Char-Broil are a well-established manufacturer of grills and have a good reputation for solid and reliable craftsmanship. Recently they've been working hard to update their technology for increased performance, and Infrared technology is one of the new advances they've made. There are two schools of thought amongst cookout enthusiasts and the concept of using infrared heating to limit air-flow through the unit, to enable greater evenness in cooking, is the first of these. The second is convection grilling, and convection grills do exactly the opposite of this, in that they increase hot air flow in the belief that it helps create better tasting meals. All grills without infrared on the box, will be convection grills, but of more importance to buyers than telling one from the other, is the fact that both can be great if made well.
by CHAR-BROIL [Char-Broil]
- Very durable
- Easy Assembly
- Great infrared heat dispersal
- Porcelain coated surface for easier cleaning
- Split cooking surface with upper and lower levels
- 320 inch total cooking surface is below average
Char-Broil TRU Infrared Patio Bistro Electric Grill Review (Official Site):
The Char-Broil TRU measures 24.4 inches in length, by 25.2 inches of width and has a height of 38.2 inches, making it a pretty standard size for a top brand outdoor grill. The weight is 54 pounds, and while this is heavier than your average portable grill, it certainly isn't a prohibiting weight and I didn't have any trouble taking it outside. If anything its weight is a good thing because lighter grills tend to be made of inferior, less expensive materials. The design looks like a classic kettle grill, in a beautiful bold red, and it was very easy to put together.
Due to the simple, yet effective design I was able to assemble the Char-Broil TRU Infrared Patio Bistro Electric Grill, in just under 25 minutes. The instructions where simple and easy to follow and there really wasn't much to do, except screw in a few nuts and bolts, so full marks to Char-Broil for re-thinking the overall assembly process
The goal of any infrared grill is to limit air-flow and create infrared heat that is spread evenly over the whole cooking surface. I was happy to find the TRU bistro did this well, so I was interested to assess whether, the end results would be less dry. Infrared grills when expertly made, also produce food that is less dry, because the huge amount of hot air flow in non-infrared grills, can destroy the barrier of moisture found naturally on food. I have to say, the Char-Broil TRU did produce a more moist, flavoured meat, so one could say I was converted to the infrared argument after eating. Usually the problem with infrared grills comes when manufacturers use it as an excuse to include poorly designed grill grates, but I could see from the beginning that the grates on the Char-Broil TRU where excellent. So full marks agains to Char-Broil; the infrared was effective, it has good grates, and the end result was a tasty meal.
The cooking surface is not as large as other portable grills, but 320 square inches in adequate. I had no trouble finding space, although if your having a party with 20 people, It perhaps wouldn't be appropriate. The cooking surface is however split into a 240 square inch lower level and an 80 inch upper level, which is very popular among buyers, because they can cook vegetables which need less heat, on the top level, while reserving the lower level as the domain for meat. I always find that when vegetables are done on the same level as meat, they turn out overdone and ruin the meal, so I was pleased with this common sense inclusion by Char-Broil.
The Char-Broil TRU is very easy to clean because of the porcelain coating on the cooking surface, which has become the standard in the industry. Nothing sticks, so whatever residue there is, comes straight off. Other plus points are the visible temperature gauge and the accurate dial. All operating features are easy to see and use.
Whatever ones opinion on the role hot air flow plays in the preparation of food outside, one thing is clear, the Char-Broil TRU Infrared Patio Bistro Grill, obtained excellent results. Heat was dispersed evenly, the grates where top quality, the design is well made and assembly of it is easy. Overall, this is a great outdoor grill I'd recommend.