In-depth Review: Char-Broil Patio Bistro Electric TRU Infrared Grill
Grilling with an electric grill gives you a great deal of flexibility. They can cook in the rain, the snow, the wind, and just about any weather condition. No propane or charcoal briquettes are needed, meaning that grilling costs next to nothing. Even better, electric grills heat up quickly and are often simple to clean up. What’s not to love about electric grills?
Well, many electric grills can hardly be described as barbecue-capable grills. Sure, they will cook your food. But we want GRILLED food, not COOKED food. Grilled food tastes a certain way. It looks a certain way. It smells a certain way. Too many of today’s electric grills act as glorified hot plates.
I want to find which electric grills truly deserve the title of grill. The Char-Broil TRU Infrared Patio Bistro Electric Grill has a whole lot to offer. Does it meet my demands though? Will it grill food like any charcoal or propane grill? Is it simple to operate? No problem to clean? All of these questions and more I will answer in my review below. Both the Pros and Cons of this Char Broil Grill will be weighed to decide whether or not this grill is worth your money.
Actually Looks like a Grill
- At the end of the day, we all want to feel like we are grilling. Do not give me some space age plastic piece of junk and call it a grill. The Char-Broil Patio Bistro passes the look test. It stands on four legs and reaches my waist height. Too many electric grills are sold as little countertop things. Not the Char-Broil, it is designed to function and look like any outdoor patio grill. As an added bonus, the Patio Bistro Grills come in seven different colors. Red is my favorite, with Chocolate Graphite as a close second.
Price Point: Just Right and Electricity is Cheap
- Hovering in the range of $150, the Char-Broil is just the right mixture where affordable grilling meets extra amenities. You’ll end up getting a great looking grill that is easy to assemble for half of what most decent gas grills begin at. Beyond that, the Char-Broil sears meat well just like any electric grill should. In a year’s worth of time you can easily save hundreds of dollars by no longer being forced to purchase expensive propane and charcoal briquettes. Just plug in your grill and cook. Sure, your electricity bill will go up a little bit. How does $15 in annual electricity costs compare to $150 in annual propane costs?
Compact Design, Easily Fits onto a Patio
- If you’re on the market for an electric grill, you probably live in an apartment or condo that doesn’t allow open flame grills. That’s entirely understandable, in fact, that is the prime reason electric grills exist. When buying an electric grill, you’ll need something compact to fit onto an enclosed patio. The Char-Broil will fit snuggly into any corner. If you need to move your grill around, it’s even better thanks to the built-in wheels of the Char-Broil Patio Bistro Grill.
One Efficient Grill with Tru-Infrared Technology
- The Char-Broil Patio Bistro will grill your food quickly. Even though this grill is powered by electricity you can easily reach temperatures of 550 °F in less than thirty minutes of turning on this grill. That is what I call efficiency. No having to wait around for coals to heat up or gas to burn. The Tru-Infrared technology of the Patio Bistro distributes heat evenly across the entire grilling space, thereby ensuring your meat is evenly cooked. No hotspots and no coldspots, just one universal cooking temperature.
Achieve that Real Grilling Flavor with Woodchips
- Electric grills by themselves can never deliver the same smoky flavor that charcoal does. However, there are ‘hacks’ to get around this problem. To get a smoky flavor buildup on your food, put presoaked woodchips on top of a sheet of aluminum foil. Fold over the aluminum foil and make it nice and tight. Poke a few airholes into the foil. Then throw the balled up foil onto your grill as it heats up for ten minutes, keep the foil there for the rest of the cooking process. You’ll now have smoky meats coming from an electric grill. Say bye to charcoal, this is great workaround.
Beginner Friendly: Anyone can Grill
- Electric grills are the easiest grills to begin with. So many would-be-grillers are scared away from charcoal grills due to bad experiences with charcoal briquettes. Plenty of people don’t want to invest in a high maintenance propane grill. If you’re in need of a beginner’s grill, seriously consider the Char-Broil Patio Bistro. All you have to do is turn a knob, keep track of cooking times and temperature, and that’s it. You’ll get well seared meats in less than an hour without any major hassles associated with gas and charcoal grills.
- With 240 Square Inches of prime grilling space and an additional 80 square inches provided by a secondary grilling rack, you could easily cook 10 hamburgers at a time. Even then, you will have extra space to spare on that secondary grilling rack. Grilled onions, veggies, and green chile make for fine choices to cook up on that secondary rack. Tailgating is also a possibility, just be sure to have access to an electric outlet.
