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WhiteTrashBBQ

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.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

BBQ Equipment: Cooking on the Charbroil Tec Gas Grill

When we last talked about the Charbroil TEC Grill, I let you know about the packaging, the construction and ease of setup. So what about cooking on the thing? Well here goes.

The Charbroil TEC Grill that I was given has two traditional high-output gas burners, one TEC gas burner, an infrared rotisserie burner and one external high-output gas burner.

As I mentioned before, I've never owned a gas grill before, but I have cooked on them a few times. Please keep that in mind when you read my review.

Since this was a new grill, I decided that we'd put it through all of it's paces utilizing every burned and all the grill space we could. We (my brother and I) decided that we were going to make clams, chicken, fajitas (flank steak and London broil), onions, peppers and corn on the grill. The only thing we weren't going to do, was use the rotisserie for this cook. (Why? Because the rotisserie is an optional piece of equipment that needs to be purchased separately.)

We fired up the grill and I was a little taken back by the effort required to light it. The TEC grill and the external burner lit without a hitch. The rotisserie burner lit, sputtering out flames. Lighting of the the rotisserie reminded me of lighting an old Coleman lantern. You could hear and smell the gas gather and then the flames burst out. We let the rotisserie burn for about 20 minutes until it burned off all its packing and manufacturing materials.

We put out the other burners and tried lighting the traditional gas burners. On other gas grills I've used it is a matter of simply turning on the gas and hitting the ignition switch. Not so with this grill. You need to hold down the igniter for at least a minute before the gas lights. At first I thought I put the flame tamers in wrong, I removed them and the burners lit easily. Replacing the flame tamers, the grill would not light quickly. I checked the manual and adjusted the igniter wire which allowed the burners to light with the flame tamers installed. But they still didn't light as quickly or easily as expected.

First on the grill were the stuffed clams. They cooked quickly and became our snack as we played with the rest of the grill. Next up were the onion slices and peppers for the fajitas. I learned a long time ago that wood or charcoal fires have hot spots and cool spots, and I assumed that the gas grill would as well. By grilling onion slices, it would be an easy test to see where the hot and cold spots are on this grill.

The hottest spot by far is the TEC burner. That was to be expected. Next came the gas burner and the other side of the grill, with the burner in the middle putting out noticeably less heat. I don't have a problem with this, but my brother who is a gasser in more ways then one, tells me that this is a flaw in the construction. He feels that all burners should perform exactly the same.

Next up came the chicken and beef. I used the TEC burner to sear the meat, which provided some lovely grill marks. I should have left the beef on the burner longer, but I was anxious to see how quickly the TEC burner would provide grill marks.

I felt that the grill overall took a little longer to heat up then I expected. We placed a pot of cold water on the external burner for the corn and that also seemed to take a long time to reach the boiling point. Remember, these are just observations coming from a cook who is used to wood and charcoal fires. I just assumed that a gas grill would heat up much faster.

Is the Tec Grill the ultimate grill? Probably not. Don't get me wrong, I think it's a good grill. It's possibly great but I haven't had it long enough to make that statement. I really enjoyed cooking on the grill. Would I recommend you purchase one? Yes. In a New York Minute.

As you know, I'm a charcoal and wood guy at heart, but this is definitely one of the better gas grills I've ever used. I found it to be sturdy, well put together and I was unable to find any areas where Charbroil obviously cut corners to save money.

As I already told you, it was packed and shipped beautifully. I've never seen better packaging for the hardware needed to put a grill together. The assembly instructions were clear and easy to follow.

The Tec grill has some issues. It takes a long time to light and heat up, or at least longer then I expected. The mid-burner on mine doesn't seem to get as hot as the other one. (I've spoken Matt Fisher at The Hampton Smoker who doesn't have this problem with his Charbroil grill)

I don't see how you can attach the rotisserie and operate the side burner without removing the rotisserie brackets. There's a large opening on the back of the hood which I haven't figured out yet. I assume it's for ventilation, but I've never seen this on other grills.

I also expected a cook book or some sort of instruction manual for using the Tec burner and the grill. I know there's information on the web, but I want something I can look over while I'm at the grill, not at my computer. For the money, I also expected the rotisserie attachments and a cover to be included.

So, if you're in the market for a grill, go take a look at this beast. Even with it's minor faults, I think you'll be happy you did.

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14 Comments:

At 4:19 AM, Anonymous adam said...

Hrm.

I received a cookbook and a manual with mine. Yours must have gotten left out.

 
At 11:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This grill is a disgrace to TEC's name. If you compare this to an actual TEC grill youll be able to tell the difference in the structural quality and the way it cooks. Give it a couple years and youll be ordering parts. I would not reccomend this grill for anyone.

sincerely,
bbq guru

 
At 2:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure if anybody has this issue I just experienced with this grill. When grilling hamburgers the other day I noticed the grill flaring up so I turned off the TEC burner and keep grilling but at that point the fire keep getting higher and I turned off all burners. That’s when I noticed that grease tray was on fire and flames were coming out of the bottom. I then turned off the propane tank and removed the tank in fear of a major fire. When I was removing the tank I noticed the grease tray was split and melting. I then grabbed my fire extinguisher and applied it to the fire. The grill is ruined and that grease tray is welded shut. I one point I noticed the temperature was past 550 degrees. I am now waiting to hear back form CharBroil and I just wanted to get the word out and warn others of a possible defect with this grill, I have the 3 burner TEC grill model number 463268307.

