In our Char-Broil Gas2Coal BBQ review we put it to the test cooking steak, scallops, halloumi, and veggie kebabs. When it came to cooking ability, it's a definite winner, but assembly was a little fiddly.
Comes in a range of sizes
Easy to transition from gas to coal
Side burner included
Easy to clean
Warming rack included
Thermometer dial on the lid
Plenty of cooKing space for the whole family
The side burner is a little low
Assembly took a while
The Char-Broil Gas2Coal BBQ comes in two, three and four-burner models, making it a great pick for families of all sizes. I put the three-burner to the test in this Char-Broil Gas2Coal BBQ review and was impressed with how easy it is to use and the great taste it gave our food when cooking with both gas and charcoal.
This BBQ comes with a lot of thoughtful touches, including an in-built bottle opener and holder for the grate tool. There's also a shelf for holding the charcoal tray when not in use, and wheels for easy transportation. If you like the idea of a hybrid BBQ and have the space for a model that doesn't have fold-down arms, the Char-Broil Gas2Coal could be the best BBQ for you. Keep reading for the full review.
Char-Broil Gas2Coal BBQ: product specifications
- Fuel type: Gas and charcoal
- Dimensions: W114cm x D63cm x H117cm (2 burner) W134.4 x D62.5 x H120.7 cm (3 burner) W155cm x D61 x H117 (4 burner)
- Weight: 36.5kg, 47kg, 65kg
- Assembly time: 2 hours
- Temperature: Up to 350°C
- Ignition: Electric
- Extras: Side burner, warming rack, bottle opener, grill accessory holder, shelf for charcoal tray
Char-Broil Gas2Coal BBQ: assembly
Char-Broil claims that assembly will take 90 minutes with the Char-Broil Gas2Coal BBQ, but it took me and my brother around 2 hours to assemble from start to finish. It does come with very thorough instructions that make it easy to identify which part goes where, and the different types of screws were marked out very clearly.
Assembly first included putting together the frame and then adding side panels. The process did take a while, but it was easy enough to plug in some headphones and get to work. The guide is very visual and there is a page dedicated to helping you identify different parts and where they fit together.
Once assembled, our 3 burner Char-Broil Gas2Coal BBQ was large and very sturdy. It was 134.4cm wide, 62.5cm deep and 120.7cm tall. There's two wheels that make it easy to lift up and wheel around the garden, but my brother and I also found it easy enough to carry when taking one side each.
The side burner doesn't fold down and neither does the other side shelf, which means they can be used as handles for carrying around.
Char-Broil Gas2Coal BBQ review: cooking with gas
I had to cook a fair few feasts with the Char-Broil Gas2Coal BBQ to get a good understanding of how well it cooks on both gas and coal, which you won't hear myself or my family complaining about! Like many of the best gas BBQ, it's easy to ignite and switch off, and there's a lot less smoke than you'll get with a charcoal BBQ.
For a start, the gas couldn't be easier to ignite. You need to make sure the gas is connected properly and the lid is up when trying to ignite. You should also have it at least 1 metre away from any walls on all sides. For cooking with gas you need to add heat tents over the main burners and then add the grates once more, which can be done using the grate accessory that simply hooks in to lift out your grates.
The side burner ignites the same way as the rest of the BBQ, by using the ignition button and twisting the gas onto high. Once ignited for the first time, it's a case of leaving the BBQ to come to heat. This didn't take very long at all, and it was easy to tell how close we were to cooking time thanks to the in-built thermometer.
The cooking process was very easy. There were no flare-ups which meant that our scallops cooked easily, and everything had the signature charred lines you'd expect from a barbecue.
When cooking with gas the Char-Broil Gas2Coal BBQ loses heat quite easily, so it's best to keep the lid down until you're ready to turn your sausages or take your burger buns off the heat. The warming rack comes in handy, and can simply lift up and down with the lid itself.
I was shocked by just how much space there is to grill on the Char-Broil Gas2Coal BBQ. I really could have cooked my meal for four on just one of the three burners, and if I had wanted to I could have done this by just turning on one burner.
For the vast majority of uses, the Char-Broil Gas2Coal 3 burner BBQ will be plenty, and for families of four I'd say the 2 burner option would serve family feasts easily. The 3 burner is great for entertaining, so when garden parties get underway prepare for this to be the star of the show.
Char-Broil Gas2Coal BBQ: cooking with charcoal
When using the Char-Broil Gas2Coal BBQ to cook with charcoal, you need to remove the tents from the gas burners and insert the charcoal tray underneath the grates.
The tray leaves a very small space for charcoal, so some of our larger charcoal pieces were too big to fit underneath comfortably. We used lumpwood that was originally bought for my best pizza oven, but if you're shopping for BBQ charcoal try and get some with smaller pieces as standard.
Even when cooking with charcoal you'll still get a helping hand with gas on the Char-Broil Gas2Coal BBQ. You need to ignite the charcoal using the gas burners, and then leave them to burn on high with the lid closed for 15 minutes.
When it's time to open the barbecue up, turn off the gas burners and let the charcoal burn for a little longer with the lid up. There'll be plenty of smoke at first, and the key is to wait until the charcoal is coated with a layer of ash before adding your food to the grill - about five minutes. The charcoal retains heat very well, so you won't be tempted to add any extra heat even for long barbecues.
