The world of grills is constantly changing, and that makes it slightly hard to follow. If you have paid close attention to store shelves and the grilling community, you’ve likely heard the words infrared grill. With all of the hype that infrared grills get, are they as good as everyone says that they are?
Infrared grills are superb due to their even heat distribution and fast grill time that’s unbeatable. However, their high cost makes them inaccessible for some people, and so does the hard to clean surface. With that said, there are countless options of infrared grills, and they are as fuel-efficient as they come.
The pros generally outweigh the cons when it comes to infrared grills, and they’re well worth it. Follow along as we dive into the pros and cons of owning an infrared grill.
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Benefits of Infrared Grills
Infrared grills boast no shortage of benefits, and that starts with the fast grilling that they provide. You get superb heat distribution with infrared grills, and you won’t have to worry about going through fuel in excess. Let’s take a look at some of the key benefits that come along with owning an infrared grill.
1. Heat Distribution
Anyone that is proficient on a grill knows that heat distribution is just as important as what you’re cooking. Uneven heating leads to meat that’s overcooked in some places and undercooked in others. If you know how to slow cook ribs on a Weber Grill, then you understand how important heat distribution is.
That is where infrared grills come in. Heat is evenly distributed across the infrared grill surface due to the heating element and infrared plate. When heat is unevenly distributed, you get cold and warm spots that are sporadic whether it be meat or veggies.
Any grill enthusiast can tell you that infrared grills are king when it comes to heat distribution. Going from a charcoal grill to an infrared grill, you’ll notice a remarkable difference in even heating.
2. Fast Grilling
Slow cooking and long days at the grill are a blast, but sometimes fast grilling is all that you need. The reason that infrared grills get the job done so quickly is that they employ radiation to cook the food. Infrared grill’s combination of heat and radiation bring meat, veggies, and otherwise to ideal temperature quickly.
When infrared grills first hit the scene, they were marketed as being hotter and faster. Infrared grills hit the mark in both departments, and that’s why grill masters with plenty of experience jumped on the bandwagon. You don’t have to worry about sacrificing quality for speed with infrared grills, and that’s all that you can ask for.
3. Fuel Efficient
Infrared grills give you the most bang for your buck in many ways, and that includes fuel consumption. One of the key benefits of infrared grills is that they preheat very quickly, and that means you won’t use much fuel. Fuel consumption is 30% lower with infrared grills than with traditional gas grills, and that’s a huge difference.
Not only does fuel efficiency save you money, but it’s also good for the environment. Fueling up a grill isn’t exactly fun, so any grill that lets you fuel up less is a win in any griller’s book.
4. Variety of Options
There are many types of grills, and infrared grills are just one great choice. However, within the category of infrared grills, there are many options to choose from. You can find small, portable infrared grills that cost $500, or even less, for example.
However, some high-end infrared grills that cost between $1,000 and $3,000 can hit 1,000-degree temperatures fast. If you can get your hands on a heat emitter infrared grill, you’ll get to enjoy the most even grilling experience of your life. Speed is important to many grillers, and in that case, you may want a radiant glass-panel system infrared grill.
Consider what you want out of your grilling experience and look for the infrared grill for you. You shouldn’t have trouble finding an infrared grill to meet your needs, it’s just a matter of affordability.
Downsides of Infrared Grills
Infrared grills are a blessing, but there are still downsides, such as its often exorbitant price. Seasoning meat and retaining flavor can be difficult, and the same can be said for cleaning infrared grills. There are some negative aspects of owning an infrared grill, and we are going to dive into them right now.
Infrared grills are quite sophisticated and impressive, but that causes them to be expensive. You will have a hard time finding good infrared grills that are below $1,000, and they’re a hefty investment. Granted, there are portable options that start around $500, but they aren’t quite as effective
The high cost of infrared grills has led some grilling experts to wonder if it is all just hype. To be fair, however, you can find grills for $3,000 or more whether they be gas, electric, or infrared. Luckily, infrared grills last for many years, so you can consider the high price tag a bit of an investment.
2. Hard To Clean
It’s not that cleaning an infrared grill is harder than cleaning any other type, but you do have to be more careful. Infrared grills work via a heating element and infrared plate that need to be cleaned just like the rest of it. Because of that, special care is required to ensure these key parts don’t get damaged and render the grill useless.
The best way to keep your infrared grill clean is by burning off any dipped fat and excess grease. This can be annoying for grill owners looking to chow down and take the rest of the night off. Infrared grills are known to smoke up heavily if they aren’t cleaned regularly, so it’s a bit of a catch 22.
One thing that works in infrared grills favor is the intense heat that they put off. Sure, it can be hard to clean infrared grills, but it’s at least easy to burn off excess grease. If you know how to clean a flat top grill, you know what to expect with an infrared grill.
3. Hard To Season
Seasoning meat and vegetables with an infrared grill are complicated for a few reasons. The main reason is that infrared grills preheat quickly, and that glosses over a critical part of the seasoning. When meat and veggies are preheating, the seasoning seeps into the food and gives it flavor.
However, if you speed up the preheating process, then the food being grilled takes on less flavor. This can be an issue if you are cooking, say, steaks and ribs, but personal taste is a factor. Sometimes it is a struggle to get your food to retain the flavor of any given seasoning when you use an infrared grill.
Also, you will miss out on the classic smoky taste that is coveted by many grillers and meat lovers. Such flavors can be achieved with artificial products, but if it’s important to you, then infrared grills may not be your thing.
When you hear the words radiation and infrared, you probably think of the word carcinogens. You would be correct in relating these words to one another, and that’s a downside of infrared grills. While infrared grills can be carcinogenic, so too can charcoal grills, and sometimes infrared is even safer.
The carcinogens that can be created have nothing to do with the radiation and are related to burns. Infrared grills produce extreme heat, and that can lead to burned meat and veggies, releasing carcinogens. However, you are more likely to create carcinogens when you burn food with a charcoal grill than an infrared grill.
Primarily, infrared grills only create a risk for carcinogens at high temperatures. This can be avoided by keeping a close eye on the food and pulling it before it burns. Infrared grills are not carcinogenic on their own, but burning food is carcinogenic.
Summing It Up
There is a reason why infrared grills are so popular, and it all comes down to quality. You can grill your food of choice faster than any other available option, and it all cooks evenly. There is also a huge variety of options when it comes to infrared grills, but unfortunately, they are generally no cheaper than $500-$1,000.
Infrared grills are difficult to clean due to their construction and the infrared plate present in them. If you love to season your meat, you may have a hard time retaining the full flavor when using an infrared grill. Luckily, the heat distribution provided by infrared grills is superb, and you’ll never need to worry about cold spots on your meat.
You must exercise caution when using an infrared grill due to the fast heating and use of radiation. As long as you don’t burn your food, you won’t need to worry about carcinogens with infrared grills. If you are on the fence about infrared grills, pull the trigger, buy one, and you won’t regret it.