I would like to state that I love this grill and its predecessors.  My first CB 940 X lasted for 30 years and likely would’ve lasted longer had I protected it from the weather better, but alas it finally retired to the grill graveyard this year.  The last time I used it was indirecting some baby-back ribs for Joe Bonwich of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in May of 2009.  I can’t imagine what ran through his mind when he arrived and saw me grilling on this grill that had seen better days:

Here’s the thermometer, or at least it used to be a thermometer:

And here’s the ash catcher tray in the back that wouldn’t close properly toward the end of its life:

Despite how bad that dinosaur looked, it still churned out these ribs. The dry rubbed ribs were smoked in Cherry wood for approximately 2 hours:

How did it turn out?  If my memory serves me correctly, Joe took a bag of ribs home with him.  I think that speaks for itself.  The grill didn’t look great, but after three decades it was churning out great BBQ.

My second CharBroil 940X is now over 20 years old and has been featured in numerous posts on this website.  Here’s the new one and the old one standing side by side (old one in the forefront):

The grill still resides in my garage where I roll it to keep it out of the weather after each use.  I am so comfortable using this grill.  I know how it cooks and handles temperature—I typically don’t use a thermometer (Scott gives me major grief over this too) and feel I know the grill well enough that it isn’t necessary.  I guess old habits die hard but then I’m an old habit myself.

***Editor’s note ~ Kinda hard to show people how to grill when the instructions are, “Put the meat on the grill till it’s done.”***

My new CharBroil 940X is a major improvement over the previous editions.  Char-Broil actually discontinued this model and just this season reintroduced the 940X.  Scott performed the assembly in minimal time and I was set to play with my new grill.

***Editor’s note ~ I stopped off at the folks one weekend and decided to put it together for Dad who was swamped at work that weekend.  I thought I would surprise him by building it for him so he could break it in that weekend.  With the help of my mother, and a very precocious 2 year old, we put it together in about an hour:





Daddy’s little helper.  Never too early to get them involved with power tools:

The first thing I noticed that was different from earlier editions was the weight.  This grill seems to be at least twice as heavy as the older versions.  Heavier gauge metal was definitely used. I can tell you how much heavier the new lid is, and you can take my word for it, or I can give you a visual.  A quick example of how much better made the new one is over the old is the width of the legs.  Here’s the old grill.  We didn’t have a ruler or a tape measure so a Grillin Fools business card had to do:

The width barely gets to the edge of the G on the website name.  Now check out the new grill:

That’s got to be 50% thicker, albeit not all that scientific.

On top of the thicker steel, the grill is much better designed with not nearly as many gaps and drafts as the older model, which allows it to hold temperatures much better.  Consider this, when I close the lid after a cookout, and shut the vents, it locks the airflow down so much that the next day when I open the lid the remaining charcoal is not reduced to ash after burning all night.  The charcoal is still in briquette form and can be re-used because closing the lid and shutting the vents makes the firebox practically air tight.

Here’s a side by side shot of the old and the new, notice how on the old one (nearer) the smoke is coming out from the entire perimeter of the lid and the new one (farther) the smoke is only coming out the holes/vents in the side:

The features of this grill are many.  They include adjustable briquette grate with four settings to adjust the height of the coals.  It has four removable cast iron grill grates and the spaces between the individual bars in each grate allow for easier cleaning and produce great grill marks—an improvement over the previous model in which the grate spacing was closer together and cleaning was more difficult.

***Editor’s note ~ The spacing of the bars on the grill grate is the reason for the lack of cleanliness of your grill grates?  That’s why you haven’t cleaned a grill grate in your life?  Take a good look at what they looked like coming out of the box:

Because pretty soon they will look like this:

Notice in the pictures above how much grill space there is?  That’s 540 square inches of cooking space.  This is on the old grill, but the dimensions are the same.  These are staggered half slabs, but you could go with just as many whole slabs, and with the bigger rib racks out today, you could do six slabs if you wanted:

It has a trap door on the front of the grill which makes it easy to add charcoal and smoke wood without losing as much temperature as opening the lid:

There are adjustable vents located at the top of each end of the firebox lid:

This helps when indirecting/smoking.  Put the coals on one side, and the meat on the other.  Leave the vent closed on the side with the coals and open the vent on the other side so the smoke has to pass over the meat on its way out of the cooking chamber.

The ash catcher tray now has an improved pull out for ease of cleaning and removing ash.  I always line this with foil to make cleanup even easier.

The sideboards are now cutting boards with a drip tray rim on each and cutouts are there for ease of removal—the older model simply had a couple of slats of board that were not removable:


You will need to oil the boards as they are untreated wood to preserve them:

The thermometer now extends from the firebox slightly—is this a big deal?  In my opinion it certainly is.  The older models had the thermometer mounted flush to the firebox lid and every bit of smoke and grease that traveled upward with the heat seemed to accumulate on the glass making the thermometer unreadable.

