By: Max Good
The Char-Broil CB500X Portable Charcoal Grill is a scaled down version of its big brother, the 940X. The 500X has the same black powder coated steel body, pre-seasoned cast iron grates, adjustable height coal grate and front access ash/coal door. At 38 pounds with dimensions of 16D x 24W x 16H and a 240 square inch cook surface, it’s somewhat large for a portable, but perfect for patio and small capacity grilling. It sits on four small steel legs, has a wooden lid handle upfront and a wooden carrying handle on each side. There is one small sliding damper on each side of the lid and a built in heat indicator.
The adjustable height coal tray can provide 2-zone cooking: coals up high, just beneath the grates for searing then dropped down to the bottom of the firebox for moderate heat. The easy access front coal/ash door allows you to replenish fuel without removing the grates. Ash removal is facilitated by a slide out ash tray that is also the bottom of the firebox. Be advised: there is no grease removal system and grease reportedly can accumulate inside and drip down the legs.
The CB500 is a searing machine, great for grilling steaks and burgers hot, fast and juicy on cast iron. However, it does not appear optimal for roasting and smoking. This leaky box allows air in and heat and smoke out from a variety of angles. The slide out bottom has open seams on all four sides, there are rotisserie holes on both sides and the thin metal construction will not retain heat well.
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 many other price driven manufacturers 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 1948. Now all Char-Broil grills are manufactured in China and distributed around the globe.
Published On: 2/12/2013 Last Modified: 2/14/2021
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