Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman 16301878 Charcoal Grill Review
Kettle style charcoal grills are thought of by many as the classic entry-level grill. There are some cheap versions out there that manage to last for a little while. Then when they fail you are left to debate if you want to move way up to another type of grill, with a giant price tag, or if you want to get another kettle grill.
Fortunately, there are some kettle grills out there that have convenience you want, the quality you are looking for, and a friendly price point. If this sounds like something you are looking to add to your deck or patio, you should give a closer look at the Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill.
Admittedly the name of this grill is a little obscure. It’s technically in Char-Broil’s Tru-Infrared line, but it isn’t an infrared grill like you would find with ceramic elements that radiate from a propane fire. This is a charcoal grill, that is well designed for efficient heat, and it’s capable of getting really hot.
The Char-Broil Kettleman has a 22.5-inch diameter grill grate with specially shaped grates that reduce the chances of small pieces of food falling through. At the same time, they also reduce the flare-ups by redirecting some of the grease and drippings. The grates also have a special porcelain coating that helps prevent food from sticking and makes for easier cleanup.
The Char-Broil Kettleman has a hinged lid. At first glance, this might not seem like a big deal, but a lot of kettle grills have a hook on the lid with a nasty habit of falling off and causing catastrophic problems. Being able to trust that the grill lid is going to stay where you want for as long as you want is a convenience that shouldn’t be overlooked! The lid also has a thermometer, which is somewhat rare for kettle-style grills.
The fire bowl was designed with a 360-degree air inlet. It allows you to better control the airflow and heat in the fire bowl, while also generating a more efficient flame. The bottom of the bowl has a large and easily removed ash pan.
Construction & Ease of Assembly
Char-Broil knew that if they were going to claim a significant amount of the kettle grill niche, they were going to have to focus on quality. You find this largely true throughout the Kettleman. Unfortunately, like all kettle grills, it still has the tripod legs which are easy to accidentally bump into.
Assembly is relatively straight forward. A single person should be able to fully assemble it in half an hour or so. If you aren’t mechanically inclined, there are some online manufacturers who offer an expert assembly service.
The Char-Broil Kettleman does pretty much everything you want a 22-inch kettle grill to do. It is big enough to grill up a weeknight supper for a family of four. The contours of the grill grates help reduce flare-ups and the heat from the 360-degree lower air dampers helps produce a nice hot fire.
Just like a lot of other 22-inch kettle grills it isn’t really big enough to improvise as a smoker. You can still use it for some hybrid grilling. One example would be to build a fire on the righthand side of the bowl, with just a few coals on the left side.
You can then lay down two or maybe three chicken leg quarters on the low heat of the left side. This allows you to slowly grill the chicken, to thoroughly soften the connective tissue. It also helps to bring out the succulent gelatin of the meat, without burning the skin. Once it’s nearly falling off the bone, you can roll the leg quarters over the larger fire to crisp the skin and give it those appealing grill marks.
The 22-inch porcelain coated grill grates provide 360 square inches of grilling space. It’s worth bearing in mind that pretty much every other kettle grill in this class has either a chrome plated or stainless steel grates, which are more likely to be sticky. The porcelain coating of the Char-Broil Kettleman’s grates gives it non-stick properties. The contoured shape also helps redirect grease and reduce flare-ups.
The hinged lid might not seem like the most scintillating feature. Still, it is nice to be able to trust that your scorching hot lid isn’t going to slip its hook and go for a haphazard adventure. The built-in thermometer is also something you don’t always see in competitor grills.
The 360-degree air inlets in the bottom of the bowl are also somewhat unique. They allow for a more efficient fire, and higher possible heat.
Ease to Clean
Char-Broil put some thought into convenient cleanup when they were designing the Kettleman. The special shape of the grill grates helps redistribute grease and limit flareups. The porcelain coating also reduces sticking and makes for easier cleanup. It also protects the grate from rusting if you need to wash it.
The removable ashpan comes out easily for disposal. It’s also larger than you see in competitor grills with this feature, which makes for even easier cleanup.
The Char-Broil Kettleman comes with a best in class 10-year warranty on the fire bowl and lid. The removable ashpan has a five-year warranty. All other parts and components have a two-year warranty. There are only one or two other kettle grills in this class that have a similar warranty.
There are a lot of options in the kettle grill market. If you are prioritizing quality mixed with a little innovation, then the Char-Broil Kettleman should be at the top of your list. The best in class warranty is certainly a testament to the quality they built into it. Just keep in mind that it’s not an infrared grill like the propane fired units that are also in their line.
- Hinged lid for added security
- Porcelain coated grates
- Best in class warranty
- Removable ashpan for easy cleanup
- Too small to improvise as a smoker
- Tripod legs can be a little shaky
- Doesn’t actually have propane-fired infrared technology