Char-Broil offers a solid electric Patio Bistro barbecue grill for those who can't play with fire or those who just want the convenience of grilling with electric.
Recommend this product?
There aren't a lot of electric grills on the market, because it's hard to make an electric grill with good heat levels with 110. Most of the electric grills are small table top models due to this issue.
Char-Broil has a larger grilling surface, because they use a modified infrared approach. A metal plate under the grates and larger angled grates absorb heat (kind of like putting a cast iron skillet over a stove burner). This means you get a good sized grilling space but still enough heat to sear (more accurately carmelization) or see grill marks.
I can easily grill for 6 or 8 people if doing burgers or steaks on the Char-Broil Bistro, and I can feed more people if going with more compact items like hot dogs, brats, or chicken strips.
The size of the grilling space does warrant a stand, and it's much easier to grill at waist level than bending over if you don't have a good outside table to raise the height of a tailgate styled grill. Basically, the Char-Broil Bistro simply feels more like grilling than other small electric grill models.
To use the Char-Broil Bistro, simply plug it in and let it heat up with the lid down to heat up the metal components. Do note that the cord is short as required by law. It's best to place the grill near an outlet. If you do use an extension cord, check and make sure that you have a heavy grade cord intended for use outside. If you use a cheap extension cord (and especially if it's long), then you will find that the cord overheats.
Once the grill is hot (thermometer on top shows basic heat levels), then place the food on the grates. Close the lid for a convection style of grilling, unless you have really fast grilling foods like hot dogs. Otherwise, your heat levels drop fast. It's rather like baking with your oven door open to try to grill with an electric grill lid wide open.
Since the Char-Broil electric grill is electric, you won't get a smoke flavor. Then again, you don't get that with gas either. So, the overall taste is similar to gas. You can, however, make a little cup with aluminum foil and add wood chunks to the side (on top of the grate) to create some smoke and add flavor. Various rubs and sauces also bump up the flavor for both this electric and for gas grilling.
Overall, I find the Char-Broil Bistro easy and fun to use. I can feed family or small groups of friends with a real grilling experience. The food comes out very moist in the Char-Broil Bistro, and I bump up the flavor during prep and with wood chunks.
If you're looking for an electric barbecue grill, then the Char-Broil Bistro is a good selection.
I write about grilling and barbecue and own Barbecue Master blog and Yes You Can Grill (web site).
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Amount Paid (US$): 160