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WhiteTrash BBQ -- Real Pit Barbecue from New York City. This is the story of a fire obsessed guy, living in Brooklyn, with a dream of producing award winning, competition busting, real Barbeque. Come live the dream as I compete around the country in the KCBS Championship Barbecue circuit.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

BBQ Equipment: Charbroil Tec Grill

OK, I've teased you enough. It's about 1:00am in the morning and I've finally found some time to write about the Charbroil Tec grill. You will remember that back in October, the fine folks at Charbroil invited a bunch of people out to Bryant Park for the introduction of the new Tec grill. Part of the roll out was the promise of a new Tec grill delivered to me for review. I accepted only when Charbroil agreed to my fair, honest, unedited and uncensored appraisal of their product.

So here goes...

The grill was shipped to my house further out on Long Island. (YES, Brooklyn in geographically part of Long Island!) The driver arrived with out a dolly, so getting the grill into the backyard was an experience.

I don't know who Charbroil hired to design their shipping packages, but this was a marvel of efficiency with absolutely no space wasted. While the package was very heavy, it was very easy for one person to unpack. Even the space between the wheels underneath the grill was utilized to store the grill grates.

I was impressed by how much of the grill arrived assembled. I have never owned a gas grill before and I assumed that I'd have to spend the morning putting this together. The main body was arrived assembled, leaving only the shelves, side burner, flame tamers and the Tec grill surface to be installed. All in all, it took about 30 minutes to assemble with very little use of four letter words or tantrums.

I was EXTREMELY impressed with how Charbroil sent the hardware. Most times you're searching for the right screw or washer, but Charbroil packaged all the hardware in a great blister pack with all pieces clearly labeled.

The assembly instructions were very clear and easy to follow, but there was no operating instructions included in the box. As I said, I've never owned a gas grill before, and I fumbled around starting the grill up. Once all the burners were lit, and the shipping gunk burned off we were ready to cook.

I would have liked an operating manual to discuss some of the differences between the regular burners and the Tec burner, but there was nothing to be found. Charbroil does not include a cookbook with the grill either, so you're really on your own. They do provide a phone number and a link to a website, but when I'm in the backyard, I'd really prefer a paper manual.

This really is a good looking grill. I was given the 3 burner model, which has two conventional burners, one Tec burner and one side exterior burner. On the back of the grill, fully recessed so that it doesn't interfere with the grill space, is the rotisserie burner. It spans 2/3 of the width of the grill, but does not cover the area over the Tec burner. I wonder why Charbroil chose not to extend the burner the entire width of the grill.

On the opposite side of the grill from the exterior burner, there is a recessed basket below a cover. I haven't quite figured out what to use this for. It's not deep enough for storage. But it appears sturdy enough to hold a good amount of weight. I didn't test this, but I will.

In the back of the grill is a very sturdy and wide warming shelf. This shelf is stationary which is a nice change from the swinging shelves found in many a gas grill. That's a great feature as it won't interfere with anything on the grill when you close the cover.

There's a thermometer installed in the cover of the grill, which when tested by being dipped in boiling water, was precisely accurate.

Below the grill is a nice a cabinet with a slide out for the gas tank. I would have liked to see the gas tank stored to one side of the cabinet instead of right smack in the middle. But the slide out is a nice touch. (If it was stored to one side, as it is on the four burner model, we would have been left with a lot more storage space in the cabinet)

The grill is made entirely of heavy weight stainless steel. It's sturdy and feels like a very solid piece of equipment. You know you're working with a quality product. The knobs however are thin plastic, which seems a bit incongruous with the level of workmanship and quality of the rest of the grill.

So what's it like to cook on it? That's for another post. This one is too damn long already!

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At 7:42 AM, Blogger Backyard Chef said...

Nice job, WTBBQ! Well done. Similar reactions to what I said a few months back in my review of the same grill.


At 8:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like your ready for the "New KCBS" where LP will be king.

At 7:20 PM, Anonymous Heath said...

Well, Charbroil's decision to give you a review model helped me make up my mind! I have been eyeing this since late winter, went in to buy it on Friday, but held off after I started to doubt if I had made an informed decision... so I did a search and found your review. I bought my three burner model yesterday and just got through putting it together and grilling up a few burgers. This is a great grill! I have to do some tweaking on the gas valve for the side burner - I couldn't get it to line up properly, and I'm going to convert it to natural gas as soon as I finish off this tanke of propane. Anyhow, great blog and thanks for the review - I'm going to love this grill!


