Mid-Priced, Decent Grill
The Char-Broil Santa Fe is a moderately-priced grill that will perform decently for most casual users. The main grill is made of cast iron and includes porcelain-coated racks, and there is a chrome-plated extension. It has a total surface area of 611 square inches, not including two side shelves; it also includes a temperature gauge and removable ash pan for easy clean-up.
The grates on the Char-Broil Santa Fe are porcelain-coated to trap more heat and give sear marks on the food. The main grate also comes in two pieces, which makes it easier to manipulate and clean.
2 side shelves
The Char-Broil Santa Fe comes with two side shelves, which gives you a lot of room to spread out as you grill. It also has a bottom storage shelf.
611 square inches total surface area
The Char-Broil Santa Fe has 435 square inches of cooking space in the main grill, and 176 square inches in the expandable section, for a total of 611 square inches. The cooking area of this grill is far more than similar Weber grills, which generally max out at 363 square inches even at the highest price points.
The Char-Broil Santa Fe includes a secondary grilling area which swings out from the primary grill, expanding the model to accommodate for greater quantities, or allowing you to smoke meats on one side while grilling on the other.
Removable ash pan
The removable ash pan slides out, making it easier to clean than many other models, such as the hook-on ash trays that most Weber grills utilize.
Adjustable fire grate
The fire grate has three optional heights, so you can fine-tune the grill to your exact specifications as you grill, which makes it a great choice for cooks who want a good amount of versatility in their grilling.
Racks are very close to flame
The highest rack setting for this unit is about 6.5 inches above the coals, which may be too close for some users.
Uses a lot of charcoal
Unless you get a chimney or a charcoal dam, it will take a lot of charcoal and a long time to get the Char-Broil Santa Fe hot enough to begin cooking. This is remedied by making or buying additional components; whether the additional cost is worth the low price of this unit will depend on the buyer. You may be able to make your own charcoal dam from aluminum and wire, if you are crafty.
Temperature gauge is unreliable
The thermometer on the Char-Broil Santa Fe does not accurately measure the temperature in the grill, only the temperature of the lid. However, most grills in its price range do not include a temperature gauge at all.
While it may require the additional purchase of a chimney or charcoal dam, the Char-Broil Santa Fe is still a good deal, mainly because of its size. While users looking just to grill for themselves and their family could find a cheaper model that suits their needs, this would be ideal for anyone who wants a simple, no-frills grill for occasional parties.