Napoleon is a Canadian company that manufactures a wide variety of grills, smokers, accessories and books. They started in 1976 as a small steel fabrication company in Ontario, Canada, then branched out into making fireplaces and grills. Although Napoleon sightings are rare south of the Canadian border, they produce quality products and are essentially Canada's answer to Weber. In fact it's hard not to draw comparisons between Napoleon and Weber, even their logo and website are similar. But Napoleon comes up with just enough distinctive ideas to make them a viable contender.
The Napoleon Rogue 425SIB is a smaller, slightly striped down, lower cost version of one of our favorite gassers, Napoleon's Prestige P500RSIB. The three main burners are 12,000 BTUs apiece and each has its own "Snap Jet" electric ignition that lights up when you turn the control knobs. We like this Rogue's stainless steel guts: long lasting, high performance 7.5mm stainless steel rod grates with Napoleon's characteristic WAVE pattern (right), and 5 stainless steel heat tents that cover each burner and the space between them to sizzle drippings for enhanced flavor and disburse heat for even cooking across the primary grill surface. Click here to read why we love thin stainless steel rod grates.
One of the coolest features of the 425SIB is the 9,000 BTU infrared burner built into the left side shelf which Napoleon calls their "Sizzle Zone" shown below.
Most freestanding gas grills with sear burners locate them under the hood with the main burners. This unique design effectively gives you two distinct and separate cooking zones that may be used simultaneously. Cook chicken at moderate temp with the main burners dialed down, then flip the pieces onto the sizzle zone to crisp skin. Perfect for reverse sear steaks that cook low and slow up front and get finished with a hot sear at the end to produce a pink juicy interior and delicious seared exterior. Learn how to make better than steakhouse steak with the reverse sear method.
The sizzle zone has a hinged cover for protection from the elements, and a misguided choice of cast iron for the cooking grate. Cast iron grates are so heavy and so efficient at holding and transmitting heat to meat, they make definitive grill marks. But they really produce a strong contrast between marks and the rest of the meat, and that leaves much of the meat surface undeveloped. Cast iron grates are the only hope for searing on a cheap, underpowered gas grill, but a definite mismatch on this model. When testing the Prestige model mentioned above, the cast iron grates in the Sizzle Zone got crazy hot and tended to burn foods so we replaced them with thin rod grates that allowed the radiant heat from the IR burner to produce a delicious even brown crust. Click here to learn about the three ways heat cooks food.
As expected from Napoleon, the quality relative to price makes this model a good value. With double walled stainless steel construction and cast aluminum end caps, the lid is designed to retain and hold in heat. The firebox below is also cast aluminum. The obligatory temperature estimator planted in the hood away from the actual cook surface is guaranteed to be way off and should be ignored. Click here to learn about using accurate digital thermometers to up your grilling game. The double door cart and control panel are a combo of stainless steel and coated steel. Both side shelves fold down and may be removed to compact the footprint. A detachable condiment basket may be placed on either side of the cart and an additional basket may be purchased for double storage. The whole deal rests on two wheel and two locking casters. Both a propane version and a natural gas version are available, but there is no kit to convert one to the other.
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.