At 7:39 PM, Blogger Calvin said...

I just bought one of these from Lowes and have been dreaming out the TEC burner for some time. I assembled it myself in about an hour with no problem and very little help from the wife unit.

I have to say, I was a little disappointed there were not tips and sample recipes for the TEC burner. However, on my first run I did about 4 lbs of chicken and 6 lbs of ribs. It is was a great buy.

At 11:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just picked one up this weekend and will let you know how it goes! So far it is like you said - drop dead easy to setup. I thing has changed on the design -- the gas bottle is now on the right side (I got the 2 TEC burner model). Stay tuned! John

At 4:24 PM, Anonymous Judy said...

If you go on the Lowe's site, you can see a virtual tour of the grill. The recessed basket that you did not know what it was used for, is for putting your utensils into for storage. Just thought you might want to know and to visit the virtual tour for more info on this nice grill.

At 9:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any update on the Charbroil TEC? What can't you do on the infrared burners? Curious how it survives the winter, too.


At 8:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So it's a little more than a year later (if I get the date correct on your article,)... what's the verdict on survivability? Did the TEC make it through the winter and spring? My Jenn-Air is TRASH after 5 years. The insides have rusted away. I've been reading lot's of reviews lately and surprisingly, the $400 to $1500 range of grills is good for about 5 to 10 years if you take care of them. And most reviewers are saying the even more expensive ones, aren't always better.

Lowe's has this TEC for about $800 here in southern California. But I'm interested to know how well it's held up. There was one review site that mentioned that screws in the bottom of this unit had corroded and even broke off at the head. Anything like happen with your sample?

BG in socal

At 11:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

KEEP AWAY FROM THIS GRILL! I bought it when it first came out (four burner) for $1000K and early in the second season, I noticed it the infrareds would flare out and make popping noises. Called TEC and they said a recal was issued for the burners (never received notice!)They sent out new burners, but they are impossible to replace because all the damage the defective burners did to the inside of the unit. I am now having to jimmy rig the thing to gether to get it to work. Charbroils comments......"sorry".

At 3:55 PM, Anonymous cluhn@mac.com said...

I bought my Sterling TEC CharBroil grill last summer. I just took the cover off after placing the unit into hibernation for the winter. The infared assemblies under BOTH glass panels have so completely rusted that the screw heads have even fallen off, leaving the threaded portions locked in their seats. It is an unmitigated disaster. The "stainless steel" components are all corroded beyond recognition. I have written TEC and will keep y'all posted on their response. These are NOT inexpensive grills, and to see the degradation of the components and parts is shocking. I loved the grill last Fall until I put it up for the winter. TEC had better come through on this, or ... well, it's pretty bad. I'll try to post pictures later. Anyone else have the same issues? (PS: I also was having the same "flare-out" issues, too, that chef1018 reports.)

At 8:16 AM, Blogger CNLPC Google said...

Got new burners and replacement flame tamer strips. Will tackle trying to install the burners this weekend. From the looks of it, they are made of higher quality steel than the junk that came originally. Film at eleven.

At 6:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought my three burner from Lowes in Northern Michigan last summer. It worked great. The infrared is/was awesome. However, I've experienced the SAME problems as other consumers have. The metal in the infrared has corroded, screws snapped off at the heads. The infrared burner makes a huge "BOOM" sound, then it sounds like the flame is backing up the venturi tubes. Makes a HUGE hissing/roaring noise. Sounds like it's gonna blow up. I'm gonna contact Charboil and see what they offer to do. Too bad, cuz the grill rocked for the first few months...I spent $800 on it and it didn't last 15 months. Save your money...........

At 9:06 AM, Anonymous Frank said...

I had similar problems and I called Char-Broil this morning. They were very accomodating and apologetic. They said when they receive a copy of my receipt, they'll send me new replacement burners. I hope this works out, because this grill cooks great - best I've ever had.

At 6:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A "charbroil TEC" is like putting a V8 in a Toyota Carolla. The real TEC grills are the only way to go. Quality craftsmanship, heavy, heavy stainless construction...the difference is night and day. If you want to fully experience the TEC experience, stay away from charbroil and get the real thing.

At 8:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Same problems as everybody else. This is expensive JUNK.


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