Broil King 494051 Baron 500 Pellet Grill Smoker Review
Broil King started out as a high-quality direct flame grill manufacturer. They’ve managed to carve out a nice piece of the grill market for themselves by offering thoughtfully designed units. So, it was only a matter of time until they evolved into the wood pellet grill niche. And they did so with a fair amount of gusto with the Broil King Baron 500 Wood Pellet Grill.
When you take a closer look at it, this wood pellet grill is impressive. Right off the bat, Broil King didn’t cut any corners when it comes to material selection. Most of the body is made from 1.5-millimeter heavy-duty steel and protected with a durable black powder coat layer. Even the internal components are made from robust stainless steel and other heavy-duty materials.
The hopper can hold up to 18-pounds of wood pellets at a time. There’s also a very easy to use hopper cleanout feature which lets you purge excess wood pellets after each smoking session. It’s especially handy for preventing potential jams in the hopper and auger that can happen when the humidity starts to breakdown the wood pellets.
This isn’t the only place where Broil King infused thoughtful engineering into the Baron 500. When you look inside the cook box, you’ll find a thoughtfully engineered grease management system that transfers any drippings or rendered fat to a discrete, yet large drippings tray. This does away with the often sloppy metal cup or reused soup can dangling off the side of the wood pellet grill as you find with so many of the competitors.
There’s also a well-engineered ash management system, where ash is collected into a pan as if it falls out of the firepot. Not only does this make for better burn quality and very easy cleanup. A lot of the competitors at this price-point have you sucking the ash out of the fire pot after the cooking session with a shop vac. Then you spend the rest of the night wondering if there’s a stray ember smoldering away in your shop vac’s collection bin.
Broil King does away with this worry, and the hassle of lugging a shop vac to your grill by depositing nearly all the ash into an easy to dispose of ash pan, that pulls out smoothly as needed.
The grill grates are also robust. They are made from thick steel with a nonstick porcelain coating. They are also reversible. When you want to smoke or roast, you set the grates with the channel facing up, this will help gradually pull away grease from the meat. When you want to sear you flip the grates over so the V is pointed up. This makes for crisp sear marks on steaks and chops. They also work in tandem with the heat plates in the lower firebox for even heat distribution.
You command the Broil King Baron 500 via a backlit digital control panel, that includes a pair of highly accurate temperature probes. It comes with 3 “Smart Set” temperature settings for smoke, bakes, and grill. With the touch of a button, it sets the temperature to “Smoke” at 250, “Bake” or roast at 350, or “Grill” at an impressive 600-degrees. It even comes with WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity and a companion app for wireless control.
Construction & Ease of Assembly
There’s not a single cut corner in the build quality of the Broil King Baron 500. The exterior and frame are made from 1.5-millimeter heavy gauge steel. The internal components are made from thick, commercial-grade stainless steel. Even the grill grates are robust steel with a durable nonstick porcelain coating, and contours to divert grease or make a superior sear.
They even thought to build in a lot of simple conveniences, like a power cord coil and a tastefully disguised bottle opener. The internal ash management and grease collection system even help with cleanup.
As you can imagine assembly of a wood pellet grill this sophisticated is going to take some time. Still, for the value, you are getting, and impressive build quality, you should think of this as a labor of love. It’s also a love you should share with at least one other person, as the Broil King Baron 500 tips the scales at over 150-pounds.
The Broil King Baron 500 is very versatile and easy to use. The “Smart Set” feature on the digital control center lets you choose three distinct settings with the press of a button. Smoke produces a temperature of 250 degrees. The Bake or Roast setting runs the wood pellet grill at 350 degrees. When you want to sear off steaks, chops, or hamburger patties, you can set it to Grill at a 600-degrees.
The heat plates in the firebox help evenly distribute the heat as well as speed the preheating process. Which is handy for the Grill setting, as you do need to wait a full 10 minutes or so for it to come up to temperature and to let the grill grates absorb the necessary heat energy to truly create sear lines.
The V-channel on the reversible grill grates is handy for removing excess grease when you smoke or roast. Then can be flipped over to make a nice sear on your T-bone steak.
One area where the Broil King Baron 500 takes another step over its competitors is the fact that it can accommodate a rotisserie for a single broiler-fryer chicken. Though the rotisserie hardware is sold separately.
The Broil King Baron 500 has a total of 800 square inches of cooking space on the reversible grill grates. This includes the lower and upper grate. In terms of food, this means you can smoke a full brisket, a staggering number of racks of ribs and enough T-bone steaks for four or five people at a time.
The digital control panel with it’s three “Smart Set” setting for smoke, bake, and grill makes it easy to set the temperature you want. Then you can use the wireless connectivity to monitor progress when entertaining duties call you away from the grill.
The discrete grease tray and ash management system make for easy cleanup while keeping the mess out of sight.
The heat plates in the firebox help evenly distribute the heat and make for rapid preheating.
Ease to Clean
The Broil King Baron 500 is very easy to clean. You simply pour out the grease and ash pans, then give them a quick wipe. The grill grates are coated in protective nonstick porcelain which scrapes down easily.
The Broil King Baron 500 is backed by an impressive 5-year warranty. This makes a strong statement about the manufacturer’s overall build quality. There are also some online vendors who also offer very affordable extended protection programs for the Broil King Baron 500.
There is an awful lot to like about the Broil King Baron 500. The material and build quality are certainly there in spades. The engineering principles of the heat plates, reversible grill grates, and rotisserie compatibility speak to its versatility. The digital controls are even easy to use, offer wireless connectivity for active monitoring when you’re away from the grill. All this at a price point that’s a little less than many of its closest competitors.
- Intuitive digital controls with two probes
- Wireless connectivity and monitoring
- 18-pound hopper with cleanout feature
- Heat plates for consistent heat distribution
- Easy cleanup ash and grease management
- Durable build quality
- Accommodates a rotisserie
- Rotisserie hardware not included
- Heavy to move and assemble
- Assembly takes time