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Napoleon 22 Inch Pro Cart Charcoal Kettle Grill Review

Napoleon NK33 CK C Kettle

The Napoleon 22 Inch Pro Cart Charcoal Kettle Grill pays homage to the classic 22.5 inch Weber Kettle, while putting some fresh touches on the familiar and popular design. Lid, cooking grates and coal grates are the most notable differences. The Pro Cart uses hinged, coated cast iron grates with three-level height adjustments, allowing you to move the cook surface right down above the fire for searing or up high for lower temp cooking. The lid is also hinged with a handle on the front, and spins in a rotary motion 180 degrees. Charcoal sits on a steel grate with a removable stainless steel heat diffuser and stainless charcoal baskets for indirect cooking.

Charcoal kettle grill with lid up showing heavy cooing grates. The grates have half moon shaped section with hinges. One half moon piece is sticking upward.

Coated cast iron grates provide intense conduction heat and make pronounced sear marks. We prefer the open architecture of Weber’s steel rods which are more effective at creating an even brown crust on steaks and burgers. Two hinged sections of the grate lift up for easy replenishment of coal. Grates may be removed or adjusted with attached handles. They can be placed closer or further from the coal by grabbing the handles and moving them onto supports inside the kettle at three set positions. The heat diffuser is a convex, flying saucer shaped hub with holes around the edge that rests in the center of the coal grate and is meant to distribute heat evenly and moderate the center hotspot. The grill may be used with or without the diffuser. We have not tested the Pro Cart yet, but adjustable height grates are always good and the heat diffuser may provide some useful options.

Napoleon’s hinged lid gives us mixed feelings. On one hand, anyone who owns a Weber Kettle has probably wished the lid was hinged. Sometimes it just gets in the way and you end up setting it off to the side. On the other hand, it’s one more moving part and how durable will that hinge prove to be over time? But since it is hinged, the 180 degree swiveling lid is an asset, particularly on a windy day when smoke likes to change direction.

The Pro Cart Kettle sits on a small steel cart with a fold out stainless steel shelf and four casters. The kettle is 22.5 inch diameter black porcelain enamel with 365 square inches of cooking area. There is a damper at the bottom that connects to a removable ash catcher and a damper on the lid. The obligatory hood mounted heat indicator is included. For a true picture of what’s going on under the hood, get a digital thermometer.

It’s hard to beat a Weber BBQ Kettle, but as usual, Napoleon holds its’ own against formidable competition and provides a viable alternative. Click here to learn more about charcoal grills.

  • Model:
    NK22CK-C Charcoal Kettle Grill
  • Item Price:
    $ 499
  • Where to buy (buying from this supplier supports this website):
  • Made in USA:
    no
  • Review Method:
    Looked Closely At It
    We have seen this product up close and we have also gathered info from the manufacturer, owners, and other reliable sources.
  • Primary Function:
    Grill
  • Fuel:
    Charcoal
  • Primary Capacity:
    365 square inches

Published On: 2/15/2013 Last Modified: 6/16/2021

  • Max Good - Max Good, AmazingRibs.com's Vice President of Product Reviews & Keeper of the Flame, is the man in charge of finding the best products for the AmazingRibs.com Equipment Reviews section. Max bottles his own barbecue sauce recipes and now sells them around the country.


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