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Joined by our passion for meat, beer, cards and meat, we created a compitition bbq team to partake in just that.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Grill Review - Char Griller Super Pro

Grill Review - Char Griller Super Pro with Offset Side Fire Box option added.

This is an unbiased review of this grill. The purpose is to educate and assist my fellow BBQ enthusiasts on different grills / BBQs I have used in my back yard or at competitions.
I do not own this grill. Meat, Inc. BBQ Team member Colin owns this particular grill.
First impressions: When I first saw the grill, I thought it was good sized. Looks like you can put a lot of meat in it. This is true if you are cooking for a back yard party or a small group of friends. The grill surface area is 580 square inches. This is about 50% more cooking area of a Weber WSM 18.5" or a Traeger Lil' Tex. The unit also looked structurally sound but upon further inspection, it was clear this grill was made for back yard use and not meant to be hauled around to competitions. The Offset Fire Box was an option that Colin added on to allow indirect heat or smoking.

Fuel Source: This grill uses charcoal briquettes or lump and wood can be added on top of the charcoal in the offset for smoking. One of the cool features about this grill is you can place charcoal in the main portion of the grill and get a really nice, hot direct cooking area for steaks or hamburgers. The offset adds the option of indirect heat and the possibility of throwing in a split of your favorite wood for smoking. The offset connects to the main grill where a prepared punch out section of the main grill body is removed when you bolt on the offset fire box. The downside of this added option is the hole between the offset fire box and the main grill is HUGE. There is no real way to tune this grill to even out the heat generated by the offset so the right side of the cooking area is way hotter than the left side. This kind of reduces the effective cooking area of the grill if you are smoking something. The upside is if you want to slow smoke something medium sized - like 3 tri-tips or a medium sized brisket AND you want to cook some chicken or jalapeno poppers using the higher heat on the right side at the same time - you can.

Temperature Range - Efficiency - Holding: The unit has adjustable vents on the offset firebox and a baffle on the smoke stack. I was able to hold a pretty stable temp of 250F throughout the cook without constant adjustment of the vents / airflow once I had the temp I wanted. When I wanted to crank the temp up to cook some other things - like peppers - it was tough to exceed 275F. I didn't really push the temp by adding a bunch of fuel but it seemed like there was some heat loss from the top of the offset. The material of the entire grill appeared to be 1/8" thick so this was probably the case. Since I'm comfortable smoking meats at 225 - 275, this isn't really an issue for me. This might even help some inexperienced cooks not ruin or burn some meats. When the temp dropped and additional fuel needed to be added - it was a snap - just open the offset door, throw in some more charcoal, and the temp was right back up to 250 in minutes. The rate that fuel needs to be replaced during long cooks will be determined by ambient temperature and type of fuel. The fuel seemed to burn slower than a kettle but probably because I kept the vents partially closed to control the heat.

The lid temp shows 195F, the right side at the grate (closest to the offset firebox) shows 280F, and the left side at the grate shows 215F. I was opening the doors quite a bit so the lid and the left side were off more than typical - I usually saw about a 50F drop / shift from right to left.

Overall Value: At the bottom of this post are the links for the main grill and the offset option. The total price comes out to about $220.00. Reasonable for a starter smoker AND a direct heat charcoal grill.

The tri-tip and the peppers came out awesome!

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