Char-Broil Patio Bistro Electric Grill Review
Char-Broil is a company that has been around for a long time. They are famous for designing grills that provide excellent performance at an affordable price. You could say that they excel in producing regular units and that seems to be their primary focus.
If there is a reason why you can’t or don’t want to use charcoal or gas for your BBQ system, the best remaining option you have is electricity. The company responded to the demands of this part of the market with its Patio Bistro Electric Grill. There are numerous reasons why this unit deserves your attention, and we will try to explain them in this review. We will start with a basic overview of the features, and then we will discuss each of them in detail. After that, we will try to explain some advantages of this model, as well as discuss its positive and negative sides. All this will bring us to the final verdict on this unit. Up until then, you will probably have the answer whether this model is suitable for your needs.
For starters, let’s have a look at the general specifications of the Char-Broil Patio Bistro Electric Grill:
- Dimensions: 39.8 x 25.6 x 39.8 inches
- Weight: 54 pounds
- Power: 1750 Watts
- Fuel: Electric
Here is a quick overview of the features before we thoroughly explain them:
- TRU-Infrared Cooking System
- Cook box and lid of durable steel
- Secondary warming rack
- Foldable side shelves
- Two wheels for mobility
- Removable grease tray
That covers general specifications of the product, but if you would like to find out more specifics about each feature, we urge you to continue reading.
Char-Broil Patio Bistro Electric Grill has a total cooking surface of 320 square inches. That amount splits between the primary grilling area and secondary warming rack. The interior surface has 240 square inches of space. Regarding burgers, that is enough for about 10 of them, although that always depends on the size. However, if we keep in mind that you need around 60 square inches per person, you realize that you can use this grill to cook for a family of four. Since this is considered a patio grill that you can use in your backyard, we assume that’s pretty much the amount you need.
The secondary warming rack takes 80 square inches of space and is located above the central grate. That way you can use it for cooking on indirect heat. In practice, that means you can simmer some vegetables too with the meat or place burger buns on the secondary grate to keep them warm. The meat might be an integral part of a BBQ, but you can’t forget that two-thirds of what you will eat are bread and side dishes!
TRU-Infrared Cooking System
Char-Broil brags so much about their TRU-Infrared cooking technology and the results it can deliver. That is why we focused on analyzing its performance in the Patio Bistro Electric Grill. We concluded that everything works like a charm. TRU-Infrared brings all the advantages of cooking with the infrared heat to your patio.
The crucial thing that you get thanks to this technology is even heard across the entire cooking surface. The temperature might differ for a couple of degrees in the different area, but that’s it. You won’t have to deal with hot or cold spots ever again if you use this grill to prepare your food. That means that the days when you risked burning your food or leaving that steak raw because of the low heat are over. You can put the food anywhere on the cooking surface, and you will get the same results.
That being said, science says that you get 50% juicier food with infrared grills than with gas or charcoal counterparts. The reason for that is there is less airflow involved, and the juices remain locked with the food as a result. We don’t know about science, but we can confirm that the meat prepared on Char-Broil Patio Bistro Electric Grill might be one of the juiciest we have ever tried. Go, team infrared!
There is another feature that comes with TRU-Infrared technology, and the beginners will undoubtedly appreciate it. Thanks to the way it works, there is no chance of flare-ups happening. Any juices that drip from the grates are instantly vaporized and infused back into the food, providing it with a rich, smoky flavor. The only downside of this system is the fact that it’s not suitable for lower temperatures, which means that the versatility of the product is a bit compromised. However, if you are looking for a grilling item, there is no doubt that this model can do an excellent job!
Cast Iron Grates
Those who know a thing or two about BBQs rightly claim that cast iron grates are a vital part of a BBQ system. Char-Broil Patio Bistro Electric Grill uses cast iron cooking grates with a porcelain finish. The top benefit of this material is the fact that it does an excellent job of retaining the heat. That way it contributes to superbly even grilling that this unit delivers. Cast iron cookware also secures that the food doesn’t stick to its surface. And you can’t underestimate the searing marks that can easily be achieved with this component.
