on August 4, 2011
I initially hesitated to purchase the Broil King because a number of other reviewers reported serious damage with the delivered product, apparently inflicted by the shipper being used at the time. Still, the price per features and reviews that were very positive about the grill itself won me over. My grill arrived promptly and, aside from minor damage to the exterior packaging, the grill itself was in fact in perfect condition, so it looks like Amazon has resolved the shipping issue.
A caveat: This review is written after initial burn-in and an inaugural use of the Broil King XLS90 LP Gas Grill. I'll update the review with additional comments as it is used more. And use it I will, since it is well worth the premium price. At $880 (US), this Canadian-made grill is a serious investment. For that price, you should expect a solidly made grill that delivers steady, even heat across the grilling surface. The Broil King more than delivers.
Be advised that this grill required roughly 3.5 hours of assembly, not unreasonable for first-timers. The instructions were generally adequate and relatively easy to follow, but not so easy as to be idiot-proof. What was immediately apparent was that Broil King does not in any way cheap out on the essential components. The main oven is made from cast aluminum and is clearly solidly -- and heavily (!) -- built. Other key parts, such as the venturi tubes and other cook parts such as the Flav-R-Wave vaporizing system appear to be well-made of aluminum, while the cooking grills themselves are made of solid stainless steel. This model also shipped with Broil King's premium rotisserie, itself clearly solidly built, with a solid stainless steel rod, 2 sets of heavy duty rotisserie forks for holding the cooking product in place, and what looks to be a reasonably heavy-duty electric motor. The model also includes a rear burner unit for the rotisserie, which is designed to distribute a low flame across the width of the rod as it rotates. Note that one must remove the warming shelf in order to operate the rotisserie, and the rotisserie unit must be removed (and the rear burner not fired up) when the grill itself is being used.
The cabinet has two doors, one shelf, and a preconfigured recess to hold the LP tank. All of these are well-designed but unspectacular. A nice feature is that the doors latch solidly closed (note that they have to be lifted slightly when closing). The model also comes with a covered side burner unit on the left, and a work surface on the right, with recessed external shelf areas on both sides for spices, etc. There are recessed hooks built into each end of the grill from which to hang grilling tools, etc.
Now for the important stuff: This grill can COOK! With the lid closed, the grill preheats very rapidly, pumping out more heat than one can really cook with unless you are using a two-zone high sear, medium/low finish process. If that is your preference, you will be more than satisfied with the Broil King. It is clearly ideal for steaks, allowing you to sear, flip, sear, and flip etc. to get beautiful wide grill cross-hatches. The very solid and wide warming shelf allows the chef to finish cooking the seared product on the upper level. There is room to spare: my inaugural use consisted of 7 individual T-bone steaks, 1/2 dozen bratwurst, and 4 hot peppers on the lower grill, with 7 large foil wrapped baked potatoes on the warming rack. There was no crowding -- all of the various food items had plenty of room. All this cooked quickly and perfectly. The potatoes had been partly cooked in the microwave, but even wrapped in heavy duty foil, they finished cooking perfectly, yielding a crisp external peel with a firm, completely done interior. The steaks were superb -- nicely seared with perfect grill marks on the exterior with the interior tender and flavorful. Medium rare steaks were achieved by quick sear on the lower grill and finishing on the warming rack. A nice feature of the heavy-duty stainless cooking grill is that the bars are spaced close enough together to make fall-through an afterthought. Finally, the touted Flav-R-Wave system works as advertised -- there was virtually no flare-up to speak of, and what very little there was dissipated almost instantly.
Since my initial review, I have had a chance to use the grill a bit more often, including use of the rotisserie. Nothing has changed in my original 5 star review; to the contrary, repeated use has simply underscored the high build quality and overall cook-worthiness of this excellent product. The rotisserie worked very well, with clear and straightforward instructions perfectly sufficient for a novice like me. I cooked two full chickens at the same time, they browned beautifully and looked pretty well identical to our local grilled chicken chain. I had a bit of a struggle keeping the rotisserie "bar" from dropping out of the motor end of the unit, until I looked very closely at the accompanying literature and realized that the small lock nut assembly was meant to sit inside the grill against the inside bar holder at the end closest to the counterweight. Once I made that adjustment, the bar rotated two heavy chickens with further problem. A comment particularly applicable to the rotisserie -- BRINE IS YOUR FRIEND!! Due to a tight schedule, I was unable to brine the chickens before cooking them. I compounded that error by failing to appreciate how efficiently the small horizontal rotisserie gas apparatus actually worked. The result was beautiful looking chicken that was, sadly, dry and overcooked, due entirely to my failure to brine the chicken. My strong recommendation is that you brine pork and poultry lest the remarkably efficient grill and rotisserie dry out the product.
