a good dry rub or marinade on it, and it's out of this world. - MoonshineBen
I use my 4 burner LPG covered barbecue with a smoke box and soaked chips from my local Bunnings. Yesterday I actually "smoked" a brisket.
The setup is simple. Turn the far left burner on full, put the smoker box with soaked chips on top of the grill over the burner. On the extreme right of the "warming shelf", place your dry rubbed brisket, put an aluminium tray under the meat to catch the juices, and close the lid.
I used a "smart bluetooth meat probe" to watch the temperature over the cooking period. I had to top up the smoker box a few times over the 4 hour cook, and the meat was tender, moist and beautiful. - Walter
The range of charcoal barbecue accessories and smoking chips we have for barbecues and smokers will undoubtedly have you covered for all those delicious smoked flavours. From Hickory to Mesquite and Cherry to Applewood, there's something for everyone. We're really a one-stop-shop for all your barbecuing and smoking needs.
My dream unit would be the Oklahoma Joe's 'Longhorn Combo' Charcoal/Gas Smoker & Grill, which has separate cooking chambers for smoking, charcoal grilling or gas grilling. It's the best of both worlds with gas and charcoal. - MitchellMc
My twin sister married an American that she met overseas and they introduced us to charcoal cooking. We rushed out and got a CharBroil from BBQ's Delight, & it was magic.
The blokes all pitched in with monitoring the cooking time and it was always a hoot.
We had the in-laws over quite a lot for a barbie, so we became quite proficient. Charcoal barbies are the way to go and gas is evil. - Andy_Mann
I think it makes it much more of an event when you don't just turn a knob to get the food cooking. You can't knock the convenience of gas but a good spit or slow cook on charcoal is the best. - JP_Finlay
I want to get into charcoal cooking. I've always cooked on a gas BBQ and won't be ditching my Beafeater anytime soon but I want to try charcoal for bigger pieces of meat when we host friends. I'm a little torn between getting an old-style kettle BBQ and something a little fancier like a Char-griller. - Baz
Definitely get a BBQ Starter – basically a cylinder with lots of holes for air circulation which makes it really quick and easy to get your charcoal (or heat beads if you must) nice and hot so you can get cooking quicker. Similarly, grab a Looftlighter, which are a bit like a high-powered hair dryer to get the fire cranking. You don’t want to use firelighters and have your food tasting like lighter fluid. - Kermit
A kettle is a cheap way to get started and you can get some great results. But if you think you do want to do slow cooks regularly using charcoal, consider a ceramic kamado cooker. Because they are really well insulated, they don't need much fuel and stay hot for a really, really long time. Not only does this make them much cheaper to use but it also makes it easier for you to regulate the temperature (and therefore cook) which you might find really important as a beginner. - MartyH
A kettle is a good way to start, as you have the option of both hot and fast grilling over the coals, or indirect low and slow and smoking by creating heat zones.
Weber kettles or the like are great, and there are also things like the ProQ. You want to make sure you get one with a decent thick wall to hold the heat and porcelain enamel. One of my earlier smokers got so hot once that it peeled the powder coat enamel off the inside, which isn't good for anyone.
I use combinations of fuel depending on the cook. Heatbeads are pretty consistent given the uniformity, and I find I can get about 5 or 6 hours of consistent heat out of them (about half a bag). They're also pretty cheap.
I also use lump charcoal, which is a little harder as far as consistency goes, but can often burn longer and hotter. You can also add some chunks of fruit woods to smoke with as well. - MoonshineBen
The char-grill Akorn Jr would be a good charcoal grill to start with, it has 3 layers of insulation so if you have kids around not going to be super hot to touch and retains the heat pretty good. Have been using the heat beads lump charcoal in the gray bag. Good value for money and starting the charcoals with the Ozito charcoal starter is so easy or just use the Samba cardboard fire lighters. To save on charcoal once you finished cooking just close the vents and let it go out and next time just top up and light. - alang