Char Broil Tru Infrared 3-Burner 500 Gas Grill Review

Editor rating

4.5/5 on July 19, 2016

User's rating

293 reviews

PROS

  • Tru Infrared delivers even, consistent heat
  • Fantastic performance for the price
  • Handy side burner

CONS

  • Fairly heavy
  • Deep cleanings are an inconvenience

VERDICT

The Char Broil Tru Infrared 3-burner 500 Performance Series is one of the company's premier lines and most popular model.  It brings the old charcoal concept of indirect heating to modern day gas grills, which allows for more even heating, no flare-ups, no food loss through the grates, freedom in placing your food where you want on the cooking surface, and easier cleaning afterwards.  If you’ve been in the market for a quality gas grill with plenty of features from a great brand, this entry from Char-Broil offers that to you for under $300.

Char Broil Tru Infrared 3-Burner 500 Introduction

Some have heralded the Char Broil Tru Infrared line as revolutionary, some have called it a gimmick.  The reality: it’s somewhere in the middle.  This gas grill is good-looking and cooks well, and is a great back porch addition for everyday grilling.  The Char Broil Tru Infrared 500 is the best bang for the buck Tru Infrared grill on the market, and an extremely popular one at that.  Because it uses indirect heating of the cooking surface, you get a more even grill without the hot spots, and that alone makes it worth it to give this one a look.

Char Broil Tru Infrared 500 Key Features

  • 500 square inches of primary cooking over porcelain-coated grates
  • 180 square inch porcelain-coated swing-a-way rack for warming
  • Three top-ported tube burners for lasting performance and better temperature control
  • Surefire Electronic ignition system offers a reliable spark at every burner
  • 10,000 BTU side burner

Out of the box

The Char Broil Tru 500 shipping box dimensions are 33”x20”x30”, and weighs a whopping 126 pounds.  The unit itself weighs about 119 pounds.  The box isn’t too unwieldy, but it’s still advisable to have a dolly or some help.  With its dimensions, you can get it in your front door (usually 36” wide) fairly easily, but moving it through any other doorways (usually 30”) could be problematic. This particular bundle comes with a nice weather resistant cover with straps to help it hold onto the grill.

Setting up

It took over an hour to assemble the Char Broil Tru Infrared 500.  I could do most of it myself, but there’s a bit where you have to lift the assembled pit onto the stand.  Not impossible, but it’s definitely preferred to have a hand with it. This might be one of those cases where you might consider Amazon’s setup service. Otherwise, all the assembly hardware comes in a sheet that is clearly labeled.  For me, the instructions were quite clear – some have complained that they were confusing.  The façade is handsome on this grill, but be aware that the cabinet is open in the back, so it’s not meant for general storage.  It has casters for moving it around, which we always like to see on a premium grill.

Performance

The Char Broil Tru 500 heats evenly and will hit 600F in about 15 minutes.  Each burner has its own discrete igniter, so you’re unlikely to have any problems at all getting it started up.  What makes the Tru line from Char Broil unique is that there are no gaps on the grill surface, so you won’t get any chunks of food falling through.  Everything gets cooked with indirect heat, and not sitting over an active burner. This means you’re less likely to mistakenly burn your food due to uneven heating.

Everything gets cooked on this surface, which theoretically increases the flavor and juiciness of the meat.  Because everything stays on the grill surface, the burden to clean it after every grilling is higher.  The grill surface itself is a porcelain coated steel, so it’s easy to clean and will never rust.  However, there’s also a grease drain port, and for those of us who like to keep our grill clean and in tip-top shape, getting to the grease trap and cleaning the interior components is not as easy as it could be.

The side burner is always welcome, allowing you to cook food uncovered in a pan or a pot while you grill your main course. This can come in especially handy when running back and forth into the kitchen just isn’t possible.

Conclusion

There’s a lot to like about this grill. Spending a little more gets you into a range of products from different manufacturers that have unique features and offer order of magnitudes better performance and longevity than cheaper substitutes. The Performance Series from Char Broil is one of those lines. The Char Broil Tru Infrared 3-burner gas grill is a prime example of quality, high performance grilling from an established brand that knows how to build some of the best gas grills.