The Bottom Line
- High, efficient heating
- Low price all infrared design
- Reduced risk of flare-ups
- Low quality 430 stainless steel construction
- Cooking chamber trough section prone to rusting and potential failure
- Four 9,250 BTU stainless steel tubular burners
- 580 square inches primary cooking area with a total grilling area of 780 square inches
- 37,000 BTU maximum output from the main burners
- 13,000 BTU Char-Broil "stovetop" side burner under a cover (griddle sold separately)
- Unique "infrared" design produces high temperatures from a low BTU output
- Heavy porcelain coated cast iron cooking grates
- On knob electric igniter (AA battery) with two internal halogen lights
- Low grade stainless steel and painted steel construction
- Propane tank and cover sold separately
- Made in China by Char-Broil exclusively for Home Depot
Guide Review - Char-Broil Gourmet 4-Burner TRU-Infrared Model# 463251012
In the past, Char-Broil's RED technology has had a few problems. The focused heat of the burners on a porcelain painted metal tub caused the protective layer to peel off. This exposed the raw metal to corrosion, greatly limiting the lifespan of these grills. In 2011, Char-Broil made some design changes address the problems of the RED technology. This year, Char-Broil has changed the name on all their infrared grills to TRU-Infrared to reinforce their brand.
To recap (because if you are reading this you probably don't know much about these grills) the Char-Broil TRU-Infrared 4-Burner focus the heat of its burners onto a rounded piece of porcelain coated sheet metal called a U-Emitter (or trough on the technical specs). The U-Emitter gets very hot (around 950 degrees F.) and radiates heat at the heavy porcelain coated cooking grates. This gives you 100% infrared cooking power. What that means is high, intense heat for grilling without flare-ups (says the literature).
Two problems with these grills are, first that any drippings into the U-Emitter must be completely vaporized. This produces a lot of smoke (and not the good kind) and sometimes rather intense flare-ups. The other problem is that the heat focused on the U-emitter causes the porcelain coating to flake off and expose the metal to the elements. This will lead to rusting. Once this rusts through the grill will be unusable. Warranty on this part is two years but doesn't cover rusting.
So the big question is, does the changes Char-Broil has made, fix these problems. What I see is that the grill can now heat up faster. The 20 to 25 minute preheat times have been reduced by boosting the burner output. Unfortunately this doesn't solve the problem of the superheated U-emitter loosing its protective coating. As for the smoke and the rare but spectacular flare-ups? Those will still happen.
This grill comes equipped with a multi-function 13,000 BTU side burner. Since the burners are isolated there is virtually no chance of flare-ups and so you won't need a rotisserie burner. Basically, this is a full function gas grill for around $500USD.
The rest of the grill uses a combination of lower grade stainless steel, painted steel with plastic knobs. The stainless steel body parts are prone to discoloring and rusting over time so this grill needs to be kept clean and protected from the elements. If you buy this grill make sure you get a good cover for it.