UPDATED FOR 2018
Do you love the flavor of charcoal grilled food, but also fancy the convenience of gas grilling? You can have the best of both worlds with a gas and charcoal grill combo.
Yes, that’s right. One grill, two abilities: cooking with either gas or charcoal or, in most cases, even both at the same time if you wish.
Charcoal and Gas Combo Grill – The Contenders
At the moment the market is not exactly flooded with choice when it comes to charcoal and gas combo grills. It is a bit of a niche market, as most people prefer to use separate grills.
Those who do use combo grills seem quite pleased with the result. I managed to track down four models for you.
1. Char-Broil Gas2Coal 3-Burner Gas and Charcoal Grill
This is my Top Choice for a compact combo grill!
Char-Broil has brought an innovative new idea to the gas and charcoal grill combo market with the Gas2Coal grill. Unlike most other combo grills, this one doesn’t have two separate cooking areas for gas and charcoal. Instead, it uses a stainless steel charcoal panel to convert the cooking area to charcoal, while using the gas burners to ignite the charcoal on the panel.
So, switching from gas to coal is as easy as putting a panel on top of the gas burners. Of course, the obvious drawback of using the same cooking space for both gas and charcoal is that you can only use one cooking method at a time.
– no tool conversion from gas to charcoal
– 540 sq inch total cooking space
– stainless steel burners
– porcelain-coated cast-iron cooking grates
– 40,000 BTU main burners
– 12,000 BTU side burner
Those are some great features, with plenty of heat and cooking space, making this a fine gas grill in its own right. The addition of charcoal capability, and how easy the conversion is, makes the Gas2Coal a very attractive option.
Add other standard features like electronic ignition and a lid-mounted temperature gauge and this versatile grill offers a lot of value. Not having a door panel on the front to access the propane tank is a slight inconvenience if you like to park your grill against a wall, but otherwise the Char-Broil Gas2Coal provides a wonderful way to get the best of both grilling worlds.
This grill also features in my best gas grills under $300 roundup here. It’s that good.
2. Char-Broil Oklahoma Joe’s Charcoal/Gas/Smoker Combo
This is my Top Choice for a BIG combo grill!
Char-Broil certainly seems to want to cover all bases with their product line. This is not only a gas and charcoal combo, but includes a smoker as well.
Having three separate grilling areas (actually four if you count in the side burner) leaves you with a lot of cooking space – 1,060 square inches to be exact. Just over two-thirds of the space is allocated to the main cooking areas, while the firebox gets a decent 310 square inches.
The gas grilling area features 3 burners kicking out 12,000 BTU each, so you can generate a good amount of heat for the grilling area. This thing heats up pretty darn fast.
The charcoal grilling area is equal in size to the gas area. The airflow seems to be well thought out and you’ll get some good smoking done here.
The main cooking areas both have lid mounted thermometers. I wouldn’t trust these with my life (or my nice juicy lunch though).
Okay, I mentioned the side burner almost as an afterthought up there, and that’s because it kinda feels like an afterthought on this grill. It’s one of the more flimsy side burners I’ve come across in my time. Use it to light your charcoal chimney, which works a charm actually.
This is a very sturdy grill, and it is heavy. Moving it around, even with the wheels, is not easy. I guess for durability this construction quality is good news. Take care of this grill and it should serve you a good while.
So, Char-Broil has done a very decent job with the Oklahoma Joe. It’s a fun grill to use and offers you plenty of options to get some creative grilling and smoking done. Get a cover for it as well to extend its life.
3. Dyna-Glo Dual Fuel LP/Charcoal Grill
Slightly smaller in cooking area than the Char-Broil, but with a sturdier construction, quality manufacturer Dyna-Glo makes a compelling offering, with a total of 952 square inches of cooking area.
On the gas side you get a heavy duty porcelain enamel covered cast iron cooking grates and a temperature gauge. You get two u-shaped main burners offering a total of 24,000 BTU, which is an adequate spread of heat for this size.
On the charcoal side you get a 10,000 BTU stainless steel charcoal ignition burner and an adjustable charcoal tray. Handy towel and tool hooks are present.
A few minor annoyances take the shine of perfection off the Dyna-Glo:
– the charcoal basket doesn’t fit as tightly as it should perhaps and appears to be a little flimsy
– the wheels are too small for smooth rolling on anything other than a perfectly level surface
– takes a while to assemble
Most buyers are willing to overlook these factors in favor of what they feel is a well constructed combo grill that produces great results, and the product has a 70% customer satisfaction ratio, which indicates that it does a fairly good job, although there may be a few issues that affect a fair number of customers as I pointed out above.
4. Char-Broil Combination Charcoal Grill and Gas Grill
The Char-Broil gas and charcoal grill combo is a beautiful piece of work, with sleek lines and a practical layout. It offers a total of 1,006 total square inches of cooking surface, split into two equal sized 503 square inch cooking areas for gas and charcoal respectively.
The gas side gives you a 3 burner grill with a total of 36,000 BTU, with an additional 12,000 BTU side burner. It features porcelain-coated cast iron grates and a temperature gauge. At first glance this may sound like too little heat for such a large cooking area, but the grill does a good job and we couldn’t find any customer complaints about the cooking ability of this unit.
On the charcoal side you get a removable ash pan, an easy access door, a temperature gauge and a very handy charcoal grate with a crank adjustable height. The porcelain coated cooking grates are perhaps not the right choice for charcoal, as they won’t give you the same level of heat transfer that you’ll get with cast iron or stainless steel grates.
Overall the Char-Broil Combo Grill is a decent piece of equipment for the price, butt he less than stellar 65% customer satisfaction ratio it maintains points to potential problems. It doesn’t use the best parts available, and some bits are flimsy, but for the huge cooking area it offers and the competitive price you should expect a few compromises. Lifespan is a concern and you’ll need to look after this grill really carefully.
The best of the grills on offer here is the Char-Broil Gas2Coal (see it on Amazon). It is not a big lumbering piece of equipment, with decent build quality and an easy way to switch between gas and charcoal. Unless you’re cooking for large amount of people, I’m happy to trade the lack of a two separate cooking areas for the space saving and convenience of easier mobility.
Out of the rest, all the grills have some flaws. However Char-Broil again brings some serious firepower with the Oklahoma Joe’s charcoal/LP/smoker combo (see it on Amazon). If you need a massive grill that offers you three grilling areas to have some fun on, this is your best choice for a charcoal and gas combo grill. It is a beast, and it produces excellent results.