A word about the rotisserie apparatus: Like everything else about this grill, it reflects the overall attention to high quality construction. The grill bar and 4 accompanying prongs appear to be solid stainless steel. They convey heat superbly well and clean up easily after use. They are, however, quite heavy, and the overall apparatus is quite long and bulky, particularly when weighted down with several chickens. Keep this in mind when deciding where and how to mount raw chicken onto the grill bar.
BOTTOM LINE: This is by far the best household grill I have ever owned or cooked on. It heats extremely quickly (the single rear rotisserie gas unit heated the grill to 375 degrees in about 10 minutes), sears beautifully, and shows quality throughout. The more I use it, the more I appreciate how well this grill is built. And the inclusion of a full featured, well made rotisserie unit makes this grill one of the best values out there.
on October 7, 2013
I've waited almost an entire year to post a review because I wanted to rate the grill based on a long period of significant use. I grill 4-5 nights a week during the summer and 2-3 nights a week year round so this review is coming after a LOT of use and a LOT of variety as far as what I'm grilling. Beef, pork, chicken, vegetables, burgers, brats, even beans or fried potatoes on the side burner several times.
The two things I like most are:
1. This grill gets HOT. It will hit 700 degrees in about 15 minutes.
2. The heat is even across the grill. I don't have "hot-spots" or "cold-spots".
The temperature control is really good too. I've used the rotisserie for chickens, pork loins and even our Thanksgiving turkey and it is superb. You can get the temperature to exactly 350 degrees and keep it there. When grilling, it is very easy to use one side to sear and finish on the other side at a much lower temperature if you want to. The controls are good enough that I used the grill to re-season my cast iron so my wife wouldn't object to the smell of doing it in the oven. I needed exactly 500 degrees for the method I was trying and it worked perfectly to hold that temp.
I frequently use the top rack to cook pork chops or chicken breasts after searing on the lower main surface. I've never been able to get the pretty crosshatch grill marks on anything else, but even my wife has commented several times about how perfect everything looks coming off the grill onto the table. Meat is juicy and cooked through just the way it should be.
I got the grill in Oct. 2012 and added several Broil King accessories at Christmas. Everything is heavy stainless and seems to be excellent quality.
After almost a full year, I have noticed a very minor bulge or sag on the front-bottom section of the cast aluminum oven. I know that several people mentioned this issue in reviews. I'll definitely keep an eye on it but for now it is very minor and has not caused any problems.
One note on the stainless grates - I live in south-central Texas and it is very, very humid here. My grill lives under my covered porch and has never been out in the rain. It stays in the shade for the most part, but the back does get some direct sun late in the afternoon over the summer. I find it pretty much impossible to keep surface rust off the grates. I generally spray a light coat of canola oil on the grates to season them a little before I light the grill. The oil burns off and a good grill brush VERY easily cleans off anything leftover. The "vaporizer" pans under the main grill grates haven't faired as well in our humidity and I'll likely be replacing them by the 3rd year.
Overall, very, very pleased with the performance and quality of this unit.
on June 19, 2012
I was impressed with this BBQ when I bought it in June 2007. In 2010 we noticed the middle two grills didn't sit right any more. The front of the lower casting on the BBQ had started to bend outwards. Broil King sent out a metal strip to run under the grills. They said it was a known problem. The bbq continued to deform but the grills stayed up.
Flash forward to April 2012. The ribs I was cooking for Sunday dinner were ready for turning, but the BBQ lid wouldn't open. The bottom casting had deformed so much on heating it sealed the BBQ shut. It wouldn't open for 3 days, and then I had to go down first thing in the morning before the sun came out. Broil King was willing to send out a new bottom casting and 4 screws, nothing more. Trying to disassemble a 5 year old BBQ is not fun. The rotisserie must have been put on with an impact wrench at the factory, the cotter pins crumpled between my fingers, the pins on the lid had to be removed with a punch, and the bolts holding the casting onto the cart required a grinder. I quit before that and called the scrap dealer.
THE BBQ DEFORMED SO MUCH IT WOULDN'T OPEN. This isn't a minor issue and I'm very disappointed in broil king's attitude throughout this whole process.