Char-Broil Grill2Go X200 Review
Cons: Too hot for cooking some foods
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Best Buy Grill2Go X200 recalibrates our sense of what a good value portable grill should be. The build quality is excellent and certain aspects of its performance exceed that of anything that isn't much, much more expensive. It isn't perfect, but the overall performance definitely justifies its modest cost.
This grill is hot. We often didn't need to turn it past the halfway mark on the control knob. In fact, there is often too much power in this grill. The lowest setting isn't low enough for the sophisticated grilling of poultry and some vegetables. For red meat the super high heat is great. For simple things like burgers and dogs, the grill does well.
"Infrared" is a buzzword in grills lately. Grills get better and better, and some are truly different in their burners. "Flameless" infrared propane grills are really unique and excellent. Char-Broil pitches the Grill2Go as an infrared grill. It indeed works more like other infrared grills than it does like a traditional grill, but the burner isn't actually anything different. What sets the Char-Broil apart is the super high heat available and the shape of the grill grate itself. The end result, as noted above, is excellent cooking at the hotter categories of grilling.
"Infrared" grills are known to smoke more than others. Our experience with the Char-Broil and other IR grills bears this out. The theory is that infrared cooking vaporizes the juices before they get below the heat source, smoking and steaming more.
Control is a function of a thermometer, range of adjustment, and evenness of grill temperature. In terms of the range of adjustment, the Char-Broil Grill2Go has a relatively narrow and hot range. For red meats and simple "burgers and dogs" grilling, this is fine. Poultry and some more delicate vegetables do better with a lower temperature profile than the Char-Broil provides. In terms of control and temperature range, we are happy with the lid. Some other "Infrared" grills can only be used without a lid. The Char-Broil has more range than these.
Grill surface temperature evenness is quite easy to assess, but harder to interpret its value. If you are cooking large lots of one food, an even grill top is desirable. If you are cooking a whole meal, including multiple kinds of meats and vegetables, variability across the grill top is better. We can't tell you which is better for you or even which is better in general. In our "bread toasting" test the grill surface of the Char-Broil Grill2Go shows about average heat distribution. It is fairly even, with just one obvious hotter spot.
"Infrared" cooking is purported to keep foods juicer during cooking. With some foods, with the Grill2Go, our experience corroborates this. With others, especially those that like to be cooked at lower temperatures, the outside gets quite, and unappealingly, charred before the inside is cooked. A red meat steak, though, can be cooked just right on the Grill2Go.
The Grill2Go X200 has a reliable and clear thermometer in the lid. It is one of the least expensive tested products that includes this feature. Thermometers are handy, but they aren't foolproof. How one grill cooks at 400 degrees Fahrenheit could be entirely different than how another cooks at 400 F. Because of inherent issues in measuring grill temperature, we recommend any of the lid-grill thermometers be only used for comparing settings and cooking performance in one grill. It doesn't work to compare the lid temperature of one grill to that of another.
Portability is almost equally a function of size, weight, carry options, quietness, and cleanliness. The Char-Broil weighs 22 pounds. Its longest dimension is almost 2 feet and its height and width are competitive with grills of a similar cooking surface area. It carries quietly and the lid latches securely. A major perk of this grill, especially as compared to any of the other award winners, is that you can store fuel inside the grill box during transit. In none of our other award winners can you fit a single 1 pound fuel canister. You can fit three inside the latched lid of this grill.
The main drawback in portability is that its legs don't fold away. It's "deployed" size is exactly the same size as its portable size. Removing the regulator for transport is a little problematic and, similar to virtually all the others, the grease trap can fall out in transit.
The Grill2Go has 187 measured square inches of cooking area. Every one of those square inches gets hot enough to cook nearly every food item.
The size of the Grill2Go is about average. Most importantly, its portability is right in line with its grill surface area. Downsize the portability, and for the most part, downsize the cooking surface. The opposite is also true.
The heavy, aluminum lid, the really hot burner, and the piezo igniter buried inside the grill box work together to make the Char-Broil Grill2Go fairly wind resistant. We never had it blow out. The flame is so darn hot that anything lost to convective cooling can be replaced by turning up the knob a little further.
It was pretty much only in windy conditions, with the grill at its lowest setting, that we could cook a thick chicken breast "low and slow." You need the wind to strip away some excess heat. At high setting, with the lid closed, we could still sear a steak quite readily in our fan test.
This is an excellent value. It is average in size and portability and well below average in cost. If your cooking preferences lean towards hot and fast, as with red meat and simpler grillables, the cooking performance of the Char-Broil is at the top of the charts. Our main issue with it is in cooking low and slow, whether that is poultry, ribs, or certain delicate vegetables. The Char-Broil is a robust choice and is suited to high and fast cooking.
The Char-Broil Grill2Go x200 sets the value and performance bar high. The construction is robust, the portability is simple and reliable, and the high-heat cooking is top-notch. There are drawbacks, but the price is not one of them. This is an affordable product that excels in certain situations and can be pressed into service in the remainder of your grilling.
— Jediah Porter