Infrared grills have become a popular component in today’s cookouts. In this kind of grill, the flame from the burning heats an infrared element that radiates heat to the food, instead of heating the food directly. People use them to grill ribs, burgers, steaks, seafood, and plenty more while out in the summer.
However, are infrared grills as valuable as they seem to be? Below is an in-depth look at the pros and cons of infrared grills:
Pros of Infrared Grills
It takes little time to cook
If your crowd is super hungry and you have plenty of food to cook, then the infrared grill is for you. Its temperatures can climb up to 700 degrees, meaning that your meat dishes will not only cook faster but also safely and efficiently. With these incredible temperatures, you should be able to flip your meat in less than two minutes and serve your guests sooner than they thought.
Even better, since your food will cook fast, you will spend more of your time interacting with your guests rather than spending hours sweating over the grill. If you are cooking using a gas grill, you might get stressed, standing for hours monitoring your food.
Infrared grills preheat quickly
This advantage may be linked to the first, but is significant as all grills need to be preheated before you start cooking. A charcoal grill will take anywhere between 10 and 20 minutes to preheat, while a gas grill will take 8-15 minutes. However, your infrared grill will only take 5 minutes to reach your desired temperature.
Even heat distribution
Traditional grills (charcoal and gas grills) rely on conduction and convection as their modes of heat transfer, which leads to inconsistencies in heat distribution within the food. Infrared grills use radiation and, therefore, do not have any cold spots on the cooking surface. Any meat chop you have will cook evenly, meaning you will get a better taste.
Infrared grills are super versatile.
With an infrared grill, you will not need a stove outside, as you can have your pots and pans on the grate. If you had a gas grill, you would require a side burner to cook other dishes, such as stews. Today’s infrared grills also come with lower temperature settings you can use for sautéing and other slow-cooking techniques.
Your food will be juicier and more delicious.
Your infrared grill’s element produces heat that penetrates meat without ruining its moisture barrier. Gas grills, on the other hand, produce hot air that disrupts the moisture barrier, rendering the meat dry. Since the infrared element produces radiant heat rather than hot air, food remains optimally flavorful and juicy.
Again, since the cooking doesn’t take hours, your food’s natural flavors and juices are more likely to maintain their structure.
They are highly efficient.
Since they require less pre-heating and cooking time, infrared grills will require way less gas than regular gas grills. As you cook, the grill also loses less heat as it transfers the radiant heat directly into your food.
Gas grills need to heat the air around the burner to cook food, meaning that heat is lost throughout the cooking period. Infrared heating saves users up to 30% gas, making them efficient and cost-effective.
Infrared grills are durable
In addition to being efficient, an infrared grill will serve you for years. Since they are made of the 304 stainless steel variant, they are super resistant to corrosion, which is important when dealing with metal and high temperatures.
However, to enjoy this feature, you will need to invest in a high-quality model. This is especially true if you hold plenty of backyard parties or cookouts, or are a chef that requires reliable grilling machinery.
They are easy to clean
Most grills require scrapping and other forms of tedious cleaning, but not the infrared. If you use a charcoal grill, you probably know how messy they get from the sauces, grime, and juices that burned into the grate.
However, all an infrared grill requires is for you to wipe it clean. These also have a self-clean feature that turns the grill up to the highest temperature. Effectively, all food particles and drippings on the grate will be turned into ash.
Infrared grills have significantly fewer flare-ups.
Flare-ups happen in most grills when there is a gust of wind or fat from food drips, causing your food to get charred. Charring is especially undesirable when cooking meat due to health concerns. You will also have to monitor the grill constantly to put out the flares. Thanks to the unique technology used in infrared grills, flare-ups are quite rare when using them.
Cons of Infrared Grills
They are quite costly.
You may have to cough up around $1,000 for a good infrared grill. Their advanced technology and high-quality stainless steel may explain their high price. Some companies even have unique and patented features that make their infrared grills that much more effective at any kind of grilling.
However, infrared grills are known to last for years. You also want to check for a company that offers a good warranty while purchasing your grill. Do plenty of research to help you invest in the right infrared grill.
Infrared grills are barely portable
These grills are massive and heavy, so they will take up space in your backyard. Moving yours to a friend’s for a party or camping trip will also be cumbersome (if not impossible) as they are made of heavy stainless steel. If portability and room are significant factors for you, consider seeking a 3-burner infrared burner.
You might also find a lighter infrared grill with handles and wheels, but you will be forced to compromise on the amount of cooking area you will have.
The high temperatures
The high temperatures offered by the infrared element allow the grill to cook food fast. However, if not adequately monitored, your food might burn. Some infrared grills do not have a low temperature setting.
With this kind of grill, cooking seafood and vegetables may prove difficult. If you are a seafood enthusiast or vegetarian, look specifically for an infrared grill with a low-temperature setting.