Char-Broil is a subsidiary of the W.C. Bradley Company, which was established in 1875. The company produced its first grill under its umbrella company, Iron Works. Grill sales soared, prompting the company to branch off to form the Char-Broil company in 1973.
List price $339.00
24.5 x 56.9 x 45 inches
- stainless steel lid
- control panel
- simple cleaning
- easy to follow
- good quality and design
- does not maintain consistent heat
- poor instruction
Currently, the Char-Broil headquarters is located in Columbus, Georgia and its grills are manufactured in China. Char-Broil’s Performance Series is one of its most popular products. Grills in this line sport a sleek stainless steel and black powder-coated design. The Char-Broil Performance 550 is a powerful grill with many favorable features including five stainless burners that produce 45,000 BTUs.
Delivery and Packaging
The Char-Broil Performance 550 comes packed securely in a large box that adds eight pounds to its weight due to the packing materials. There are over 60 pieces in the box including, heat tents, cooking racks, and panels.
A user guide is included with over 15 pages dedicated to parts illustrations, descriptions, and assembly instructions. Results were mixed as to how simple or difficult the instructions were to follow. However, the unit took about two hours to assemble. Customers who don’t have time to spare can select an option for expert assembly when they purchase the Char-Broil Performance 550.
Construction and Appearance
The Char-Broil Performance 550 has been described as a masterpiece in construction. It features stainless a stainless steel lid, control panel, cabinet doors, and handles. Black side panels, side tables, and knobs add to its stylish design. The cooking surface contains porcelain-coated grates and a swing-away rack.
Facts and Figures
It’s easy to become overwhelmed with the specs of grills when comparing one grill to another. Besides size, price and fuel choices, buyers need to consider the type of construction, heat output, and added features.
When comparing the construction of different models look to see if the grill is made from cast aluminum, cast iron, sheet metal or stainless steel. The highest grade of stainless steel will contain industrial-strength 300-grade stainless steel. Mostly, higher grade steel is found in pricier models. Customarily, grills will have a combination of 400-grade stainless steel lids and burners and porcelain-enameled cast iron grates.
Heat is another factor to consider. Just because a grill is bigger doesn’t mean it heats well. Although the maximum output does not determine the grill’s overall performance, it does give an indication as to the high temperatures a grill may achieve. For example, a two-burner grill with a BTU rating of 36,000 maximum output will heat and cook faster than a four-burner unit with the same output. Lastly, not all grillers prefer the same features. Some prefer sturdy legs with no casters and others like the ability to move the grill around. Likewise, side tables and shelves are a must for most master grillers, but newbies may prefer to cook without them.
The Char-Broil Performance 550 Grill is constructed of stainless steel with black powder-coated side tables and panels. It weighs 110 pounds and measures 24.5 x 56.9 x 45 inches. The grill delivers 45,000 BTUs across the main cooking area via five stainless steel burners. Its side burner produces 10,000 BTUS. The cooking space totals 755 square inches with 550 square inches dedicated to the primary cooking area and 205 square inches in the secondary cooking area with a swing-away rack.
Char-Broil stands behind this product with a five-year warranty on the stainless steel burners, two-years on the firebox, and one-year on the remaining parts.
Char-Broil hit the trifecta with the Performance 550. Not only does it provide 550 square inches of cooking space, and a 205-square secondary space, it features a side burner that generates 10,000 BTUs. With 45,000 BTUs roaring over the main cooking area, users can grill their favorite entrees and appetizers in no time. The grill provides ample space for steaks, burgers, and veggies to cook simultaneously. It also offers plenty of space for a rotisserie.
The electronic ignition system signals the five main burners to start the flames that flow evenly across the grill’s surface. The exterior thermometer monitors the heat level and keeps users from lifting the hood and releasing heat from the firebox.
A handy rack keeps foods warm over the cast iron grates, which have a porcelain coating to prevent sticking. The grates are easy to clean with a nylon brush. Additionally, a hassle-free grease pan removes easily for a quick cleanup.
Heat tents shield the stainless steel burners and provide even heat as well as minimize flare-ups. With a durable lid and firebox to withstand the elements, users will enjoy the Char-Broil Performance grill for years.
Large metal side shelves provide a convenient workspace to plate food or keep grill utensils, condiments, and other ingredients within reach. One side of the work area has a hinged cover that flips up to reveal an additional burner. The double-door cabinet provides easy access to the propane tank and offers storage space for grilling tools. If the grill needs to be moved, it can easily roll on the four casters (two of which lock).
During testing of the Char-Broil Performance 550 grill, the grill reached 500 degrees in less than three minutes. Unfortunately, it did not live up to its name in all areas of performance. In heat consistency tests, the grill did not maintain uniform heat.
Users note that the heat does not cook food evenly around the edge of the grill, but it does a good job of cooking foods in the center of the grill in both low and high heat.
- Preheats in less than three minutes
- Provides ample cooking space
- Fold down workspace
- Side burner
- Does not maintain consistent heat
The Char-Broil Performance 550 gas grill is an excellent option for outdoor chefs looking for a low-cost option to feed a group. Also, this is a nice grill for backyard grillers looking for a budget-friendly upgrade. It offers ample space to cook a large roast or up to 30 hamburgers at a time, so users will have no problem with feeding a crowd. On the downside, food will require rotation when the grill is loaded to capacity. Despite the uneven cooking results, users are satisfied with its performance.