Best Charcoal Tray For Grills – A Complete Guide

A charcoal tray for grills is a pitmaster’s most used tool. This complete guide will point you in the direction of acquiring the best on the market and an in-depth guide as to why you need one or more. Charcoal trays are normally designed for 22″ kettle-style BBQ as standard such as the Weber Master Touch. However, even those designed for kettle BBQs are suitable for all different manner of charcoal grills as long as they fit they will work very well!

Some of the charcoal tray for grills below also combine as ash catching tray for a real clean BBQ afterwards.

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Don’t want to read any more here’s the best picks:

BBQube Half Moon charcoal TrayCLICK HERE
OnlyFire Charcoal BasketsCLICK HERE
CHAR-PiT Universal Charcoal Grill TrayCLICK HERE
Slow ‘N Sear Deluxe Charcoal Grill TrayCLICK HERE

SNS Grills Slow n Sear Deluxe Charcoal Tray

Features Of The Slow n Sear

  • Removeable water zone to create 30% more cooking area
  • 8+ hours possible at 225F on a single full tray of charcoal
  • Made from 430 stainless steel. It comes with a 10-year rust-through warranty
  • The basket holds more than twice as much fuel as ordinary charcoal baskets

The Features Explained

Slow ‘N Sear Deluxe Charcoal Grill Tray has great design features and has been designed by someone who regularly uses a BBQ and knows the downfalls of some of the more basic products on the market.

The V-shaped removable water reservoir acts as a barrier between the hot charcoal and your food in the cooking. This water zone when filled will keep moisture in the grill with the lid on the BBQ closed for approximately 5 hours.

The charcoal tray/basket design keeps the hot charcoal away from the side of the BBQ, this has been designed in this way to keep the heat in the central cooking area of the BBQ and not heat the area outside of the BBQ. When full this basket holds a lot more charcoal burns for hours and holds

It has been constructed of over 7 pounds of very high quality 16 gauge 430 stainless steel, so if you know your metals you’ll know this is built to last and not rust through.

Our Verdict On The Slow n Sear Deluxe

The Slow ‘N Sear Deluxe Charcoal Grill Tray is a beast and easily the best charcoal tray for a grill on the market, it does everything you want a charcoal tray to do. However, it does have the price tag to match which we think is fine because it is an investment that should never need replacing.

CHAR-PiT Universal Charcoal Grill Tray

CHAR-PiT Universal Charcoal Grill Tray Features

  • Constructed of food-grade premium-quality stainless-steel
  • Easy to use and install
  • Convert Gas, electric or smokers into charcoal grills
  • Sliding ash pan to collect all the charcoal debris
  • Dimensions: Width: 12in Contracts to: 10.7in Expands to: 20.15in Depth or Height: 2.5in

Feature Explained

CHAR-PiT Universal Charcoal Grill Tray is very unique in that it has been designed to convert a gas BBQ, electric grill, or a dedicated smoker into a charcoal BBQ. It is very simple to use and its collapsible design means it can fit many different rectangular-shaped grills and clip into the original grate mounts.

It is easy to keep clean and has a sliding grate to reveal the ash catcher pan for easy disposal of all the charcoal remains. This sliding charcoal grate means it’s not just a conversion tool and can be used to keep the bottom of a charcoal BBQ or smoker clean when grilling.

Our verdict

I’m not a gas grill expert but I have experienced many gas grill BBQs, I love how versatile this charcoal tray for grill is and I can see how this works to inject that extra flavor punch missing(in my opinion) from Gas or electric BBQs.

OnlyFire Charcoal Baskets

OnlyFire Charcoal Baskets Features

  • Product dimensions: 13.7″ x 4.3″ x 3″
  • Fits 18″,22″ and 26″ Charcoal Grills
  • Made from Stinless steel 

Features Explained

Only Fire Charcoal Baskets are suitably sized for all kettle-style charcoal grills and designed to fit brands such as Weber, Napoleon, and Char-broil BBQs.

Comes as a pack of two baskets to make turning your kettle BBQ into an indirect/direct grilling machine. Simply fill the baskets with charcoal, wood chips, or wood chunks and these baskets will allow the charcoal to burn for hours.

The Steel construction of the charcoal baskets/trays means they are extremely heat resistant and have a low corrosion resistance meaning they’re designed for long service life.

These baskets are extremely easy to clean and the air circulation holes allow the charcoal ash to fall through into the charcoal ash catcher; if your BBQ comes with one.

The Verdict

A great product that does exactly what it says on the tin without costing the earth. What more do you need?

BBQube Half Moon Charcoal Tray

BBQube Charcoal Tray Features

  • Product dimensions: 17 x 9 x 2.5 inches
  • Laser Cut Stainless Steel Construction
  • Durable construction with 10-year US Warranty
  • No Modification Needed, Ready to Use.

The Features Explained

BBQube Half moon charcoal tray for grill has been designed with the large charcoal BBQs in mind. It fits the Weber Master Touch like a glove but has been created to suit much larger 24″ and larger BBQs.

Very easy to turn your BBQ into a searing machine, half the BBQ is now taken up for direct grilling to sear and the other half set for indirect grilling/smoking.

With a 10 year US warranty and steel construction, this has been designed to last and will handle the heat of a BBQ with ease.

Verdict

Probably the most snug fit of all charcoal trays in this article, especially on the Weber Master Touch Premium (my own BBQ). No modifications needed to make it fit and works like a charm.

How to use a charcoal tray for grilling

All of the above charcoal trays for grilling are extremely simple to use. Place lit charcoal in the charcoal tray/basket and place accordingly on the bottom tray of your charcoal BBQ.

If you use easy light charcoal bags you can also place a bag straight into the charcoal tray on your grill and light the bag as per their instructions for the charcoal.

Rotisserie attachment Charcoal tray
Rotisserie attachment on a Weber BBQ

I’m sure you can see why you may want more than one when using a kettle-style BBQ, two baskets on either side of the BBQ gives you a nice cooking area with no direct heat from underneath. This style of laying them out works very well with the rotisserie attachment for a really even spread cook.

Are all of the above universal charcoal trays

Yes although as previously mentioned almost all charcoal trays are designed for 57cm kettle-style BBQs, as long as they fit into your BBQ they will work perfectly. Making charcoal trays completely universal.

If you look around at various BBQ suppliers you will see BBQ-specific charcoal trays which are also universal but have a snug fit on a precise model.

Why use a charcoal tray for BBQing?

First, picture this, you want to grill your steak indirectly on your charcoal BBQ but instead of just chucking all your charcoal to one side of the grill(which is fine it works). You can neatly place your charcoal into a tray or basket instead, you’re getting a much more precise indirect cook. This makes a much neater job of keeping all your charcoal in one place. It also gives a hotter cooking point above the charcoal for when you decide to switch to direct cooking to sear your Steak before serving.

Charcoal trays that are basket-shaped in design work very well when smoking via the minion method. A full charcoal basket lit with a few lit charcoal pieces on top and choice woods will burn for hours, even up to as much as 8 hours without a refill. This saves quite a lot of time if you are desperate to get the BBQ fired up and don’t want to mess around with the snake method.

Summary

It’s clear to see why you will find charcoal trays on the most serious BBQs and for more than one reason as above. Some BBQs even come with them from new.

Your grilling experience will become a lot easier when using a charcoal tray and controlling the heat inside the BBQ will be much easier. Making your own life easier when smashing out some smoky BBQ food will result in a better-tasting BBQ.