THIS MODEL IS DISCONTINUED.
The 500 IR Flex is the largest Char-Broil Professional. Available at Tru-Value and other independent retailers the Professional line has heat indicators above each of the four stainless steel burners just like Char-Broil's Commercial grills. Professional and Commercial lines also have similar IR cooking grate designs, except Professionals are porcelain coated cast iron, whereas Commercials are stainless steel. The cast iron grates lay directly on top of the radiant surface which consists of thin porcelain coated steel plates. They get very hot and radiate evenly across the surface. The plates have several small holes per square inch allowing combustion gases up and some drippings down, both good for flavor. Most drippings hit the plates and incinerate, adding more BBQ flavor to the meat. On older models, these radiant grate systems often corroded easily and had to be replaced. We have not tested the new Porcelain coated grates.
The 500 IR Flex has battery powered ignition and two internal halogen hood lights for nighttime grilling. The grill must be plugged into a standard 120V electrical outlet to use the halogen lights.
To address the growing popularity of outdoor kitchens, Char-Broil introduces their new "Flex Cart" design for the 500 IR Flex: two magnetic carts on casters that may be moved to suit. The 500 IR Flex comes without side shelves so these carts can go right up against it. One cart has a drawer and a door, the other houses a trash bag. These carts may be affixed magnetically to the 4-Burner model, to each other, or other configurations. Thin 430 grade stainless steel lids, doors, handles control panel and fascias. No other outdoor kitchen items such as sinks and refrigerators are offered in addition to the Flex Carts.
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.