The Char-Broil Tru-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill is an entry-level charcoal barbecue and looks similar to the Landmann and Weber models.
In terms of quality and performance, you can compare it to the Weber Kettle Premium 22 or the Weber Originals Kettle 22. It offers excellent features and takes on a classic kettle-style grill design.
When kettle grills first came into production, they were mainly produced by Weber, and even today, the original version of Weber is still popular as it has been continuously updated.
However, the Char Broil has come a long way since they rolled out their first grill, and with the Charcoal Grill Kettleman, they managed to produce something unique.
The Charcoal Grill Kettleman uses Tru-Infrared technology which gives a more consistent cook that traditional grills while greatly reducing the possibility of flare-ups.
Key Features of the Char-Broil Tru-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill
The cooking grate has a diameter of 22.5”, which gives you enough room to cook food for your whole family. It was designed with larger families in mind.
The grate has a porcelain coating, which is designed in such a way that there is no “fall through”. It also keeps the charcoal flames away from your food while allowing the charcoal flavor to seep through. It is designed to prevent flare-ups.
It has large vents around the kettle’s body, which allows for maximum aeration. On top, it has large vents to help control and adjust the heat. In theory, when you open the large vent on top, it lets out heat, which in turn cools the inside and when you close the vent, it retains the heat inside.
However, most people have found that the top vent has very little impact on the temperature of the grill and that the amount of charcoal in the grill is actually what controls the temperature.
While the Char-Broil Tru-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill comes with a built-in thermometer in the lid, we always recommend having a good digital thermometer on hand for more precise results.
The Tru-infrared technology allows for even distribution of heat, which allows your meat to cook more consistently. Evenly distributed heating also allows for more efficient searing. It also guarantees fewer flare-ups by instantly evaporating any juice that drips from your meat onto the infrared grill. The Tru-Infrared technology significantly increases moisture retention within the meat.
The hinged lid is one of the most convenient features on the Char-Broil Tru-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill, as it makes lifting the lid much easier. Since you will need to often lift the lid during grilling, it becomes much more convenient when you don’t have to find a spot to put the lid when it’s off.
Burnt ash tends to be very messy, especially when cleaning up; fortunately, the Char-Broil Kettleman manages to make the cleaning process easier by adding a removable ash tray. It collects all waste at the bottom, where you can remove it and dispose of the waste. The tray is large enough to hold waste from several grilling sessions.
The Kettleman is designed with three legs and out of these three, two have wheels. This makes it easy to move your grill around. Its legs are fitted at wide angles to increase its stability. It also has a shelf fitted at the bottom where items such as utensils can be kept.
- Efficient charcoal usage
- High-temperature cooking
- Removable ash tray
- Even heat distribution
- Good ventilation for heat control
- Temperature is controlled through the amount of charcoal you put on the grill rather than air control
- Grill cannot be extinguished by closing the air vents
- Tru-Infrared system requires frequent cleaning as it is easily clogged
Check out Stone Mountain BBQ’s review of the Char-Broil Tru-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill below:
Char-Broil Tru-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill Detailed Review
Design and Build Quality
The Kettleman has 360 square inches of cooking space, enough for about 15 hamburgers at once.
The primary feature of the grill is the Tru-Infrared cooking system. Rather than the food resting directly above the coals, the coals rest below a no-fall-through cooking grate which distributes heat evenly across the grate’s surface. This helps eliminate the “hot” and “cool” spots that you would find on a normal grill.
Because of the Tru-Infrared system, the grill requires less charcoal than a normal grill. In fact, given the proximity of the coals to the grate, only one layer of charcoal can be used.
The downside of the Tru-Infrared system is that because food cannot fall through the grate, the grate becomes easily clogged and needs to be cleaned frequently.
The Kettleman has a series of vents around the bottom of the grill which allows air in along with a large damper on top. As the bottom vents cannot be closed, the large damper can be adjusted to control temperature.
However, most users have noted that the damper doesn’t have much of an impact on temperature and adjust the amount of charcoal they put in the grill to control temperature. Another downside to the bottom vents not closing is that the coals cannot be extinguished. In order to save unused charcoal for later use, the coals have to be removed from the grill to be extinguished.
Ease of Assembly
The Char-Broil Tru-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill is neatly packaged and comes with clear instructions on how to assemble it. It also comes with a guide to grilling that is well written and illustrated. What’s even more important is that it explains how the setup process and ways to use the Tru-Infrared cooking grate.
The assembly process is easy and quick as all the bolts and nuts are clearly labeled. It will take you roughly 30 minutes to set up and you can fire it up for testing.
Ease of Use
The Kettleman doesn’t require as much charcoal as a regular grill and thus it’s faster to light. Once the coals are lit and arranged, it only takes a few minutes for the grill to come up to around 350°F for medium heat. We recommend using a chimney to ignite your coals and have written a useful guide on how to use one here.
Like earlier mentioned, the main downside of the Kettleman is that you cannot close the vents to extinguish the fire, thus any charcoal remaining after the cook will continue to burn unless the coals are removed and extinguished elsewhere.
The hinged lid makes opening and closing the lid simple and fast and solves the problem of having to find a spot to place the lid when you take it off the grill.
The Kettleman has wheels for easy movement and the lid can lock making it easier to move.
Quality of the Cook
The Kettleman is best at direct cooking, as this is where the Tru-Infrared system really shines. Because of the even distribution of heat across the grate’s surface, you don’t have to worry about meat or buns cooking faster over one area of the grill versus others. The system also eliminates flare-ups, so you don’t have to worry about food getting burned by those.
Because the coals are so close to the grate, the Kettleman is capable of achieving the high temperatures need to sear steaks and burgers.
For indirect grilling requiring lower temperatures for longer periods of time, the charcoal in the Kettleman can be configured in a “fuse” pattern.
The coals are arranged in a ring around the edge of the charcoal grate and only a few coals at one end are lit. Over time, these coals will ignite those next to them before burning out and thus you will have a steady low temperature over a long period of time.
Ease of Cleanup
As noted above, one of the downsides of the Tru-Infrared system is that the grates do become easily clogged with drippings and bits of food which cannot fall through. This will require that the grill is cleaned frequently.
The Kettleman’s grates are porcelain-coated which makes it easier to clean, just make sure not to strip the porcelain coating off the grates when you brush them as this can make them prone to rusting.
The removable ash tray makes ash disposal easy. Simply remove the tray, dump the ashes and replace the tray.
The Char-Broil Tru-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill is designed to go head-to-head with Weber’s charcoal grills and offers a lot of features at a competitive price.
We believe it provides a lot of value at a very competitive price.
How Does it Compare?
Let’s take a look at some of the Weber Performance 22’s competition:
Weber Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill
For those looking for a great quality charcoal grill but don’t need the Tru-Infrared system, the Weber Original Kettle might be right for you.
Check out our review here.
Char-Griller 1515 Pro Patio Charcoal Grill
For those looking for a no-frills grill on a budget, the Char-Griller 1515 Patio Pro may be for you.
Check out our review here.
Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill
For those with a bigger budget, the Weber Performer Deluxe offers a built-in table, propane ignition system and ash bin.
Check out our review here.