Grilling is ideal for cooking vegetables, fish, chicken breasts and steaks while at the same retaining their flavor and nutrients. Of the different types of grills that you can get for your cooking needs, the traditional charcoal and gas grills are the most common. However, there is a new kid on the block in the form of infrared grills.
They are the result of technological advancement whereby the heat used to cook the meals is distributed by way of radiation rather than the convection and conduction method employed by traditional outdoor cooking devices.
This, however, is not to say that they are the best when it comes to preparing grilled meals as they aren’t without their drawbacks. Check which are infrared grills pros and cons.
All about Infrared Grills
Infrared grills have become quite popular with people appreciative of how fast and effective they are in cooking meals.
They run on either coal or gas just like the traditional ones with the only difference being the presence of an infrared element that radiates heat within the unit.
How do infrared grills work?
The coal or gas fuel is primarily for heating the IR element with the radiant heat generated by the IR element used for cooking the meals. The radiant heat is distributed evenly across the cooking device and ensures that meals get cooked evenly without charring or getting undercooked.
Fast and even grilling
This reduces the chances of cancer and stomach upsets that result from eating charred or undercooked meals. Infrared grills also prepare meals very quickly since they have the capacity of producing a lot of heat. They are popular with cooks and chefs who prepare a lot of food and they expect them to be ready quickly so that they can serve their clients.
Before you decide to pick one over other types of grills, it is important that you understand the infrared grill’s pros and cons.
What is the advantage of an infrared grill?
With more and more people choosing infrared grills over the traditional ones, most manufacturers are opting to add an IR element into the traditional grills to attract such buyers. These are the benefits of such grills.
Less cooking time
Infrared cooking devices cook meals faster than their traditional counterparts and this one of their biggest advantage. With the ability to generate temperatures up to 700F, they ensure that your meals are done in a short period of time.
When you invite friends over for a barbecue, you will spend very little time cooking and a lot of time bonding. This way, infrared grills play a part in bringing people together. You will spend very little time standing and this will prevent you from getting tired while your guests are relaxed.
This is another feature that makes these units the best in the business. Very little heat is lost by it when cooking and this makes it quite an energy-efficient. It doesn’t require any form of preheating as the heat is quickly distributed within the grill so you won’t use any fuel for this purpose.
The meals are heated directly by the radiant energy so they will be cooked up faster. This will ensure that you won’t use a lot of fuel. You will, therefore, be able to save a lot of money on fuel when you cook your meals on this type of device.
Proper heat distribution
As it pertains to the distribution of heat within the grill when cooking food, the conventional and conduction methods employed by traditional grills cause a lot of inconsistencies. This is why meals prepared by such models feature hot and cold spots that are a manifestation of the heat distribution inconsistencies.
Infrared grills, on the other, distribute heat evenly within the cooking device and this results in fewer flare-ups and eliminates the hot and cold spots completely.
Produces tasty and juicy meals
They produce the tastiest and juiciest of meals of all grills that are available to buy. The radiant heat produced by the IR element penetrates the meals without breaking their moisture barrier and this ensures that the meals don’t dry out. The foods won’t lose the moisture so they retain their natural flavor and goodness.
The disadvantages of infrared grills
Just like anything on our planet, infrared grills aren’t without their drawbacks. With their pros already explained above, it is important that you understand their cons as well to make the best buying decision. Let’s now take a look at their cons.
The lack of a low-temperature setting
These cooking devices lack a low-temperature setting and this makes them less ideal for cooking soft dishes. The high heat developed within the unit will overcook fish and vegetable recipes, thereby making them not fit for consumption.
Infrared grills are heavy and bulky
As a result of their complicated features, infrared devices are usually heavy and bulky and less portable. There are models that are light in weight and easy to move around but such grills usually lack some essential features that are needed for effective cooking.
They are also quite expensive when compared to traditional grills. It is because of their advanced features and the sophisticated technology that was used to configure the unit.
Is infrared grilling healthy?
Infrared grilling uses radiant energy to cook the food, similar to a microwave that uses electromagnetic energy. It is known that a microwave can cause cancer, however, these types of units don’t denature the proteins in meat.
How hot does an infrared grill get?
They are very efficient when it comes to high temperatures and even cooking. These cooking units can reach 700 degrees F in about 7 minutes.
How long do you grill a steak on an infrared grill?
If you preheated the grill for about 10-15 minutes you will need just a minute to sear the steak on each side. This is the most obvious advantage of infrared grilling – fast cooking.
How do you cook burgers on an infrared grill?
Preheat the device for 10-15 minutes and place your burgers on the grates. Your perfect burger depends on the desired cooking time (rare, medium-rare, or well-done). Sliders are usually done in 3-5 minutes while full-sized patties in 8-10 minutes. Chicken and pork burgers should take longer to cook than beef ones.
Is infrared grill better than gas?
It depends on what are you looking for in grilling. If you take a look at the cooking time, this one cooks faster and more even than a gas grill because the heat is focusing directly on the food items. A gas unit works through convection while infrared one distributes heat to the food by radiation. The air circulates less in infrared cooking.
Can you convert a regular gas grill to infrared?
If you have a gas cooking unit you can transform it into infrared one. How to do that? I have a step-by-step guide to get the job done. Here is what you will have to do.
First, remove the grill grates from your gas device. You should just lift them up and remove them. However, if you have problems, read the manual on how to do that.
Now measure the width and length of the grates using measuring tape.
Get infrared grates that will fit your existing grill. Look for them at the store where grilling accessories sell. Don’t worry if you get a bit larger ones as you can cut them to the right size.
If you got a bit larger grates, cut them off using the jigsaw that has a carbide-tipped blade. You can also use a band or table saw. Before you make the cut measure them again so you won’t make the wrong cut. For heat convection cut them 1-2 inches shorter than the original grates.
Now your new grates are ready to be used. Place them on the grill and you are ready to start your cookout.
Are infrared grills hard to clean?
No, they are not hard to clean as you will just burn off the food particles and grease that have accumulated on the grates. Preheat your grill by turning the heat on high, close the lid and wait for 15 minutes.
Cool the device so you can remove the remains with a nylon brush. You can help yourself with a metal scraper if you have baked-on food particles. After you cleaned them, coat them with the oil so the food won’t stick to them the next time.
Is infrared grill worth it?
Would you get an infrared grill to feed your backyard guests? They are the best when it comes to fast and even food preparation. They are more expensive than other types of grills but this is because of the infrared technology that uses radiant heat. You should know that they are less heavy and less portable but worth the money if you want to serve tasty and juicy dishes in no time.