October 21, 2014

Char Broil 4 burner grill – first thoughts

Char Broil Commercial Series 4 burner gas grill 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.shrimp-on-the-barbeque.JPG 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

Assembly
The CharBroil 4 burner Commercial Series Grill is a big piece of hardware. FedEx delivering the grill for testingOur 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.

hand-and-wrench.JPG building-the-frame.JPG grill-top.JPG grill-on-frame.JPG controls.JPG
Assembly was well documented, and pretty straightforward. The manual is concise, has clear illustrations including blowups of the details of each individual step. Assembly manual for Char Broil 4 burner gas grill 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. Blister pack of screws for char broil 4 burner gas grill

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.

Appearance

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

Comments

  1. I was just looking for information on this grill after finding it on Lowe’s site. I found a forum where it was mentioned it was listed in the top 5 gas grills recently by Consumer Reports. I then found it on Amazon and a few people claimed it was horrible, but it sounds like they purchased lower-end grills at other stores by the same mfg. and went on Amazon to gripe.

    Your review was very thorough and helpful, thank you. I look forward to see this grill fairs in your abuse tests as I will be purchasing one this evening. I punched in my zip code on Lowe’s site to see if it was available locally, and the price dropped $254.40! Sounds like this is by far the best bang for buck in a grill I can find.

  2. Sorry, price dropped to $254.40. :)

  3. Does anyone have the assembled measurements of this grill Height & Width I’m trying to decide if I can get this into my truck fully assembled from the store (???)

  4. Hi Jo

    I just measured mine. Its 64 inches wide, 48 inches tall and 24 inches front to back. You could shave about 4 inches off the width if you left the towel bar off and screwed that on at home. It would also be possible to leave off one of the two side shelves to pick up and extra 16 inches of so. Its only 4 screws to put it back on.

    Good luck.

  5. Roger Butler says:

    Does anyone know how to find a grill cover that will fit this Char-Broil model. I have exhausted retail businesses that are in this business and am still looking. Does Char-Broil make a model specific cover??

  6. Roger,
    We found that a basic 65″-68″ grill cover fit this model perfectly. We found them locally at Target and Linens N Things for around $30. ( I happened to see them very recently on sale for about 25% off that price.)

  7. I bought this grill one week before Christmas this year. Putting the grill together was easy. The only gripe I have is that the left door does not flush evenly with the right door. I’ve tried several ways to adjust the problem but the door does not even contact the magnet at the bottom right corner. Haven’t tried grilling yet but I look forward to it this spring or perhaps even winter.

  8. I got the CharBroil Commercial Model # 463268008 at Lowes last night, fully assembled. (no extra charge). I waited quite a while for Lowes employees to help me put it in my pickup but two nice (big) guys asked if they could help. They cleaned and jerked it into the pick-up in no time flat. Thanks guys!

    Got it home, installed new tank and fired her up. Nice grill!

    I was confused about whether (and where) to add lava rock but from what I’ve read on the ‘net the rocks are neither “needed or recommeded”. Ok, fine with me. Would have been nice if they’d told me that in the manual though.

    I don’t see a towel rack or anyway to hang utensils – but I can live with that!

    I haven’t cooked on it yet but will throw some steaks on later today. I haven’t bought a gas grill in many moons but this four burner seems to fit the bill for me just fine. ($299).

  9. I’m considering buying this grill but I have a natural gas hookup which I want to use. Does anyone know what all needs to be done so natural gas can be used instead of LP?

  10. WorkinMan says:

    Donna, the grill is a Dual Fuel grill and is conversion ready. You can order the conversion kit directly from CharBroil. It is really just a different connector to put on the grills gas intake valve.
    You can read about it here in

    CharBroil’s PDF instruction guide to the connector

    Here’s the link to the parts themselves

    They cost 69 dollars.

    We’ve been very pleased with the grill we tested last year. It has now spent over a year outside (with a cover) and been used probably 75 times and is weathering extremely well. No pitting, no corrosion. The burners themselves still provide smooth even gas flow and flames.