The Char-Broil Gas2Coal BBQ gave me some of the tastiest results of any barbecue I've used. Everything cooked evenly and had that classic charring you expect from a charcoal BBQ. Even the steaks were perfectly cooked, which is often tricky to achieve on a grill.
It's notable that the asparagus I grilled was too narrow to be placed lengthways on the grill, so for smaller items try and place them sideways to prevent them from falling through the cracks.
Throughout cooking it was possible to simply pull down the lid and re-heat the interior of the Char-Broil Gas2Coal BBQ at any time. We saw the temperature gauge react instantly, with an average temperature of about 150-200°C throughout cooking, even when we had been grilling for some time.
For the drama of a smokey barbecue and the longevity of the heat, I'd opt for charcoal grilling when entertaining for a crowd, because it's a less gas-intensive way of cooking and there's little risk of fuel running out.
Char-Broil Gas2Coal BBQ: what we like
What is there to like about the Char-Broil Gas2Coal BBQ? As you'll be able to tell by its Gold ranking, there's plenty to enthuse about. For a start, while it's by no means a cheap BBQ, you get a lot of grill for the price. The 2 burner retails at under £400, the 3 burner (the one I tested) at just shy of £500 and the 4 burner at roughly £600. For a show-stopping hybrid grill with a large capacity, it gets significantly more expensive.
There's also the hybrid function. Some hybrid barbecues feel like they're neither gas nor charcoal, but with the Char-Broil Gas2Coal BBQ I can confidently assure you that you're getting two barbecues for the price of one.
Both gas and charcoal modes cooked excellently, but you get different flavor profiles and cooking experiences depending on which you opt for. If you want to put on a last minute BBQ dinner, just firing up the gas mode takes minutes, and for preserving fuel and achieving that authentic summer alfresco dining experience, the charcoal really is first in class.
Char-Broil Gas2Coal BBQ: what we don't like
What stops the Char-Broil Gas2Coal BBQ from being a 5-star grill? Well, there's two factors, one which I've already mentioned. Assembly did take a long time. There were over 40 component parts and the task felt a little daunting, although it must be said that the result was far sturdier than much of the flat-pack furniture I've built!
Secondly, I was not a fan of the side burner when cooking with the Gas2Coal. The grate is positioned high above the burner itself, which means it's vulnerable to gusts of wind and also takes a while to heat a saucepan or frying pan.
Admittedly, I did review the Char-Broil Gas2Coal BBQ on a handful of windy March evenings, so if you were to use it in the summer when the sun is out and the wind is less strong it's unlikely to blow your flame around, but I was concerned when the burner was on full strength that the flames seemed to be flowing just about everywhere but underneath the pan I was trying to heat. If the grate were a little lower I'd have been able to cook my peas a lot faster!
To fix this, I'd advise using a low and wide pan such as a cast iron skillet for cooking side dishes. Smaller pans will take longer to heat.
Cleaning the Char-Broil Gas2Coal BBQ
You should clean the Char-Broil Gas2Coal BBQ after every use. It's not tricky, though. Simply wait for it to cool down fully and then remove the grates. These can be cleaned by hand in the sink, and because they're cast iron they're easy to clean and designed to last without rusting.
If you've been cooking with charcoal, cleaning will be a little messier. You should remove the charcoal tray and dispose of the ashes safely. When I did this I saw that my tray had discoloured, which is perfectly normal and not something to be concerned about. Check out the best BBQ cleaner and our guidance on how to clean a BBQ for more guidance.
Should you buy the Char-Broil Gas2Coal Hybrid BBQ?
Should you buy the Char-Broil Gas2Coal? From me, it's a resounding yes. I love this BBQ for the convenience of cooking with gas with the option of throwing on some authentic smokey charcoal.
Assembly took a while but was totally worth it, and the arms are great for storing plates or utensils while you cook up a storm. I didn't love the side burner, but it's easy enough to just put down the cover of this burner and use it as a resting place.
Where the Char-Broil Gas2Coal succeeds is its ability to be both a great gas and charcoal BBQ at once. Hybrids can sometimes feel like they never really tick either box when it comes to cooking capably with different fuel types. While I did prefer the results when cooking with charcoal, the gas burners were so easy to ignite and made for a quick BBQ with painless clean-up.
Where to find the Char-Broil Gas2Coal in stock
If the Char-Broil Gas2Coal is in stock at major retailers, it'll show in our handy buying widgets below.
Failing that, take a look at the Char-Broil site directly.
About the review and our reviewer
Millie Fender is an editor at the Future Homes team, heading up all things cooking across Gardeningetc, Ideal Home, Real Homes and more. Whether it's pizza ovens, barbecues or fire pits, she loves any excuse for outdoor entertaining.
Millie put the Char-Broil Gas2Coal to the test in her parents' garden for a number of weeks, cooking up tasty treats in the barely-spring weather. She's looking forward to using it throughout the summer.
Millie has been writing for Gardeningetc since the beginning of 2021, covering all things barbecues, patio heaters, and fire pits. A lover of al fresco dining, Millie is always on the hunt for the best barbecues and pizza ovens for entertaining friends and family. She is a firm believer that everyone should have their own herb garden, and can often be found taming her over-zealous rosemary plant.
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