It’s Barbecue Season. So Where’s Your Grill Made?

By Jeffrey Bonior
Apr 18 2022 |
Ladies and gentlemen, a Primo Ceramic Grill. These are made in Poplar Bluffs, Missouri. Primo Ceramic Grills

Presenting the Alliance for American Manufacturing barbecue grill primer.

Spring is officially here! Despite a few lingering snowstorms, for most Americans the warm weather means more time spent with outdoor activities.

And that means it’s time to break out of the house and renew our seasonal relationship with our outdoor kitchen: The barbecue grill.

Yes, we are now headed for many months of rustic-flavored meals that are easy to cook and tease our olfactory and gustatory senses.

Sorry Hank, (almost) no propane or propane accessories here. We’re talkin’ (mostly) charcoal grills.

Grilling outdoor barbecue is an American ritual, so we at the Alliance for America Manufacturing feel it only makes sense to do your cooking on an American-made grill.

However, choosing a barbecue grill can be a tricky prospect these days, with many companies sourcing their cooking products from other countries.

Years ago, Weber grills and the Big Green Egg were celebrated not only for their high quality but also because they were American-made. But things change fast in the competitive world of outdoor grilling, and many former American stalwarts in the grill game have begun sourcing some of their grills and manufacturing components from China.

So, we thought we would provide a brief list of American-made grills as you prepare for the summer grilling season.

The following companies manufacture American-made outdoor grills and, for the most part, are 100 percent made in the U.S.A.

MECO – Since 1969, Meco has continuously been making charcoal barbecue grills and smokers in Greenville, Tenn. Now more than 60 million grills later, Americans continue to enjoy the quality Meco products and the delicious BBQ flavor that Meco grills produce.

In 2017, Meco earned ISO 9001 certification as a continued commitment to help revive American manufacturing and create American jobs.

Barbecue aficionados swear by the Meco Americana Swinger Grill which has an old-school look with wooden side tables that allow for extra space for food preparation. The grill has 332-square inches of grilling space and a six-position chrome-plated cooking grid. It has six heat zones to grill medium, rare and well-done at the same time.

The Americana Swinger accommodates a reasonable number of meats for an average sized group of diners, and retails for approximately $120.

The most popular grill from Meco is the Americana Walk-About, which sells for anywhere between $60 and $75. It is the company’s best-selling grill and is available at most Home Depot stores, Walmart locations and Kroger grocery stores. All Meco grills are easily transportable for destination picnics or sporting event tailgate parties.  

HASTY BAKE CHARCOAL GRILLS – Manufactured in Tulsa, Okla. since 1948, Hasty Bake Charcoal Grills allow users to smoke, grill or even bake all in the same machine. The Hasty Bake looks like a standard grill, but a few small design details set it apart from the rest of the pack.

Many Hasty Bakes have a side door with access to its adjustable charcoal tray, which allows the cook to feed the fire without ever having to touch or move the meat. The charcoal tray is vertically mobile so you can bring it up to right under the meat for a quick sear and then drop it right down for a very low temperature smoke. Hickory chips or other wood heat and flavoring sources can be added to the tray.

The grills, which come in various sizes and finishes, are priced in the $1,000 to $2,000 range and are designed for home use. A bit pricey, but these oven grills are designed to last a lifetime because of their high-quality having been made in America.  

Hasty Bake Grills are available from select outdoor grill dealers throughout the U.S.

MHP – The gas grills from Modern Home Products are a step up in the grilling community as these American-made cookers are more of a permanent fixture in on your patio or in your backyard. The MHP Grills are constructed of cast aluminum and stainless steel at the company facilities in Antioch, Ill. And Butler, Wis.

The MHP outdoor grill was the first gas grill introduced to American outdoor chefs in 1960. It had a 22 ½ inch diameter with a hood that was standard design for charcoal grills of that period. The brand name at that time was “Perfect Host.”

But MHP grills have come a long way in the past 60 years, with a unique design and are considered the Cadillac of barbecue grills today. They are sold only in specialty stores and through the company website. An MHP grill is permanent investment as they can range as high as $1,500 in cost. The heat is produced with propane tanks or natural gas.

MHP grills are not your travelling cooker but are a top-quality, American-made addition to any household patio. If you’re grilling with gas, you can’t beat MHP.

FIRE MAGIC GRILLS – Another in the line of permanent patio grills for hard-core barbecue cooks is the Fire Magic Grill, which has been manufactured in the City of Industry, Calif. for more than 75 years. Outdoor grilling equipment is all that this company has ever made, and its longevity is a testament to its quality and durability.

The grills are constructed with heavy gauge and appliance-grade stainless steel with precise detail to design and construction, and comes with a best-in-industry lifetime warranty on cast stainless steel burners, cooking grids, and stainless-steel housing.

The top-quality 304 stainless steel construction resists oxidation and corrosion and the heavy-duty, stick-resistant Diamond Sear stainless steel cooking grids provide an optimal heating surface. The Fire Magic Grill has the most BTUs per square inch with control to cook up to 1,000 degrees and down to 200 degrees – sear a steak and bake a cake. Its unique “5 ways to cook” system allows you to grill, sear, smoke, rotisserie cook, and even charcoal grill.

Fire Magic Grills are available in either portable or built-in grills and can be purchased at select outdoor grilling retailers throughout the United States.

PRIMO CERAMIC GRILLS – In 1996 George Samaras founded Primo Ceramic Grills. Samaras chose the name “Primo” because it meant “the best” in Italian. The ceramic grills with an oval shape proved to offer greater cooking versatility and efficiency than a round-shaped grill.

In 2019, Primo was acquired by Empire Comfort Systems, which continues to manufacture the original top-quality product in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. Many barbecue grillers are hard-core devotees of the ceramic grill concept and today Primo Cermaic Grills are sold in 24 countries around the world — and still Made in America.

Still, Primo is a grill for the upscale market and those who take their grilling seriously. Some models are priced at $1,000 and up, so these grills are not for the novice barbecue chef or local oaf. But the American-made quality will last a lifetime and provide the best flavors that outdoor grilling has to offer.

Primo Ceramic Grills are as American as Apple Pie and yes, you can actually bake apples on this versatile grill.

Could there be a better way to celebrate a Memorial Day barbecue with an American-made grill? You’ve got your grill-shopping primer. Purchase now and by the Fourth of July, you will be an expert at outdoors grilling cuisine in a truly all-American way.