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Char-broil infrared grill not searing

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About a month ago I purchased a Char-broil RED Infrared 2-burner grill from Home Depot after spending a few hours researching on the internet. The main reason I chose it was because of the advertised ability to sear steaks at 700 degree plus "steakhouse temperatures".

So far I've used the grill three times, once doing a rib eye steak, another time pork chops and another time salmon. The results were mediocre at best. After letting the grill preheat for a good twenty minutes or so, the thermometer never got past 550 degrees. I know that the lid thermometers are known for inaccuracy so perhaps the temperate at the grates really is 700 degrees -- I'm not sure.

Despite all the heat, the food never really gets a nice "char" as it does on a direct heat grill. The food does get some nice grill marks but that's about it. The rest of the food looks as though it's been baked in an oven. I do remember reading a few reviews where people mentioned this, but the number of 5-star reviews far outweighed those negative reviews.

My previous grill was a cheap Char-broil "Patio Caddie" that actually made some decent steaks once I modified it to allow the grill face to get closer to the flames. It would get some char from the the flames "kissing" the meat that I'm really missing with my new RED.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to what, if anything, can be done to create a better crust/sear? Or to get some of the charring flavor? I'm about to give up on this grill and return it but that in itself would be a hassle so if there's any way to make it work for me that would be preferable.

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  1. This is an interesting design, from what I see on their website.

    Although, the video on the website says that this grill makes your burgers and steaks juicier, and that it also seals in flavor and juices. Perhaps it's more sizzle than steak.

    4 Replies
    1. re: tommy

      Yeah, the design is such that the food is not actually exposed to any open flame. I was a little skeptical that this would produce the same results as direct grilled food but the majority of reviewers claimed that it did. Guess I should have taken those reviews with a grain of salt.

      1. re: tommy

        I also purchased a Char-Broil infra red (can't figure out where infra red comes in). It's a gas grill with heat comming from below from 2 burners. I also have the same complaint...the temp never gets over 500 degrees. So, since I have always used charcoal, I use the Char-Broil for chicken etc, anything that has to be cooked for a while... I only cook a good steak or burgers over charcoal.

        1. re: johnnyb510

          Sounds like Char-Broil is cashing in on the infra red craze in top tier grills and don't doing enough homework to make sure it actually works well.

          1. re: johnnyb510

            The issue of the dome temp might be a red herring. Firstly, those thermometers are rarely accurate. More importantly, grills are designed to convect, and regardless of the amount of heat being produced at the source, it is being sucked out pretty quickly.

            I have an infrared burner on my grill, but the inside of the grill doesn't get blisteringly hot (although if you put your hand by the area that exhausts, it's pretty damned hot). I can't hold my hand above the burner at grate level for more than about 2 seconds. If that's not the case here then you're probably not getting super-high temps. The benefit should be apparent at the grate, not in the cavity of the grill.

        2. I'm afraid johnnyb510 is right on the money.
          After trying to steal TEC's infrared burner technology a couple of years ago, Char-broil got in some trouble and decided that they would INVENT a new grill technology. Well, there's nothing new about an indirect grill - Holland and others designed indirect type grills years ago that were designed to SLOW COOK large pieces of meat. Indirect cooking is not the right technology for searing. The pan over the two conventional burners will never get hot enough to do a good job searing. I don't know how they get away with calling it infrared . . . they clearly are attempting to capitalize on the trend without having the technology to back it up.
          The good news is you only spent $300 bucks for it. For the same money you could get a Weber 26 3/4" charcoal kettle that will do anything you want it to do.

          1 Reply
          1. re: pyrotom

            If purchased one month ago, and it isn't performing as advertised, return it for a full refund.

            It may be a hassle to do so, but so is having a BBQ that grills poorly.

            It won't get any better over time.