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Trouble with my Char Broil Kettleman

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by G-Rod, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. G-Rod

    G-Rod Fire Starter

    Three years ago I bought a Char Broil Kettleman (charcoal grill). I have smoked on it before but generally like to use charcoal when doing steaks as I can get ridiculously high heats on it. I also LOVE the grill grate design. For those of you not familiar with it, there is a great write up/review on it here: http://www.nibblemethis.com/2015/04/product-review-char-broil-kettleman-tru.html - Note: Not my review and I have no association with that blogger.

    Anyway, back to the grill grate. It is hard to see in the pictures within that article but the grate is comprised of a bunch of rails that are in a point but hollow on the underside. Kind of like this: ^

    What I've found to be very cool about that is that it GREATLY reduced flare ups. I theorize that the intense heat coming up, hits the underside of those rails, which pushes the heat down. However it works, it is great for minimizing flare ups.

    There are a lot of things to like about this but here are my two issues:

    1) I just ordered my 3rd grate for it due to pitting and rusting of the previous ones. In all fairness, they say not to use a wire brush on the grate, which I did on the first one and it chipped away the protective coating and and started pitting and rusting within 4 or 5 months. So when I bought my 2nd grate from Char Broil ($35 including shipping), I also bought a nylon brush and used that to clean the grate from that point on. That grate lasted around 2 years before the pitting and rust spots on the grate got to a point where I felt the need to replace it again. So as I said, I just ordered my 3rd grate and when chatting with the CSR, he said that the grates will only last about 2-3 years due to the porcelain coating on the grates. At this point, I started considering buying a Weber grill but looked at the standard grate for them and it is just a basic grate which would NOT prevent flare ups. And before you ask, "Why don't I just use half the grill with coals and the other half for indirect?" To which my answer is that 90% of the time I grill steaks, I use just about all of the cooking space on the grill. I DID find an awesome grill grate for Weber called GrillGrates, that it sounds like it does a great job of controlling flare ups, but it is also $125 just for the grate!

    2) The 2nd issue I'm having with this grill is the legs are wobbling. I tightened them up the 1st time around but that didn't really do anything to them and they finally broke. Thankfully when it wasn't full of hot coals. I called customer service and they sent me a new set of legs for it and all the hardware to replace at no cost. So I replaced the legs and it was sturdy again. But again, it wasn't long before the legs are starting to wobble again. So I'm trying to think of a good way to shore up the legs to make it sturdy but am annoyed at having to do so.

    As I said, there ARE a lot of good things to like about this grill and I understand (for the most part) about the grate, but the legs issue is just poor design IMHO. If they had welded metal female posts for the legs to fit into, it would be so much more stable. Simple design change.

    At any rate, I decided that I'm going to run with this grate, one more time and if the grill legs get too bad, I'll buy the Weber and I should be able to use this grate on it as they are both 22.5". And then after the grate wears out, I'll bite the bullet and get those GrillGrates.

    Hope this is helpful to someone and if anyone has had an issue with this grill's legs being wobbly, I'd love to hear how you resolved the issue (if you were able to). I'll follow up with what I ended up doing/trying.

  2. gmc2003

    gmc2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Sorry I can't help you out with the wobbly legs, but you can always get stainless steel grates to help with the pitting and rusting issue.

    G-Rod likes this.
  3. gmc2003

    gmc2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Can you take a picture of how the legs are attached?

  4. G-Rod

    G-Rod Fire Starter

    Hey again Chris and thanks. Yeah, I'll go shoot a couple pics to give you an idea of what I'm looking at. Most likely am going to have to drill holes in the legs and use wire but will be open to any ideas you might have. I'll do that here in a few. Thanks!
  5. HalfSmoked

    HalfSmoked Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If you are needing to replace the legs contact the company they may offer them.

  6. G-Rod

    G-Rod Fire Starter

    Hi Chris, I found the schematics from the manual which give a better visual than my grill currently put together. But I do include one pic from my grill to show that the indent shown on the instructions diagram is not that indented at all.


    Attached Files:

  7. G-Rod

    G-Rod Fire Starter

    When I get my new grate, I'll clean out the inside and try to tighten them down again but am thinking I might add some steel plates to the outside connection. Thoughts?
  8. G-Rod

    G-Rod Fire Starter

    Thanks Warren! I have in the past and they did send me a replacement set at no cost. Was sturdy for a little bit but is starting to wobble again. I think it is just a poor design. Should have female metal posts, welded to the outside of the grill that the legs go into and then tighten it all down with nuts and bolts. :)
  9. gmc2003

    gmc2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I would clean up the areas where the nut tightens down on the legs screw. Depending on how long that screw is coming out of the leg I would add another washer to the side where the leg goes into the kettle, and possibly a lock washer under the nut. Connect all three legs and hand tighten. Then tighten them down like you would the lugs on a car tire being careful not to strip or brake the bolt free. I wonder if you could also add some bracing to the lower part legs?

    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
  10. G-Rod

    G-Rod Fire Starter

    Thanks again Chris! Yeah, when the new grate arrives. I'm going to clean the inside and re-tighten the legs. But I also think I'll try and figure out some bracing for the lower legs as well. I'll post what I come up with. Appreciate your input!