Cleaning this Grill is Easy
- Keeping your electric grill cleaned is a must. Your first task to keeping your Char-Broil clean is to rub olive oil or a cooking oil on your cooking surface to develop a non-stick surface. The next step to keeping your grill clean is regularly wiping your grill down with a wet soapy paper towel. After you are done cooking, let the grill cool off. Once your grill is cool, wipe down both the grilling grate and the metal grilling lid. If your grilling grate is becoming particularly messy, take your grilling grate out of the grill and seriously scrub it with a wire brush over a trash can. All in all, this is a super easy grill to keep clean, just be sure to buildup that non-stick oil layer over time.
More Difficult to Assemble than Many Electric Grills
- Most electric grills out there can be built in less than 30 minutes. Not so with the Char-Broil. When building this grill, you’re actually going to need a few different tools – only a screwdriver and a wrench – to get this baby built. Expect it to take two hours tops, and an hour if you’re fairly handy. I’ve read horror stories of people’s experience building this grill, but honestly it’s not so bad. If you’re really worried about the difficulty in assembling this grill, I would recommend looking into the George Foreman Electric Grill.
No Tool Rack
- Many of today’s grills come with a built-in tool rack to hold all of your favorite grilling utensils. This is not so with the Char-Broil Patio Bistro Grill. Definitely a disappointment if this will be the only grill you own. There is a small rack built into the grill that is between the cooking area and the ground, so tools can be stored there. However, it looks messy and wind can blow the tools off this stage. I suppose your best option is just to store tools inside, or rig up a tool rack system somehow to this grill.
- Even though this Char-Broil gets incredibly hot, you’ll experience big temperature drop-offs anytime you open the grill lid. Up to 50 °F can be lost in less than thirty seconds by opening up this grill. Yikes! Have no fear though, this doesn’t mean everything is going to take hours to cook. My advice is simple, be patient with your food and trust in the grilling process. Don’t open the lid every two minutes to check on your food. Keep the process simple. Flip the meat when it needs to be flipped. Check the temperature of the meat when you are pretty certain it is near done. And finally, remove the meat when it is finished cooking. All in all, you should only need to open the lid four or five times while grilling. Heat builds back up fast.
Short Power Cord
- Five feet is all you get for your Char-Broil power cord. Back at my old house, five feet would definitely not have been enough to reach the power outlet from where my grill station was located. Sure, you can always use an extension cord, but most electric grill manufacturers caution against using extension cords due to fears of electric fires. Here’s my advice, make sure you have a space right next to an outlet outdoors before making the purchase.
Char-Broil versus Similar Models:
Need a More Affordable Electric Grill?
- Consider the George Foreman Electric Grill.
- The George Foreman Electric Grill costs nearly half as much as the Char-Broil Patio Bistro Grill. This truly is a great deal. You must always remember though, you get what you pay for. Char-Broil delivers true value for all that extra money. First off, the Char-Broil is made of far more sturdy materials than the George Foreman Grill which is made mostly of plastic. Second, the Char-Broil Electric Grill reaches higher temperatures and delivers a better sear. If you just need an electric grill for the lowest price around, then seriously consider the George Foreman Grill.
- Read Our Full Review of the George Foreman Electric Grill
Looking for the Top of the Line Electric Grilling Experience?
- The Weber Q2400 Electric Grill is Sure to Please.
- On the other spectrum of things, the Weber Q2400 Electric Grill kicks butt in every department of electric grilling. Compared to the Char-Broil Patio Bistro Grill, the Weber Q2400 is built like a tank. The all metal body of the Weber Q2400 is so much nicer looking and more durable than the semi-metal body of the Char-Broil Grill. Grilling surface area of the Weber Grill adheres far more to the traditional grilling model. If you don’t like circle grills, then you must go with the Weber Q2400. At the end of the day, the Weber Q2400 is the better grill, but it costs nearly twice as much as the Char-Broil Patio Bistro Grill.
- Read Our Full Review of the Weber Q2400 Electric Grill
Need an Indoor Electric Grill?
- Look into the Delonghi Perfecto Indoor Grill.
- Attempting to grill inside with the Char-Broil Patio Bistro Grill would be a huge mistake. Even though this is made with TRU Infrared technology, this grill throws out way too much smoke to keep indoors. If you’re in need of an indoor electric grill, the Delonghi Perfecto Grill is one solid choice. You won’t get those great searing marks that the Char-Broil delivers, but the grilling experience remains. The Delonghi is my first choice when it comes to indoor grills.
Value for Money:
- The Char-Broil Patio Bistro Electric Grill will surprise many doubters of electric grills out there. Need an electric grill that can deliver serious sear marks while it cooks at high temperatures? The Char-Broil truly delivers on that front. Grilling for small gatherings is my favorite part of this grill, it just gets the job done. Plenty of design faults hurt the Char-Broil, really they’re just minor inconveniences in the long run. For $150 or less, this grill delivers a great value to all apartment dwellers, condo residents, and electric grill enthusiasts. Overall, the Char-Broil Patio Bistro Electric Grill receives 3.5 stars out of 5.