Are you interested in learning how to barbeque or leveling up your backyard arsenal?
Here are some products that I am comfortable recommending based on my own experiences.
Please consider supporting this website through the affiliate links below. While I will receive a small commission, you will not pay more for products purchased via the links. Thanks!
Grills & Smokers
Weber Summit Kamado E6
The Weber Summit Kamado is currently my favorite "everyday use" charcoal grill. I was intrigued ever since the original Summit Charcoal grill was introduced in 2016 but I was hesitant to pull the trigger because of the price. The revised Summit Kamado is essentially the same grill as the original with a few changes to help justify the lower price. The Summit Kamado / Summit Charcoal are extremely fuel efficient and they offer cooking versatility (smoking at low & slow temps, grilling at hot & fast temps). Best of all, they are easy to use. If you are familiar with the iconic Weber kettle grills, then you will not have any learning curve. If you are new to BBQ, the Weber design is easy to learn. The Summit Kamado is priced fairly.... if you only have room for one grill, this one should be at the top of your list for consideration.
If you want to have a built-in cart, also consider the Summit Kamado S6
Kamado Joe Classic
Another easy recommendation for a charcoal grill is the Kamado Joe Classic. Similar to the Weber Summit Kamado, Kamado Joes are versatile and great for smoking and grilling. The manufacturer stands behind their products and continuously develops new add-ons and accessories to help further bolster your BBQ experience. This ceramic cooker holds temperatures extremely well and for long stretches. This is another grill that I would be at the top of my list if I could only have one grill in my backyard.
PK Grills PK360
PK Grills are known for their high quality builds and simple designs that are natural for 2-zone cooking which is one of the best techniques to master if you want to become a Backyard SmokeMaster. I'll be honest, when I bought my PK 360, I thought that it would be my grill for the on-the-go cooking away from my backyard. I was surprised by it's large footprint (the included side shelves are bigger than they look in the photos). Although the grill is easy to breakdown for transport, I'm content leaving it in tact in my backyard as one of my regular use grills. Built like a tank, the PK 360 holds temps like a champ and like the Weber Summit Kamado & kettle grills, it is easy to master the air flow which in turn makes it easy to master temperature control. The air intake valves and the exhaust dampers are intuitive. This is a great grill for someone who is starting out in BBQ and it is versatile.
Pit Barrel Cooker
If you are getting started in BBQ but you are concerned about the learning curve and costs, I highly recommend that you consider a drum smoker like the Pit Barrel Cooker. PBC offers an affordable entry point with a cooker that is extremely well made. Cooking with a PBC is the equivalent of "set it and forget it" in BBQ. You either hang your meat with hooks across the steel rods (extremely fun) or you can set food on top of the included grill grate. The juices from the meat drop into the burning coals below and sends flavorful vapors back up into your meat. Some of the best chicken that I've ever smoked came from a PBC. The business is family owned and run by a vet. The smoker ships quickly with everything that you need to get started quickly. Unboxing is simple and you can be up and running within minutes. Simply put, the Pit Barrel Cooker is a great way to get started in BBQ and it may turn out to be the only smoker that you will ever need.
Camp Chef Flat Top Grill
Flat top grills like those made by Camp Chef and Blackstone are growing in popularity because they offer the same style of cooking that your favorite diner utilizes. I use mine mostly for breakfast (pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, breakfast sandwiches) but you can use these versatile cookers for just about anything including steaks, veggies, fried rice.... essentially any combination that you can think of. Flattops are powered by a propane tank and the 4 burners (some models have 2, 3, 6 or 8 burners) can each be set to different levels of heat. You can easily accomplish two-zone cooking with a hot and a cool side or anything in between. This wouldn't be my only one and only outdoor grill, but if you already have a grill or smoker for traditional BBQ, adding a flattop is a great way to round out your arsenal as you will be able to cook ANYTHING.
I recommend Camp Chef over Blackstone because of the build quality, grease trap, built-in shelf and the ability to level the feet. The Camp Chef also comes with grill grates in case you want to convert it into a gas grill sans a lid. However, Blackstone makes a bunch of great accessories for flat tops that can also be enjoyed with a Camp Chef. The price of a good flattop is also extremely reasonable for everything that you can do with them.
Weber Original Kettle Grill
Probably the easiest and most economical way to get started in BBQ without breaking the bank is to pickup the iconic original Weber 22" kettle. Used by itself, you can grill or smoke meat as well as the guy that has the $3000 smoker with all of the bells and whistles. Spend a little more by adding the Slow 'N Sear Deluxe (see the link further down the page) and you'll be unstoppable!
Accessories & Gadgets (these are also great gifts)
Ink Bird Instant Read Thermometer
After buying fuel for your cooker, a good instant read thermometer should be next on your list. A thermometer that you can stick into your meat will instantly let you know if your food has reached an internal temperature that is safe you and your loved ones to eat or it will let you know if you have reached your desired level of "doneness", i.e. rare, medium rare, medium well, well done, etc. Don't rely only on your eyes or the amount of time that has elapsed to determine whether your food is ready. An instant read thermometer will remove all of the guesswork. Ink Bird's thermometer is reasonably priced, accurate and easy to read in all conditions.
Slow 'N Sear Deluxe
Adding a Slow 'N Sear to your kettle or other compatible cooker will instantly turn it into a slow smoker capable of holding low and slow temps for hours or into a high heat searing grill that will deliver outstanding results on steaks and other meats that benefit from a nice sear. The Slow 'N Sear will breath new life into your grill for a nominal cost that will be worth every penny.
Slow 'N Sear Drip 'N Roast Pan
The Drip 'N Roast Pan will allow you to convert half of your kettle or other compatible grill into a flattop. The pan is perfect for getting a Maillard reaction (a great crust) over the entire surface of your steak instead of just where the visible grill marks are. This accessory adds brings more versatility to the already affordable kettle grill setup.
Kamado Joe JoeTisserie
If you have a Kamado Joe Classic or Big Joe, do yourself a favor and pickup a JoeTisserie. This attachment will allow you to make rotisserie chickens with BBQ flavor. You will never look at a store-made rotisserie chicken again. Adding a basket will open up a world of new possibilities as you'll be able to spin veggies, smaller cuts of meat and just about anything that you can think of over the open flame and wood chunks.
Weber Compact Chimney Starter
Chimney starters are a great way to light your charcoal. I've found that the compact chimney starter is the perfect size to get just enough charcoals lit to accomplish whatever you need whether it's a fire for low and slow cooking or hot and fast grilling. Filling the larger size chimney starter to the brim is usually overkill.
A set of good knives will make your cooking prep and finish much easier and save you an incredible amount of time. Do you self a favor and invest in good knives and take care of them. I have found the knives by Dalstrong strike a great balance between high quality and competitive prices. I'm a huge fan of their Shogun series.