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4.1 out of 5 stars
Char-Broil TRU Infrared Patio Bistro Electric Grill, Gloss Black
Size Name: One SizeColor Name: Gloss BlackChange
Price:$150.98 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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600 of 634 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2010
Size Name: One SizeColor Name: Red
i'll start this review by saying I have sold grills for years and am a huge fan of the big guns such as Weber. Sadly do to living in a condo i can only have electric grills. In the past Char-Broil has made some sub-par items. Not this time. This is THE best electric grill option for under five hundred bucks. the people bashing it have obviously never grilled or assembled somthing as much as legos.

1- ITS EASY TO PUT TOGETHER- All these people on here complain as to how hard it is to put together. WHY? It took me a bit over an hour and a half working slowly and I didnt even curse once. Thats a miracles in and of it self. Simple tools, easy instructions, and not a ton of steps. There is a bit of lining up holes at one point but thats it. If you even have the slightest ability to put things together you'll be fine. Putting together Ikea furniture is WAY harder than this.

2- IT HEATS UP BLAZING HOT- Another complaint was that it didnt heat above 150 degrees. Mine will get to 600 degrees if left for a bit, within 20 minutes probably. It says in the manual don't keep lifting the hood it lets the heat out. This is true. If you keep it closed you should have not a single problem.AND I even use an extension chord which it suggests against and it still heats fine. Cooked a full london broil in under 12 minutes.

3- ITS ELECTRIC NOT CHARCOAL- Keep in mind its an electric grill. Its not gonna taste like a charcoal or gas grill. Wood chips help but its still not the same. But it is your best option by far if you dont have another option.

This grill is awesome for what it is. Ignore the bad press seriously. Char Broil has done right by this one. If your in an apartment or condo and dont want to drop $500 dollars on stainless steel electric monsters this is your grill. Happy Grilling
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230 of 241 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2010
Size Name: One SizeColor Name: Red
The Bottom Line: 3 Stars and Rising.

The Patio Bistro does its intended purpose. I like this grill the more I use it. It gets, hot, is easy to clean, and has a nice large cooking area. With time my rating may improve as the painfull memory of assebly fades into the past. This would be a nice choice for use where charcoal and propane grills are not allowed.

As of this writing I have owned the Patio Bistro Grill for a little over 1 month. I own and have used various charcoal and gas grills, smokers, and barbeques over the past 30 years. I consider myself as very experienced in outdoor grilling.

This remainder of this review will be in two parts.

First the Good! The Patio Bistro Grill Does Cook Food quite Nicely: 4 Stars

Once assembled the Patio Bistro is quite a nice little grill. It has a nice large grilling surface, and heats quite adequately for grilling and roasting. Once the lid is closed, the temperatures easily rise to over 400F.
I never let it get much higher than that, though I expect it would get above 500F if left on its own.

Heating time is quite reasonable. When compared with a charcoal grill it is very quick (if you include the time it takes to light the charcoal).

I have roasted chickens, grilled hamburgers and steaks, and, using a non-stick pizza pan as a griddle have cooked bacon, eggs, and toast quite easily.

The grill surface is fairly generous in size for an electric grill; useable for cooking a dozen burgers at a single time. It even comes with a removable warming rack located at the rear of the grill.

The knobbed electric dial used to specify cooking temperature has a nice range, and the included on/off light is usefull for levelling off interior temperatures once they have been reached.

The grill surface is relatively easy to clean off, and cools quickly when unplugged. The greatest virtue of Electric Grills is in not having to buy, carry, store or ignite fuels, and KNOWING that the grill is turned off, simply by ungplugging the unit.

Second the Not So Good: Assembly: 1 star

As other reviewers have stated, this grill is unnecessarily difficult to put together.

In this day and age of premanufactured and buyer assembled products, there should be no need to designe something that requires so many different tools, different fasteners, and lengthy instructions.

It took me the better part of 90 minutes to assemble this correctly. The instructions were only marginal.

Also, Once Assembled the whole product can be a bit wobbly, so you will spend time tightening and retightening nuts and bolts.

The Bottom Line: 3 Stars and Rising.

The Patio Bistro does its intended purpose. I like this grill the more I use it. It gets, hot, is easy to clean, and has a nice large cooking area. With time my rating may improve as the painfull memory of assebly fades into the past. This would be a nice choice for use where charcoal and propane grills are not allowed.
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224 of 238 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2010
Size Name: One SizeColor Name: Red
As a condo dweller, I've been a fan of the earlier model Patio Caddie for years. Reliability, fast/high heat generation, and never running out of fuel have been huge advantages. I've known about infrared grills for years, but knew they cost up over a grand. 'Saw this new Infrared Bistro model and had to have it! I gave my beloved Caddie to my son (who loves it!) and got this new model.

