By: Max Good
THIS MODEL IS DISCONTINUED AND HAS BEEN REPLACED BY A NEW VERSION: C1C28LP-FS. The manufacturer claims the new model, “has a new improved firebox design that allows for a more even heat distribution. Also, the valves have been replaced and modified.”
The Coyote CCX2-LP “Grill in a Box” is a premium priced, 28” compact, two-burner gas grill with a large 475 square inch primary cook surface and fold down side shelves. At first glance it appears to possess the attributes one expects from equipment in the premium market: top grade 304 stainless steel construction, 20,000 BTU each cast stainless steel burners covered by impressive looking stainless “Heat Control Grids” (heat tents that diffuse heat and sizzle drippings), and heavy stainless steel rod grates. It has a double-walled hood with seamless welds, interior lights and a warming rack.
However, as we began working with the CCX2, rough edges surfaced that one wouldn’t expect on a $1200 2-burner. Cockeyed doors, fold down side shelves that had trouble folding down without falling off, phantom screws and mounting pins rolling around in the bottom of the cart, and a slide out grease tray that had to be yanked out due to rough construction.
Although disappointing, particularly for a grill in this price range, these flaws might have been forgiven if performance shined as brightly as Coyote’s stainless hood. Unfortunately this grill has a remarkably uneven heat pattern, making for a frustrating cooking experience, and forcing one to constantly flip flop foods from the hot zones directly above the burners to various less-hot zones everywhere else. Temperature drop off on either side of each burner is shocking. Moreover the left burner was consistently a bit hotter than the right. One picture is worth a thousand words. Here is the bread test we did when seasoning and calibrating which provides a glaring illustration of the problem.
Temperatures were all over the place. Those listed above in red were taken at the center between the front and back. If we simplify the pattern one can see the grill surface has five basic heat sectors from left to right: lower, hotter, lower, hotter, lower.
It looks bad and cooks bad. We grilled a couple dozen chicken wings and had to play a game of chicken checkers, constantly moving pieces around to prevent burning and undercooking. Steaks needed to be crowded directly over the burners to sear due to the dramatic temperature drop off on the left, middle and right sections of the grates.
Why is this? Is the firebox too large for the two 20,000 BTU cast stainless steel burners? 475 square inches of primary grill surface is big for a two-burner, but not unheard of, and those burners don’t appear to be weak. Cranked all the way they hit around 800°, (more precisely from left to right the temps were 500°, 800°, 680°, 770°, 420°).
Coyote’s manual states their grills are designed for uneven heat, although in a much different way than we experienced. The manual explains in detail how the back is deliberately made to be hotter than the front, apparently to always provide some sort of 2-zone set-up. We couldn’t discern this hot back/warm front pattern, but easily saw the hot spots above each burner. Could the combination of this unusual 2-zone design coupled with a relatively large grill surface be the culprit?
For the record, we were able to successfully smoke a BBQ pork butt over a water pan with a 2-zone set-up, but that can easily be accomplished on just about any gasser with more than one burner.
There was a lot of play in the valve stems of each burner. This coupled with the short range of ¼ turn on the control knobs from low to high made dialing up temps difficult, as we were forced to toggle the knobs gently from left to right trying to get a vague feeling for the center of the loose valve stem.
Grill in a Box came almost fully assembled and although the packaging seemed good, even as we removed the shrink wrap small surface abrasions and discolorations were noticed. In retrospect, a harbinger of what was to come. We appreciate Coyote providing this grill for our review, but cannot recommend it. The rough construction might be tolerated, but the poor performance would be unacceptable even in a lower price range.
Coyote claims all our negative comments above have been corrected within the few months that past from the time we received our test model until this review was complete. We certainly hope so. They further claim the unit they sent was a prototype. We find it hard to believe any manufacturer would send the most popular BBQ website in the world a prototype to review, particularly when the CCX2 was displayed on Coyote’s website with the rest of their current product line well before they shipped one to us.
Limited lifetime warranty on the stainless steel housing and burners, 5 years on the grates, 2 years on the Heat Control Grids and plastic/electric components and 1 year on the ignition system and valves. Optional rotisserie and smoker kits are available. Comes in LP and NG models.
Coyote Outdoor makes outdoor kitchen equipment. Their product line includes gas grills, storage drawers and cabinets, and some supplemental items like sinks, refrigerators and griddles.
Published On: 10/14/2014 Last Modified: 2/24/2021
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