Finally, let’s mention the durability of cast iron. Metal grates are prone to rust, but there is slim to none chance of something like that happening here, partly because of the porcelain-enamel coating. If you even see some rust, there is a good chance that a wire brush can scrape it off in a second. If you take good care of your cast iron cookware, it might last for decades.
Control the Power
Char-Broil Patio Bistro Electric Grill can reach high temperatures in no time. However, you will need to be present to monitor the heat and make sure that everything is going well. There is an adjustment knob for controlling the power on the front panel. The maximum power goes up to 1750 Watt, and you can change the output just by turning the knob, just like when using an oven.
For your safety, the manufacturer included a ring that will light up when the surface grill becomes hot. That way you will know that you need to be extra careful. That feature also comes in handy after you are done with the grilling since the ring will remain illuminated until the temperature in the cook box decreases.
You can monitor the temperature using the heat gauge mounted on the lid. We tested it several times, and it seems to work like a charm. However, time is a harsh judge, and this component probably won’t keep up with the rest of your grill. If you notice that it doesn’t show the temperature accurately, consider replacing the thermometer or even using a digital meat probe.
Folding Side Shelves
The warming rack enables you to prepare side dishes along with the meal, but you also need to consider how you are going to juggle the platters and your grilling essentials. You don’t want to risk dropping a plate full of food on the ground or run to that backyard table whenever you need something. Fortunately, that’s not something you are going to have to do with this unit. It has foldable shelves on both sides that are perfect for an extra working area or prep space.
According to the information from the manufacturer, there are 480 square inches of extra space you can use for prepping your food. That’s more than enough to accommodate both platters and the tools you use, such as tongs or skewers. Maybe it doesn’t seem ample at first sight, but once you try it for the first time, you will realize it’s more than enough for a party of four people. Perhaps you have it all taken care of, and you don’t need a set of shelves to make the cooking process more comfortable. In that case, just fold them and save some room on your patio. The fact that the tables are foldable also helps when storing away the unit because it will take less space.
And if you need extra storage room, take a look at the stand which equips a wire rack. The rack is not enclosed, but it can still accommodate your BBQ equipment. While we are discussing the stand, let’s mention that it sits on four legs for enhanced stability. The construction is sturdy, and the wind cannot knock the unit over. However, you should still keep kids and pets away from it because of their safety.
Two of the legs have 3-inch wheels to enable mobility around the backyard. While that feature is convenient, you shouldn’t steer your grill through bumpy or uneven surfaces because you will risk breaking the rollers.
Swift Cleaning Process
Some other manufacturers present including a removable grease tray like a “grease management system.” Char-Broil didn’t use that term, but it still provided an excellent way to clean up your grill after you are done using it. The tray that collects dripping is located below the cooking grate, and it is removable. You can take it out whenever you want with a simple sliding motion. We suggest buying disposable aluminum pans that you will throw away each time after they collect enough grease. The tray itself is coated with porcelain, which means you won’t have any issues cleaning it, but it’s still much more comfortable with a disposable pan.
We want to pinpoint that you shouldn’t put the cooking grate in water. Since it was seasoned with oil, you can use a paper towel to wipe off anything that doesn’t belong there. Trust us; it is everything you need to do to get the cast iron grate clean and ready for the next grilling session.
When it comes to accessories, the thing you should consider as a top priority for purchasing is a cover. It is an excellent way to extend the durability of your unit and prevent weather conditions from affecting any components. You might think that it is enough that you store the model in the covered part of your patio, but trust us – cover does a much better job.
As for the basics, you probably already know that you need high-quality tongs, spatula, and other essentials. Don’t forget about purchasing a grill brush that does a solid job, while you can also consider skewers that will allow you to be creative with the food.
We already mentioned this in the section about features, but it doesn’t hurt to remind you once again. You should make sure to purchase aluminum grease pans to collect drippings. You can buy the official ones from Char-Broil to ensure that they fit into the removable tray. However, not only you extend the durability of the plate itself, but you also save yourself some hassle when cleaning. While we are on the topic, a cleaning kit can do wonders for keeping your unit in top shape.
And you shouldn’t worry if any of the components breaks. You can find replacement parts quickly, whether you just need to replace a leg or an entire heating element. Perhaps not all components of the Char-Broil Patio Bistro Electric Grill are top-quality, but the ease of replacement positively affects the overall durability of the product.
