We’re working on a radio segment on grills over at TechTalk Radio and I’ve been lucky enough to test the Char-Broil Commercial Series 4 burner gas grill (Model 463268107). Here are my first impressions out of the box so to speak. This thing is shiny. And BIG. I’ve been using an old cast iron, two burner Arklamatic for over ten years, and barbeque probably 60+ days a year. So i’m used to working hard to make room for my burgers or steak on one burner and my wife’s trout or salmon filet on the other and alternating peppers and veggies as one side or the other finishes. Right out of the gate, using the CharBroil 4 burner grill is like moving into a bigger house. Your stuff looks lonely in all of that space. Last night I grilled a full chicken and only managed to cover a small area over a single grill. Later this week, we’ll fire up the grill for the whole editorial production team, and we’ll easily have room for 20 or 30 pieces of chicken on half the grill.
Living in California with a wife who isn’t that much of a carnivore, I’ve also gotten used to grilling more delicate fare, and wondered if a 50,000 BTU grill would just destroy a less robust food. So we also did a grill test on some items that would make a Texan wince. I grilled a few pieces of Surumi – a delicate white fish based fake shrimp, some light salmon fillets, some red trout, some yellow and orange peppers, and (carefully) some lightly marinated tofu.
I was a mildly surprised at how well the grill did. When cooking foods other than burgers and steaks, I tend to spray the grill with olive oil spray to keep the food from sticking, and I preheat the grill for 10 minutes to let it get nice and hot. The grates are a very heavy duty cast iron, tightly spaced, with each grate bar shaped like a triangle so that it tops out in a very narrow line but with minimal gaps between grates to lose your food. I’ve been very pleased with the results so far. The grates really picked up and distributed the heat nicely. The salmon steaks especially came off the grill soft and flaky with a nice grill pattern on the surface but well cooked through and through. Even though I’ve only been grilling small portions that easily fit on a single burner, I’ve found that I’ve had better results if I turn on the neighboring burner also to pick up more indirect heat (the interiors thermometer suggests I was running around 325 degrees with the lid down).
The Charbroil Grill itself
The CharBroil 4 burner Commercial Series Grill is a big piece of hardware. Our test unit showed up all by its lonesome in a big fedex truck and took three of us to get out to the deck where we are testing our grills. In the end, it was easier to open the box and pull out the grates, doors and side panels to make the box lighter and easier to manouver. Although the grill would certainly fit in the back of a Suburban or pickup, unless you’ve got a couple friends with strong backs, I’d recommend letting the store deliver the grill to you.
Assembly was well documented, and pretty straightforward. The manual is concise, has clear illustrations including blowups of the details of each individual step. Every illustration has a specific listing of exactly which screws and fasteners to use, and the order to use them in. For guys like me who tend not to read instructions cause we just “know how to put things together” its worth actually following the book. Not reading closely , I put a pair of screws into a back panel a step early and had to pull them back out when I discovered that another panel had to be inserted before they could be driven in.
Assembly took about two hours, and could easily a one man job except for the five minutes needed to lower the grill onto the cabinet. Nevertheless, if you can find a son or daughter (or in my case, 4) to help out and tighten screws, the job is a lot more fun. Its clear how much care went into the design of the installation procedures when you see the pack of included screws and fasteners. Instead of a plastic bag with mishmash of small pieces, charbroil gives you a blister pack with each screw and lock washer packed with its mates, clearly labled on the back, with perforated flaps for easy access.
My only suggestions to Char Broil to improve the process: 1. Give me an extra screw and washer of each size. When one washer rolled away, we were sunk untill we could find it again. and 2: Give me a better caster wrench. (To tighten on the wheels on the bottom of the cabinet they give you a small wrench cut out of 3mm sheet metal, which has to bind against the caster’s nut, also out of 3 sheet metal. Sliding off by even a millimeter loses bite on the caster. I found it easier to just get my own wrench and finish the job.)
Nevertheless, I was very pleased with the fit and finish of the unit, and the obvious attention to detail. For example, when you go to hang the doors and need to hold them vertically in place to screw them on, you’ll find that CharBroil has given each one a small little hook that hangs on the lip of the door frame holding them in perfect alignment while you put in the mounting screws. No need to struggle to hold the door up with your knees while you fumble to drive in one screw while holding the next screw in your teeth.
The CharBroil Commercial Series 4 burner Gas Grill is a very attractive piece of equipment. It has a substantial weight and feel, but with nice lines. The exterior of the grill is completely stainless steel, with silver tone plastic knobs. Part of the grill is a higher quality stainless steel, and part seems to be a lower quality steel. On the either side of the grill is a solid stainless steel shelf. The left shelf has a flip up surface that exposes a side burner for those who need to heat up a pot of beans, or corn, or spicy cajun dipping sauce.
All of the seams are very tight and smooth with minimal gapping to let in moisture and eventual rust. The surface does seem to pick up a bit of smear and a slight mottled discoloration from being out in the moist nighttime air. I would probably cover it if I wanted it to last forever, but we might instead try hosing it down every night leaving standing water on the surface and see how the metal holds up to years of simulated rainstorms and abuse. We’ll let you know how things shake out.
I only had a few design concerns. My biggest -and its almost a deal breaker:- There’s no place to hang my spatulas, tongs and grill brushes. The engineers at Char Broil shoud add hooks to the underside of the right shelf so I can hang my tools. For now I’ve had to put a paper plate down on the right side shelf and lay the messy ends of my flippers/tongs on that. This week I’ll go buy some S hooks from the local hardware store, remove the towel bar on the right side, slide on my hooks, reattahc the bar and jury rig up some hanging space. My weaker complaint, and I realize that it’s really just a personal bias, I wish there was a place to put some lava rocks, and to occasionally toss in some hickory chips. The burners are each topped by a steel heat dissipater, but they are sloped downwards, and don’t connect, so there’s no surface above the burners to hold lava or wood chips. Since this is a pretty common design structure across most grill this size, I guess I’m not supposed to complain, but nevertheless, I like when my marinade drips on the lava, burns up and resmokes my food while it grills.
All in all, it seems clear that this is a well engineered, well thought out piece of equipment. It is moderately priced, looks beautiful, and performs beyond expectations. Any outdoor chef should be pleased to stand next to it.
Product Specs and Usage Tips:
Four Burner Gas Grill
- 500 total sq. in. porcelain cast iron cooking grate
- Add 170 sq. in. Secondary cooking surface, for a total of 670 total sq. in. cooking area
- Stainless Steel lid
- 50,000 BTU Main Burners
- 13,000 BTU Sideburner
- Electronic Ignition
- Double Doors
Here’s a copy of the assembly manual for the 463268007 4 burner gas grill.
Here are some maintenance tips for getting the best lifetime of use from your grill:
Season your cast iron grates so they won’t rust
Learn how to clean your stainless steel grill to keep it looking as shiny as the day you tested it. This great cleaning guide from CharBroil includes a video.
Here are some cleaning tips for the grates themselves.
When all else fails, here are troubleshooting tips for your new gas grill