***Editor’s note ~ That and you never cleaned that either!?!***

Here’s the old thermometer:

And here’s the new:

The new model has four wheels, two with locking casters, as opposed to the earlier model which only had two wheels.  Given the increased weight of this grill, the addition of wheels on all four legs makes transport much easier.

Is it perfect?  Well, I’d be hard-pressed to have an issue but there is one in my opinion.  The grate that holds the charcoal could use an extra metal bar on each end to prevent coals from falling through easily.  See the briquette sized gap here:

The older versions had an extra bar making it more like a charcoal basket than a charcoal tray:

I’m not sure why such a minor thing was omitted on this version.  Perhaps the engineers at Char-Broil could remedy this.

In summary, the Char-Broil 940X is, perhaps, the only grill the average backyard griller will ever need.  I know I feel that way and I have six grills available for Smokin’ on the Water at my home on the lake.  If I could only have one this would be it.  It’s perfect for direct grilling, indirect grilling, or slow-smoking as you may have seen many times on this website.

If you want to buy one of these, I’m afraid that you have to order one online as they are not available in stores. Not quite as convenient, but still worth the effort. You can find it here.

I was so in love with it that I bought it’s “baby”…the CB 500X which is a smaller version portable grill with most of the same features on a smaller scale:

Here are the two of them together for perspective:

Those of you that attended our BBQ Bash saw it used and on display—it’s available now at clearance pricing of $75.  The “baby” for my travelin’ grill and the CB 940X for my home grill—I will likely never need another grill in my lifetime.

The price of the grill is nothing to sneeze at.  The CB940X runs about $400 on Char-Broil’s site, but consider this.  This new 940X is made much better than the originals I’ve been using for decades.  One lasted 30 years and the second one is still going strong after two decades.  This is not something that will need to be replaced after a couple years if it is kept out of the elements.  This one is definitely not a three year disposable.  This is the type of grill your sons (and maybe daughters) fight over after your funeral.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me an email.

For other product reviews click here.

20 comments

I recently purchased a CB940X and this review was very well done and helped with my final decision. This is an excellent grill and appears to be very versatile. The only problem with this grill is that it makes the work week too long because I can hardly wait for the weekend to get here so I can use it!!

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I am so impressed with the versatility of the CB940X that I am getting another one to be used strictly for indirect cooking. I am having a small charcoal basket made to set on the charcoal rack. Now I have one for grilling and one for smoking.
With the quality of the CB940X I can probably get by with one but two will sure look good on the patio!!

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Thanks for the great review! I grew up with a CB grill similar to the CB940X just smaller. When my father passed away I inherited his grill which like yours was 30+ years old. I used that grill for a few years before getting a Texas style grill which was made out of a piece of pipe casing. After finding your site I’m reminded of all the good time I had grilling with my Father. I’m thinking that a CB940X is in my future.

Keep up the good work!

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My father in law gave me a 940x after seeing how much I enjoyed his version for 20+ years. Love it, but have the same issue with small charcoal basket. Has this been changed and is a replacement part available? Also is a rotisserie available for this model? I do not see how one could fit with closed lid. Would like to try suckling pig. The grill may be too small for the pig and may cause uneven cooking. Rotisserie would be perfect.

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Ward,

Honestly, I don’t know if they resolved the charcoal basket issue. As far as the rotisserie is concerned, my father was looking into that possibility. As of right now, I don’t think there is a rotisserie available, which isn’t a bad thing as the it would require putting holes in the box which would make it drafty and harder to hold temps…

…….Scott

I read your review before I bought the 940x, but I have to tell you my 940x is now in my side yard and it’s listed on Craigslist. I gave it a good try and actually spent 100.00 trying to make it work for me.

Problems:

1. It consumes too much charcoal. I think the heavy gauged box takes a lot of the heat. It seemed to me like the food and the box were in competition for the heat.

2. It sits too low. Looking down at the grill would put my face in the heat coming up. I spent 100 constructing longer legs. Raising it allowed me to address the grill from a side view rather than a top down view.

3. Ash pan collects unburned lighter fluid and taints the food. I know the pan should be cleaned after each use, but that doesn’t always happen. I think it’s better to have an ash pan that sits closer to the coals that way fallen food and fluids are burned clean on every use.

4. There is no lower vent to regulate the burn.

5. My wife complained the lid was too heavy for her

6. The charcoal rack allows the charcoal to spill out and down into the ash pan

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I’m sorry to hear that. I will address your concerns as they pertain to how we use the grill:

1) The 940 does use a fair amount of charcoal, but it also has a TON of surface area to grill LOTS of food. If just grilling for two, there are better options, but for a grill to make a lot of food, this is ideal.

