Saturday, April 16, 2011
I've been rocking the Char-Broil Urban barbecue grill for the last few weeks. It's crunch time at work, and I've found this small grill super easy to use. Also, I've been grilling for really small groups ranging from one to four, so I've not needed to crank up or heat up any of my big grills.
The first time I saw the Char-Broil Urban grill was when the new grills went on the floor at Lowe's around Christmas. A girl I taught at the college was working the outdoor section, and she was quite excited about the Char-Broil Urban. She said that unfortunately she'd bought a small grill the year prior, but she wish she had waited and that even though the CB Urban cost more, it was cool enough that she would have paid the extra.
I would call this a balcony grill due to the size. It has two burners rather than the larger sized Char-Broil grills, but there's plenty of room to cook for four. With burgers or hot dogs, you could feed a bigger group.
As you can see, this grill is large enough for my grill wok, and I enjoy making shrimp or chicken and vegetables in the grill basket. I also use it to make MOINK balls. The Urban is perfect for this and even has some room to stick some bread or other small items to the side if we want something extra.
With the small grills, you often do not get work space. With the Urban Char-Broil, you get two side areas that are roomy. Above you can see where I'm working with sauce to go on some grilled country ribs. My other tools like gloves and tongs are on the other side.
What my student now working at Lowe's loved (and I do too) is that the side work areas fold down flush when you're not using them. That means the grill is super compact, but you have the space to work when you are actually grilling. Very nice touch.
The real test is, of course, how well a grill does grill. It can look great and have all kinds of neat features, but if it doesn't grill well, then it's just not much of a grill.
The Urban has the Char-Broil infrared technology. If you've looked at this line, there are two styles. There's what I call the Red style with troughs and then the Professional series line with the double grates - one below with little holes and then the upper with slanted slates. The Urban falls in the second category.
This is built as a traditional high heat grill which is what most people use and where you find the bulk of outdoor foods that go on the grills - burgers, hot dogs, steak, chicken. You can easily hit temperatures around 700 degrees F which give you the grill marks you see on my chicken above or below on Texas Toast grilled. Then you can adjust the heat (or have one burner side on low) and finish off foods to the doneness level you want. This grill does a very nice job at what most will call searing.
I do a lot of low and slow grilling as well, and I can heat one burner and not the other for an offset and then drop the temperature down to low. Then, with the lid closed I can run around 350 degrees F (lower on the side not burning if I go that route). With this method I can do larger cuts of meat or even casseroles. So, I can get convection from this unit, although I'm not sure they really planned on it being used that way.
I've done a lot of slow grilling on the Urban now including a pork loin with a bacon weave and the mini meatloaves you see above. Once I adjust the heat, it holds steady, and I've had great results with some less traditional grilled dishes on the Urban. Here you can see how the grilled meatloaf minis came out.
I got the Char-Broil Urban grill free as part of a project I was working on (unrelated to my blog). I'd been interested in the small grill after talking to my student at Lowe's.
I thought the Urban would be convenient now and then, but it's been my "go to" grill over the last few weeks. I come home tired, crank it up, and I can have dinner done in a flash or I can put something on in convection mode (lower heat with the lid down on the grill) and get some other things done while dinner is grilling.
If you don't have a lot of space or cook for a family of three or four, then this grill is ideal. If you do want to have folks over, just grill hot dogs or brats which do not take up much grill space and are on and off fast.