With summertime in full swing, there is nothing quite like having a relaxing barbecue with some delicious food and some cold drinks. But if you are in the market for a new barbecue, it can be a little daunting trying to choose one from the many different models for sale. These can range in price from a few hundreds of dollars for your average grill, all the way up to space age style grills which look like they need some sort of license to operate!
Most people however don’t want to spend a fortune on a futuristic grill with features they don’t need, but would prefer something that is well made and fairly easy to use. In this article we are going to look at one of the Char Broil Tru Infrared Grill models, which is aimed at this particular market. Is this model worth your hard earned money? Let’s see if we can find out.
What is Char Broil Tru Infrared?
Infrared grills have not been commonplace in the market until the mid 2000’s, when they began to quickly gain in popularity. So how does a Char Broil infrared grill work? These types of Tru Infrared grills have burners which are directly underneath infrared plates. These burners heat up the infrared plate, which in turn emits infrared radiation, which cooks the food.
What is the advantage of infrared grilling?
There are several advantages to this. Firstly, you get a even heat across the grilling surface, as the infrared heat is emitted equally across the plate. This means no more cold spots on the barbecue, and all your food will cook evenly. Another benefit is that infrared heat seals in around 30-50% more of the juices in the foods when they are cooked, compared to using hot air generated from gas or coal grills. This means tender and juicier food.
These grills also cook food faster, so this is something you will learn to adapt to after a few uses. And finally you will find that flare-ups are a thing of the past with this kind of grill design, so no need to worry about being greeted with a fireball when opening up the lid anymore!
Now let’s take a closer look at the grill itself.
The Char Broil 2 Burner Infrared Grill 340
The 340 grill was introduced to the market around 6 years ago in 2010, and was one of the first Char Broil infrared grill models. With a price tag of around $350 for the grill, this model is quite competitively priced. Char Broil also offer this model for sale bundled with a grill brush for a few dollars more, or bundled with a cover for around $20 more. So what do you get for that price? With the Char Broil 340 you get 2 burners, which produce a respectable 20,000 BTU of heat. This is spread out over the 340 square inches of cooking space, which is quite a decent size. The grill is stainless steel, so rusting should not be an issue if you keep it covered when not in use. Above this is the porcelain coated warming tray, which has 125 square inches of space.
The Char Broil 2 burner infrared grill lid, handle, fascia, control panel, and front door are made out of stainless steel which gives it a nice modern finish. It has two shelves which fold down either side, and these are painted black. They do tend to get a bit hot during the cooking process though, so you shouldn’t leave anything on there for too long.
The two burner dials are on the front of the control panel, which have a small temperature gauge in front of each one.
Below that is the ignition switch, which seems to work quite consistently. This is thanks to Char Broils “Surefire” ignition system, which claims to offer a consistent spark each time it is used. The 340 is fueled by a 20 lb propane tank, although those of you who prefer to use natural gas will be pleased to know it can be converted quite easily. You can do this by looking for the natural conversion kit (part number 4584609) which costs around $60, and you can find it for sale on Amazon.
This model sits on four casters, two of which can be locked in place which make it easy to move about.
It you are looking to replicate that smoky charcoal taste, then you can sprinkle a few wood chips directly between the grates. This gives you that authentic barbecue taste, but be careful not to overdo it as a small handful is enough to do the trick.
How well does the Char Broil 340 work?
The general opinion seems to be that this Char Broil Tru Infrared grill performs quite well. Putting the burners on high will heat up the grill and make it ready to use in about 5 minutes. Sticking to a medium heat will get it ready in about 10 minutes, so it really depends on how patient you are. Once it is warmed up then the cooking surface is fairly evenly heated, although it does tend to get a teeny bit warmer near the back of the grill. The difference is certainly not a huge amount compared to the front of the grill, and you can simply stick the food that needs a longer cooking time onto that section. Aside from that minor issue, the grill performs very well, and food comes out as juicy and tender as advertised, whilst still having that famous barbecue taste.
Cleaning up the grill is another minor downside, but then again you will be faced with this problem with most kinds of grills. The easiest way to do it is to leave the burners running on medium/high for around 10 minutes, which will burn off most of the excess fat and juices. After the grill has cooled down, you can use the included cleaning brush to give the grill and rack a good wipe. Following this procedure will get most of the leftover gunk off, and this should leave it clean enough to satisfy most people.
Aside from that there doesn’t seem to be any obvious or major manufacturer defects with this model, so it is hard not to recommend this Char Broil 2 burner tru infrared grill based on the performance.
In our opinion the 340 Char Broil Tru infrared grill is a great choice. It has a decent modern look, takes advantage of Char Broil infrared grill cooking technology, and you end up with some fantastic grilled food. There are one or two minor downsides to it, but these aren’t deal breakers in our eyes. For the price you will struggle to find something better, and this model should give you many years of happy grilling.
This model comes with a 5 year warranty on the steel burners, two year warranty on the stainless steel lid, and one year on all the other parts. You can find out more about this grill, and read some of the many user reviews of it over on the Amazon product page.