Char-Broil has done it again, literally. They released different versions of this basic design before. 2-in-1 one is the prettiest, although functionally a bit of an ugly duck. Even though early adopters of Hybrid seem pleased, one has to wonder why it keeps disappearing from the catalog.
As a gas grill it's no powerhouse. You get three 10,000 BTU tube burners with heat tents and coated cast iron grates. The cast iron grates will goose up conductive heat right at the cook surface, but don't expect searing temps on gas alone. You can do sausage, chicken and anything that cooks in the low to medium range before bringing out the charcoal.
The charcoal tray (above) is a shallow piece of stamped metal with no vents. Like all gas grills, there are no dampers for heat control on the housing either, so the tray is meant for a simple grilling to give burgers and chicken a hint of charcoal flavor – not slow BBQ cooking that requires temperature control over a long duration. You can only fit a single layer of briquettes in the tray. Use of lump charcoal, or fuel with uneven sizes and shapes may be problematic. Remove the grates and heat tents, place the tray with charcoal on top of the burners and crank them up high. Close the lid for 15 minutes and the coal should be lit and ready to provide searing temps until the small fire starts dying out. Air flow is restricted so don't crowd the cook surface with too much food. Some report propping the lid open slightly helps maintain high temp for a longer period.
Two side shelves with a side burner on the left are included. No tool hooks on the shelves. The unenclosed cart stores the LP tank and there is an opening below the control knobs to store the charcoal tray. Char-Broil's aim with this design is to create an easy to use bridge to charcoal for gas grillers who are hesitant to get their hands dirty and give up their control knobs. It's not a bad gas grill and not a good charcoal grill. We strongly recommend folks who want to use both fuels in this price range, spend just a little extra and get separate gas and charcoal grills.
Heat Flux is the BTU per square inch and is a more useful measure of how much heat a grill delivers than BTU alone.
Looked Closely At It
We have seen this product up close and we have also gathered info from the manufacturer, owners, and other reliable sources.
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.