Infrared gas grills are gaining popularity among grilling enthusiasts. They offer distinct advantages, including higher heat, better searing, and more even cooking. This type of grill uses the same fuel as other gas grills to heat up a ceramic plate, which then puts off infrared radiation. This intense heat is used to cook the meat, and can reach temperatures much higher than traditional gas or charcoal grills.
How It Works
The heating element in an infrared grill is situated below ceramic plates. Traditional grills use the heat source to warm the air around the food. Infrared grills use the heat source to heat the ceramic plate directly. The ceramic plate then gives of infrared heat, which is used to directly cook the food.
Many newer, high-end grills are taking advantage of the benefits of using infrared heat. It’s becoming more common to find grills offering only the infrared method. Combination grills have also begun to rise in popularity. These grills have the ceramic plate on only a part of the grill.
The main advantage that attracts people to infrared grills is the ability to sear meat evenly and quickly. This locks in the juices before they have the chance to drip out, making for very juicy and moist meats. Infrared heat is the choice of most chefs because of its ability to evenly brown the meat while not overcooking the inside.
Infrared heat allows for even heat control. Traditional grills heat the air around the meat unevenly, meaning one part of the meat may be cooked as desired while the other half is not. Infrared grills distribute the heat, making sure the meat is cooked correctly throughout.
Another appeal is that infrared gas grills cook quickly because of the high heat. Meats are done in a matter of minutes rather than 10 or 20 minutes. This also allows all the meat on the grill to be done and taken off at the same time. However, this makes it less than ideal for grilling things other than meat, such as vegetables or other side items. These foods may burn before being cooked thoroughly.
Since the heat is coming from a ceramic plate, meats do not come off the grill with the smoky flavor. Smoker boxes cannot be added to an infrared gas grill. This can be considered a deal breaker for many enthusiasts.
Because this heat is meant for cooking the outside quickly, meats that need to be cooked thoroughly may burn before they are done. Chicken, for example, is likely to not reach safe temperatures on an infrared grill without burning the outside. The black, charred bits on burnt meat are actually known carcinogens, and may increase chances of cancer.
Infrared gas grills are excellent for cooking restaurant quality steaks, and for finishing off other meats by searing the outside. Although they do have some disadvantages, the features offered by these grills are more than enough to make them appealing to beginners and experts alike.