 
At 5:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had the TEC grill for 6 months. In that time, I liked the TEC feature. But the grill does take a LONG time to heat up. HOWEVER, the other day we were having trouble lighting the TEC burner, huge flare ups, until we finally gave up and cooked our dinner on the other burners. After reading the manual, I decided I needed to clean out the grill. I took out the grease pan and dumped the burnt debris in the sink and down my disposal. The next thing I know, my disposal is grinding up bits of screws and bolts. It cost me $100 and a plumber to clean out. Turns out, the TEC burner has completely burned up. Apparently the materials cannot contend with the heat this thing puts out. The bottom portion of all the screws and the nuts holding the TEC in place had burned off and fallen into the grease pan. I consider this a MAJOR FAILURE. Lowe's agreed to take the thing back for store credit, but I am done with Char-Broil. I contacted Char-Broil about my $100 plumbing bill and still haven't heard back. I am going back to Weber. I never expected this out of a $700 grill. A huge disappointment.

 
At 7:28 PM, Anonymous Heath said...

FYI, Charbroil is aware of the burner issue. I've been having issues with my IR burner not staying lit and then re-igniting with a loud flash. I found a couple of screws in the grease tray a few months ago, so I'm sure that's where they came from.

Nothing like sitting on your deck hearing your $700 grill falling apart, but at least they seem to be taking care of it. I guess they can't catch everything in product testing. I'll take it apart tomorrow to see what's up...

Here's a post from their FAQ:

My TEC burner screws are now in my grease tray. What do I do?

We regret that a few TEC by Char-Broil Series owners have experienced burner performance issues related to failing fasteners used in manufacturing of a limited numer of our TEC Burners. Char-Broil wants to assure all TEC Series customers that we will take care of their individual issues and assist them in replacing the complete infra red burner assembly in their grill. Char-Broil encourages TEC Series owners who have encountered a problem with the fasteners to call 1-888-430-7870 to receive a new TEC stainless steel burner assembly from Char-Broil. Our TEC Consumer Services line will be open 7 days a week from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM EST. One of our customer service agents will be happy to assist you and a warranty service kit will be shipped out at no charge via priority 2nd day air shipping. We stand behind the safety and performance of our products and make it a priority to respond to our consumer’s needs and concerns.



-Heath

 
At 11:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

LETS SEE. BOUGHT MY GRILL IN JUNE FOR 900.00. THE COVER FOR 50.00. THE ROTISSERIE FOR 70.00.
AFTER USING IT FOR 3/4 OF THE SUMMER THE PROBLEMS BEGAN. FIRST THE IGNITER WENT. THE TEC BURNERS ARE A REAL PAIN IN THE BUTT TO LIGHT. THEN THE "PUFF" STARTED. ALONG WITH THAT BLOOD CURLING WHISTLE NOISE AND THE GLASS AND GRILL LIFTING OFF ITS SUPPORTS.ANYONE WITH THIS GRILL KNOWS WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT. I CALLED CHARBROIL TO ADVISE.THEY WERE AWARE OF THE "PROBLEM" AND SAID THEIR WERE JUST A "FEW" CASES. HA! ANYWAY THEY SHIPPED ME TWO NEW TEC BURNERS WITH THE GLASS. LAST SATURDAY I ATTEMPTED TO REPLACE THE BURNERS. THE SCREWS THAT HOLD THE OLD TEC BURNERS WERE RUSTED AND FROZEN. AFTER SOAKING THEM IN EVERY RUST BREAKER KNOWN TO MAN , THEY STILL WOULDN'T BUDGE. THE SCREW HEADS STRIPPED. AFTER CUTTING THREE OF THE HEADS OFF WITH MY DREMEL, THE LAST WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO GET TO.(IN THE LEFT CORNER FACING THE GRILL) I TRIED CHISILING IT OFF WHEN THE BRACKET THAT SUPPORTS THE BURNERS BROKE. (WELDS GAVE OUT) NOW I HAVE HAD ENOUGH ! CONTACTED CHARBROIL. THEY HAVE REQUESTED PICTURES OF THE "FAILURE". SENT THEM GLADLY. WAITING FOR AN ANSWER AT THIS TIME. I REQUESTED A NEW GRILL HOPPING THE CHINEESE AND CHARBROIL WORKED OUT THE BUGS BY NOW. BY THE WAY, THAT COVER I BOUGHT FOR THE GRILL, CRACKED, FADED AND THE "BRASS" VENT HOLES ARE RUSTED TO CRAP. THE ROTISSERIE ? HAVEN'T FIGURED THAT OUT YET. WILL KEEP YA ALL POSTED ON THE OUTCOME GRILL BOUGHT FROM LOWE'S IN NEW JERSEY.
IS THERE A LEMON LAW FOR GRILLS IN NEW JERSEY?

