No matter what kind of grill you use, whether it’s natural gas, electric, propane, or charcoal, there are usually some compromises to be made. While some people enjoy the flavor of charcoal cooked meat and other BBQ foods, many prefer the convenience of a gas grill. With the Char-Griller 5050, there’s potential to perform both gas and charcoal cooking from a single appliance. This means a larger overall cooking space, as well as having more versatility in what you cook.
If you’ve been looking for something that gives you the best of both worlds, then this unique Char-Griller model is definitely worth consideration.
Key Product Features of the Char-Griller 5050
- Gas grill rated at 40,800 BTU
- Side burner rated at 12,000 BTU
- Incorporated stand with wheels.
- Charcoal cooking area.
- Dual lid design with thermometers.
- Warming racks on both sides of the grill.
- 1,260 square inches total grilling area.
Initial Impressions and Assembly
For its size alone, the Char-Griller 5050 is an impressive grill. It’s much larger than the ordinary standalone grill, thanks to the two completely separate fireboxes. Finished all in black, the look is utilitarian in nature, but it will look great on any backyard patio or deck. If you’re hosting a party or a family cookout, then this grill is going to get noticed, and you’ll receive plenty of comments from people who are interested in the dual gas/charcoal design.
The large nature of this grill does mean that there’s a significant amount of assembly required. Because there are two separate fireboxes, as well as an external side burner, assembling this will take much longer than the average standalone grill. All assembly instructions are provided with the unit, but it can take between one and two hours, depending on how familiar you are with assembling large items. While the steps themselves are fairly straightforward, it can take a significant amount of time to identify all of the parts, and get them in order before beginning the assembly.
Because of the extra steps to get the grill setup, this grill is recommended for people who don’t mind taking on a small project. The assembly steps could be compared to a large five or six burner grill that uses side shelves or side burners.
Once the grill is all setup, it will feel both solid and stable. The construction materials are of a high quality, with a combination of steel, cast iron, and stainless steel used in different parts of the grill. Overall it looks and feels like a premium grill, which is very important in this price range. If you’ve been looking for an upgrade, or even if this is your first grill, then the initial impressions will leave you feeling satisfied with the purchase.
Of course, the features are what really create value with the Char-Griller 5050, so it’s time to take a closer look at what it has to offer in grilling ability.
Exploring the Features of the Char-Griller 5050
It’s not often that you will find a grill that does both gas and charcoal cooking, and it’s even rarer to find one that does it like the Char-Griller 5050. There are a number of grills on the market that include small woodchip or coal trays for use on top of gas burners, but these are more like afterthoughts that help to improve versatility, rather than being main design features. This ultimately means that there will be some compromises when using hybrid-grills, but the Char-Griller doesn’t have any such problems.
The reason is that this isn’t a standard hybrid grill with an extra charcoal feature; it is actually two entirely separate grill units that are mounted to a single frame. On the left side is the main gas grilling area, with three individual burners, and on the right side you will find the charcoal grill.
Two separate cooking surfaces is a huge bonus. It means that you don’t need to use both at the same time, and if you simply want to fire up a quick gas grilled meal, then you’ll only need to use one side of the grill. Keeping the gas and charcoal grills separate is also better from an efficiency standpoint. With a total cooking surface area that is 1,260 square inches, a shared cooking area and firebox would simply require too much energy, and heat would be lost, making it inefficient and costly to run. Whether you use gas only, charcoal only, or both, you’ll only need to maintain a moderately sized cooking area (or two) when using the Char-Griller 5050.
As a gas grill it is highly comparable to any other three burner grill on the market. This includes models from manufacturers like Weber and Napoleon. The gas cooking area can provide up to 40,800 British Thermal Units of heat, so it’s perfect for virtually any type of food that you want to grill. You’re not just limited to basic barbecuing and burger flipping, because this unit incorporates a large barrel style lid that will allow you to fit a whole chicken or turkey, a large cut of beef, pork, lamb, or other meat for roasting, and the size will even allow you to cook bread, cakes, and grilled pizzas.
On the charcoal side, you get the same raised hood, with all of the benefits of charcoal cooking. If you want to use a combination of coal and wood chips for flavored barbecue, then this will be easy and convenient with the Char-Griller 5050. There are some nice design features used here, such as an easily removable ash tray to help remove any mess after cooking, and the unit even comes included with a special cooking grate lifter that will allow you to quickly remove the cooking surface to replenish the coals.
