Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Product Review: Challenger Designs Torch 48 Grilling Cart

Earlier this year, Grillin' Garry hosted a raffle fund-raiser benefiting The Center for Violence-Free Relationships.  The project doubled the raised funds thanks to a matching contribution from Blue Cross Blue Shield of California.

Alexis bought an entry ticket and that's the last we thought of it.  We frequently enter various charity raffles but never win, we just consider it a donation.  So Alexis was shocked when she got a notification that she had won the grand prize - a Challenger Designs Torch 48 grilling cart.

Review of Challenger Designs Torch 48 grill cart

Challenger Design grilling carts are recognized as the Ferrari of grilling tables. I've wanted one ever since my sister bought hers several years ago, because of the well thought out design and meticulous construction. 

My sister's Challenger Designs Torch 48 with a large Big Green Egg and Mini-Max.
My sister's challenger cart is over 5 years old and has spent the entire time exposed to the humid elements in Florida, but it remains in fantastic condition.  Here we are using it to smoke green chile pork butt for the North East Florida Eggfest a few years ago.

Why are the Challenger Design carts so good?  For me, it comes down to quality, dry-storage, and durability.

  • Quality - The Challenger Designs Torch is designed and made with a focus on "good enough isn't good enough."  Everything fits together, snug and secure.  When you shut a cabinet door, you can hear the quality.  When you slide a drawer out, it feels smooth and steady.  Just looking at the sleek cabinet, the quality is evident.
  • Dry-Storage - The cabinets are weatherproof and keep out the dirt and moisture.  Now I can keep things like my Flame Boss, my Thermoworks electronics, and my heat gloves out by the grill all of the time.  No more having to run inside to grab gloves or a Thermapen at the last minute.
  • Durability -Let's face it, the Challenger Designs Torch isn't cheap.  It had better last so you can spread the cost out over many, many years.  They use non-corrosive, lightweight aluminum that won't warp, rot, or rust and back it with a limited lifetime warranty.  My sister's cart stays in a rather harsh environment, and it has stood the test of time.

I was THRILLED to add the Challenger Designs Torch 48 to my outdoor line-up.  To the left is a large BGE with a BGE Modular Nest.  Center is a large BGE in the new Challenger Designs cart and to the right is my BGE Mini-Max on a basic stainless cart from Sam's.
To begin the process with Challenger Designs, a team member makes it easy and walks you through the options for customizing your cart.

We ended up going with textured black for the cart and doors and silver vein for the countertop.  Picture courtesy of Challenger Designs website.
The Challenger Designs cart arrives via freight service.  I was shocked at how light this was for an all-metal cabinet. The driver loaded it right into the garage for us.

The cabinet is shipped in safe and secure packing.  I was wondering what was in the box on top.  Turns out it is just a box of nothing to fake warehouse workers from stacking things on top of it.  Pretty sneaky.

Large Big Green Egg kamado grill in a Challenger Designs Torch 48
There is ZERO ASSEMBLY, so I had the cart on the back deck and fitted with an Egg in a flash.  The rusty bands on this Egg aren't befitting this table. I'm going to have to either rehab them or order a set of the new rings.  This particular Egg is 10 years old with heavy use so I think I might go with the new rings option.
The working area of the Challenger Designs Torch 48 is about 24" x 25".  Compared to a standard stock Egg table, this table has a more compact footprint (48" vs. 60") so it fits in more places, but you only lose about 6" of working area.

The counter surface is textured, which will help hide fingerprints, smears, and such.

The doors fit tightly, secure, and tightly aligned.

The pop style latches make it easy to open the cabinets with one finger.  This comes in handy when you're already wearing grilling gloves and trying to open the cabinet.  They are also recessed when closed, so you won't bang your knee on them or snag your clothes.  Just another example of the quality and detail that goes into these carts.

Product review of Challenger Designs Torch 48
The best part is the storage, tons and tons of DRY storage! The stainless shelves are easy to keep clean and are long-lasting.  

Challenger Designs Torch 48
The hardest part was deciding what to put where. 

storage areas of the Challenger Designs Torch 48
For now, I keep heat deflectors, drip pans, and stuff like that below the Egg.  I keep my favorite set of cooking tools on the middle shelf.  I store all of my cleaning tools on the bottom, such as; the ash tool, grill brushes, whisk broom, and scrapers.
The cabinet doors are hung with heavy-duty, corrosion-resistant hinges.

Thermapen, ChefAlarm, TimeStick, Flame Boss and Dragon Knuckles in my Challenger Designs storage drawer.
The pull-out drawer is heavy-duty, made out of metal instead of plastic.  This is where I keep my go-to equipment.  The weather-proofing is tight enough that I don't worry about this stuff getting wet.  I keep a Thermapen, ChefAlarm, TimeSticks, hot gloves, my Flame Boss, and disposable food gloves in here.

Instead of relying on flimsy stock slide rails, Challenger attaches the drawers with sturdy aluminum blocks.  The result is a drawer that opens smoothly and steadily. 

The cart handle doubles as a towel rack.

It is a lot more work to build these tables with the seamless bullnose edges and corners like this.  But not only does this look better, but it also prevents snag and pinch points.

The heavy-duty, locking casters make the Challenger Designs Torch glide around on the deck, even when fully loaded with an Egg or Kamado Joe in there.

The cabinet seams are weatherproofed by a snug fit and tubular foam insulation surrounding the cabinet opening.  I left my table out in a storm to test the water resistance and the cabinet was dry after the rain.

When I used to race in triathlons, I preferred a bike with aluminum tubing for light weight and rigidity.  Challenger designs use square aluminum tubing for the same purpose.

In case you are curious, a standard BGE long table cover will fit over the Challenger Designs Torch.  They sell a cover that is a more precise fit, but I already had this Egg one.

Review of Challenger Designs Torch 48

I had extremely high expectations for the Challenger Designs Torch 48, and they have actually exceeded my standards.  This is a well-designed and crafted grill table that is the gold standard, in my opinion. 

Check out Challenger Designs website for more information about their outdoor kitchen and garage solutions or to find a dealer near you.