Char-Broil Big Red is my top pick from the Char-Broil full-sized gas grill line. Not only is it a good looking grill, it works well and is easy to clean up.
Recommend this product?
Most of the high end Char-Broil grills are marketed in stainless steel which has been popular for several years now. The problem with stainless steel is that it is prone to rust unless in the high grade steel which jacks the cost way up.
The Big Red grill is coated with porcelain enamel which helps reduce the problems with rusting – at least in terms of the main frame and body. I’d still recommend washing, drying and keeping the grill covered when not in use, since trim work is uncoated stainless and component parts are as well.
The baffle and grate configuration on the Char-Broil 463250108 Propane Grill is interesting. Below the grates are troughs (basically). These function, more or less, as heat conductors and could be thought of as infrared (with the heat transference – the metal captures the heat and then the food on the grates gets indirect and higher cooking temperatures). To be a true infrared grill (in the high price range), the actual heating elements would be coated and do the transference, but this design does ensure efficient heating on the unit and higher possible temperatures than most models.
The troughs can be filled with liquids of various types (water, beer, etc) for steaming or wood chips can be placed through flame shaped holes in the grates to generate a little smoke and more flavor to the grilled foods. The steaming option really requires closed lid grilling for larger cuts of meat and functions as convection heat (like your home oven). The wood chip option also works better with a closed lid, and the flavor is not near as intense as grilling exclusively over wood or charcoal. Still, it bumps the flavor up a bit over more traditional gas grilling.
The grates are cast iron coated in porcelain enamel. This eliminates the issues with the cast iron rusting while still getting the heat retention from the cast iron which holds the heat well. This does mean that you’ve got to take care in cleaning the grates. Chip that coating, and you’re going to deal with some rusting. Also, the grates are really heavy, and I dropped one and got a major bruise on my ankle.
The starter is push button and uses a battery. One or all of the burners (three total) can be ignited as well as the side burner with the turn of a knob. There are a number of heating settlings with the twist of the knob too. And, the unit can be set to high heat (the lightning bolt setting) for clean up. Basically, all the crud is baked to cinders and can just be dumped out of the troughs. The cleaning option works very well, and this is a much “easier to clean” grill than other gas models I use.
Big Red does heat hotter at the back than the front of the unit. Since the back is under the clip on holding racks, it’s a little tricky to get to the foods that are getting the most heat. I find myself more often keeping food to the front of the grill, unless I’m grilling for a crowd. Then, the extra space is nice, but I have to watch carefully so as not to burn stuff at the back.
The extra space under the grill is generous even with the full sized gas bottle under, and the work table to the side (two if you don’t use the side burner) are convenient.
I don’t use the side burner very often as it does not get all that hot. I find it difficult to impossible to deep fry or to boil, so it’s basically just heating and eating off the side burner. This is common, however, for most gas grills, unless you move up to the real expensive models.
Big Red is more expensive than others in the line and also more expensive than many other brand names, but it does have advantages over those that are lower priced. The coating, large grill grate space, and clean up put this one on top for Char-Broil. It’s just more fun and easier to use than many gas grills.
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Amount Paid (US$): 599