Char-Broil Professional 3400 S Gas BBQ review

We tried this spacious stainless steel BBQ, including building, cooking and cleaning to see if it's worth your investment

Char-Broil BBQ in garden on grass
(Image credit: Future)
Ideal Home Verdict

The Char-Broil 140736 Professional Series 3400 S isn't cheap - at £629.99, we know it's going to be a real investment, even for a BBQ lover. Highlights with this BBQ include more controlled power, a warming rack and side shelves, though it has to be said that we were expecting the build materials to be of higher quality.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Three burners and infrared cooking

  • +

    Lots of space for prep and warming

  • +

    Huge American style grill

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Very tricky and time-consuming to build

  • -

    Quality was disappointing

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If, as soon as the first spring sunlit hits, you're already thinking about firing up one of the best gas BBQs, then the brand Char-Broil might already be familiar to you. One of America's oldest grill brands, and one of the originators of the best BBQs, it has a range of products in the UK designed for high-performance outdoor cooking.

We tried out the Char-Broil 140736 Professional Series 3400 S during a two-day BBQ testing trip, to give us time to build, cook with and evaluate a number of different BBQs. The Char-Broil Professional is a higher-end model with an RRP of £629.99, and three burners to get the most out of the generous cooking area. 

From unboxing to cleaning, we set out to get an idea of what it would be like if you were to invest in this Char-Broil model for your own home. This is our full look at the BBQ, including the build process, and its merits and drawbacks so that you can get a flavour for it. 

Char-Broil Professional 3400 BBQ product specs 

Char-Broil BBQ

(Image credit: Char-Broil)
  • Model number: 140736
  • Fuel type: Liquid Petroleum Gas (refillable cylinder sold separately)
  • Gas burners: 3
  • Main burners: 8.36kW
  • Dimensions : H23.5 x W51.18 x D47.52 cm
  • Cooking area: W63 x D45cm
  • Cooking grates: Porcelain-coated cast iron
  • Wheels: 4
  • Weight: 56kg
  • Assembly: 2-person self-assembly
  • Colour options: Silver stainless steel

Who tested this BBQ?

Molly Cleary
Molly Cleary

Molly is the Ecommerce Editor at Ideal Home covering appliances and cleaning - the perfect match for a BBQ testing day. She tested the Char-Broil Professional 3400 S alongside five other BBQs over the course of two days, including assembly, cooking and cleaning, with help from her colleagues from the other Future Homes brands. 

The Char-Broil Professional certainly proved a challenge when it came to assembly, taking six hours to build. She then used it for a series of tests, from grilling vegetable skewers to burgers.

CharBroil Professional 3400 BBQ: Unboxing and assembly 

The Char-Broil Professional 3400 BBQ arrived in a large square box, with full self-assembly required. It took two strong people to carry it even a small distance, so if you're getting it delivered then try to pick a spot ahead of time for it to live.

It was an efficiently packaged box considering how mammoth the actual BBQ is, and we appreciate the cardboard scaffolding to keep all of the (many, many) parts from becoming misplaced. There was a fair bit of plastic involved in the packaging, probably due to the fact that there are lots of small parts to unpack. It would be good to see more sustainable ways to package small, easily displaceable parts in the future. 

Unpackaging the CharBroil BBQ

Unboxing the Char-Broil Professional 3400 BBQ

(Image credit: Future)

The Char-Broil Professional comes with an assembly manual as well as a grilling guide, which is how you know that this BBQ is targeted at grilling enthusiasts. The manual contains several different language sets and has 36 steps in total, spread out over almost the same number of pages.

We set to work assembling, which is most definitely a two-person job. At various points, especially when attaching the very heavy hood to the body of the BBQ, it would have probably even been beneficial to have a third person. 

BBQ unboxed

The Char-Broil Professional 3400 BBQ neatly laid out 

(Image credit: Future)

The lid and top part of this BBQ come together in one part, but they aren't fully assembled out of the box, and you'll need to build the internal mechanisms, such as putting the burners in and attaching the knobs. It did feel like some of these details could have come already completed, to cut down on the mega assembly time. 

Another BBQ we assembled that day, the Everdure Force, came with cooktop elements already essentially fully assembled (aside from the temperature gauge). It seemed that this strategy ensured a much higher quality build overall, and saved us huge amounts of time fiddling with small parts. 

Char-Broil BBQ during build

Over halfway with the building process

(Image credit: Future)

All in all, it took two of us (both BBQ building novices, it must be said) a little over five and a half hours to build the Char-Broil Professional 3400 S, and somehow it felt even longer. The assembly felt extremely fiddly at many stages, with lots of small parts that need attention. A steady hand and good pair of eyes are needed, as well as a solid sense of teamwork for when you hit a wall with the instruction manual.

