The Difference Between a Grill and a Charbroiler

    When setting up your domestic kitchen or smokehouse, it’s important to know how to properly tend to and prepare the meat. Any barbecue or smokehouse will tell you that the careful treatment and design of each platter is equal parts art and science, and both of these elements will require you to own (and use) the correct equipment.

    But how can you decide which is most important (and useful) for your business? Investing in a commercial charbroiler or grill will require greater experience, as it is expensive equipment that requires careful handling and know-how to gain the best result.

    The careful handling of this equipment will no doubt define the flavor profiles you are able to generate in your smoked meat, and from then, secure your reputation. So what are the differences between a grill and charbroiler, and what would that change for your company?


    Charbroilers do not have lids, and grills do. This means that while the outdoor grill has natural ventilation space, an indoor charbroiler will need to be connected to an internal ventilation and extraction unit. 

    Grills do have lids, and closing it will help your meat to “marinate” in those aromas of retained smoke which creates that authentic smoky flavor. The insulated environment also guarantees that the heat of your rack, while it takes more expertise to carefully control, can get twice as hot. 

    Restaurant charbroilers can often be custom-fit to your standard, offering many grill plates and room for grilling enough meat. This gives you enough space between the fresh meat and the cooked that’s about ready to come off.


    Traditional grills heated with coals take some time to warm up, but in the world of commercial grills, gas or wood are the standard. Gas allows you to heat up your meat quickly, and wood can be added for further flavor to your meat.

    Charbroilers are usually heated by electricity, gas, or even infrared (especially commercially), which means that you can achieve a quicker, more consistent and reliable result. It also means you can rely on exact timings, which is useful in a restaurant kitchen as your team manages many other responsibilities at the same time.


    The solid rule of thumb is that grills can be used for indoor, or outdoor use, whereas charbroilers are more for interior use. Grills can be large stations, but charbroilers can often run to the specifications of the restaurant and, like grills, can be purchased in industrial sizes. Also, they usually offer more surface area for large volumes of meat to achieve that charred effects more quickly and thoroughly, without sacrificing quality. They can be invaluable for businesses that serve a high volume of burgers, for example.

    To Summarize

    Grills and charbroilers are very alike in application, but it’s in the finer details that the results are felt. The summer grillers with intensive interest in varied and authentic flavor profiles will likely have more fun deciding on the kinds of wood to use in their outdoor grill, and can take more time practicing the artisan craft. This goes for commercial smokehouses known for their variety of meats, as many operate outdoor grill setups. 

    However, for commercial restaurant options, a charbroiler can be a fantastic, customized, and reliable means of producing high volumes of meat at the expected quality standard. Both are worthwhile investments depending on your needs.