Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Patio Bistro Gas Grill Review
Infrared grills continue to grow in popularity for their convenience as well as their ability to generate a consistent high heat. They work by a strong propane fire heating a special element that releases safe, yet very hot infrared heat.
The Char-Broil TRU Infrared Patio-Bistro Grill was designed to accommodate people who want to have a compact grill that is capable of delivering a high-quality, high-heat grilling experience. This includes a very friendly price point and elements designed to generate consistent heat across the grill grate surface.
It includes an integrated electric ignition system that allows you to fire up the grill without matches or a lighter. Once the propane fire fully heats the infrared element the grill is rated to produce up to 13,000 BTU’s of heat.
The Char-Broil 15601900 TRU Infrared Patio-Bistro Grill has a compact footprint. The engineers even designed it to hold a 20-pound propane tank, which screws firmly into the frame of the grill’s cart. However, it does not accommodate a small 1.2-pound propane tank, without a somewhat costly conversion hose. If you have a municipal natural gas line in your home, there is no conversion kit currently available for this grill. It is designed to only run on propane.
The grill grates are not coated in a special non-stick material which would potentially degrade under the high heat that the grill is capable of producing. The grates come with a special protective coating of oil that needs to be burned off by 15-minutes of high heat fire before you should use the grill. Afterward, you will need to scrape the grill down after every use and then carefully coat the grates with a paper towel soaked in peanut oil, flaxseed oil or another high oil with a high smoke point. Without consistent re-coating, the unprotected grill grates can be prone to gradual corrosion and rust issues.
Construction & Ease of Assembly
For the most part, the Char-Broil 15601900 TRU Infrared Patio-Bistro Grill uses high-quality components combined with thoughtful design. Yet there are a few areas of quality that might factor into your choice to purchase the grill.
The grill grates do not have a protective layer, which means they will need a high smoke point oil applied to them after every grilling session to prevent corrosion issues. The paint on the lid was originally intended to be eye-catching and sleek. Unfortunately, the high heat infrared fire that this grill produces is capable of eventually exceeding the heat capacity of the paint causing it to bubble and chip.
The Char-Broil 15601900 TRU Infrared grill was designed to specifically have a compact footprint. This calls for precise assembly as well as installing the somewhat complicated infrared grilling system. All told it makes this grill a little more labor intensive to assemble than a simple propane grill.
With some basic tool and mechanical skill, you should be able to assemble it in 90 minutes to 2-hours. If you are not mechanically inclined some online retailers also offer a professional assembly service for a very reasonable price.
When fully preheated the Char-Broil 15601900 TRU Infrared grill generates a consistent 13,000 BTU’s of high heat. It’s also worth noting that infrared heat affects food somewhat differently than a direct charcoal or propane grill. It does not alter the food’s natural moisture barrier, which allows the meat or vegetables to retain more of its natural moisture, while also being able to create a nice sear or exterior crust.
It excels at high heat grilling applications, like searing steaks, burgers and brats. It’s 240 square inch primary grill grate can provide you with enough space to prepare up to 10 hamburgers at a single time. For more courageous and foody grillers the Char-Broil 15601900 TRU Infrared is also capable of grilling a fresh-dough pizza with the kind of blistering high heat you usually only find from a professional pizza oven.
The Char-Broil 15601900 TRU Infrared grill has a 240 square inch primary grill grate with an 80 square inch secondary grill grate that can also be used as a warming rack.
Electric start igniter allows you to fire up the grill without matches of a lighter. The infrared element itself is designed to distribute the grills high heat consistently and evenly.
Ease to Clean
Infrared grills have a reputation for being a little easier to clean than a traditional propane gas grill. This is largely due to the high heat capacity which tends to burn things like drippings and excess marinade into dried deposits that are easy to scrape away with a wire or stiff nylon bristled brush.
However, the Char-Broil 15601900 TRU Infrared grill does require a few special cleaning considerations. Any drippings that get caught in the flame holes of the infrared element, will need to be cleaned away. A firm nylon brush or a wood skewer can often dislodge these dried deposits.
The grill grates are not coated or protected by anything other than the manufacturer’s protective oil layer, which needs to be burned off by 15-minutes of high heat. This means you will need to lightly apply a layer of a high smoke point oil with a soaked paper towel and a pair of tongs. If you sometimes skip this step the grates can gradually become susceptible to rust and corrosion issues.
The Char-Broil 15601900 TRU Infrared grill comes with a manufacturer’s limited warranty. The stainless steel burner, firebox, and lid come with a 5-year warranty against perforation, manufacturing, and material defects.
If you have limited space for a grill on your deck or patio, and you are also interested in the high heat capacity of infrared, the Char-Broil 15601900 TRU Infrared grill is worthy of consideration. By taking careful measures to preserve the grill grates and clean it effectively, this grill will provide you with years of quality grilling, for a very reasonable price point.
- Compact footprint for small decks and patios
- 13,000 BTU’s of infrared high heat
- Firm fitting place for propane tank
- Complex assembly
- Paint can bubble and chip over time
- Grill grates need to be maintained