Why Choose Char-Broil Patio Bistro Electric Grill?
We will start from the beginning. The grill will be delivered to you in a box from which you have to unload the parts and assemble the unit. The fact is that a model this heavy can’t come pre-assembled as it can easily be damaged during transport. However, the manufacturer made sure that the instructions are as clear as day. With such a handy manual, you won’t need any help from a friend or online. You can get the grill wholly assembled in a matter of minutes.
Patio Bistro is fueled by electric power. As such, it comes with numerous advantages that this type of fuel provides. For starters, it’s incredibly convenient. Charcoals require getting your hands dirty while arranging a coal bed and you also need to watch if they are hot enough to heat your grill. Gas requires continually purchasing propane tanks or connecting to your natural gas line with an adapter. But with an electric grill, everything you need to do is plug it into a power socket, and you are ready to go. It’s that simple!
You also shouldn’t underestimate that you will be saving considerable amounts of money on fuel, especially if you are grilling on a regular basis. We should mention that they are suitable for balconies of condos and apartments. While community regulations often forbid usage of propane or charcoal because of the risk of open fire, you are allowed to use electric grills. However, make sure to double check you comply with all the rules before purchasing this unit, just to be on the safe side.
We already mentioned how easy it is to get your grill up and running, but this unit screams comfort all the way. Controlling the power is a piece of cake thanks to the heat gauge and temperature knob. Side shelves are there to provide prep space and working area, while the wire rack on the stand provides extra storage room. If you want to store away the unit, you can maneuver it to the corner with ease thanks to the wheels on the back legs. It even has a place where you can hang the cord, which is a nice touch.
Wood Chips Trick
Finally, allow us to let you in on a little secret. You know how you hear that electric grills can’t produce the same flavor like wood-fired ones? We won’t argue that that taste is something unique. That is why we are offering you a trick that will deliver wood-flavored food on your electric BBQ. For starters, you will need to soak some wood chips in water. We suggest you leave it there for at least 30 minutes (the more, the better). Next, use foil to wrap the chips and put them in a pan or a basket. Place the pan at the far back center of the unit. As the model does its magic, the wood chips will smoke and infuse the familiar flavor into your food.
The first thing we did was take a look at this grill and notice how pretty it is. That might not be crucial for all of you, but why wouldn’t you have an elegant unit that looks nice? Furthermore, you can choose between two available colors. The black model looks tough, but the red edition has that extra touch of sleekness and elegance.
As for the quality of construction, you always need to keep the price in mind when determining it. That being said, we were relieved when we saw that Char-Broil used premium materials for all integral components. The cooking grates are of cast iron to secure food non-sticking to the surface and excellent heat retention, while the cook box and the lid are of porcelain-coated steel.
Patio Bistro even uses the TRU-Infrared cooking technology that made some of these company’s models best-sellers. It’s a pleasure to grill when you are confident there will be no issues with heat distribution. The temperature is equally distributed across the entire cooking surface at all times preventing cold or hot spots appearing during the process. With that in mind, you also shouldn’t underestimate that infrared heating and less airflow secure that the food will be juicier and more delicious.
Keep in mind that all those results are delivered with the use of electric fuel. Using this type of power means that you will save a considerable amount of money, as well as the hassle you would have to go through with charcoal.
Thanks to the warming rack, you can prepare side dishes at the same time when you cook the meat. The cleaning process also takes less hassle and effort than with similar models by other companies. That is partly because of the grease tray that collects drippings, as well as the fact that the cooking grates can only be wiped off with a paper towel (and seasoned occasionally).
The downside of the fact that this product uses infrared heat is the fact that it can’t perform well at lower temperatures. So, if you want to use the product for slow-roasting a steak, you probably won’t be able to do that properly. While this does influence the unit’s versatility a bit, it still provides excellent results at high temperatures.
There is a good chance that wheels will be the first thing to go with this model. They are not intended for bumpy surfaces or sudden maneuvers. Some other components also don’t have extended durability, but you should be aware that the unit is exceptionally budget-friendly. On the positive side, all replacement parts can easily be found, which can extend the overall durability of the grill significantly.