Top positive review
298 people found this helpful
Awesome grill if you don't mind a little maintenance
on December 24, 2012
OK people, here's the deal. No other product on the market cooks as well as a Char-Griller. Get the side box, and you have one of the best smokers on the market, too. These grills do have a few issues and, if you are the type that wants to put a grill together and never touch it again, stick to fancy overpriced stainless propane jobs. If you understand that proper charcoal/wood grilling takes work, this thing is great. I barbecue as a part time job, so I know what I'm talking about here, people. This thing is easy to regulate heat and doesn't take much practice to make the best damn BBQ you ever had. I use one at home, occasionally take it to small catering jobs, and use it to pre-smoke chicken for my popular roadside BBQ.
Here are some complaints I've noticed that I feel I need to address in my own special and eloquent way...
#1, you need to oil it and light yourself a big old fire for a while to protect it and get all the casting oil and what not out of the cast iron grates. It's cast iron, it needs done on any grill. before you use it. (noticed some complaints on other reviews).
#2, The grates have advantages and disadvantages. there's a couple of them that lift in and out with a handy dandy little tool. when you lose the tool, you have to use a fork. It's not hard, but I'd like them to be a little bigger. When they eventually crack and break (it takes years), you can order new ones from Char-Griller or find them at Lowe's. They are cheap.
#3, Rust. These grills rust, eventually. An annual $7.00 ban of heat paint, re-oiling, and baking before it starts cures this problem right quick.
#4, Fire. These things will catch on fire if you put them away greasy. Simple solution - don't put it away greasy. If you do, drag it out in the yard, pull the ash pan, scrape all the crap in the bottom, douse it with lighter fluid, leave the lid open, and light it up. let it burn. knock the burnt crap in the yard when the fire goes out, and it's clean. Hit it with degreaser and a hose if you want to, but you will have to re-oil and heat treat it again when you're done.
#5, Stuff comes loose. Pretty simple solution there, tighten up all the bolts every once in a while.
#6, Wheels. This is the only design flaw. Cheapo wheels that don't last long. if you don't move it, put it up on blocks. If you do move it, go get some decent wheels off of a lawnmower, and put them on. New, they're 10 bucks. If you have a broken lawnmower, they are free.
#7, Thermometer. This thing will not take long to break. Learn to build your fire and feel the grill for heat. watch the thermometer the first few times you use it. Become one with the grill like any good BBQ cook is, and you won't need it anymore, anyhow. If you use the smoker a lot, and want to watch it out the window, they are cheap to replace anyhow.
#8, Dumping. It's hot and a little bit dirty. You're cooking with fire, people. there's ash. fire is hot. Deal with it. It's got a lift out tray that catches most of it. If ash and dirt is a problem for you, get a gas grill.
#9, Grease. Yes, it will leave a grease stain on your deck or porch from grease that drips down the back of the lid when you open it. You definitely want to set this grill on something hoseable. Be extra careful with any grill on a composite deck. They stain really easy.
#10, Cheesy wooden shelving. When it eventually broke after a few years, I replaced it with some old cutting boards. Wish I would have done it right out of the box. You could use some 5/4 deck boards or whatever scrap wood you can find. Pretty easy.
If you take care of your Char-Griller, and use it pretty often, you will have it for 10 years. If you let it sit out, and don't take care of it, it will rot out and fall apart pretty quickly. This is not the perfect grill for everyone, but for the true BBQ enthusiast, it's absolutely the best choice out there. Several sizes are out there to fit your needs, and there is even a duo model that's propane on one side and charcoal on the other. I will be putting my current model in the garage soon, using it only for catering, and giving that one a whirl. As die hard as I am, I must say that propane has a place when you work 2 jobs and just want to make a quick dinner (especially if you already smoked it on the other side and froze it). My old gas grill finally died, and I figured I'd write a review on old faithful as I order it's fancy new replacement. For the record, though, My current charcoal Char-Griller, though slightly modified and upgraded over the years as previously mentioned, is 10 years old, heavily used, abused, and still in great shape thanks to proper maintenance.