Putting the grill together was logical and straight forward. It did not go together instantly, but what's the big deal? I took it step-by-step and it came together just fine. When completed, the Bistro looks good; much more substantial and better styled than the ol' Caddie. Plus, the grill size is substantially larger.

'Plugged it in, turned up the power, and WOW! This sucker was up over 550 degress in about ten minutes. As I'd done before, put a small handfull of hickory chips into a foil pouch, poked a few holes in it, and tossed it on the grill and closed the lid. In a few more minutes the awesome aroma of hickory smoke wafted through the patio. Our first test was marinated sirloin skewers. As the meat hit the grill the intense sizzle was terrific. These cooked fast and clean, with that terrific hickory smoke essence.

I've now been using this grill almost daily for a couple of weeks with chicken, beef, pork, veggies, and shrimp and I love it! Guests are amazed.
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98 of 104 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2013
Size Name: One SizeColor Name: GraphiteVerified Purchase
Get a piece of wire mesh for the bottom. Then get a bag of ceramic brickets and line the bowl with them. This will hold and retain the heat better when you open thee cover.

Second, get a bag of your favorite woodchips and wrap them in aluminum foil and punch it full of holes and put it on the grill 10-15 minutes before you start grilling and you will get a good smoke flavor on your food.
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91 of 100 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2011
Size Name: One SizeColor Name: RedVerified Purchase
It's not gas. Once you understand that this is a sweet grill with plenty of cooking area. I have had this for three weeks--done dogs, burgers and a pork loin. Everything cooked to perfection.

Construction: Great assembly manual. It said "about an hour" and that's what it was. After opening the package I spent 10 minutes familiarizing myself with the parts and procedures. After that actual assembly was 45 minutes. I'm no mechanical genius, but I can follow directions.

Production: If you need instantaneous response a la gas, this grill is not for you. If you can accept a slower heat up (15-20 MIN.) this will suit you just fine. I have found that the best way to work with it is to preheat the grill about 25-50 degrees above your desired cooking temperature. After you place your food on the grill and close the lid it will be just about where you want it. There is no doubt that the grill takes longer to recover lost heat from opening the lid than a gas grill would, particularly after you put your food on, which is why you want to preheat it higher than you need. However, I have not found that to be a problem. It's all about the learning curve---and it's just not that steep.

I am quite happy to have freed myself from the gas grill and would buy this again in a heartbeat.

UPDATE: After going through a winter season with this grill I'm going to have to give it up. Here in coastal NC we grill year round (avg. Jan. high, 52), but this grill just wasn't up to the challenge when the temp dipped at all. Way too long to heat up and absolutely impossible to get back to temp after opening the lid to turn the meat. My original review still stands if all you do is grill "in season".

FYI: My new solution is a Weber Q120. Small, portable and no big propane tank. Uses those disposable tanks you can get in any hardware store. Fired it up just to test it. 300 degrees in 5 minutes. Full review in a couple of weeks...and an update after winter. ;-)
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98 of 109 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2011
Size Name: One SizeColor Name: Red
I read ALL the reviews before purchasing this grill. I was sick and tired of my gas grill not being able to function in the cold, not being able to provide a high enough pressure to cook anything, running out of propane. I didn't even use it last summer! I saw this grill on display at a store and it was love at first sight. Then I started researching it. Then I bought it.

Assembly: The instructions are the easiest, best-written instructions for assembly of anything I have ever seen. And the nuts and bolts are all individually packaged and labeled so you know you have everything to start off with. It took me an hour to assemble, watching TV at the same time, leaving to check e-mail intermittantly. Someone who was hurrying through it could do it much faster. I never had any questions at all about the instructions.

Ease of use: I have to use a fairly long extension cord, about 20 feet, to reach the grill in an area near my porch light. It very quickly heats up to 550F- say about 15 minutes. I get nice grill marks. The cooking surface is simple to clean; it virtually just wipes right off.

Small footprint: it takes up very little space on my patio. I ordered the specific cover for it and it looks very nice. Much better than even the smallest gas grill and big propane tank.

Lightweight yet sturdy: It feels well-put together, not fragile and rickety. I am very happy with the looks and quality.
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46 of 53 people found the following review helpful
Size Name: One SizeColor Name: Red
Charbroil makes the best electric small grill on the market. I have had 3 over the last 25 years and when I got a new one I pasted the others on to people who either wanted a small grill or just wanted to try it. Adding Mesquite wood chips help season the brickets and once lined the grill works better than any charcoal or gas grill. Any type of food is cooked and it has a nice temperature gauge and with the dial setting for temperature you can not go wrong.
_The only key not I recomment is that if you are trying to cook in the winter time ( the adjustment for preheat should be extended and by lining the inside very careful with the ceramic brickettes it holds the heat.

