Infrared grills are not new technology; they have been used in high end restaurants for years, but hey are relatively new for home use. These grills have generally been more expensive than other types, but the price has reduced in the past few years making them a good option for residential barbequing.
The cooking method is different from charcoal or convection ovens, because it uses heated ceramic tiles to cook the food. The heat is provided by propane gas in most cases but can also be provided by natural gas. This is heat you can feel but not see. The heat is directly transferred to the food, not from hot metal as in frying or by heating air or water as in baking or boiling. The infrared radiation from the heated ceramic tiles cooks the food. It is considered the best option for grilling different types of meat.
There are several reasons why it is considered good for cooking meat. It heats fast, so the meat cooks faster keeping in the flavor. Also, there is very little air circulation in an infrared grill which contributes to the fast cooking time and keeping in the juices of the meat. Many consider the flavor of the infrared cooked meat to taste like charcoal grilled meat. These are the main reasons they are used in restaurants.
In conventional grills the juice and food particles drip and drop onto the grill and this has to be cleaned every time it is used. If it is not regularly cleaned it will gradually corrode. The heat in infrared grills is approximately 300 degrees higher than conventional grills and this acts as a self-cleaning agent that quickly burns any debris that falls off of the food.
Infrared grills are not only fast and clean they are a very safe way to cook meat. They do not produce electromagnetic radiation and do not alter the food in any way. They use radiant heating which is evenly distributed and very healthy. Care should be taken that the meat does not burn, because the cooking time is greatly reduced compared to other types of grills and the food will cook faster than expected. This is one reason it is so good for meat and may not be the best alternative for vegetables, fish or other foods that require low temperature. However, quick grilled veggies can be delicious.
Any grilled food can contain advanced glycation end products (AGE) which are linked to health problems such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, vascular disease, heart and kidney diseases. Recent studies show that eating moderate amounts of foods that are cooked without charring is not a risk. You can enjoy your grilled food in an infrared grill if you are careful that it does not burn. Check it often until you are very familiar with the amount of time each item takes to cook. Infrared grills will come with instructions and safety practices. These should be followed for safe and healthy eating.
Many models of infrared grills have been introduced into the market in 2010. There are different prices depending on the features and construction material. The less expensive ones may be made from low quality stainless steel and plastic and may not last as long as a more durable product. Some of the features available on some models are, up to 3 infrared gas burners, foldable stainless steel racks, cooking grids, rotisserie kits and more. Portable infrared grills are relatively inexpensive and heat up within the first 3 minutes. They can cook more than 50% faster that traditional gas grills.
An infrared grill will cook evenly so the food does not have to be rearranged every few minutes. It will flare-up less than conventional grills which gives less chance for unhealthy burned food. It is much easier to keep clean as it cleans itself and only a little wiping with a soft cloth and dishwashing liquid is needed. It may cost a little more, but it is worth it.