When you love to cook outdoors it can be hard to choose what kind of appliances you need. Things become even more difficult when you are shopping on a budget.
You might love to grill on the weekends, but then you might also love to smoke your food on some occasions. Buying a separate appliance for everything can be expensive, and if you aren’t using them every week, then it can feel like the investment is not worth the money.
When you want the best of both worlds, you shouldn’t have to make too many compromises, and that’s exactly where the Char-Griller 3001 comes in. Primarily a gas grill, this impressive outdoor cooker can also double as an infrequent smoker, and there’s even a side burner to give you total versatility.
Let’s look at the full review and see all that this grill has to offer.
Char-Griller 3001 Gas Grill Key Product Features
This is one feature packed grill hat you will want to take a closer look at. Here are the most notable features of the 3001 model.
- Large 483 square inch total cooking area.
- Propane fuel source.
- Steel construction with cast iron cooking grates.
- 192 square inch warming rack.
- Side burner for extra versatility.
- Side shelves and smoke stacks for a unique aesthetic.
- 40,800 BTU rating.
- Three stainless steel burners.
First Impressions, Design, and Construction Quality
Char-Griller is well known for making impressive looking outdoor cooking appliances, and the 3001 model is no exception. The monochrome black finish and large barrel design cooking chamber is a throwback to grills of the past.
The two smokestacks on the top of the grill are the final touches that make this an aesthetically pleasing grill that is completely unique in the marketplace today.
Good looks are combined with an impressive design and excellent construction quality. With two side shelves, the grill looks balanced.
The cart design is basic but there’s a cover plate on the front of the cart, which makes this grill appear more premium than its price tag would suggest. The coating on the steel surfaces is hard wearing and has a soft touch feel.
Overall, the grill looks and feels durable, and from first impressions you will have confidence that this is going to be your grilling partner for many seasons to come.
The design and finish of individual components is of a high standard, and assembling the grill is straightforward with the provided instructions. With some grills, self-assembly can lead to a less than ideal product.
The Char-Griller 3001 doesn’t have this problem and will feel as solid as a showroom grill once you’ve got it all set up. Assembly can take up to two hours, depending on how experienced you are with grills or other large outdoor appliances. You will need a helper for assembly because the steel materials mean that some of the components are quite heavy.
The total weight of the grill is 88.2 pounds, so make sure you always follow basic safety precautions and all instructions included in the assembly manual.
When unpacking the individual components, you will note some features that are often found only on the mid to high-end grills. Things like stainless steel burners will give you confidence in the cooking ability and longevity of this grill.
It is impressive to see that Char-Griller has gone the way of premium components, rather than using low end options that would soon fail and require replacement.
Cooking and Features
Great looks, quality design, and excellent materials… with those essentials checked off, it’s time to take a look at how well the Char-Griller 3001 performs when cooking. If you have been impressed so far, then you will be relieved to know that this grill can cook as good as it looks. For a grill that sits within the sub-$200 range, you get much more than most competing models.
The main attraction here is the large main cooking chamber with three stainless steel burners and a total heat rating of 40,800 BTU. The surface area is generous with 438 square inches on the cast iron grilling surface, and then an additional 192 square inches on the warming rack.
The large hood means that you can cook almost anything that you want to in this grill. Whether it’s a whole chicken, a medium turkey, or even a pork loin, you’ll be able to cook with the hood down without issue.
If you love to entertain or if you simply love grilled food, then this will soon become your favorite way to cook. Some grills come with disappointingly shallow hoods, but this is not a problem with the Char-Griller 3001. The barrel design ensures that you get plenty of clearance, and that means excellent top down cooking for roasting and baking, or for fast searing.
The gas burners can be individually controlled so you will have complete flexibility over three cooking zones. Fire them all up for a large loin, bird, or for a grill surface full of burgers. If you are cooking different ingredients, then simply adjust the burners as necessary so that you can have everything cooked to perfection.
There’s nothing to complain about with the heat that this grill gives off, although it is important to note that it doesn’t have the fast-searing infrared technology that some other modern grills have. For the price, that’s not really a complaint, but it is something that you will want to consider.
In addition to the main cooking area there is also a side burner, and this feature really adds to he versatility of this grill. If you want to be a flexible outdoor chef, then a side burner is essential.
You can use it for a skillet when you need to sear the outside of steaks, or you could keep a pot of sauce or even a stew cooking on the side. These additional burners are becoming more common on grills, but they are not always seen in this price range. For many people, having a side burner is enough to make this grill worth the purchase.
Finally, we come to the smoking ability. Smokers are growing in popularity all the time, as more people realize that it’s not incredibly difficult or even expensive to cook smoked meat at home.
If you were smoking regularly then a vertical smoker would be the obvious choice. However, if you smoke infrequently, then a versatile hooded grill is a better option. You can add a wood chip tray to this grill easily, and any generic solution on the market would work well.
The gas burners and heavy duty insulated hood will ensure that you can cook your meat low and slow to get the maximum flavor from your wood chips of choice. While this wouldn’t be recommended as a primary smoker, it can easily perform if you are only smoking a few times every season.
The grill unfortunately does not have mounting points for a rotisserie kit, which is the only real disappointment. If that were a feature, then this would easily be the best grill at this price point, with none of the competition coming close.
Even without the rotisserie option, it’s still one of the most versatile grills that you can get for the money, and it’s not something that every owner will miss.
Ease of Use and Cleaning
Grills today have become easier to use and clean, and the Char-Griller 3001 can equal the very best models in this area. It has a grease collection tray underneath, and the rounded design means that the grease is directed down towards the collector. This is quite different to rectangular grills which can be difficult to clean in all the corners.
No matter how much fun it is to grill, nobody likes cleaning, so it’s nice to see that Char-Griller has made it as easy as possible on this model.
There’s no special trick to using this grill; just set the burners and you’re ready to go. The inclusion of a temperature gauge means that you can closely control the hood down temperatures, which is particularly helpful for smoking, slow grilling, or even baking.
Top Pros and Cons of the Char-Griller 3001
This is an impressive grill for its price, and it even manages to compete with more expensive models. Here are the top pros and cons that we’ve found.
- Large cooking area and high total BTU rating.
- Side burner adds convenience.
- The design is unique and a welcome change in a crowded grill market.
- The price is just right for a quality upper-entry level grill.
- Durable materials and good construction.
- Easy assembly for two people.
- Can be used as an infrequent smoker.
- No rotisserie mounting points.
- The card design doesn’t have a fully enclosed cabinet.
- Side shelves don’t fold down for storage.
Final Thoughts and Recommendation
The grill market has become quite busy in recent years. All of the major manufacturers are now offering models in the more affordable price range. With so many options, making a choice can be difficult.
The Char-Griller 3001 manages to differentiate itself with a unique design and plenty of versatility. It comes in at a great price and it can cook as well as more expensive grills. It has a reasonable cooking surface area as well as a generous hood for top-down cooking.
Some owners have called this the best grill under $200 in their reviews, and it’s easy to agree. This grill will not disappoint whether grilling, baking, or smoking, and it is made to last and will serve you for many seasons when properly cared for.
If you are looking for a grill at this price point, then the Char-Griller 3001 is an easy choice.