Regular gas grills are undoubtedly convenient. However, outdoor chefs who like to experiment with different techniques might want to consider the infrared option.
While traditional gas grills put the food in direct contact with the flames, infrared burners place a solid barrier between the ingredients and the heat. The technique allows the food to retain more moisture during cooking, leading to mouthwatering results.
Char-Broil has been manufacturing grills since 1948. During that time, the brand has built up a reputation for quality and affordability. Today, the Georgia-based company is still working hard to remain on the cutting edge. Their Char-Broil Tru Infrared series is just one recent example.
There are several different units in this lineup. For the purposes of this Char Broil Tru Infrared review, we’ll stick with the Signature 525 model. This is a 4-burner cabinet-style version with an additional side burner.
While most of Char-Broil’s Tru Infrared products share similar features, this one earns high marks from consumers (see Social Proof, below). It has a generous amount of grilling and prep space, and the side burner adds versatility.
If you want to invest in a Char-Broil Tru Infrared product but don’t feel that this one is the best fit, check out one of the alternatives in Other TRU-Infrared Options, below.
Here’s a brief list outlining the grill’s greatest strengths and weaknesses.
- Delivers rapid, even heat
- Easy to assemble
- Quality construction
- Offers great versatility
- Temperature gauge is not always accurate
- Requires a lot of care to keep it in good working order
Things To Consider Before Buying an Infrared Grill
The infrared concept has been around since the 1980s. Steakhouses often use the technique to achieve better temperature control and moisture retention, but it typically flies below the radar when it comes to residential use.
This grilling style might be off-putting to amateurs who prefer to keep things simple. Cleaning the burners and plates can take quite a while. Worse, if you neglect this chore, you’ll have to deal with a great deal of buildup, which can shorten the unit’s lifespan.
In addition to the infrared plates, here’s what you should look for in this type of grill.
- Burners: How many are there, and how quickly do they heat up?
- Size: Make sure the grill is large enough to suit your grilling needs. This number may vary depending on how often you grill, which ingredients you use, and how many people you usually serve.
- Heat Distribution: The food should cook evenly, with no hot or cold spots.
- Construction: All of the components, from the base to the lid, should be made of high-quality materials. The main components are usually made of stainless steel, while ceramic and glass are typical for the infrared burners themselves.
- Cost: Infrared grills aren’t cheap, but some models are more affordable than others. Set a budget in advance and try to stick to it when shopping.
- Additional Features: Some models are outfitted with side burners, shelving, or tool hooks. Often, the grill will offer a conversion kit, meaning that it can run on either natural gas or propane. This kit is usually sold separately, but it’s a perk to have the option either way.
Char-Broil Tru Infrared Review: Features & Benefits
No Char Broil Tru Infrared review would be complete without a rundown of the features that make the grill stand out from the competition. Here’s our comprehensive list.
The Char-Broil Signature Tru Infrared 525 has four tube burners, all made of 443 stainless steel. The right-hand shelf is outfitted with an extra burner for searing.
The burners offer superb heat distribution, a benefit that’s supported by the infrared technology. Because the process allows ingredients to retain so much moisture, grilled meat is unbelievably juicy when it comes off the grill. It also makes it easier to attain the temperature you’re looking for.
The grilling grates for this unit are made of porcelain-enameled cast iron. This includes the additional warming rack, which is perfect for holding hamburger rolls and hot dog buns.
In our opinion, cast iron is the perfect material for cooking grates. It offers excellent heat retention and can last a lifetime if it’s cared for properly. On regular gas grills, it imparts impressive grill marks, but that’s a job for the infrared plates in this case.
The porcelain coating is another plus. Unlike plain cast iron, which is prone to rusting, the enameled grates offer a layer of protection from the elements. The coating also has a nonstick quality that makes the cleanup chores go much more quickly.
The side burner on the Char-Broil Signature 525 emits 13,000 BTUs of firepower. That makes it ideal for searing purposes. It can also be used to boil water for rice or pasta, depending on what you’re serving.
Char-Broil offers a lower BTU output for its Tru Infrared burners. They don’t advertise a number for this unit, but each burner likely falls in the 6,000 to 10,000 range.
With infrared plates, the BTU output doesn’t need to be as high because the emitters are so effective at distributing the heat. Remember that this doesn’t make the grill any less powerful–it just uses a different technique. It also means you’ll burn less fuel than you would with a regular gas grill.
The grill offers a grand total of 725 square inches of cooking space, including the 200 square inch warming rack. This means that the primary grilling surface covers 525 square inches.
