Folks, we know you love your grill. We're sure that many of you have had your beloved barbecue for many years, enjoying meal after outdoor-cooked meal. We're not here to sour its good name. We're not voicing our opinion to shame its traditional cooking style. We just know that you've got a lot of outdoor living to do, and no one should be chained to one spot to stoke a charcoal fire or stand guard with baking soda in hand in case of a flare-up. Outdoor grilling doesn't have to be a chore. It also shouldn't prompt you to put the local fire department on speed dial. When it comes right down to it, we know that you really don't want to pick between flavor and performance. Ladies and gentlemen, we're here to tell you that you don't have to choose! Convenience, ease of use, safety, full flavor, and robust power can come in one package! Don't believe us? Let us explain...
Charcoal and gas grills have their benefits, we know this. Charcoal is hot enough to produce a crispy exterior while maintaining a pink center on your favorite cut of steak. It also produces a smoky, delicious flavor. These BBQ models are usually on the inexpensive side, and they are portable enough to take along on camping trips. Gas grills are way more convenient and less time consuming to get started. Temperature control is literally at your fingertips, and there's very minimal ash (if any) to clean up.
These grills also have their disadvantages. Charcoal is dirty and takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r to warm up and reach the perfect heat. Temperature control - forget it. Oh, and did you remember the briquets? Then there's all that ash... Gas grills obviously can't reach the intense heat that charcoal versions can achieve. Depending on the model you get, they can be quite costly. You can never be quite sure if that thermometer is accurate, especially if you live in an area with extreme temperature changes. And the flavor - where's the flavor?
We did some asking around and found ourselves talking to a hard-core grillmaster from right here in the Great Lakes area of Northwestern Pennsylvania. This cuisinier not only taught us a thing or two about marinades, but he gave us some helpful insight into what outdoor chefs really want in a grill.
- Full Temperature Control ("Ideally, it would be great to amp up the heat and crisp the outside of the beef, then turn the temperature down so the inside can cook evenly. I can't do that precisely with charcoal.")
- Reliable Thermostat ("From my experience, you can't grill confidently if you're always approximating the temperature. It would be nice to set it and know that I'm getting exactly the output that I want. My gas grill leaves me guessing more often than not.")
- Fast ("I love my charcoal grill, but I can think of a dozen other things I'd like to be doing instead of waiting around for it to warm up. A five-minute pre-heat would free up a lot of sitting around and waiting. And the quicker it pre-heats, the faster I can cook and get on with whatever project I've got going on.")
- Moister, Juicier Food ("There's no denying that natural juices lock in that smoky flavor we all look forward to come grilling season! It would be nice to cook a steak or rack of ribs without the meat drying out. That would be perfection!")
As you can imagine, this guy was pretty impressed when we told him that all of this and more was available in one product. Infrared grills are super impressive when it comes to temperature, efficiency, and food quality. These aren't the only benefits, though! Let's take a closer look...
To make it simple, these grills are powered by infrared energy or radiant heating. Put it this way - your standard grill runs on conduction or convection energy, and this heat transfer takes place over a fairly compact area. While infrared grills do utilize propane to fuel the burners, the propane's only purpose is to super-charge the ceramic or stainless steel plates (burners) that rest underneath the cooking grates. These plates can reach temperatures of almost 1800°F (982°C)! The really cool part is that this entire warm-up process takes five minutes or less!
How does infrared technology cook and maintain the foods' natural juices?
All food is encased in a layer of moisture (air and water molecules, to be exact). The hot air that is generated by charcoal or gas grills penetrates and disturbs the moisture layer, causing your food to dry out as it cooks. With an infrared grill, the type of hot air that is circulated will not disrupt those molecules. This allows the food to cook evenly and retain up to 35% more of its own juices, resulting in tender and succulent food, guaranteed every time!
No sacrifices here! Remember - the radiant panels below the cooking grates are extremely hot! As the food cooks, the plates incinerate the drippings and create smoky plumes that add incredible flavor to your beef, pork, chicken, or vegetables. (Whose drooling? We know we are!)
What are some of the other benefits of an infrared grill?
Hold on to your hats! We've got an impressive list:
- Choose your technique - smoking, barbecuing, or roasting! No matter what you prefer, your food is going to be free of burnt, charred spots!
- Sear your steaks at 850°F, and then lower the heat to ensure the middle is nice and pink! You can pretty much count on those hunks of beef putting the high-end steakhouse ports and ribeyes to shame!
- Everything will cook evenly, through and through, because there are no hot and cold spots like you might find with traditional grills.
- Infrared grills use up to 50% less fuel on average than regular gas grills. A faster, cleaner burn gives you twice the grilling time on a standard propane cylinder!
- Forget the constant flare-ups! Infrared technology drastically reduces this incident. While some ceramic panel models (such as the Solaire Infrared Grills) may offer a subtle flame lick, this is nowhere near as dangerous as the boisterous upheavals that you'd experience with a charcoal or gas grill.
- No hassle clean-up! Simply turn up the heat on your infrared grill for 10 minutes (hood closed) and scorch away drippings. Then cool down and wipe clean!
- No side burners needed! Many models (such as TEC Infrared Grills) allow you to place your cookware directly on the cooking grates or radiant panels!
Nice weather is quickly approaching. Are you ready to reclaim your title as "Grillmaster"?