The Bottom Line
Back in 2011, Napoleon reinvented the kettle charcoal grill with a new design for airflow that helps create an even charcoal fire. Now, they have taken this grill and mounted it into a metal cart with folding side table, providing workspace and stability. While more expensive than most metal charcoal grills, this grill has extras that make it worth the increased price, particularly the heavy cast iron cooking grate that fits into three positions and is hinged to allow access to the fire.
This charcoal grill is comparable, very comparable to the Weber Performer charcoal grill.
- Heavy cast iron cooking grates
- Even heating
- Three position cooking grate
- Side table folds down, reducing the overall footprint
- Cart construction is a little flimsy
- Top vent can leak water
- 22.5-inch diameter cooking grate for 365 total square inches of grilling space
- Heavy, hinged cast-iron cooking grate adjustable to three positions
- Removable ash catcher
- Full cart enclosure with folding side table
- Enameled steel and a mixture of 300 and 400 series stainless steel construction
- Hood-mounted temperature gauge
- Top and bottom vents allow the grill to be shut down, saving charcoal
- Made in Canada
Guide Review - Napoleon Charcoal Kettle Grill Model# NK22CK-C
When you approach an iconic product like the kettle style charcoal grill, one temptation is to take a simple and straightforward idea and load it with extras that make it complicated and bog it down with clutter.
Napoleon redesigned this classic style grill and added a number of extras, but without making it more complicated. You can adjust the heavy cast iron cooking grate to one of three positions so you can get that intense close heat or lift it up to a milder space. This gives you versatility if you want it, but you don't actually have to think about it if you don't want to.
Here, Napoleon has given the grill options that can be taken advantage of or not.
The heart of the design enhancements is the airflow diffuser inside the grill. Charcoal grills have the advantage of building a fire that provides a wide range of versatile cooking. Racked to one side for indirect grilling or hot and warm zones, charcoal has precision that gas grills simply don't. On the other hand building an even heat fire can actually be a challenge. A hot spot on one side will draw more airflow and grow to draw all the heat to one side of the grill. Napoleon has placed an airflow diffuser plate in the bottom of the grill that helps to keep the airflow even, making a more consistent fire. The best part is that the user doesn't have to do anything to make it work but still has all the versatility of variable fire that makes charcoal grilling superior.
Add to this a heavy cast iron cooking grate, hinged for access to the fire, and this grill gives fantastic searing ability and the great grill marks that a good grill should give. Ultimately this is what makes the Napoleon kettle better than most. It isn't as simple as the Weber version, but the extras give it enough to make it at least comparable.
One point I'm not entirely fond of is the construction. The cart on this grill is held together with metal screws instead of bolts and nuts. This makes assembly a little clumsy if you have to put it together yourself. Of course, if you buy it from a Napoleon dealer you can get them to put it together for you. This isn't a big issue; I would just rather see a better design in the cart.