Now that it’s cooling off and no longer hotter than Hades it’s time to get outside and grill! Backyard grills have come a long way from the ‘ol charcoal grill and there’s plenty of option out there for the grill master. You won’t have any trouble finding steadfast loyalists to the myriad of ways to cook outside. You’ve got plenty of charcoal, propane, and smoker fans and they’re soon to be joined by hoards of infrared devotees!
How Do Infrared Grills Work
Think about that last delicious steak you had at your favorite steakhouse. How perfectly cooked and delicious it was. Have you ever tried to recreate that steak? How’d that work out for you? Most home cooks haven’t been able to recreate this kind of deliciousness because the key is frequently infrared technology which, until the last handful of years, has been far too expensive for most backyard grillers. That’s all changed now and you’ll see infrared grills at your local retailer.
Like so many things that are completely awesome, infrared grills are rooted in science. Perhaps you recall the electromagnetic spectrum? Well, in between visible light and microwaves you’ll find infrared. Certain infrared wavelengths create heat. Step outside on any sunny day and you can feel the Sun’s heat. That’s infrared. S
Charcoal and gas grills are primarily cooking via convection. The flames (or coals) heat the surrounding air and that air rises and circulates through the grill and cooks the food it surrounds. It also has a tendency to dry food out. Infrared works by using the heating element to heat a ceramic plate that is situated between the element and your grill top. That ceramic plate then gives off infrared heat and that radiates up and cooks the food.
Why Infrared Cooking is Awesome
First and foremost, using an infrared grill is healthier for you than charcoal and gas grills because you aren’t creating carcinogens. At the same time you’re able to get as close as possible to the taste of a charcoal grill without the harmful ash and cancer causing carcinogens.
Infrared also cooks your food in less time and and that faster cooking helps retain the fluid in your food so your food isn’t as dried out as with other grilling methods. It also locks in that flavor when it sears the outside quickly.
With infrared cooking you also have even cooking in a way that you just cannot get with charcoal and gas grills. There will always be hot spots and cooler areas with these methods of grilling. This means you frequently end up with some food that is cooked far faster than other. Or worse, a single piece of meat can often end up unevenly cooked.
With infrared you can have your food cook in significantly less time and have it all off the grill at the same time.
Why It’s Not Always The Best Option
If you like smokey food this is not the method for you. You cannot add a smoker box to an infrared grill. You also aren’t completely free from the risk of carcinogens. While it’s delicious to have a medium rare steak it’s not so glamorous to eat a medium rare chicken. With some meats and cuts in order to get the internal temperature where it needs to be you could end up burning your food and burned meat is a carcinogen. That said, pair this puppy up with a sous vide machine and you’re on the path to complete culinary magic, brought to you by science.
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Do you have an infrared grill? What do you think about it? Are you in love or do you have some buyers remorse? Share your stories with us in the comments below or on our Facebook page!