 
At 9:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I purchaed the 4 burner Charbroil TEC grill on June 30th, 2007. I only used the grill about 3 or 4 times before I had the same issue with infrared burners not staying lit, pulsating flame with loud bursts, and generally sounding like they were going to explode. I also found broken bolts and nuts in the grease pan.

I read this blog and called the Charbroil number 888-430-7870. After about 10 minutes explaining the issues the customer service reps said she would be shipping me two new TEC burners. They are also sending new side rails for the grease pan (I didn't specify any problems with the grease pan but I suspect they know of issues and are proactively addressing). The overall experience with customer service was very good. They were courtious, answered the phone quickly, and called me back to confirm shipment number. I am told the parts will arrive in 7-10 business days. I will write back when received to verify delivery and describe the repair process.

 
At 9:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also purchased the TEC 4 Burner Gas Grill and have had nothing but problems. Initially my Infrared side kept going out with a whistle and a loud pop. Called Char Broil, they asked me to open my grease tray and look to see if I had screw heads in the bottom. I had and they informed me that I had one of the early models that did not come with Stainless Steel Screw. They sent new infrared burners. The problem that I explained to them was that I could not get the old screws out as they were heat welded into the body of the fire box. No problem they said and shipped at N/C a new Fire Box. While waiting for this to arrive I told them (Char Broil) that my unit was not heating up properly and I could not get the Infrared side hot enough (no searing effect and meat stuck to grates). Once again no problem they stated, I must not be getting enough propane through the lines. Before you ask, yes I disconnected the fuel line and all of that good stuff. Well finally all of the parts arrived, no instructions, no manual of which to work from were included. Took the entire unit apart (this is the only way to get the fire box out) and began putting new parts back on. BIG PROBLEM, fire box was 1/4 to tall. Would not fit and holes for lid would not line up.

That said I am totally frustrated. Asked to speak to a supervisor and I was told at 2:30 on a Friday Afternoon that I would not hear from one by the end of their day, which was 6:00 PM. I guess they are having a lot of problems to deal with. Hope to get this resolved soonest. Have spent more time taking unit apart fixing (or attempting to) than I have cooking on it.

Will keep you posted.

Frustrated in Texas

 
At 5:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just one more experience .My wife and I bought this purely for the infared. For 6 months this 4 burner (2 infared 2 regular gas jets ) worked just great than last night happened.After only about 10 min with just 2 of the regular jets lit the whole thing caught fire with the fire extending down to the propane tank hose connecting to the grill. I thought the tank wasgoing to explode as the rubber hose was burnt to a crisp. Finally the fire dept came and put out the fire on unit that at onepoint threatened my deck. Bottomline please be careful. I guess the TEC quality got lost when Char Grill came in as a joint venture. Great idea gone terribly wrong.

 
At 7:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just had a similar problem mentioned in this string with the grease tray catching fire and melting the propane hose on my 3 burner TEC grill. Very dangerous, luckily I noticed what was going on and shut off the tank before it got really bad. I just emailed charbroil to see what they will do but be very careful with this thing.

 
At 5:40 AM, Anonymous don S. said...

Here;s another potential problem: My grease pan leaked on the right side into the slide track and the caught fire. The grease pan is only 1/4" deep and if your grill is not on PERFECTLY LEVEL GROUND any amount of grease will run to and over the lowest edge. In my case it then caught fire and hardened into a cake making it impossible to remove the grease tray. After removing the metal sheilds under the grease pan and an hour and a half of scraping and pounding it became free. My sugestion is that a deeper pan be used to catch the drippings to avoid the leaking and that you clean the drip pan after each use. I would have not bought this grill if I had known of this problem I own a Charbroil 940 charcoal which is 20 years old and I have gotten great service from it. I don't expect to get the same from this POS even if I decide to keep it.

 
At 3:50 AM, Anonymous Tianyi said...

I guess not all grills are , but this is quite ok though

 
At 10:11 AM, Blogger jay at the beach said...

Bought this grill with TEC burners.They have been a nightmare. They fell appart with screws falling into the grease pan and the I had them replaced n/c and with a short time, only several uses, the same thing happened. I have just been using the other half of the gille. I was just on the phone and the company is going to send me replacements for the TEC burners N/C again,and they are supposed to be a new version that will last more than a few time. I will let you know but they were back ordered and will be be shipped for three weeks.

 
At 3:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have owned a TEC grill for years and there is no comparison to the original TEC. To their credit, Charboroil service has been exceptional (if you registered the grill) with replacement burners and parts.
In the end, I tool the TEC side out and put in a tray where I actually now build a fire from briquettes. This way I get gas on one side and smoke from real wood and briquettes on the other. The TEC side is never going to work so face facts and make the best of it.

 

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