The Monarch 320 gives you gas barbecuing at its best. It's simple to operate, delivers that smoky signature BBQ flavour, and has a design that makes grilling a dream. It's a bit more involved than simple charcoal models, but if you don't mind a longer set up process then you're onto a winner, with supremely cooked BBQ food in store.
Supreme gas-cooking performance
Excellent build quality
‘Flav-R-Wave’ components and hood deliver a smoky BBQ flavour
Extremely simple to use
Drip tray safely collects cooking oil and grease
Some users may struggle for storage space
Why you can trust Ideal Home
Broil King barbecues tend to stand out from the crowd. Designed and manufactured in Canada and the U.S., these beefy BBQs are famed for their high-quality components and their superb grilling and smoking capabilities.
Naturally, we were keen to sample one of Broil King’s long-standing best-sellers, the Monarch 320, to see if it could contend with the best gas BBQs out there. This model offers an eye-catching set of features at a sensible (but considerable) price, including a pair of reversible, cast-iron grills, three gas burners, and a system for infusing food with smoke and vapour from cooking oils and fats.
To find out whether the Monarch 320 lives up to its broilliant reputation as one of the best BBQs, our reviewer assembled a sample unit of the barbecue, set it up in his yard, and then used the barbecue to cook a variety of foods, including burgers, sausages, vegetables and burger buns.
Spoiler alert: it was a sumptuously smoky success.
Broil King Monarch 320 BBQ product specs
- Fuel type: propane/butane
- Dimensions: D56 x H119 x W132 cm
- Cooking area dimensions: 55cm x 38 cm
- Weight: 46.4 kg
- Number of burners: 3
- BTU output: 30,000 (10,000 per burner)
Who tested this BBQ?
Pete Wise is a freelance writer and reviewer from Leeds. His product reviews – including dozens of barbecue and cooking appliance features – have featured in titles including Ideal Home, The Evening Standard and BBC Good Food. Pete tested the Broil King Monarch 320 by assembling it and using the barbecue to cook a wide variety of foods, including sausages, burgers, steaks, vegetables and burger buns. He’s feeling pretty full by this point.
Unboxing and setting up the Broil King Monarch 320
The Monarch 320 arrives flat-packed, and there’s a significant amount of assembly required to get the BBQ ready. If you enjoy this sort of thing, then you’re in for a fun few hours. On the other hand, if following assembly instructions gives you a headache, consider hiring an expert installer – or ask a kindly friend or family member to help. Our reviewer spent about three-and-a-half hours setting the Monarch 320 up, which is similar to one of their American competitors Char-Broil - the Char Broil Professional 2400 S BBQ took the Ideal Home a good few hours to set up too.
Most of the materials needed for assembly come packaged with the BBQ, including screws, washers, and a double-ended ‘Robertson’ screwdriver head – a sure sign that this BBQ has Canadian roots. However, you’ll also need a hammer, cross-head screwdriver and a multi-bit screwdriver handle/tool, none of which are included.
There are many steps to assembling the Monarch 320, from the casters and the base to the grill assembly and hood. We recommend you look very carefully at the diagrams in the instruction manual before screwing one part of the BBQ to another, as you could easily make mistakes with the configuration, e.g. attaching the base the wrong way around.
Setting up the Monarch 320 may be fairly involved, but as you work, you’ll come to appreciate the elegant design and high-quality construction of the appliance. The parts fit together in snug, satisfying fashion – and you’ll soon find yourself daydreaming of the barbecued meals to come.
A note to your future self: remember that the Monarch 320’s ignition requires a AAA battery, which will need to be replaced from time-to-time. We can imagine some users forgetting this, over the winter.
The barbecue runs on gas, and you’ll need to buy a compatible gas product which connects to the Monarch 320’s regulator hose, in order to cook with the appliance. Fitting the regulator hose (included with the BBQ) is a little fiddly, but you’ll be able to feel when you’ve got it properly connected to your compatible gas bottle.
We fuelled the Monarch 320 with a refillable Flogas 6kg Leisure Gas Propane cylinder, purchased from B&Q. The information on which type of gas to use with the Monarch 320 is quite technical, so don’t be afraid to ask the maker or seller for advice – especially if you’re unfamiliar with propane/butane canisters.
Cooking with the Broil King Monarch 320
We were blown away by the Monarch 320’s cooking performance during testing.
Using the BBQ is delightfully simple, and requires little explanation. We found that the best approach for achieving the right cooking temperature was to start with a high heat setting – and then, as the BBQ approaches the desired temperature, reduce the setting to medium or low.
Before you set your food on the grill, Broil King recommends applying a high-smoke-point oil to the cooking surface, as this will help to ensure minimal sticking and optimal grill condition. For our test sessions, we brushed the grills with avocado oil.
After about 5-10 minutes of warming up (depending on the weather and desired cooking temperature), the grill was ready to cook. There’s loads of space to set out items on the bottom grills (for cooking with direct heat) and on the upper rack (for convection cooking). We reckon there’s space for about 16-20 medium-sized burgers on the bottom grills alone.
