Customer Review

294 of 303 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars After first couple of uses, I am very impressed!, May 26, 2009
This review is from: Char-Broil TRU Infrared 3-Burner Gas Grill with Side Burner (463270914) (Lawn & Patio)
I have always been a wood fire BBQ kind of guy - I like meat cooked over a *real* flame, and even charcoal has always seemed to me like cheating (though I've been using charcoal Weber kettle grills for 20 years). I never even considered a gas grill for myself for these reasons.

For my senior Mom & Dad, however, the task of lighting charcoal, etc was too much hassle, so this past weekend I went out shopping for a gas grill for them. After going back and forth between three different home centers and Costco, I settled on this unit as by far the best "bang for the buck" in terms of build quality, performance characteristics, and ease of use for under $500. I seriously considered going up to the Weber Genesis, but for 50% more, I just couldn't quite justify it. My requirement was good quality for under $500. At this price point, its all about QPR (quality price ratio)...

After about a one-hour erector set project putting it all together (not difficult, just tedious and time consuming), I fired it up and let heat for about 10-15 minutes to get the manufacturing residue completely burned off. I was immediately impressed with how hot the cooking surfaces became (and how quickly). The nifty temp sensors at the grate level registered 700+ degrees, though I don't know how accurate they really are.

After burn-off, I tried it out with what I have found to be one of the trickiest things to grill over open flame (gas or wood/charcoal): raw marinated bone-in chicken parts. To be done right, the chicken has to be crispy on the outside - not burned, and moist and completely cooked on the inside. With unevenly shaped and sized chicken parts, this can be devilishly tricky.

But with this grill, I found I was able to keep the left most burner at full throttle, and the two right burners at low settings and get creative. This allowed me to beautifully sear the skin using the left side of the grill, then finish cooking on the right side (with the BBQ closed). The results were impressive for a gas grill, which in my experience usually turn out either damp, gray, limp chicken with no BBQ taste, or something resembling the effects of a structure fire (charred and dried out) .

One of my favorite things about this grill turned out to be that it is really easy to add wood chips for smoke flavor. Because there is a perforated metal "screen" (the infrared reflector) under the food, it catches the wood chips and holds them at a perfect smoking temperature where they will smolder but not burn up.

Speaking of flare-ups, this grill did NOT exhibit flare-ups at all. Even with fatty pieces of chicken that had been marinated in an olive oil mixture, there was almost no burning or excessive smoking, even on the "searing" side of the hot grill.

When turned down low, I also found the evenness of the heating surface to be impressively consistent, and the large stainless "grill" surface not only made great marks on the food, but also did not stick as badly as most coated steel or iron grill surfaces do.

On the con side, I can imagine that the perforated screen is going to require some periodic maintenance to keep it clean. The good news is that it comes out in three easy-to-handle sections shaped like little trays, each holding a section of grill. You pull the "tray" up and out, then lift the grill surface out of the tray making both very easy to clean.

One final note - I also prepared a boneless leg of lamb on the grill using a "generic" rotisserie (Grill-Pro brand). it *barely* fit between the closed lid and the grill surface, but again, the infrared cooking system worked great. I warmed it up at full throttle for about 5-10 minutes before mounting the marinated lamb roast, then allowed it to sear beautifully for about 15 minutes. Then I turned the burners all down to their lowest settings, threw on a thumb-sized stick of oak from one of our trees, and dropped the lid.

An hour and a half later, we enjoyed one of the best lamb roasts I have ever had.

Recommended, especially if you can get it for the price I paid (which was about less than Amazon's currently listed price)

Pros:
*Great heat output for searing. I've not used a gas grill that gets a hotter cooking surface (other than commercial equipment)
*Even distribution of heat for predictable results, very little flare-up.
*Good low-temp performance
*Easy to use wood chips for flavor, unlike many gas grills
*Good (for its price-point) build quality in the hood and firebox. Cabinets are thin stainless steel.

Cons:
*Bottom 1/2 of construction is a bit flimsy, but better than many at this price point
*Requires pre-heating for about 10 minutes for best results
*Periodic clean-up will be required for optimum performance, and cleanup will be messy

----------
September 2014 update

I can't believe it has been over 5 years since I originally wrote this review. Interestingly, it has gotten more attention that a lot of my other reviews, so I'll felt I should write a quick update. I'm visiting my folks and used it three times in the last 4 days. It has been outside, but covered by a good quality "Brinkmann" cover. It still performs great and works as well as it did on Day 1. One thing I've noticed is that it is very sensitive to getting low on fuel. When the propane tank gets down to about 1/4 full, I swap out to a fresh tank - otherwise it just doesn't get as hot (and I like grilling steaks on a HOT grill).

Great for grilling steaks, chicken, and fish. Not so great for rotisserie. if you want to be able to put stuff on a rotisserie, I'd recommend looking elsewhere (the lid fits too close and rubs against the meat). But for grilling cuts of meat, chicken, or fish, this is a really great piece of gear for the money. Even fillets of relatively soft fish like trout and salmon don't stick to the grill, and fatty pieces of steak or chicken don't flare up and burn. I continue to be impressed.
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Comments

Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 23 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 9, 2010 7:31:40 PM PDT
Very thorough review covering my main concerns. Chicken and rotisserie. Thanks for the advice. I'll follow it.

