Redesigned for 2015, this Char-Broil infrared (formerly TRU-Infrared (formerly Quantum)) is more than just a cosmetic redress. While still using the infrared technology that Char-Broil licensed a decade ago, this grill represents a serious rethink of the gas grill. Gone is the awkward stainless steel cooking grates that struggled to generate sear marks. Now this grill uses a heavier porcelain coated cast iron grate that holds and transfers heat much more efficiently. The pointless burner temperature gauges are gone also and the infrared emitter is stronger and made of a better class of stainless steel.
- High, even heating
- Efficient design reduces fuel consumption
- Thin materials
- "Infrared" cooking system requires extra maintenance
- Four 8,00 BTU stainless steel tubular burners under "infrared" diffusers
- 525 square inches of primary cooking area for a total of 725 square inches of grilling space
- 32,000 BTU maximum output from the main burners
- 13,000 BTU side burner/griddle unit
- Unique complete "infrared" design for high temperature cooking
- Mixed stainless steel and painted steel construction
- Electric (AA-battery) igniter
- Built-in fuel gauge
- Sold as propane - Convertible to natural gas with additional parts
- Manufactured in China by Char-Broil exclusively for Lowes Home Improvement Stores
For those of you who don't look at hundreds of gas grills every year for well over a decade, I will explain a little bit of how this gas grill works. Inside the firebox or the bottom of the cooking chamber depending on how you look at it, are four 8,000 BTU burners. Now in a professional kitchen, a 7,000 BTU stove burner is commonly called a simmer burner. In other words, 8,000 BTUs is not really enough to get a pot of water to boil, but in an enclosed space it is enough to actually generate some heat.
But there is more to this than just gas powered heat. These four burners focus this heat at what Char-Broil calls an emitter. This is a perforated sheet of 443R stainless steel that converts the convection heat of the burners into infrared heat. Put simply, convection heat is like the heated air from your car heater, while infrared heat is what you feel on your face when you point it at the sun.
Sitting on the emitter are porcelain coated cast iron cooking grates. The changes to this system are actual improvements. The old system used an awkward cooking grate that was heavy and hard to keep clean. The cast iron grates on this grill can actually hold and transfer heat much better than the old system.
While this was always a decent grill, the enhancements to this grill actually make it worth considering relative to the competition. The materials have been improved, including the use of a better quality of stainless steel in the emitters and burners. It is also better looking than the old model.
All this being said, this grill still requires more maintenance and cleaning that a typical gas grill. Preheat times can be longer, and while it is infrared, it isn't the kind of infrared that you see professional chefs using on those cooking shows. This is the kind of infrared that works a lot like a standard gas grill, but with less fuel. It is more efficient, not really much hotter.
This model is probably larger than most people need. Personally, I would recommend the Char-Broil Commercial Infrared 3-Burner Model# 463242515 over this one.