How Does a Gravity Feed Charcoal Grill Work?

Alright, I have to admit. When I began researching the gravity feed charcoal grill, I wondered what the word gravity had to do with a charcoal grill. While the gravity feed charcoal grill has been around for a while now and has gained in popularity, I had not given much attention to it….until now.

Gravity Feed Charcoal Grill

I know about the pellet grill and how it works, but I wasn’t as familiar with the gravity feed charcoal grill. As I was speaking with a few of my expert barbeque buddies and scouring some of the grilling groups online, I began to hear more and more discussion about the gravity feed charcoal grill and became curious.

Since I love to eat barbeque food, I am usually curious about anything that has to do with grilling or smoking food. With the gravity feed charcoal grill, I became so intrigued to find out how it works and how it can be used that I needed to know more. So I set out to learn more and what I found was quite interesting.

How Does a Gravity Feed Charcoal Grill Work?

The gravity feed charcoal grill actually works off of gravity to feed charcoal into the bottom of the hopper to fuel the flame. The charcoal gets lit and then burns in a firebox located in the bottom of the hopper.

A fan located in the firebox pushes the heat through a manifold in the grill body and distributes the heat into the grill area where the cooking is done.

Depending on your need, you can fill up the smoker’s hopper to about three-fourths full of hardwood lump charcoal or briquettes to begin. Also, charcoal can be added to the hopper at any time during the cooking process, eliminating the need to open up the grill where the food is cooking.

You can also add a few wood chunks to the hopper to give more of a smoky, wood flavor or taste to the food. For low and slow cooking, this grill can be dialed back to a lower temperature, giving you plenty of time for longer cooking sessions.

A digital fan is used to maintain the temperature of the grill at the setting programmed on the control panel. The higher the temperature setting, the faster the fan will run to generate the necessary heat. Likewise, decreasing the setting causes the fan to run slower to maintain the grill at the lower temperatures.

Another component of the gravity feed charcoal grill is the firebox. In the firebox, heat and smoke are transferred from the hopper to the bottom of the grill cooking chamber. This distributes the heat in a regulated manner and helps to cook the food evenly.

Opening the door of either the hopper or the firebox after the grill has been lit will stop the fan to eliminate any danger of stoking the flame in the grill.

How Is The Temperature Controlled On The Grill?

Many gravity feed charcoal grills come with a digital control panel display that shows the temperature of the grill. You can regulate the temperature of the grill by using the digital control panel. Some of these grills come with an app where you can set the temperature on the control panel using your mobile phone. You also have an option to set a notification to alert you when the temperature has reached the desired level.

Advantages of a Gravity Feed Charcoal Grill

● A gravity feed charcoal grill uses less charcoal for the same amount of cooking as with a regular grill. Depending on the grilling temperature used, you can burn a fire for up to 8 hours with the same amount of charcoal that burns up in much less time with other regular grills.

Gravity feed charcoal grills can be set to cook at very low temperatures or very high temperatures, and all points in between.

● The gravity feed charcoal grill spreads the heat evenly throughout the grill cooking chamber, ensuring consistent results each time.

● You don’t need to constantly look over the food, saving you a lot of time at the grill.

Drawback of a Gravity Feed Charcoal Grill

● The gravity feed charcoal grill is more expensive than a regular grill.

Things to Look at Before Purchasing the Gravity Feed Charcoal Grill

Ease of Use

The grill should be easy to operate. It should be easy to switch on, switch off, and set the grill temperature. The placing of racks, loading of charcoal, cleaning of grill, etc., should be hassle-free, and the grill should not require more than one person to operate.

Size

The grill comes in various sizes providing the option for each person to decide which size will be adequate for them. You should keep in mind the space available in the outdoor area you plan to cook in. You should also consider how many people you will be cooking for. Most grills offer multiple racks to give you the cooking space you need.

Temperature Control

The temperature will be set according to the type of food you are cooking. So, the grill should have a way for the user to easily set the desired cooking temperature according to what the food requires.

Safety Features

The grill should have safety features built in that keep the user safe when starting, operating and extinguishing the grill.

Best Gravity Feed Charcoal Grills

Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560

The Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 uses a gravity feed charcoal hopper that burns charcoal perfectly and provides the exact heat required for cooking. You get a nice, smoky flavor using this grill.

It reaches 225 degrees Fahrenheit in just seven minutes and 700 degrees in thirteen minutes. So you can get your barbecuing started very quickly. You can control the temperature and set the timer using a digital control panel.

This grill works with a Masterbuilt app that can connect to Wifi and Bluetooth. You can set the temperature using a mobile phone also. The grill comes with a built-in temperature gauge and meat probe thermometer.

To get more details about this grill, check out our article on the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560.

