Over the past couple of weeks, in between the rain and bad weather, I've been testing the new Char-Broil Gas2Coal 210 Hybrid BBQ, one of the latest entries to T3's best barbecue buying guide.
Haven't come across a hybrid grill before? Neither had I, but now I'm certain that this is the future of barbecues. With the Char-Broil Gas2Coal Hybrid BBQ you can choose to cook on gas, for convenience and speed, or on coals, for taste and the authentic barbeque experience.
So far, so good, but it gets even better than that, because you can use the gas to light the coals, meaning there are no awkward moments where you fail to light a fire and have to resort to the oven.
This makes it one of the best versatility and reliable barbecues around, offering the perfect mix between gas and charcoal, and is the main reason I was so eager to review the Char-Broil Gas2Coal 210 Hybrid BBQ.
If you fancy something even smaller to cook outside on then you can check out T3's guide to the best small barbecue, or, if you don't like the idea of cooking on coals then try T3's dedicated best gas barbecue buying guide.
Char-Broil Gas2Coal 210 Hybrid BBQ review: official video
Char-Broil All-Star 120 review: price and release date
Char-Broil Gas2Coal 210 Hybrid barbeque is available right now!
The BBQ I reviewed here can be bought for an RRP of £369.99, both online and in-store. In the UK, known stockists include Amazon, Robert Dyas and Keen Gardener.
Char-Broil also sells larger versions of the Gas2Coal with three and four burners which retail for £439.99 and £599.99 respectively.
For today's very best prices on the Char-Broil Gas2Coal 210 Hybrid BBQ please consult the pricing tables directly below:
Char-Broil Gas2Coal 210 Hybrid BBQ review: package and setup
Open the large Char-Broil Gas2Coal 210 Hybrid BBQ box and you are met with a selection of very neatly packed components. These components are protected with Styrofoam and cellophane and, simply put, there is no way any can be damaged in transit or storage.
There are probably very methodical ways to carefully take out all of the components and lay them out grouped together, but I take a slightly more slap-dash approach to these things and, after five minutes, had everything unboxed and spread out over the lawn.
In terms of assembly instructions, the Char-Broil barbecues have their own app, which can be downloaded on both Apple and Android devices, which show digital step-by-step instructions on how to build.
However, there is also a traditional paper assembly instruction guide included in the box, too, which I actually found easier to use.
The assembly was fairly straightforward, with all components labelled and all bolts and screws in a single container.
It's very easy to miss some steps when using either manual, so you need to take things slowly and double-check you've done everything before moving to the next step.
You start making the Char-Broil Gas2Coal 210 Hybrid BBQ frame, then slowly work your way up until fixing the cooking drum and grill. All elements of the barbeque can be assembled by hand with a crosshead screwdriver and hex key.
Once the BBQ's frame is built you simply attach the cooking drum, which comes with its gas ring and controls pre-installed. Everything is pre-wired, so there's never any need to touch wires.
The most frustrating and difficult task during construction is attaching the gas hose as this requires quite a lot of effort and force.
In terms of total time spent, from unboxing to fully assembled, I'd say it took me about two hours to build the Char-Broil Gas2Coal 210 Hybrid BBQ. Anyone capable of using a screwdriver will be able to put this together, although, having a second pair of hands does make it easier to construct.
Char-Broil Gas2Coal 210 Hybrid BBQ review: performance and features
Okay, let's talk about why you'd want a hybrid grill. When it comes to cooking on a BBQ for friends or family, the last thing you want is to be let down by poor quality or temperamental hardware. Cooking on a coal barbeque can be risky – the biggest of which is that you might not light it properly and the coals don't catch, resulting in an embarrassing and disappointing trip to the oven. There's no question, cooking with a gas barbeque is more convenient, faster and reliable.
But, if you're like me, then you don't like cooking with a gas grill because you miss the taste off cooking over coals.
Enter the hybrid grill, which can be converted from gas to coal in just a few seconds.
Okay, so how does it work?
First, you need to fill the charcoal tray with a single layer of coals, then put both gas burners on their highest setting and close the lid.
You'll need to wait 10-15 minutes for the coals to start turning white on the bottom, then you can shut off the gas and wait a further five minutes with the lid open.
The coals will continue to turn white, and once they're white all over you can start cooking.
It's an incredibly easy process and takes all of the jeopardy away from cooking with charcoal.
The first thing you'll notice is that because you're only using the gas burners for 10 minutes at a time, you only need a small, 5KG bottle, which can be stored neatly in the barbeque's base. It should also mean the gas will last much longer than when being used with a typical grill.
Naturally, the barbecue comes with the necessary gas bottle piping and connectors for the territory in which it is sold, and connecting the barbecue to the gas bottle is as easy as clamping the piping with a few clasps and then pushing the connector head on the bottle.
The gas burners are lit using the electrical ignition switch, so it's a very easy process.
The coals are spread out evenly under the cast iron cooking grill, so you can cook evenly across the whole grill.
With the Char-Broil Gas2Coal 210 Hybrid lit and its cast aluminium lid down, it heats up very quickly. A simple but stylish and very useful temperature gauge on the lid shows you the internal temperature at all times, and makes it easy to know what conditions are like.
I was really impressed with the speed and ease at which the Gas2Coal grill cooked food. I tried it with burgers and veggie kababs, both of which came out taking great, complete with the smokey charcoal flavour.
I'd say you can cook around 12 burgers on the grill, which is serious cooking capacity.
Once cooked, meat can be kept warm on the raised storage shelf, too.
Lastly, in terms of features, as I mentioned above, the Gas2Coal grill has side tables, which are very useful for storage and food preparation.
It's also compatible with a huge range of Charbroil Gear Trax accessories, letting you fully customise your grill with stuff like a magnetic toolbar, container bucket, or bottle holder.
Char-Broil Gas2Coal 210 Hybrid BBQ review: verdict
Overall, then, I am super impressed with the Char-Broil Gas2Coal 210 Hybrid BBQ. It offers the perfect mix of gas and coal. It's convenient and easy to light, just like gas, but you still get the flavour of cooking on charcoal. This makes it very difficult to fault.
The cooking capacity is great, and I like that I have the option to customise it with optional accessories.
The only disappointment is that the coal tray can be difficult to clean.
That's a small price to pay for a great barbeque, though. As such, I feel it is easy to recommend the Char-Broil Gas2Coal 210 Hybrid BBQ, and any money spent on it a smart investment when it comes around to outdoor eating in the future.