The charcoal side is great for cooking burgers with authentic charcoal flavor, you could cook steaks with some smoke chips to add flavor (hickory and apple wood, would be perfect on this grill), or you could even smoke a brisket over a few hours, just as you could in a large smoker. If you’re used to cooking in something like a Weber kettle grill or any of the countless imitators, then you will be right at home using the charcoal side of the 5050.
Both grilling areas use double insulation to make them more efficient and to trap heat inside, and both grill lids include accurate thermometers so that you’ll know exactly what the internal temperatures are. There are warming racks on both grills, which can be used to keep cooked meat warm, or they could be used to warm buns and bread rolls.
It doesn’t matter what kind of food you love to cook, including vegetables and meat, the Char-Griller 5050 simply gives you more options than almost every other grill on the market. Even with the versatility of having two completely separate grills in one unit, there’s also a gas side burner. This is perfect or searing meat of vegetables in a pan, it could be used with a pot for a special sauce or even to simmer a stew or chili, and it’s also useful for getting a charcoal chimney started.
In short, this is one of the most versatile grills that you will ever find, but it doesn’t come with any of the typical drawbacks of a hybrid grill. You’ll have a full featured gas or charcoal grill whenever you need one, or you could use both grills for larger cookouts where a smaller standalone grill would normally mean an extended cooking session.
Construction Quality and Materials
Even with all of the best features, no grill is worth buying if the right materials aren’t used. The Char-Griller 5050 sits somewhere between entry level gas grills and the upper midrange. This makes it competitive on price with some three and five burner models from Weber and other manufacturers.
High quality materials are used in the construction, including steel for most of the body. The cooking grates are made from cast iron, and the grate on the gas side is coated with porcelain enamel. The warming trays are stainless steel, as are some of the other internal components.
For the price we find the construction quality to be good, although there is a risk of surface rust developing on some of the outer surfaces. It is critical that this grill is kept in a ventilated cover, to protect the grill from the elements and to avoid condensation building up inside of the cover. This particular model does seem more prone to developing rust when compared to grills that are finished in all stainless steel, so this is something that any potential buyer needs to be aware of. Keeping the grill in a covered area, or even keeping it in a shed or garage will ensure that rust does not develop after a year or so of owning the grill. Another way to help prevent rust is to always clean the interior after prolonged use, and this is especially important on the charcoal side. The grill should be completely dry before it is stored.
The issues with rust are not common to every owner, so it is clear that the right maintenance will prevent any rust issues. While this doesn’t detract from the overall value of the grill, it’s something that you will need to be aware of before purchasing this model.
Pros and Cons of the Char-Griller 5050
- Versatility that exceeds almost every other model on the market. Cook with gas or charcoal whenever it suits you.
- Two large cooking areas for use as standalone grills, or when using both fuel methods at the same time.
- Integrated shelf and utensil hooks.
- Sturdy stand with wheels.
- Individual hood and thermometer for each grill.
- Side burner increases versatility.
- Quality materials throughout the construction.
- May be susceptible to rust if not well maintained. The use of coal can mean more cleaning than the average gas grill.
- Assembly more complicated than some smaller grills.
Consumer Feedback for this Model
Consumer feedback has been mostly positive for the Char-Griller 5050 Duo Gas and Charcoal Grill. Owners love that it provides multiple cooking options, the cooking area is large, and each individual firebox/lid provides plenty of cooking space for large roasts and other meals. Customers have also been positive about the side burner and the overall quality of this model. Some customers have had problems with surface rust developing on the grill, and, again, we recommend a strict cleaning policy and appropriate storage solution to prolong the life of the 5050.
Overall, the average online review rating for the Char-Griller is 4.2/5 stars, taken from around 250 consumer reviews and testimonials. This is an excellent rating for any grill, and suggests high consumer confidence in the product.
Final Thoughts and Recommendations
Sometimes a quality charcoal grill is needed to get the perfect flavor, or even to use as a smoker. However, most consumers prefer the ease of use and the quick convenience of cooking with gas. If you choose to purchase the Char-Griller 5050, you won’t have to compromise, because you’ll have both options whenever you need them. You won’t have to settle for a main gas grill and a smaller charcoal one, and instead get two full sized grills of both varieties. With the highly competitive price, the Char-Griller 5050 represents great value, and anyone interested in owning both a gas and charcoal style grill should consider this model. With the addition of the side burner, it is made even more versatile and would take care of any outdoor cooking needs, even for large families and gatherings.