When you think of electric grills, you may think of simply two hot plates that plug into the wall in your kitchen. While this type of grill is one of the most common electric heating elements, other grill types have also made waves in the world of grilling. It’s true that the grilling industry is big business, and so a lot of people haven’t bought the hype when it comes to infrared heating technology.
Infrared (pronounced as Infra-Red) technology became popular in the early 2000’s when its patent was not renewed, giving all of the grilling companies leeway to adapt the technology as they pleased. Many of them took the time to learn to work with this technology and have mainstreamed it. Some people even think of it as the microwave of the grilling world – although I think that’s a bit exaggerated. When it can be used efficiently, infrared cooking is a great invention. But not every model out there is up to the task.
Infrared vs. Radiation & Conduction
Most of us are used to cooking via conduction, especially when it comes to electric grills. Conduction simply transfers heat from one thing to another, similar to when you’re flipping burgers in a frying pan. All of the Panini presses and original Foreman grills rely heavily on conduction. It’s good and simple science. On your grill, this is the cooking done by foods in contact with the cooking grate. Convection is cooking by fluid (in science gasses are a fluid) like boiling a potato in water or roasting a chicken in the oven. In your grill, convection is the flow of hot air around your food, most notably when indirect grilling.
Radiation cooking is how your microwave heats up your leftover Chinese food. You can’t really cook and meat from scratch on it – it’s not safe enough and can’t cook it quickly enough at a long enough temperature. Microwaves cook quickly.
Infrared cooking generates much higher temperatures than normal grills and can heat up much faster. These grills can have surface cooking temperatures of up to 700 degrees in less than 10 minutes. This means that you’ll get an awesome sear in a steak. Just be aware, this type of sear doesn’t lock the juices in. It can end up dry or even burned if you don’t know what you’re doing. The infrared electric grill is powerful, and best used for solid and dense meats. Veggies don’t fare as well on these grills because of the high temperatures they can reach, but the good news is that there are many combination grills out there that can help you through this obstacle.
Top 5 Best Infrared Electric Grills 2018-2019
- This Char-Broil electric grill is quickly becoming a classic favorite when it comes to infrared electric grills. While there are a lot of infrared grill models on the market, this grill does very well because it works well and it’s not complicated to use. It’s kind of the everyman’s infrared grill. It’s got a large, 320 square inches of grilling surface area that can cook up to 12 main courses, and it doesn’t look electric, it’s shaped like a traditional outdoor grill. According to Char-Broil, all of their TRU-Infrared grills generate a minimum of 65 percent infrared heat. This is why they cook your food so evenly no matter what it is.
- Okay, so at first glance, this grill doesn’t look much like a grill. Don’t be fooled, for it certainly acts like a grill using its infrared electric heating technology. It has five different heat levels and is designed to heat thoroughly. This grill heats quickly and thoroughly, and the surfaces are all non-stick, making it much easier to clean.
- This infrared electric grill is the home griller’s dream when it comes to cooking up ribs, chops, and other meats that take a while to cook thoroughly. This indoor grill is pretty much smokeless as it cooks with its infrared technology with reflectors that aim at your meat to the make sure it cooks evenly. Like other electric grills, it features a drip tray underneath, away from the heat source. Like most grills, the thicker the cut, the longer the cook time. Be familiar with how long each type of meat usually cooks. The only downside to this grill is that although it heats quickly, the heat also gets into your kitchen. Try to keep a fan or the AC going while you’re grilling indoors in the summer. You’ll love the fact that this grill is truly smokeless.
- This grill promises both the grill and the griddle experience. The infrared heating technology helps every meal heat evenly. It’s easy to clean and made from ceramic, a great way to heat up your food. The digital LED menu gives this whole grill a very modern feel, like you’ve just stepped into a sci-fi movie. But the food is real, and it tastes very good. It’s cooked thoroughly and stays juicy. Like other infrared grills, this one can cause a good amount of heat in your kitchen, so be aware and keep things ventilated and cool.
- This infrared electric grill/griddle is a great way to start working with infrared technology. This grill is very basic for a reason – you just need to turn it on and get started. It has a large cook surface to fit your burgers, chicken breasts veggies, and seafood and you can watch them as they cook on your countertop. The LED controls give you 5 temperature settings, depending on what you’re cooking, and also let you set a time. Don’t walk away from this electric grill while you are cooking; it gets hot and should be supervised.
Summing it Up:
Now that you’ve learned about some of the best infrared electric grills on the market, you can choose the one that appeals most to you. Learning to cook with infrared technology is easy, especially if you actually read the instruction manual before you get started. There are also plenty of cookbooks out there you can consult for guidance. You won’t be disappointed in this technology, believe me. While at time it can get your kitchen too hot, you can also sear and cook hard-to-cook meats to perfection. Give it a try!
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