Char-Broil Gas2Coal 3-Burner Liquid Propane and Charcoal Hybrid Grill Review
There has long been a debate amongst grilling purist, pitting charcoal versus propane. The argument is steeped on both sides. Propane enthusiasts complain that charcoal is inefficient and hard to clean up. Meanwhile, proponents of charcoal complain that propane simply cannot impart the same kind of fire-kissed, smoky flavors that you get from meat and vegetables cooked directly over a charcoal fire.
The Char-Broil Gas2Coal grill endeavors to answer both these criticisms. With some quick and easy changes in the firebox, you can choose to grill with the clean efficiency of propane or the smoky fire of charcoal.
The Char-Broil Gas2Coal features three liquid propane burners, as well as a special type of coal box designed to sit over the propane elements for times when you want the flavor that can only be delivered by charcoal.
It includes a 420 square-inch primary cooking grate paired with a 120 square-inch warming rack, for 540 square inches of cooking/heating space. The grates are lightly coated with a porcelain coated non-stick surface to make cleanup easier.
It also includes a side propane burner integrated into one of the side tables. This allows you to do things like sautéing vegetables on a side pan for something like fajitas or boiling a pot of water for cobs of corn.
To create a charcoal fire, you simply insert the accompanying charcoal box. After loading it with a modest amount of charcoal you ignite the propane fire on the underlying burners. This allows you to start the charcoal without the mess and added expense of lighter fluid or having to use a charcoal chimney.
Yet you need to keep in mind that the grill was only designed to use the propane fire and charcoal together for a maximum of 15 minutes. Once the charcoal is fully lit, you need to turn off the three propane elements.
If you simply want the ease and convenience of grilling over a clean propane fire, you merely leave the charcoal box out of the equation. Then you can use it just like any other propane grill.
It’s also worth noting that the Char-Broil Gas2Coal is not compatible with natural gas. At this time there is not a conversion kit available.
Construction & Ease of Assembly
The Char-Broil Gas2Coal grill requires some assembly and basic tools. Depending on your mechanical skills it might take up to two hours to completely put together.
The grill is made from durable metal to be sturdy on its two legs, with two wheels for easy moving. The propane burner elements are made from quality stainless steel and backed by a five-year limited warranty.
With extended use, the charcoal firebox might be prone to corrosion and rust. This may be associated with excess moisture mixing with the ash when the grill is not in use. To reduce the chances of this happening, you can clean out your charcoal box after it has cooled down and then store in a dry place.
The three propane burners in the primary grilling area are rated to produce 40,000 BTU’s. This should be enough to handle any cooking or searing applications when you are just using the propane elements. The side burner, conveniently hidden inside one of the side tables, is also rated to produce 12,000 BTU’s.
Some people complain that when the coal box is installed the fire is very close to the bottom of the grill grates, which might make it difficult to prepare pieces of meat that require slower grilling time. For something like chicken leg quarters, you might want to only fill one side of the charcoal box, so you can use indirect heat to cook it through, before searing directly over the heat of the primary fire.
The Char-Broil Gas2Coal grill has 420 square-inch primary cooking grate along with a 120 square-inch warming rack. This provides you with enough cooking space to handle large pieces of meat or something like multiple hamburger patties for a large number of diners.
The side burner allows you to prepare side dishes right at the grill, allowing you to monitor the food on the grates, without having to go into the kitchen. This can be especially helpful if you want to say have corn on the cob with something that is prone to flaring up like chicken wings.
The removable charcoal box allows you to impart smoking fire-kissed flavors to the food. The underlying propane burners also allow you to easily light the charcoal, which eliminates the need for lighter fluid or the added expense and mess of a charcoal chimney.
The Char-Broil Gas2Coal grill also includes a special storage space specifically designed to store the accessory charcoal firebox, when not in use.
Ease to Clean
The charcoal firebox needs to be emptied after every use. Since it only takes a moment to remove, it is typically easier to clean than a traditional charcoal grill that usually needs to have the ash scooped out. However, this is still more work than cleaning a traditional propane grill.
The porcelain glaze on the grill grates makes them less likely to suffer from stuck-on burned material. If something does become stubbornly stuck, the removable grates can be soaked in warm soapy water and easily washed clean.
The Char-Broil Gas2Coal includes a multi-tier 5-year limited warranty on the three propane burners. The firebox and lid come with a 2-year warranty. All other parts and components only carry a 1-year warranty.
If you struggle with the debate of propane versus charcoal the Char-Broil Gas2Coal 3 Burner Liquid Propane and Charcoal Hybrid Grill offers the best of both worlds. It may take a little while longer to get used to than a traditional propane or charcoal grill.
Once you understand some of its finer points, it can allow you to conveniently light charcoal for smoky aroma and flavors. If you prefer, the optional firebox can be left out, allowing you to grill directly over propane.
On the other hand, if you are strictly a propane enthusiast, and simply want to only use it that way, then you likely can find another type of gas grill for a similar or lower price.
- Ability to grill with propane or charcoal
- Side burner to prepare side dishes
- Easy to clean up charcoal ash
- Easy to clean nonstick grill grates
- Large cooking area
- Not the best choice for propane enthusiasts
- More cleanup than a standard propane grill
- Shallow charcoal box
- Limited time for propane and charcoal together