on June 23, 2013
This grill does a very good job keeping the moisture in grilled food, and after dozens of uses, have yet to experience a single flare-up as we know them. When grease drips through to the burners, you get a quick sizzle for a fraction of a second, followed by a puff of smoke, and that's it. No big flames, like our old grill would make. Ours arrived with a few very minor dents and scratches, but the way the grill was packed, it wasn't on any surface one would normally see, so we aren't worried about it. The way the grill was packed, they had the front doors, and the ;pieces of the cabinet where the bottle is stored closest to the box. The box must have gotten bumped somewhere along the line, because we got a few dents and scratches in those pieces, The way the pieces were situated, all the damage can only be seen from the inside of the cabinet area where the propane bottle goes. I consider that to be smart packing, to keep the lid, side shelf & burner, and the areas you see as safe from damage as possible. While not happy about it, any damage was confined to areas you can't see once the grill is assembled.
To the grill:
Warms up relatively quickly
No flare ups
Keeps the juices in the meat better than grills I have had in the past
The grilling surface is made of formed sheet metal, with very small holes in it, rather than a metal grate, so there is no fear of anything falling into the burner area.
A temperature guage for every burner, located at burner level, rather than a single thermometer in the hood.
It also seems to be much less affected by the wind. We have grilled in wind gusts strong enough to push us off the deck, and into the house to eat, but the grill was hardly affected.
Can be hard to clean. However, the grilling surfaces can be run through a dishwasher to soften everything up, which helps a lot. Not as fast & easy as brushing off a wire grate, but a scraper formed to fit the grooves comes with the grill, which helps.
Smokes quite a bit more than our old grill, but I think that is maybe the trade off for no flare ups.
Construction is about average for a grill. It is not flimsy, but if you also won't mistake it for a high end grill. It is probably one of the better built ones for its price point. One bit of advice, spend the few extra $$$ like we did, and get the one with the all-Stainless grill surface, well worth it, in my opinion. I think the burners themselves are Stainless, on all the Char-Broil TRU Infrared grills.
I give it 3/12 stars for construction (more than adequate, but not overbuilt either), 4 1/2 stars for how well it grills (very easy to get food thoroughly cooked without drying it out once you use it a couple times) and 3 stars for ease of assembly. While the directions are easy enough to follow, you need to go over everything a second time, because there are bolts they tell you to leave a little loose, to make it easier to put together the next steps, but never say when you should tighten them fully. I didn't keep a mental note of the ones left loose, and wound up going over all of them just to be sure. If I remember right, it takes a #2 phillips, a #3 phillips (a #2 will work if its all you have, but be careful as the tip fits the screw heads a little loose, and can slip), and a 7/16" open end wrench. You almost have to use an end wrench, as there isn't a lot of clearance for anything else to fit in the areas you need to get the wrench into, to tighten the bolts. One nice plus, is that all the nuts, bolts, and screws are in a blister pack, with a cardboard back, and the specs for each are written on the back of the cardboard, which corresponds with the location of that hardware piece. For example, if you need a 1/4 inch nut, you cut the cardboard along the indicated lines where it says 1/4 inch nut, and there they are.
UPDATE: after using this all summer, I'd say maybe 3 times a week, my initial impressions still stand. It does an excellent job grilling, keeps the juices in the meat better than my old grill, and we have found it works very well on fresh vegetables, using a veggie basket.
So, after a summer of use, it worked with no problems, does a good job grilling, is almost impossible to get to flare up, even when cooking bacon, but still smokes more than my old grille, and the grates are a pain to clean. Good thing that it came with a scraper shaped to fit the profile of the grates exactly, because the ribs are deep enough they are hard to get into with a grill brush.