What is a Kettle Barbeque?

Is this your first time grilling with an open flame using a kettle BBQ, or are you interested in learning more? We’ve got you covered! Here, we’ll cover the basics to help you understand and master this classic charcoal BBQ. Ready?

All About Kettle Barbeques

BillyOh Kettle Charcoal BBQ

A kettle BBQ is a type of charcoal grill named after its round, kettle-like shape with a lid. Inside, it has a cooking grate, charcoal grate, lower chamber, and upper and lower vents.

The dome-like design allows for even heat distribution, and it’s deep enough to hold charcoal or wood fuel. The lid helps seal in the heat and infuses the food with rich, smokey flavours, similar to a Smoker BBQ. The venting system, located on the lid and the base of the kettle BBQ, helps with temperature control.

The cooking grate, usually made of stainless steel or cast iron, is where you place your food. It provides enough room for meat and vegetables while collecting drippings underneath. Moreover, it gives your food those classic grill marks.


What Are the Benefits of Kettle BBQs?

A kettle BBQ allows you to grill, smoke, bake, and sear your meat at almost any temperature. The versatile vents let you experiment with various cooking methods. Here are more benefits of this type of BBQ:

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Kettle BBQs’ compact size and lightweight nature make them easy to transport, while not as compact Portable BBQs, You can take one on camping trips, picnics, or tailgating parties. One is always ready to accompany you on your outdoor cookout escapades.

Dual-zone cooking

As charcoal grills, kettle BBQs allow you to try direct and indirect heat methods. No extra or expensive fancy equipment is needed! Direct heat sears the meat and provides a rich, smokey flavour. Indirect heat slow-cooks your food to create a tender, flavourful barbecue.

If you can’t decide which one to go for, you can do both by arranging the charcoal. Push all the lit ones to one side of the grill — this will be your direct heat zone. Leave the other side empty for the indirect heat zone.

Tips: Sear and grill food that cooks quickly in the direct heat zone, such as burgers and veggies. Slower cooking items for the indirect heat zone, like roasts, whole chickens, or ribs.

High-heat temperature

You can set the temperature as high as you need. This flexibility allows you to experiment with different cooking techniques and temperatures. Just remember to take safety precautions while you cook.

Read our guide to ‘How to Light a Charcoal BBQ’ for added safety.

Easy smoking

Smoking meat is straightforward with a kettle BBQ. Place your charcoal and wood chips on one side of the grill, put the meat on the other, and close the lid. Check the temperature during the smoking process and wait until the meat is smoked. It’s just like owning a dedicated BBQ smoker!

How to Grill Using a Kettle BBQ?

BillyOh Kettle Charcoal BBQ

Prepare charcoal briquettes, lighter fluid, and an optional chimney starter. Once you have those ready, follow these steps:

Step 1: Arrange the charcoal

Remove the grill grate and place your charcoal briquettes at the bottom of the grill. Stack the coals in a pyramid to help them ignite quickly. Or you can use a charcoal chimney starter to light the briquettes before adding them to the grill.

Step 2: Allow the charcoal to heat

Pour lighter fluid on your charcoal pyramid, light it, and let it burn. Wait until the briquettes are covered with white ash. This indicates they’re at the right cooking temperature.

Step 3: Start grilling

Coat the grill grate with nonstick spray, then add your meat. Getting grill marks and cooking over direct heat won’t take long. For tender meat with a smoky flavour, use the indirect grilling method.

Step 4: Regulate the temperature

Open the air vents at the top of your kettle BBQ to control the heat. This is especially important for recipes that require indirect cooking and low heat. For searing, which needs high heat, you may keep the vents closed.

Note: These vents allow spent charcoal to fall into an ash catcher under the grill. They also allow oxygen to feed the fire, heating the grill.

After following these steps, you should have some waiting time until your food is cooked.

Safety Tips

Use tongs to handle the food, and avoid touching the side of the grill or the lid until the coals have cooled. Watch out for flare-ups and be mindful of hot surfaces. Always take safety measures while grilling!


Kettle BBQs are portable and capable of delivering delicious flavours. No wonder why they are a favourite among grill enthusiasts! Their design ensures even heat distribution and easy temperature control, which is perfect for beginners. If you are more an experienced BBQ chef, take a look at our Gas Barbeque range for the most feature-rich BBQs we offer

Are you ready to become a true grill master? Fire up the grill, gather your loved ones, and enjoy smoky, flavorful meals!

Check out our BillyOh BBQ range for more options. Next on your reading list: The Advantages of a Charcoal BBQ Grill for Your Garden