It was difficult to know how much of the long assembly time was down to our user error, considering that this was the first BBQ we'd attempted to build that day. Reassuringly, reviewers on Amazon of this BBQ also experienced the same lengthy build process, with others stating that it took 5 hours or more to get their BBQ off the ground. 

Assembled Char-Broil BBQ

Finally...the assembled Char-Broil Professional 3400 S

(Image credit: Future)

Our very drawn-out experience of building this Char-Broil model felt especially taxing in comparison to easier setups happening around us, including the Weber Q3200 Gas BBQ, which took just an hour for our colleagues to assemble.

If you have the patience and enthusiasm for all of the specialist features that the Char-Broil has, then the journey will likely be worth it for that moment when you start grilling. If you're more of a casual BBQer however, or find this kind of process more than a little frustrating, it might be a reason to avoid this particular model.

CharBroil Professional 3400 S: Design 

The Char-Broil Professional has an all-American look, with a stainless steel sheen, a large cooking area and a heavy lid. It was initially impressive out of the box, but it'll depend on whether you're a shiny BBQ lover or not as to whether you take a shine to this one. It's also available in black (which makes it the Char-Broil Professional Series 3400 B), which is probably the colourway I'd go for, as it's a little less prone to fingerprint marks, which this BBQ was a fiend for from the offset. It also felt pretty risky unpackaging and assembling this BBQ without scratching the stainless steel, which would definitely dampen the mood on your first day of ownership.  

Also made from stainless steel within this BBQ are the burners, which sit alongside the cast iron grates. Other elements of the grill did feel flimsy compared to other BBQs we tested that day - the knobs in particular were made of a non-durable feeling plastic, which seemed like it chipped within the process of building. Admittedly, they do have a nice light-up effect when turned on that sort of makes up for it. 

Close up of Char-Broil BBQ

A close up of the Char-Broil Professional 3400 S 

(Image credit: Future)

The side burner and side shelves were both tricky to assemble, which may have contributed to their overall wobbly feel, but they didn't feel as high-quality as they should have on the whole. Those quibbles aside, these are valuable spaces if you're hosting a party in your garden and need somewhere to pop your burgers, skewers or salad as you get ready to serve up. 

One design feature that we didn't get to test out to the full extent (due to what was perhaps a faulty model) was the additional infrared side burner, which we, unfortunately, couldn't get working. It did mean we could use it as an extra BBQ-food-resting place, but it was slightly disappointing given the RRP of this BBQ.

Weather in our part of the world isn't always reliable, which means that I'd probably encourage you to pick up the Char-Broil cover at the same time as your BBQ to avoid rust or discolouration. Yes, it does bump the price of this BBQ up even further, but at least you'll be able to properly use your BBQ when it emerges from storage for the summer.

Char-Broil Professional 3400 S: Performance 

The Char-Broil Professional has an electronic ignition to set its burners into action, so we didn't need matches. This BBQ uses a TRU-Infrared Cooking System, which means that there are long, metal triangular prisms across each of the burners. These are, according to Char-Broil, meant to help with cooking food more evenly and prevent outbursts of heat that might burn food. 

However, even after consulting with a colleague to check that they were fitted properly, we struggled to get the BBQ up to heat due to the prisms on top of the burners. It took by far the longest time (20 minutes) to get up to 200 degrees for our first test.

Up close of Char-Broil BBQ in field of temperature gauge

Getting up to temperature to cook the Spatchcock chicken

(Image credit: Future)

There's a huge amount of space available in the Char-Broil Professional. You could fit a serious number of burgers, and sausages at one time or two chickens and corn and vegetables on the warming rack too. If you're a serious BBQ fan, you're bound to be impressed with the space available to you with this model. 

The cooking power with the Char-Broil Professional was more controlled than with other alternatives. When it came to our Spatchcock chicken test, we encountered hiccups as we tried to apply our usual testing program, which was to use the two side burners and turn the middle one-off, off so that the meat cooked on indirect heat to keep that all-important juiciness. However, we couldn't get the two burners hot enough on their own, (we needed 200 degrees Celsius), so we were forced to turn the middle burner on for a while to amp the temperature up, and then turn it on to begin the test. That was obviously, a fair bit of faff before the test even began. 

Ultimately, despite the delays, the Char-Broil did cook the chicken effectively, with succulent results and meat that was ready to eat after 50 minutes, but not overcooked. 