2) It’s not significantly lower or higher than 95% of grills out there. It is very similar to the height of a kettle, BGE, or Char-Griller.

3) I never thought about it collecting lighter fluid. I only use fluid to light the 100 pounds of charcoal I use to grill a whole hog every year as I don’t have a trashcan size charcoal chimney. A charcoal chimney is more wallet friendly than fluid and requires much less time to actually start grilling because the fluid doesn’t have to be burned off.

4) As for the bottom vent to regulate temps, we use the ash door to add air to the chamber or slide the bottom ash trapper out an inch or so. It allows a little air in but still grabs the ash.

5) The lid is heavy. Much lighter than a BGE, but heavier than a kettle. It’s on the heavy end, we agree.

6) This one boggles my mind because earlier versions of this grill did not do this. We complained about it too.

I hope you reconsider as that is the best box grill on the market. It is made ROCK solid and seals really well which saves charcoal when cooking is done. Sorry it didn’t work out for you.

what did you use to condition the wood cutting boards?

I am thinking of using some medium-heavy gauge ‘wire’ to create the charcoal “basket” that the current charcoal grate lacks.

Mike

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Mike,

Let me check on what mom used. This grill stayed with Dad and mom is the one that stained furniture for years and knows all there is about conditioning wood. I’ll check with her…

…….Scott

Good to see some recent comments on this review, which is excellent and one of the reasons I bought the grill. I got mine about six months ago. All in all I’m glad I purchased it, but there are two issues with mine worth sharing.

One is the awful quality of the boards. Mine are basically two pieces of pine glued together. But I’ll eventually get better ones. The bigger issue relates to the hinge connecting the lid to the the box. CB now manufactures these with a raised hinge, which results in 1/4 inch gap at the rear when the lid is closed. Apparently this was done to fix an “overbite” issue with the lid but in my opinion they fixed one problem and created another. So, natually it leaks more heat and smoke and requires more fuel and attention than it should, and kind of makes the vents useless.

Otherwise, as a grill it is nearly perfect, especially for the price. I just wish the seal was tight on mine.

Re: the ends of the grate: I took another blogger’s suggestion and bought Weber 7402 charcoal rails. I can say they definitely help.

Again, thanks for a great review.

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Maestro,

I hadn’t heard about the gap in the back. That is troubling. I’ll forward this on to the folks at Char-Broil and see if they can rectify that in future builds.

Have you thought about running a bead of high heat silicon down the length of it to minimize the gap?

…….Scott

Thanks for the reply Scott. Good idea – I hadn’t even considered sealing it with anything. I suppose I could even roll up some foil and see if that helps.

Any chance you can restore the pics to this page? Only the “ribs on the grate” pic is showing.

I know this has been up a while (4 years) but since the article shows pretty high on the google list, it would be helpful.

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Tom,

We got hacked and are having some issues with our older posts. We just found out about it today. We’re working on it. I hope to have it taken care of this weekend. I’m sorry about the problems with the pics.

…….Scott

Tom,

The pics are restored.

Tom
Great info on the 940. I just came into possession of what appears to be an older 940 model. It was used once and put away. It has 4 round adjustable vents- two on the cover and two on the body of the grill. It has a one piece coated grill and instead of grates for the charcoal, it has a one piece steel rack for the charcoal aaa with multiple holes throughout. I haven’t come across these features on any websites. The steel sheet that holds the charcoal can be adjusted by metal hooks an each side of the grill. Am I missing any pieces? I’m looking forward to using it as a smoker. What accessories do you recommend?
Thanks
Ron

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Back in the 80’s I owned a 940 that had a metal box with removable cast iron grates with appx measurements of 12″ X 8″ X 5″ deep that was made for smoking. I have spent countless hours searching on the web and even calling Char-Broil with no luck. I now own the new 940x and would love to have one of these because they worked so well – I know I could make a box out of expanded metal, but I was wondering if anyone out there remembers this accessory and where I could possibly find one?

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DITTO ON THE SMOKER BOX WITH REMOVABLE CAST IRON GRATES. I BOUGHT THIS ACCESSORY WITH MY CB940 IN 1975-76. FINALLY THE BOTTOM RUSTED THRU. MY SEARCHES HAVE ALSO BEEN FRUITLESS. I AM CONSIDERING HEADING TO THE FAB SHOP. LET ME HEAR FROM YOU IF YOU LOCATE THIS BOX OR A SIMULAR ONE . THANKS

Can a rotesserie be added to the Charbroil 940x?

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Kathy,

I believe it can, but there is not one made specifically for it. I did a google search and found some folks that bought generic rotisseries and modified them to work on the 940. Might be worth sending a message to Char-Broil support…

…….Scott

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