For families of 4 to 6 people, this unit could be the perfect size. It might not provide enough space if you want to prepare various courses for a large group all at once, but it’s a fairly generous cooking surface.
Electric Ignition System
A gas grill is only as reliable as its ignition system. If the igniter switch is constantly failing, you’ll spend more time fiddling around with creative lighting techniques than enjoying your grill.
Char-Broil’s Surefire ignition system is designed to deliver peace of mind in this regard. It’s synced to each burner and should spark up every time you need it. Once you’ve fired up the burners, you can start grilling within 10 minutes.
Like many of Char-Broil’s offerings, the Signature 525 can be converted to run on natural gas rather than liquid propane. Be aware that the conversion kit is sold separately.
The twin stainless steel cabinets on this model are outfitted with loop handles. They’re roomy enough to hold barbecue tools and a supply of wood chips along with the LP tank. They also give the grill a streamlined appearance that boosts its curb appeal.
This model comes with a 10-year warranty on the burners, as well as a 3-year warranty on the firebox and cooking grates. All the other components are covered by a 1-year warranty.
Other Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Options
The Signature 525 might be the best-received product in the lineup, but it isn’t the only choice. Here’s the rundown on 6 other Char-Broil TRU-Infrared grills.
#1 Char-Broil Performance TRU-Infrared 3-Burner Cart Style Gas Grill
This model is for couples or smaller families who don’t need quite as much grilling space.
#2 Char-Broil Performance TRU-Infrared 3-Burner Cabinet Style Gas Grill
Give this product a try if you’d like a 3-burner grill but prefer a cabinet-style design.
#3 Char-Broil Performance TRU-Infrared 4-Burner Cabinet Style Gas Grill
The Performance version would be a good choice if you like what the Signature model has to offer, but you’re working with a smaller budget.
#4 Char-Broil The Big Easy TRU-Infrared Smoker Roaster & Grill
This unit is ideal for people who want to use their infrared grill for low-and-slow cooking applications.
#5 Char-Broil Signature TRU-Infrared 2-Burner Cart Style Gas Grill
Another Signature offering, this one is designed for singles or couples who don’t have the space for a larger unit.
#6 Char-Broil Grill2Go X200 Portable TRU-Infrared Liquid Propane Gas Grill
If you’re in the market for a portable infrared grill, this tabletop model fits easily in the trunk of a car.
Char-Broil Tru Infrared: Social Proof
How do other consumers feel about the Char-Broil Tru Infrared grill? Here’s what we were able to learn after a quick jaunt through the web.
Customers were pleased with the quick assembly and the user-friendly nature of the grill. Even the ones who were initially scared off by the infrared technology were satisfied with the results. One or two people reported shipping issues, and others claimed that this wasn’t the best choice for slow cooking. Otherwise, the response was largely positive.
Would you like to keep your options open? If you’re having trouble finding the Char-Broil Tru Infrared unit, or if you don’t feel that it would suit your needs, feel free to try one of these close competitors.
#1 Saber Cast 500 Infrared Gas Grill with Side Burner
This 3-burner model is slightly smaller than the Char-Broil unit, but it also includes a side burner for searing. It offers an attractive design and high-quality construction with a price tag to match.
How They Compare:
- Heat Distribution—Char-Broil
- Additional Features—Saber
The Saber brand is top-notch, offering efficiency as well as durability. With this model, they’ve provided an impressive infrared grill with plenty of tempting extras.
#2 Weber Genesis II LX E-340 Freestanding Gas Grill with Side Burner
Every grilling enthusiast is familiar with the Weber brand. This option features the brand’s signature GS4 grilling system in addition to the infrared technology.
How They Compare:
- Burners—Royal Weber
- Heat Distribution—Weber
- Additional Features—Weber
The Genesis II LX E-340 isn’t cheap, but if it’s longevity you’re after, then this one could be the way to go.
#3 TEC G-Sport FR Propane Gas Grill
TEC makes a portable infrared gas grill with a futuristic design. The G-Sport FR offers just 309 square inches of cooking space, but that’s par for the course for a portable unit.
How They Compare:
- Heat Distribution—Char-Broil
- Additional Features—Char-Broil
If you’d like to take your infrared grill on the road, the TEC G-Sport FR is worth a second look.
What’s the takeaway from this Char Broil Tru Infrared review?
The grill has plenty of commendable qualities, including the powerful side burner. The burners are reliable and efficient, and the storage space is ample. The infrared plates might be enough to scare some novices away, but if you’re looking for this type of grill, this one is available at a reasonable price.
Click here to learn more about the Char-Broil Signature Tru Infrared 525.