Spatchcock chicken on Char-Broil BBQ

(Image credit: Future)

Whilst this infrared style of cooking was good in some cases, in others, it was a source of frustration. Whilst cooking burgers and sausages we found that the Char-Broil struggled to get up to heat, and then took longer than other options we were testing that day to finish cooking too. The end result was still good, with an even cook across everything, so it depends on your preference for cooking times and power.

All in all, we found the Char-Broil to be a bit of a tricky customer, with a neediness that the other BBQs didn't have. If you are prepared to be attentive when it comes to both set-up and use, then we imagine your enjoyment of this BBQ will still be high, but if you're lacking patience a little, or are a BBQing novice, you may want to steer clear.

CharBroil Professional 3400 S: Cleaning 

Cleaning a BBQ this big felt like a big task - and if you've paid almost £700 for a BBQ, you're going to want to do it right. The prisms underneath the grill that we talked about before needed to come off as well as the grates themselves, which was more maintenance than with other models. We followed the instructions in the manual to get started with these parts, which instructed us to use a clean cloth to remove grease and residue. 

Stuck on, burnt food on Char-Broil BBQ

(Image credit: Future)

We also needed to tackle the burnt-on food that had built up after several different tests. Handily, the Char-Broil comes with a scraper, which is stored on a hook on the inside of one of the double doors. It's a well-made piece of kit, which is shaped to help you bring up that food residue. Using this tool, we pushed everything into the fat tray, which sits at the bottom of the grill and can be accessed through the double doors. We were happy to see that this fat tray was reusable rather than disposable to save from unnecessary waste.

Char-Broil Professional 3400 S: Verdict 

I feel like I struggled to 'get' this BBQ - it was very tiresome to assemble, I don't love how it looks, and I found it to be a time-intensive appliance to get working to its full potential. That being said, I can understand how someone more invested in the practice of BBQing might love the labour-intensive process, and use all of the features to the fullest extent, like the side burners and warming space. The cooking results were all ultimately good, even if it took more work to get there compared to other BBQs we tested on the day. 

If you're looking for an all-singing, all-dancing BBQ with ample space, and you've got the patience to spare, it's a choice that could work for you. In the series of Char-Broil Professional BBQs, if you need to save space but want the full American-style grill experience, the Professional Pro S 2 may fit into your back garden a little easier. Or if you want something that's just smaller altogether, and more affordable, the Everdure Cube might be worth checking out. 

If you're keen to invest in a CharBroil, but not sure the Professional is for you, then our Head of Reviews Millie Fender has a favourite from the brand that might just be perfect. She also found the assembly to be a little tricky but can speak for the durability of the BBQ after three years of use. 

Millie Fender
Millie Fender

The Char-Broil Gas2Coal is my go-to home BBQ. After testing it three years ago, I still bring it out every summer for coal and gas grilling, and it's never failed me. At £550 it's a good price for a three-burner BBQ, and the coal function has come in very handy when I want something a little smokier. Assembly was also trickier than some BBQs, but it was worth the hour and a half I spent building it with my brother for the sturdy finish and durability.

About this review, and this reviewer

As part of Ideal Home's commitment to how we test products that we recommend, we set off on a two-day trip to Somerset in order to test a range of BBQs from a number of best-selling brands. 

We left no stone unturned in our search to find the actual top-rated BBQs out there. That means that we unboxed, assembled and cooked on this BBQ under test conditions (i.e scribbling notes down every few minutes). 

The foods we cooked were wide-ranging to cater to all sorts of diets, including halloumi and courgette skewers, sausages, burgers, vegan sausages and burgers and a spatchcock chicken. We also discussed other important elements, such as portability and design as we tested too. 

Molly Cleary
Kitchen Appliances Editor

Molly is Ideal Home’s Kitchen Appliances Editor and an all-around baking and cooking enthusiast. She joined the team in September 2022 as an Ecommerce Editor after working across Real Homes, Homes & Gardens and Livingetc. She's been reviewing products for 4 years and now specialises in weighing up kitchen essentials' pros and cons, from air fryers to bean-to-cup coffee machines. 

She's always been a keen reader, so after graduating from the University of Exeter in 2020 she was thrilled to find a way to write as a full-time job. Nowadays, she spends her days at home or the Ideal Home test facility trying out new kitchen innovations to see if they’re worth a space on your worktop. Her most beloved and hard-working appliance is her Sage coffee machine though she also takes the title of Ideal Home’s in-house air fryer expert after writing about them religiously over the past few years.

When she's not thinking or writing about kitchen appliances, she loves getting around London exploring new places, going for a dip at the Ladies’ Pond and consuming every bit of pop culture she can get her hands on.