Once you get the lid shut, you’ll soon hear your food start to sizzle, and the temperature will rise, as you can see by looking at the nicely finished thermometer on the front of the lid. The thermometer is a really useful guide during cooking.
You will notice that the barbecue starts to smoke more as it gets hot, and oil from the cooking food is released. This is intentional, and key to the Monarch 320’s success. Oil and juices from the food are vaporised as they hit a zigzag-shaped component beneath the grill, called the Flav-R-Wave. This causes smoke and vapour to circulate through the cookbox, infusing the food with delicious, smoky flavours.
The released oil sometimes also causes flames to leap up, which can create a nice searing effect. However, this should be kept in check by tweaking the temperature at times, in order to avoid a full-blown grease fire.
Every component of the Monarch 320 seems to do its job brilliantly. For example, all three burners light really easily, using the battery-powered electric ignition. And the two tables that fold out on either side of the grill create useful, flat surfaces for storing whatever you need to cook with – foodstuffs, utensils, oil, and so on, great for if you're setting up an outdoor kitchen.
We were satisfied with the low level of heat that escaped from the grill itself. Surrounding components, including the side tables and the door below the grill, remained quite cool during cooking. However, the grill hood does become hot during use – so be sure to use the handle when you open it.
Every piece of food we tried barbecuing on the Monarch 320 came out beautifully cooked. Burgers were thoroughly cooked through, juicy on the inside and with a nice bit of charring and some griddle marks on the outside. Sausages come out with the skin lovely and crisp, and tender and cooked-through on the inside, while thicker meats such as pork steaks are cooked evenly, without losing their tenderness.
Meanwhile, veg such as peppers and sweetcorn were also thoroughly cooked through, again with some charring. Once food was sufficiently charred, we found it handy to lift those items onto the upper rack, so that they could continue cooking more gently while we grilled other ingredients.
Cleaning and maintaining the Broil King Monarch 320
Opinions vary on how often you should clean (and deep clean) a barbecue grill. In the Broil King Monarch’s 320’s case, we’d be inclined to do a light clean after every use, to keep this fine appliance in tip-top condition.
Cleaning the Monarch 320 is not exactly a pleasure. Clearing the components of detritus from cooking takes a fair bit of effort – especially when it comes to deep cleaning inside the barbecue. Also, some of the parts are tricky to handle, especially the heavy grills and the sharp-edged Flav-R-Wave system. In fairness, these are all common gripes with cleaning gas barbecues.
On a more positive note, the Monarch 320’s drip tray is a really handy, simple and well-designed solution for removing cooking oil from the machine. Just be sure to scrape it clean after every use, as this will avoid any potential spillage into other parts of the barbecue.
Another important question to consider is storage. The Monarch 320 is a big appliance, and many buyers will find that they don’t have room to keep it in their garden shed. Fortunately, the BBQ can be kept outside – in which case we advise using a compatible grill cover, such as the snow- and rain-resistant Broil King Grill Cover 68470 (sold separately).
Is the Broil King Monarch 320 the right barbecue for me?
There are several very good reasons why the Broil King Monarch 320 would be an excellent pick for many households.
Despite being a large piece of kit, the Monarch 320 is simple to operate after initial setup. It looks really smart too – adding a touch of class to the garden or yard.
But above all, the Monarch 320 gives you gas barbecuing at its best. The BBQ’s cast iron grills give you that classic, coveted griddle pattern on your food, which looks especially good on vegetables and burgers. And perhaps the true star of the show is the Flav-R-Wave system, which does an amazing job of circulating smoke and vapour through the cookbox, providing an authentic BBQ taste.
Really, the Monarch 320 is a whole new cooking appliance for your home. It will broaden the scope of your cookery, enabling precise, effective grilling and convection cooking outdoors.
It’s worth noting that there are other, similar models in the Broil King range which might suit your requirements better than the Monarch 320. For instance, the similar Monarch 390 adds a rotisserie setup and an inset 2.7 kW side burner to the Monarch 320’s features, providing greater versatility at a higher price. And we’d recommend the Weber Spirit II E-310 Gas Barbecue as a comparable alternative, which also offers outstanding three-burner grilling.
Online customer reviews of the Broil King Monarch 320 appear to be just as positive as our reviewer’s findings. At the time of writing, the average customer rating of the barbecue on the Broil King website is 4.4 out of 5 stars. Customers have praised the barbecue’s useful features, good value-for-money and versatile cooking capabilities. Others criticised the tendency of the barbecue’s cast iron grills to go rusty – although this risk should be manageable through careful treatment of the grills, including the use of high-smoke-point cooking oils.
About this review and the reviewer
As part of our commitment to how we test products that we recommend at Ideal Home, Pete tested this BBQ at home over the course of a few weeks, using it to grill up a variety of different foods.
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