Barbeque Cooking is a Worldwide Culinary Adventure
When all countries are considered barbeque cooking, is the number one method of preparing a meal. The Chinese do it, the Mongols are famous for it, and the Brazilians make it a lunch and dinner feast. Americans love to barbeque and do it every chance they get so what was once a summer outdoor meal experience has turned into a year-round culinary adventure especially when the food is cooked so it’s eatable. Not all outdoor barbeque grills are equal in terms of component quality, heat distribution, and cooking time so the perfect weekend meal can turn into a burnt mess that’s thrown into the dog’s dish or stuffed down the disposal.
Restaurants unlocked the secret of cooking the perfect steak years ago when they started using a technology developed for the auto industry. Infrared gas burners were developed in the early 1960s to dry car paint faster on automobile assembly lines and that technology instigated the development of a ceramic infrared gas burner that could be used in a gas barbeque grill. There was a patent on the infrared burner so there were only a couple companies that sold them and they kept the price high enough to make a healthy profit selling the grills to restaurants and affluent consumers who could afford them.
The patent expired over twenty years ago and now infrared barbeque grills are the darlings of the backyard cooking industry. There are over seventeen million barbeque grills shipped to retailers every year and over sixty percent of them are gas or propane models. Seventy five percent of all Americans have an outdoor grill and many of those backyard chefs are trading their vintage charcoal grill or their outdated gas grill in for a new infrared grill that cooks meats and vegetables like the restaurants do, meaning to perfection or the chef’s version of perfection.
The Pros and Cons of the Infrared Barbeque Grill
The hype that has developed around the infrared barbeque grill is not all smoke. Infrared grills are capable of producing meals that are cook to perfection and many of them look like they just dropped off the cover of Bon Appetite, but there are a few things to know before any chef decides to invest several hundred dollars in an infrared barbeque grill.
Infrared burners cook hot and that means they reach temperatures that exceed one thousand degrees. Infrared burners don’t heat the air around the food like conventional burners; they actually use radiation to cook food. In other words, the infrared ceramic burners turn the pressurized gas into radiant heat that travels through the food on waves of light. Most people use a similar concept everyday when they cook a meal in their microwave oven.
The beauty of infrared burners is in their heat distribution. They distribute heat evenly which means even when the food is not on a direct flame it cooks in the same amount of time. Another advantage is infrared burners get super hot in less than a minute so cooking time is greatly reduced. The concave grates catch the juice as the food is prepared and it is vaporized so natural juices and flavor stay in the food during the cooking process. That vaporization process eliminates most of the mess so cleaning an infrared grill takes less time than the cooking the meal.
There are a few cons when it comes to infrared grills. If the cook is not focused on cooking it’s easy to burn meats and other foods. Vegetable and some fish recipes take a little extra effort because the burners may be too hot to maintain the integrity of those dishes. The expense of owning an infrared barbeque grill is usually the biggest issue, but the longevity of these grills, plus their ability to produce great meals in a shorter amount of time makes them a sound financial choice.