There where some big boasts about the Char-Broil Santa Fe Charcoal Grill regarding the low weight and the quality. Why would I doubt the word of a well-known and trusted manufacturer of popular grills? Well, I'm a cynic so the seeds of doubt are always in my mind and this was the reason why I sought to check it out for myself. I found some things that many will be surprised by, but you'll have to read on to discover whether these where good surprises or not. My aim was also to give a true picture of what it does and how it does it so without further delay i'll begin.
- Nice Design
- Easy Assembly
- Adjustable Dampers
- Quality Inner Components
- Great Tasting Food
- Large Cooking Area
- Steel Grates
- Hard to see Temperature Gauge
Char-Broil Santa Fe Charcoal Grill Review:
Viewing from the top the design is outstanding in the way it looks because it has one of those huge lids men fall in love with. What impact these lids have on cooking quality is questionable, but they are nice to look at . Beyond this the Santa Fe has a rather typical and familiar design with two side shelves placed either side of the cooking area and a third shelf beneath. The only problem I encountered in the design was that there's only two wheels meaning you'll be transporting the Santa Fe almost as you would a Wheelbarrow. Slightly odd, but I don't think it'll represent a major barrier to portability. The weight is only 69 pounds which is outrageously good for a Grill this size, and the measurements are 21.8 inches by 51.3 inches by 41.9 inches. The whole thing is made out of steel, making the weight all the more remarkable although I should remark that they've been able to keep the weight down by using a lower grade of steel. It shouldn't affect the durability but it's worth noting.
There's a little bit of work on the assembly because the whole unit has to be put together, but the manual is quite good so you're looking at a 30 minute job, and this is still rather quick. I suppose it would have been longer had they included four wheels, but jokes aside I was happy with the assembly time.
Once you've assembled you'll see that you a have a 435 square inch cooking area with another 180 square inches of secondary space, which for less than $160 is amazingly good. Another great thing about the Santa Fe was that the Temperature Gauge doesn't just display temperature, it will also tell you when the food is cooked which is especially useful for when you're cooking with the lid down. This was one of the surprises I told you about in my introduction and it was a welcome one. I should add that the handles don't get hot so you can hold them without gloves whenever you want meaning that on warm days you won't have sweaty hands.
Grills of this size usually cost twice the price of the Santa Fe so you're probably thinking they cut costs on the internal components to get down to under $200. This is normally the case, but here from what I can see they're included some excellent inner components that will last a long time so the durability is without question. They actually cut-costs by using Steel Grates instead of Cast-Iron Grates as well as the lower grade of steel on the outside. This means there's less heat retention so you get marginally slower cook times than with cast-iron and you might get some burn marks. Some people like burn marks and some people don't mind slower cook times. Afterall not everybody is in a rush to get food fast. The food tasted great though and was just as good as the food on any higher priced large grill.
The other surprise I found on the Santa Fe was the Adjustable Dampers. I honestly didn't expect a Grill at this price to have Dampers this good. They allow for a higher degree of personalised cooking and there's a front Charcoal Box that allows you to add more charcoal without completely stopping what you're doing. This was a nice touch that added convenience and functionality. There's a slight problem with the Temperature gauge when you have the lid up, in that you have to stand on tip-toes to read it so they could have thought it through a little better. But, this is not a major issue and it comes on an otherwise well-designed Grill.
The size represents good value for money, and the Dampers are an added piece of quality you wouldn't expect on such a low-priced unit. The assembly time is short, it's convenient to use and the food tastes great, if you don't mind slightly longer cook times because of the Steel Grates. I'd say that this is a must-buy at below $200 because it'll allow you to feed the whole family and neighbours and i'd rather they use Steel Grates to cut-costs than to reduce the durability by cutting the inner component quality.