Posted on May 1, 2010 10:35:08 AM PDT
Great review! I wish every review on Amazon was as thorough and well-written! We are considering this grill but wondered if the flash-bang technology was worth the extra money. Seems like you think it is. Thanks again!

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 15, 2010 5:28:08 PM PDT
Joey says:
any updates after 1 year of use?

Posted on Apr 15, 2011 1:51:45 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 15, 2011 1:52:57 PM PDT
SOX 4 LIFE says:
Char Broil sells a Rotisserie adapter kit for this and other Quantum series grills that addresses the problem noted in the review about hood and grate clearence. The kit has extension pieces that attach to the (Char Broil brand) rotisserie bracket to lift the height of the rotisserie spit (giving clearence above the grates) and a prop to keep the lid partially open:

http://www.charbroil.com/product/1854/Rotisserie-Adaptor-for-Quantum--TruInfrared.aspx

Posted on May 2, 2011 3:49:15 PM PDT
I have no doubt this is a great grill for the first few months of ownership, but how about after two years? How is it holding up? Most people are complaining that after anywhere from 6 to 18 months, the Char Broil Quantum "all stainless steel" grills are completely rusting out and Char Broil won't cover problems, even under warranty. Any follow up would be appreciated

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 29, 2011 6:20:46 AM PDT
David says:
Into 3 years, mine is ready to junk out! Weber for me from now on! This is a terrible Chinese product. Very disappointed!

In reply to an earlier post on May 17, 2012 8:07:34 AM PDT
sonofagunk says:
Just ignore this guy. He has tons of "reviews" on amazon all about how bad "Chinese" products are. Obviously some union guy that has to try and get people to buy the stuff he makes

Posted on Jul 18, 2012 11:48:43 AM PDT
I have the next model up of this same grill - the 4-burner unit with the self-cleaning feature. I have had it for almost a year, and grill year 'round with it. I have cooked steaks, chicken breasts and thighs, whole chicken, pork short ribs, pork loin roasts, shrinp (got to watch shrimp, they really cook fast on this grill), fresh salmon, fresh tuna, turkey breasts, corn in the husk (on the upper rack), and all types of roasted veggies (again, on the upper rack, and in a perforated tray). Everything has cooked well, and the roasted veggies are exceptional.

But, the grill is a love-hate relationship. I'll give you the "love" side first.

The infrared function does a very good job. The heat is even, with the rear of the grill being hotter than the front. Once you realized this it's easy to adjust your cooking style to accomodate this.

Preheat is very quick - less than indicated in the above review. I can get the grill up to 500F in about 5 minutes. A more than adequate preheat for searing.

Smoking is very easy and effective. If I soak the chips in water for half an hour prior to using them, they seem to work a little better.

The self-cleaning function with the automatic termination is fantastic. I do a lot of grilling with sugary barbeque sauces that have a tendancy to make quite a mess of the grills and the infrared trays. This residue mess gets turned to carbon and ash that is quite easy to remove by brushing, and in the worst cases, light scraping with the cleaning tool. The grill and infrared trays have to be removed to empty the debris, but that's really a minor inconvenience compared to the cleaning required on regular grills.

I like the good-sized work surface to stage food on and to sit my electronic thermometers on. I rarely use the side burner for more than keeping marinating/barbeque sauces hot, so that's really not a big selling point for me.

The grill seems to use less propane than non-infrared type grills.

Now the "hate" side of the relationship.

For the price of the grill I would think that the rottiserie would have been included, or at least a coupon enclosed to get it from Char-Broil at a discounted price.

I'm hoping the grill lasts quite a while, but I'm not feeling warm and fuzzy about that. In less than a year one of the termometers has failed, and there is considerable rust on the burners, infrared trays, and grill top.

The claim that those parts are stainless steel borders on fraudulent. The only thing stainless steel about these parts is the claim that they're stainless steel. I have "seasoned" the grills/infrared trays, coated them after cooking (or upon completion of the self cleaning cycle) to no avail. All it does is put the rust in an oily suspension requiring numerous wipe downs and re-oiling to remove the rust so it doesn't get on the food.

To me this is a major problem. Had I known about this before I bought the grill, I probably wouldn't have made the purchase. With all that went into this grill to make it a great grill, it's surprising that they skimped on the most important parts, and didn't make them out of true stainless steel. I like the way the grill cooks so well that I'm looking at trying to find a stainless grill top that I can retrofit to solve this major problem. Replacing the infrared trays with stainless steel, short of having something custom made, is probably impractical.

If they solve the stainless problem, this would be an exceptional grill.

Hope this was helpful.

B. Pletz

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 27, 2012 9:58:15 AM PDT
CMD RN says:
Much more believable...Thanks, you saved us alot of trouble by avoiding this grill! God Bless you for telling it like it REALLY is!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 27, 2012 9:59:56 AM PDT
CMD RN says:
Yes, I agree....if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. ugh!
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