The Royal Gourmet GD401 is an outdoor cooking appliance that, if you're willing to put in the effort, can go places with you. It's one of the best gas grills for tailgates, camping and outdoor parties… and for packing securely away inside your garage when you’re not using it. So the Royal Gourmet GD401 4-Burner Folding Gas Grill and Griddle is versatile, with a griddle section which means it is as good for breakfasts as it is for bar-seared feasts, but it isn’t perfect for reasons we’ll get to shortly.
The GD401 isn’t a particularly complex combo cooker, either. There’s electronic ignition on the four burners, there's a griddle and a bar grill, and that's about it in terms of advanced features. There's no lid, though Royal Gourmet does include metal windbreakers around each cooking section. You also get side tables to aid with fuss-free food preparation. Its legs fold up for easy transport, and (conversely) the casters lock so it'll stay put when you need it to.
In our Royal Gourmet GD401 4-Burner Folding Gas Grill and Griddle review, we look at the design, features, and what existing customers have to say. For more outdoor cooking guides, take a look at our roundup of the best infrared grills.
Royal Gourmet GD401 4-Burner Folding Gas Grill and Griddle: Spec
- Assembled depth: 27.1 inches
- Assembled height: 36.6 inches
- Assembled width: 66.1 inches
- Product weight: 81lbs
- Overall cooking space: 584 square inches
- Burner material: Stainless steel
- Burner warranty: One year
- Number of main burners: Four
- BTU: 48,000
Royal Gourmet GD401 4-Burner Folding Gas Grill and Griddle: Design
The Royal Gourmet GD401 is, on the face of it, a fairly simple and affordable propane grill. The majority of the unit is made of steel, with a porcelain coating on the flame tamers which cover its burners. That should also help with easy cleaning and to enhance heat distribution. The griddle and grill bars are steel too, so be sure to oil the cooking sections after use if you don't want them to rust.
Half of the Royal Gourmet GD401 4-Burner Folding Gas Grill and Griddle’s cooking section is the griddle, and half is the grill. This isn't optional - there's no second set of grill bars included, and no option to buy them from Royal Gourmet.
While you can select which side to put each surface on, you'll need to source third-party grill bars if you want to cook a lot of steaks. The overall heatable area is 584 square inches, which is generous, but you can cut that in half if you're only going to use one of the cooking surfaces.
Although the GD401’s legs fold up to make it portable, the side tables simply lift off. It won't be that hard to fit in most trunks at 66.1 inches in length, but bear its size in mind if you have a smaller vehicle. You need to place it cooking surface-down while transporting, since the legs don't quite fold flat, and its steel construction also means it's quite heavy for a portable grill. Let's call it 'luggable' instead.
Royal Gourmet GD401 4-Burner Folding Gas Grill and Griddle: Features
The four propane burners of the Royal Gourmet GD401 are independently controlled and each electronically lit with a piezo ignition, making this easy to start and easy to control. Each offers a 12,000 BTU output, for a total of 48,000 BTU across the width of the entire grill. This gives it the same heat output as the Dyna-Glo 4-Burner, spread over a slightly wider area.
The base of the Royal Gourmet GD401 4-Burner Folding Gas Grill and Griddle, below the burners, is tapered to funnel oil into the hanging grease cup, with a channel along the front of the griddle directing any excess oil to the same place. That's clever, though the drip tray isn't very large. If you're planning a big oily cookout you may need to empty it regularly or devise your own solution with a higher capacity.
Below the grill, Royal Gourmet includes an easily accessible front bar, with hooks on which to hang your tools and more than enough breadth to slide them to the side when you're getting up close. You can hang a 20L propane bottle on a hook on the left, keeping it accessible but off the ground.
There's no lid, so the GD401 4-Burner is for direct heat cooking only. Given the versatility offered to it by its twin surfaces – you can certainly cook an entire meal with this – that may not be an issue, but bear in mind there's no option to roast, and you'll need to find something to cover the GD401 when not in use.
Royal Gourmet GD401 4-Burner Folding Gas Grill and Griddle: User reviews
This is a functional and decently performing grill which, it's fair to say, is unlikely to blow you away. However it'll absolutely cook up a big rack of burgers, with plenty of room for side dishes or vegetarian options on the griddle side.
Given its wide cooking surface, it's not surprising that users report finding hot and cold spots on the Royal Gourmet GD401 4-Burner Folding Gas Grill and Griddle, so it can take a bit of practice to get the right positioning despite its high output. Speaking of which, a few reviews suggest you may burn through that 20L propane tank pretty quickly - though there's nothing to stop you sitting a larger tank on the ground.
Let's look long-term, though. User reviews vary for the Royal Gourmet GD401, from very positive to, well, incredibly negative. Many praise its ease of use, wide grilling area, and generally sturdy legs; there are certainly a large number of satisfied customers out there.
And yet there appears to be a lot of dissatisfaction too. The main complaints seem to be that it rusts relatively quickly, particularly when left outside, with some users commenting that it even rusted when left well-oiled. The griddle, in particular, seems susceptible.
There are also some quality control issues evident, with certain users finding poor welds, parts bent out of the box, or seemingly unbent components nonetheless refusing to fit together properly. We have not been able to verify this, but it's also worth mentioning that some users say that Royal Gourmet's customer service department is elusive. Given that the GD401 also has a relatively short warranty at 12 months, we suspect it isn’t exactly built to last long.
Should you buy the Royal Gourmet GD401 4-Burner Folding Gas Grill and Griddle?
This is a tough one to sum up. On one hand, the Royal Gourmet GD401's spacious cooktop, multiple surface options, high heat output and convenient folding setup should make it a no-brainer for cookouts and tailgates. It’s also a good option if you have somewhere to store it out of the elements.
On the other hand, there's a large number of reviews from users who are unsatisfied with the GD401, and this appliance has a number of drawbacks that others don't. There's no lid, no protection from the elements, and it isn't as portable as grills like the Weber Q1200. Realistically you'll know if this is going to be the grill for your needs already. We'd recommend buying from a retailer with a solid return policy, and be prepared to shoulder some high shipping fees depending on the retailer.