Char-Griller 2137 Outlaw Charcoal Grill & Smoker Review
Char-Griller has worked hard to carve out a niche for itself in the charcoal grill marketplace. The Outlaw 2137 represents the largest charcoal model in their line. It was built with heavy-duty steel construction including a double bottom for superior corrosion and firebox burnout resistance.
The lid was specially designed with a flange to reduce heat loss and air leaks. Not only does this limit flareups, but it also helps with thermometer accuracy.
The grill grates are made from cast iron, which improves thermal efficiency, while also helping to impart a superior sear for pieces of meat like Steak and chicken. The grates can be manually adjusted to one of three positions depending on the level of heat exposure you choose.
Construction & Ease of Assembly
The Char-Griller Outlaw was designed to be heavy-duty. It uses thick gauge steel, with a double bottom which prevents the long-term firebox burnout that can afflict barrel-style grills over time. The legs are also very sturdy and tied together by a storage shelf.
The adjustable cast iron grill grates are a little bit of a double-edged sword. It’s nice to be able to alter the relationship between the meat and heat. However, the rack settings are a little flimsy and can sometimes be fiddly to adjust when they are hot. It would have been better if they would have designed it with a crank or perhaps a lever system.
For the general simplicity of the design, the Outlaw can be a little tricky to put together. There are a few nuts and bolts that are hard to get to and tighten properly. A few are first-class “Knuckle Busters.” Be prepared to give yourself a solid two hours to fully put it all together.
The Char-Griller Outlaw has the size you need to do everything you want a quality barrel grill to do. It’s even large enough to set up a fire on one side with some smoking woods to produce nearly competition-level barbecue.
The flanged hood with reduced air leaks and the thoughtful dampers helps prevent flareups and give you superior heat control. This addresses a very common complaint with a lot of barrel-style grills and smokers.
The adjustable grill height feature is nice on paper. Unfortunately, it’s a manual adjustment that requires you to move the racks by hand, rather than via a corkscrew crank or a load-bearing lever. If you know the height setting you want at the start of a cooking session, it’s not a problem. If you need to adjust it in the middle of a grilling session, for something like searing off a steak or chicken breast, you might want to get a pair of heavy-duty welding gloves.
The grill grates are a little on the thin side, which technically makes them easier to move. It just means you aren’t going to get the same level of powerful sear that you might expect from heavy-duty cast iron grill grates.
The Char-Griller Outlaw has size on its side. It offers an impressive 725 square inches of primary and 338 square inches of warming rack, which is big enough and close enough to the fire to be used as a secondary grilling area for some dishes.
This configuration allows you to warm husk-in cobs of corn or slowing smoke fresh ring sausage while slow grilling some beef ribs.
There are two features that you shouldn’t overlook with the Char-Griller Outlaw.
The first is the flanged lid engineered for a tight seal. It’s not as perfect as the manufacturer claims in their marketing messages. Still, it’s not the porous leaky sieve that you would expect from a similar barrel grill or smoker this big. It also helps the temperature gauge to be more accurate.
The adjustable grill height racks are also a nice touch. Just don’t plan on doing a lot of manual adjustment during a grilling session. It’s better to set them up how you want them at the start and leave them in place. This is ideal for something like hybrid grilling or improvising the Outlaw for barbecue by setting the grates on their highest setting away from the heat.
Ease to Clean
The Char-Griller Outlaw was designed with an easy to use ash dump tray. The issue comes in with caramelized drippings caused by excess grease, marinades, and sauces. You might need to use a scraper tool to make sure you get it out before it gums up or causes corrosion in the double thick steel firebox.
The relatively thin grill grates are easier to scrape down and burn off debris.
Char-Griller offers an impressive 5-year burn and rust-through warranty for the Outlaw and similar grills in their line. This is better than most of the other competitor grills of this size or similar price range.
If you need a large barrel style grill that can also pull double duty as a smoker, the Char-Griller Outlaw deserves to be near the top of your list. It certainly has the real estate to smoke a full brisket, multiple racks of ribs or even a full turkey. As a charcoal grill, the primary grill grate is big enough to let you grill burgers for a block party or a fair food stand.
The flanged lid reduces air and smoke leaks while the double-thick bottom helps with corrosion resistance. These features on their own help to ensure you see a long-term return on your investment.
Just remember to set up the grill grates at the right height before laying down the meat you want to grill. If you think you might need to move them in the middle of a grilling session, you will either need robust grill tools or a pair of heavy-duty welding gloves.
- Up to 1,000 square inches of grate space
- Backed by a superior 5-year warranty
- Flanged lid to prevent air leaks
- Careful air and heat control dampers
- Accurate thermometer
- Adjustable grill grate heights
- Assembly has some difficult fasteners
- Thin cast iron grill grates
- Grill grates difficult to adjust mid-session
- Caramelized grease and sauce need extra scraping