Masterbuilt MB20040220 Gravity Series 560 Digital Charcoal Grill + Smoker, Black
  • Reaches 225°F in 7 minutes or 700°F in 13 minutes
  • Control temperature and cook time with the digital control panel or with smart device control using WIFI or Bluetooth
  • DigitalFan for precise temperature control
  • Built-in temperature gauge and meat probe thermometer for perfect results every time
  • GravityFed hopper holds 10 lbs. of lump charcoal or 16 lbs. of briquettes for 12-15 hours of use

Last update on 2021-10-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Masterbuilt Gravity Series 800

The Masterbuilt Gravity Series 800 also comes with a gravity feed hopper and does everything the 560 grill can do, plus it comes with a few extras features. One feature that is very popular is the flat top griddle insert that is not available with either the 560 or 1050 gravity series grills.

To learn more about this grill, you can check out our article on the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 800.

Masterbuilt MB20040221 Gravity Series 800 Griddle + Grill + Smoker, Black
  • Reaches 225 F in 8 minutes, 450 F in 10 minutes, or 700 degrees Fahrenheit in 14 minutes
  • Includes a flat top griddle insert and cast iron grill grates with 800 total square inches of cooking area (including the two porcelain-coated smoking racks)
  • DigitalFan minimizes heat fluctuations – maintains temperature
  • Control temperature and cook time with the digital control panel or with smart device control using WiFi or Bluetooth
  • Built-in temperature gauge and meat probe thermometer for perfect results every time

Last update on 2021-10-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050

The Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050 has a gravity feed charcoal hopper that has enough capacity to cook food for 8 hours. It has a smoking rack which provides more cooking space to the user.

This grill can reach 700 degrees Fahrenheit in shorter time than the Masterbuilt 560. It also controls the temperature and grills the food nicely. You can set the precise temperature using the digital control panel use the Masterbuilt app to check the temperature and set the timer.

To find out more about this particular grill, go to our article on the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050.

Masterbuilt MB20041220 Gravity Series 1050 Digital Charcoal Grill + Smoker, 202.9 lbs, Black
  • Reaches 225°F in 10 minutes or 700°F in 15 minutes
  • Control temperature and cook time with the digital control panel or with smart device control using WiFi or Bluetooth
  • DigitalFan for precise temperature control
  • GravityFed hopper holds 10 lbs. of lump charcoal or 16 lbs. of briquettes for up to 8 hours of use
  • Convenient fold out cord storage in back of side shelf to prevent loss or damage to the power supply

Last update on 2021-10-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What is a Gravity Feed Charcoal Smoker?

A gravity feed smoker uses the same gravity principle as a gravity feed grill and can burn either lump charcoal or briquettes as a fuel source. You can check out our recommendations for the best lump charcoal in this article.

It burns the charcoal at the hopper’s base, and the heat then gets distributed across the cooking chamber of the smoker or grill area. Many of the manufacturers today offer a grill and smoker combo you can purchase. These grill and smoker combo units can be set at the lower temperatures for low and slow cooking.

Recipe You Can Try on the Gravity Feed Charcoal Grill

To check out some recipes for the smoker, you can go to our article on Masterbuilt smoker recipes.

But here is a recipe for the gravity feed charcoal grill that we think you will really like.

Smoked Ribs

Ingredients required:

● Honey

● Your favorite dry sweet rub

● Butter or margarine

● Aluminum foil wrap

How to make barbeque sauce?

● 1 cup ketchup

● 1/4 cup brown sugar

● 1/8 cup molasses

● 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

● 1/2 tsp garlic powder

● 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce

● 1/2 tsp onion powder

● 1/2 tsp salt

● 1/2 cayenne pepper

● Honey

Cooking process:

● Preheat the grill at 250 degrees fahrenheit

● Remove the rib membrane using a butter knife

● Season the ribs with the dry sweet rub

Smoke the ribs for two hours

● Remove the ribs from the grill and set aside

● Spread a mixture of brown sugar, honey, and butter on aluminum foil, place the ribs on top of it, then wrap the ribs tightly in the foil and place on the grill for one hour

● While the ribs are on the grill, make the barbeque sauce using the ingredients above. In a saucepan, combine all the ingredients and stir together until mixed well and allow to simmer on the stove for twenty to thirty minutes

● After the ribs have cooked for one hour, remove them from the foil and mop them with the barbeque sauce

Smoke the ribs on the grill again at 350 degrees fahrenheit for thirty minutes or until the ribs have reached a safe internal temperature of 145 degrees fahrenheit.

To see a list of the proper internal temperatures for meat, check out our article on safe meat temperatures.

Conclusion

The gravity feed charcoal grill is a great way to cook if you are looking for something that can be set to lower temperatures to smoke food or higher temperatures for searing. Many people like this kind of versatility and have found that the digital control panel and digital fan make it easy to control the cooking temperature of the grill. There are a number of different grill sizes to choose from to match the amount of cooking you’ll be doing for your family and friends. So if you have got the extra money to invest in a gravity feed charcoal grill, we recommend that you give some consideration to this type of grill.