  11. My husband and I are thinking of getting this grill. I couldn’t tell from the online manual… do the side wings fold down, or are they fixed in place?

  12. NightOwl says:

    They are fixed in place. The left one has a burner on it.

  13. ejthomas says:

    This the 2007 year version.

    cbt

  14. I bought this grill about a year ago, spring 2007. Our last grill, a 2005 Char-Broil Commercial, got destroyed in a moving truck. We liked it so much that we replaced it with a newer version. Even though we’re in northern NJ we grill all year, almost every day in the warm weather and once or twice a week in the cold and snow. It gets cleaned out on a regular basis and is always covered when we’re not using it. The burners are spaced too far apart, creating hot spots over them and cool spots between, but that’s pretty easy to get used to.

    This grill was pretty good when it was new, but it doesn’t age well. Now that it’s a year old, the coating on the grates has worn off and unless I coat them with olive oil everything sticks. The coating on the flame tamers has burned away, so everything that drips onto them sticks and flares up. Last week I had some chicken wings on the top rack and looked over to see 2 ft high flames pouring out the back of the grill. I also have one burner, the far left one thankfully, that’s shot. My wife turned it on and flames shot out of the space just over the knob. I tried to replace the burner, but the screw holding it in place is so corroded that the head stripped and I can’t get it out. That side of the grill is now strictly indirect heat.

    I won’t buy another grill with burners or grates like this one.

  15. My grill will not get over 150º. I tried leaving a question on the CharBroil site. Also got several “page not founds”. The question page didn’t work.

    Does anyone have an idea why the grill won’t heat up?

  16. The knob that you first turn on that has the electronic starter broke on my Charbroil grill Model number 463268008 and Ive been trying for months to find a replacement part. Anybody know of a place that has replacement parts? I miss my grill something terrible.
    Thanks
    Becky

  17. “I have had this grill for a couple years…first season brass cheap style burners blew up Char broil only replaced 2 of the 4 go figure why would you give all four from the start when they knew there was a problem…..the back of the burner have a cheap plug made of steel pressed into the burner body that will rot out…..second season next two burner blow out and catch the grill ablaze…..ruined grill called company and they said they would replace burners nice right? like syaing I totaled my car and the insurance co wants to pay for the windshield!…why bother….was sent a email explaining that propane couldn’t burn that hot and there had to be grease built up…that funny why would I hook propane to a factory bought natural gas grill. … this letter was a typical blow you off lawyer drawn letter that corporate uses……. when I called and explained the natural gas the operater asked who did the conversion over to natural……are you kidding me I bought the thing this way….read the model #……what a joke of a company…..I finially got them to take blame for the fire and assured them that there was no grease the grill is keep like new…..I do eat off this thing and feed my family from it aswell……if it had been grease I would have no problem taking blame…….when I have two burners with open holes 1/2″ in size …I will take no blame!….They get me for 50 bucks with some story and replaced the lid burner box and the grates….oh ya all 4 burners…the parts arrive afew days later …I open the boxes and guess what….no brass burners they are a cheap poor grade cast burner…I go and call the at once to hear that they are the new replacements and there is no longer brass burners offered….how does that work I bought the grill because of them…….now this!….The company is a joke I have been more that fair with them and this is what I get in the end? I would not buy something from them again if it was free, stay away from any of their junk spend the money and buy something with a better name they will pay for this in the end……people will realize how they work and how their products are built….do you homework and run fast and far from Char Broil….anyone have a attorney that wants a case I think I may have been mentally scared from the thought of the fire the grill had and can no longer go to family cookouts……”

  18. I bought this grill sometimes in 2008 also. It has been one of the better grills I’ve owned. However the burners are falling a part and the metall grill where you cook on is rusting. So, I am looking but not able to find those parts few years later. There are after market parts available but they cost an arm and a leg. If I’m going to pay a grip of money I’d rather buy a different grill. Perhaps a different brand as well and one that does dont have the reputation of falling apart.