When you’re shopping for a new grill, you may think there are three main options: charcoal, gas, and electric.
There really is no right or wrong answer here and all that counts is finding a cooking method you’re comfortable with. Nothing rivals the smoky taste charcoal imparts, but not everyone enjoys the hands-on cooking method.
How about infrared grills, though?
The best infrared grill differs from a conventional grill by producing heat waves rather than simply producing hot air. Resultantly, infrared grills can kick out much more heat directly onto your food rather than relying on nonconductive air.
By harnessing this method, infrared grills can produce temperatures as high as 1200F. Contrast this with a traditional charcoal grill capable of heating to 550F, or a Kamado grill that might max out at 750F.
The technology used on these grills was first developed in the 1960s to help car makers dry the paint on new vehicles more rapidly. From here, a patented technology was introduced on high-end grills for commercial kitchens. This patent expired back in 2000, and this saw an explosion in pit grills for home use pioneering infrared technology.
Today, then, we’ll be addressing the pros and cons of infrared grills so you can determine whether one of these pricey but effective beasts deserves adding to your home.
I. Infrared Grills: Benefits
- Infrared grills cook your food quickly
- Locks all the juices inside
- Very fast preheating times
- Heat distribution is first class
- Versatility is uppermost
- Fewer flare-ups
Infrared grills cook your food quickly
If you’re looking for a grill capable of quickly searing steaks, there’s no substitute for an infrared grill.
Easily hitting temperatures of 700F, with some models cooking even hotter, you’ll sear your steaks quickly and easily with as little as a minute per side. This allows you to save lots of time when you’re cooking for bigger groups, and you’ll also get perfectly tender steaks on your plate.
Spend less time cooking and more time socializing with your guests when you grill with infrared.
Locks all the juices inside
Another primary benefit of infrared grills is the way they keep the inside of the food tender and juicy. This achieved through the radiant heat emitted that penetrates your meat without interfering with the moisture barrier. Gas grills produce a heat that breaks the moisture barrier, leading to potentially dry food.
Research shows that infrared grilling locks in one-third more of the meat’s natural juices than other grilling methods.
Very fast preheating times
All grills call for some preheating, but where a classic charcoal grill takes up to 20 minutes to preheat and a gas grill takes 10 to 15 minutes to warm up, infrared grills are good to go in no more than 5 minutes.
Heat distribution is first-class
Infrared grilling delivers even temperatures every time. Charcoal and gas grills, by contrast, often have hot or cold spots due to the conduction or convection heating methods involved. This can lead
to inconsistent results when you’re grilling.
Versatility is uppermost
When you’re using an infrared grill, you won’t need to use a side burner like you do when you’re grilling with gas. Simply place all your pots and pans on the grate of the infrared grill and you’re away. Cooking on a single surface streamlines your cookout and works well if you’re not the most experienced pitmaster.
Although infrared grills are capable of kicking out super-high temperatures, many can also cook at very low temperatures. This widens your options and allows you to slow cook or smoke dishes in your infrared grill.
Many grills are notorious for flare-ups. This can char your meat excessively, possibly even triggering health issues.
Flare-ups when you’re grilling occur when excess fat drips and catches alight. This sometimes happens if you’re grilling in windy conditions, and it can also happen when you load too much food onto the cooking surface.
When you’re using an infrared grill, though, you’ll end up with one of the most simple and stable cooking methods that should minimize any flare-up issues.
II. Infrared Grills: Drawbacks
- Infrared grills are heavy and bulky
- High temperatures can become a disadvantage
- These grills are typically quite expensive
Infrared grills are heavy and bulky
If you’ve browsed the above benefits and feel an infrared grill might make sense for you, the first thing you’ll notice when you’re comparing them is how heavy and bulky most of these models are.
While you’ll benefit from a rugged stainless steel build, you’ll also need to make sure you have enough space on the patio or deck to accommodate.
Infrared grills are seldom even remotely portable, so they make ideal permanent installations in the back yard, but poor travel grills.
Although you can find smaller and more lightweight infrared grills featuring wheels and handles, we would still not recommend this method of cooking for tailgating or camping. You’re better off with a simple traditional grill when you’re on the move.
High temperatures can become a disadvantage
While the high temperatures infrared grills can deliver speed up cooking and preheating times, this can spiral into a drawback if you end up burning your food.
The temperatures these grills kick out means it’s quite easy for your food to catch on if you take your eye of the grill. This is especially true when you’re cooking more delicate dishes like fish, seafood, and veggies.
If you fear this element of cooking with infrared technology, we would advise scoping out some of the more flexible models capable of cooking at much lower temperatures. Alternatively, choose a different grilling method if you don’t feel you’ll manage these high temperatures when you’re cooking out.
These grills are typically quite expensive
The final main drawback of infrared grills is the stiff price tag. You’ll typically enjoy a rock-solid stainless steel build married to precision engineering and pricey patented technology onboard.
Many of the best infrared grills are backed by a lifetime warranty, too, so while you need to dig deeper when you’re shopping for infrared grills, you’ll ultimately end up with a value-packed grill capable of lasting the distance.
When you’re comparing grills, there is only one thing of any importance: is it the right grill for you?
We hope today’s showcase of the pros and cons of infrared grilling has given you a clear understanding of how these nifty appliances work and where they stand and fall. For anyone looking to save time, cook quickly, and enjoy consistent results that remain tender and juicy inside, infrared grills are well worth exploring.
It’s well worth taking the time to familiarize yourself with the benefits and drawbacks of these grills before committing to purchase. They are certainly not cheap, and the last thing you want is any type of grill you struggle to use effectively.
Take a second to bookmark Madiba before you head off today and pop back soon for more informative content on all aspects of grilling. We’ll see you soon!