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*Based on 4" raw burger with 1/2" space on all sides

Char-Broil The Big Easy Gas TRU Infrared Smoker and Roaster

By Meathead Goldwyn

Manufacturer: Char-Broil

Char-Broil is an innovator in the popular gas grill arena with clever designs, low to midrange prices, and excellent customer service. For several years they have focused on infrared cooking. Starting in 2012 all new IR models were dubbed "Tru-Infrared". These grills are made with stainless steel tube burners that work in conjunction with a radiant surface to bring heat close to the food. The radiant surface shields food from direct flame and reduces hot dry convection heat rising from the burners.

As one of the biggest BBQ manufacturers in the world, Char-Broil offers a clear, low cost alternative to Weber and surpasses other price driven manufacturers like Brinkmann and Masterbulit with their infrared gas grill design innovation and focused marketing. Also in 2012, Char-Broil introduced Saber, a new, very high quality line of gas grills that goes head to head with Weber's Summit series in the premium grill space. They offer charcoal grills, smokers, fryers and a variety of accessories and tools.

Char-Broil is owned by The W.C. Bradley Company headquartered in Columbus, GA.  Roots of W.C. Bradley go back before the Civil War to The Columbus Iron Works. The first Char-Broil grill was made and sold in the USA in 1953. Now all Char-Broil grills are manufactured in China and distributed around the globe.

Char-Broil The Big Easy Gas TRU Infrared Smoker and Roaster

Char-Broil's The Big Easy Gas TRU Infrared Smoker and Roaster has a clever, innovative design looks better on paper than in practice. They also make an electric model.

It is barrel shaped and opens from the top. There is a stainless steel inner liner that is separated from the outer shell by an air gap. A ring of propane burner jets lies in the bottom of the air gap and heats the gap and turns the liner into a radiant heater. Calling it infrared is a bit of a stretch since it never gets really hot. To generate smoke you fill a stainless steel device (it looks like a whiskey hip flask) with wood and hang it on the inner liner lip. There is a rack that can sit over the top of the cooking chamber to grill. The meat goes on a flimsy wire rack that can be fitted with up to four shelves for the food.

As innovative as it is, we are not won over. The food wires do not hold more than two large chickens or medium pork shoulders, and rib slabs must be cut in half to fit. If you want to baste or mop or look at or poke the food on a lower rack, you have to lift out the whole insert, or remove the meat above it. The grill never gets hot enough to really darken a steak, and the smoke box doesn't produce much smoke.

It is cheaply constructed. We had a dickens of a time assembling the sample Char-Broil sent us because some parts did not fit well, and they shipped us two left brackets for the lid. High winds can blow out the flame, so it should be placed in a protected space. As is typical on most smokers, the dial thermometer is practically worthless, and the low temp settings are still too high to hit the ideal target of 225°F.

That said, it does make a decent roaster if you don't need smoke in the food. The advantage here is that heat can surround the meat as opposed to an indoor oven when the meat usually sits in a roasting pan and the bottom does not cook properly unless you flip the bird or roast. We made a wonderful turkey in it, but you cannot fit more than one good sized bird in there.

It takes up only a small footprint, but the same can be said of the other cabinet style, front loading propane smokers, and they all work better. Including the one by Char-Broil.


$250 Manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP), actual price may vary.

Where To Buy (Buying from these suppliers supports this website): 

Amazon: Free Shipping

Walmart: Free In Store Pick Up

Primary Function: 



Propane Gas

Primary Capacity: 

180 square inches ( about 8 burgers )

Manufacturer claims that all or practically all of this device is made in the USA


Review Method: 

Cooked On It

We have hands-on experience testing this product. We have also gathered info from the manufacturer, owners and other reliable sources.

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AN URGENT MESSAGE FROM MEATHEAD: If you like AmazingRibs.com, please save this link and use it every time you go to Amazon. Amazon and many other websites pay us a small referral fee when you click our links and purchase from them. It works on everything from grills to diapers, Amazon never tells us what you bought, and it has zero impact on the price you pay, but has a major impact on our ability to improve this site! And remember, we only recommend products we love.

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Digital Thermometers Are
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Gold BBQ AwardA good digital thermometer keeps me from serving dry overcooked food or dangerously undercooked food. They are much faster and more accurate than dial thermometers. The Thermopop (above) is about $29. The Thermapen (below), the Ferrari of instant reads, is about $96. Click here to read more about types of thermometer and see our ratings and reviews or more than 150 models. - Meathead

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GrillGrates Take Gas Grills To The Infrared Zone


Gold BBQ AwardGrillGrates(TM) amplify heat, prevent flareups, make flipping foods easier, keep small foods from committing suicide, kill hotspots, are easier to clean, flip over to make a fine griddle, and can be easily removed and moved from one grill to another. You can even throw wood chips, pellets, or sawdust between the rails and deliver a quick burst of smoke to whatever is above. Every gas grill needs them.

Click here to read more about what makes these grates so special and how they compare to other cooking surfaces. - Meathead

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The Slow 'n' Sear turns your grill into a first class smoker and also creates an extremely hot sear zone you can use to create steakhouse steaks.

Click here for more info on this breakthrough tool. - Meathead

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The Pit Barrel Cooker

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Best of all, it is only $299 delivered to your door!

Click here to read our detailed review and the raves from people who own them. - Meathead

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The PK Grill has become our favorite charcoal grill. It proves some ideas never die.

Designed in 1952, the rectangular shape is easy to set up in 2 or 3 heat zones, it can easily be used as a smoker, the cast aluminum body is indestructible, airflow is easy to manage, and there is plenty of room under the hood.

Click here for more about this cool tool. - Meathead

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Made of rugged 1/8" thick aluminum, 20" long, with four serious rivets, mine show zero signs of weakness after years of abuse. I use it on meats, hot charcoal, burning logs, and with the mechanical advantage that the scissor design creates, I can easily pick up a whole packer brisket. Click here to read more. - Meathead

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Mo's Smoking Pouch is essential for gas grills. It is an envelope of mesh 304 stainless steel that holds wood chips or pellets. The airspaces in the mesh are small enough that they limit the amount of oxygen that gets in so the wood smolders. Put it on top of the cooking grate, on the burners, on the coals. It holds enough wood for about 15 minutes for short cooks, so you need to refill it or buy a second pouch for long cooks like pork shoulder and brisket. Mine has survived more than 50 cooks. I like it better than the smoker tubes. Click for more info. - Meathead

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About this website. AmazingRibs.com is all about the science of barbecue, grilling, and outdoor cooking, with great BBQ recipes, tips on technique, mythbusting, and unbiased equipment reviews. Learn how to set up your grills and smokers properly, the thermodynamics of what happens when heat hits meat, and how to cook great food outdoors. There are also buying guides to barbeque smokers, grills, accessories, and thermometers, as well as hundreds of excellent tested recipes including all the classics: Baby back ribs, pulled pork, Texas brisket, burgers, chicken, smoked turkey, lamb, steaks, chili, barbecue sauces, spice rubs, and side dishes, with the world's best all edited by Meathead Goldwyn.

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