ALWAYS REMEMBER TO REMOVETHE PLUG IN TEMPERATURE CONTROL AND STORE IN A HEAVEY DUTY GALLON PLASTIC BAG REASON
THIS IS PART OF THE OWNERS INSTRUCTION and THIS PREVENTS THE ANODE from CORROSION due to SALTS and MOISTURE once it is CONNECTED>

A very long life and great product anyone can use.
Thank Charbroil for you fast quick and perfect service for help or parts. THE PATIO IS THE ONE WE USE MOST. I will be getting the improved model with the inner shelf, hinged lid and side table.
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39 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on February 24, 2011
Size Name: One SizeColor Name: Red
Our rental neighborhood has restrictions on gas and charcoal grills on our deck. Also, there is a deck overtop of ours and we have a small space....so all these restrictions considered we were in need of a small footprinted electric grill. We found this at home depot, and bought it about one week ago. We have grilled turkey burgers, chicken, and last night fish on this device since that time with really good results. I would highly recommend this device for people who space, and or type of grill issues.

Here are two details people may be interested in:
1. Assembly took me about an hour and ten minutes (I did it in the living room while watching a movie)
2. The ambient temperature was 50 degrees and the grill gets to 500 degrees each time this week; however, it quickly drops overtime the grill top is opened...so cook the meat first and vegetables, bread etc afterwards
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2013
Size Name: One SizeColor Name: RedVerified Purchase
Grilling is good. Have to be careful when using. Cannot be on the same circuit line with other appliances. I have blown fuses. It's fine when used alone.
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66 of 80 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2012
Size Name: One SizeColor Name: Red
The Bistro is cute and the quality of construction is good but the functional cooking design is ridiculous. It takes a bit of time to put together but the instructions are clear and is not difficult. BUT, the Patio Bistro has TERMINAL Defects.

First, the Bistro is an non-insulated metal bubble with a large vent opening at the bottom and another large vent opening at the back/top of the grille which cannot be closed. Consequently, with the heating element on hi the cool or cold air simply is sucked in the bottom of the grille and blows through right by the hot electric element unimpeded and the heat escapes right out the back. The Patio Bistro is energy inefficient (which is costly), doesn't reach adequate temps quickly and adds time to the cooking cycle. Cooking in cold weather is quite difficult and if windy and cold impossible...... All of your cooking will take longer than it did on the discontinued Char-Broil Patio Caddy (the predecessor to the Patio Bistro).

Second, the design of the grilling grate on the Bistro is faulty. It is made up of triangulated (not solid) pieces of steel with very little space between them at the bottom. When cooking, the meat juices run down the triangles to the narrow slots between the grates, cook and harden and block the flow of heat through the grates. In addition, a traditional metal grille brush will not work to clean the grate. You must use a knife to clean between the grates. Forget about using barbeque sauce while cooking!

Third, the Bistro has wheels but is easy to turn over when moving it due to the low location of its handle...very awkward and NOT well-designed.

The discontinued Patio Caddy design incorporated a high quality porcelain finish, Reflective aluminum pans on the bottom and top to reflect heat to the grate, used lava rocks which retained heat, and had a tight-fitting top which retained moisture and flavor when used with wood chips, held heat in, and prevented flame-ups. In addition, the metal grate on the discontinued Patio Caddy is exceptional for grilling , staying clean, and is easy to clean with a grille brush.

The Patio Bistro must be a typical Corporate America creation designed on a computer and released without any real-world testing. I would NOT recommend that anyone buy this PATIO BISTRO grille without a Char-Broil redesign. Luckily I kept my Patio Caddy and have cleaned it up for reuse as my primary grille. My Patio Bistro is sitting unused and will be only used as a backup or for overflow grilling. The Patio Bistro was a TOTAL waste of my money.

Added 6-11-14
It is amazing that this grille has 4 stars, absolutely mind-blowing. Having used it quite a few times I stand by my review and comments. I have given it to my ex-wife so I don't have to deal with it any more. It is another example of form (styling)over function. It is a high priced, good-looking grille that could be 50% better if it was designed differently. I have had the same experience with the last two toasters that I have purchase.....stylish but neither will toast worth a darn. I wish that I had my old plastic Black & Decker Toaster back.

If you do NOT care about the cost High electricity usage, do NOT want to use wood chips to smoke your meat (they will catch on fire and scorch your meat), do NOT want to use Barbecue sauce (clogs up the grate), do NOT grille in Cold and/or cool windy weather (doesn't get hot enough and takes forever to grille), do NOT mind the task of cleaning this stupid grate, do NOT like all of your meat cooked rare, and do NOT mind extended cooking times, then BY ALL MEANS, BUY THIS GRILLE. If not, buy something else.
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