It's hot, sunny, and you're currently stuck at home. That means it's barbeque season not only every weekend but possibly every weekday too.
We've been testing the Char-Broil Professional 4400S BBQ to see if it can make cooking in your garden easy and carefree having been enjoying it for a couple of weeks.
Delivered in a huge monstrous box, the 4400S is straightforward to self-assemble. It's powered by gas, so there's no coal or "dirty" bits to really worry about. That's mainly thanks to the company's Tru-Infrared cooking technology (more on that in a bit), and while some will complain that this takes a lot of "fun" out of the experience, it's perfect for cooking with minimal fuss.
That monstrous box does transport a fairly big stainless-steel BBQ onto your patio with underneath storage cupboard and two shelves either side to put things (your beer) while you cook. The Professional 4400S comes with castor wheels (with locks) so you can get it in and out of position easily.
Once set up, turning on to eating your first burger can be achieved in a matter of minutes and that's ideal for when you just want to get on with it rather than going through a ceremony every time.
Plenty of cooking space
The Professional range comes in a number of different size options from a two-burner system up to the 4-burner+1 model we've been testing. There's also an even bigger double-lidded offering.
In our model, the four burners are evenly distributed across three large cast iron racks, which is somewhat confusing in terms of visually planning where you want to place the food. There is a fifth burner in a side stove that allows you to cook as if you were on a gas hob - it's perfect for sauces or cooking pasta.
Each burner has a wide heat gamut enabling you to turn the heat down or blast your way to crispness and Char-Broil has added a warming rack for cooking management should you need it.
The whole cooking area (aside from that stove burner) can be encased with a steel lid effectively turning it into an oven that's good enough to bake a cake (we tried).
The secret, according to Char-Broil, is in the stainless-steel heat tents underneath the cast iron grills that ensure an even heat and cooking surface.
Called Tru-Infrared, the idea is that the stainless-steel sheet is heated up at the same time enabling the heat to be distributed evenly across the cooking surface. It also means you don't get flare-ups, and that it's really easy to clean.
Leave the lid down and the BBQ temperature can quickly reach 250 degrees Celsius within about 10 minutes. That's perfect for pizzas, or even baking focaccia - we know, we've cooked both.
But you don't buy a BBQ for cooking pizza.
We've cooked a range of different foods from spatchcock chicken to burgers to sausages to all manner of vegetables too. The results are fast and tasty.
What's the catch?
If there was one criticism of the Char-Broil Professional 4400S is that it can be so "professional" at times you might feel that it takes the fun out of that ceremonial process of cooking on the BBQ.
There's no fighting with the coals, no trying to accommodate hot spots on the grill, and certainly no dirt.
That to some will make cooking on this model a bit clinical in process, however as soon as you start eating your efforts, we suspect you'll soon forget all about it and just enjoy what you've cooked.