Since the original patent on outdoor infrared grills expired in 2000, there has been quite an explosion of new models onto the market. But what are some infrared grill benefits, and what makes the technology so popular in the first place? And what are some of the best infrared grills available for your home?
The experts at Appliances Connection are here to answer all your questions about infrared outdoor grills, from how they work to what benefits you get from using them. Whether you're in the market for a freestanding grill or a built-in one, natural gas or propane, hybrid or fully infrared, there are a lot of options to consider.
How Does Infrared Grilling Work?
Infrared grilling uses propane or natural gas to heat up a cooking plate that goes immediately below the food that's being cooked. This plate is usually ceramic, but it can be made of glass or metal in some cases, as well — we'll tell you more about that later. The plate heats up to a very high temperature using less gas than it would take to heat a regular grill to the same temperature.
Our Expert Picks
Appliances Connection is proud to offer a huge selection of grills that cook using infrared heat. Many of these grills are hybrid options, which allow you to choose between traditional gas grilling and infrared based on your needs. (More about that later.) Here are some of our favorites.
This freestanding liquid propane grill from MHP Grills provides a whole suite of features that make it a great addition to any outdoor kitchen. Its hybrid setup gives you three distinct cooking zones, allowing you to cook multiple food items at once. It comes with 48,000 BTUs of heating power, making it powerful, and it uses its 574 sq. in. of cooking area quite efficiently. MHP has even paid attention to the little details, such as the stainless steel Sta-Cool handle, which makes it easy and safe to open the lid, even when using the infrared burner.
Lynx's Professional Series, meanwhile, offers this gorgeous infrared grill. At 42 in. wide, with 1,200 sq. in. of grilling area, and with built-in installation, it's certain to be the centerpiece of any outdoor kitchen. Lynx has pioneered the Trident™ infrared burner, giving you an output of up to 23,000 BTUs and allowing you to go from 300° F to 1,000° F, easily grilling even delicate seafood. It's also constructed out of seamless metal, preventing moisture from getting in.
If you're looking for an even larger infrared grill, consider this one from Napoleon. At 94 in. wide, it can handle even the largest family gatherings. Meanwhile, its twin head cooking system allows you to create two completely distinct cooking zones with a stainless steel warming burner between them. The 9.5 mm stainless steel wave cooking grids are heavy-duty and will provide distinct sear marks without a lot of effort on your part, and the integrated wood chip smoking tray adds even more versatility to your grilling experience.
What Are Hybrid Infrared Gas Grills?
Hybrid infrared gas grills combine two or more distinct methods of cooking. They have an area where you can cook foods as you would cook them over any gas stove, and they also have an infrared area for hotter cooking. Many hybrid grills place the infrared zone at the rear of the grill, allowing you to rotisserie food with the best results.
Because of the way they mix cooking methods, hybrid grills are a great option if you plan on cooking multiple foods at the same time, or if you just need a little extra staging room on your grill.
The Benefits of Infrared Grilling
Both hybrid and infrared grilling have a huge range of benefits for your cooking. One of the first benefits you'll notice when you turn on an infrared grill is that it takes much less time to preheat than a traditional grill does. Many infrared grills can fully preheat in as little as three minutes! This also translates to faster cooking times, meaning that you'll be able to accommodate larger groups than you would with a gas grill.
Another thing you'll be sure to note is that infrared grills provide powerful, even heat. With infrared grilling, you don't have to worry about hot or cold spots. This also leads to your food retaining more moisture as it cooks, making for particularly tender meat. You can expect a high-quality sear on that meat, as well.
Finally, because an infrared grill works by heating up a special plate, it comes with a much lower risk of food catching fire, even when cooking at the highest temperatures. When cooking with infrared, you have fewer flare-ups and a greater level of safety than you do with traditional gas.
Infrared Burner Variations
Choosing a grill with an infrared burner doesn't mean sacrificing versatility on your grill. Since the development of infrared grilling, quite a lot of features connected with the technology have emerged, including:
- Ceramic infrared burner systems, which are the most common type of infrared grill. These place a cooking grid a few inches higher than a ceramic plate. This plate is exposed to burning gas, thus radiating heat. With this type of burner system, you can expect temperatures between 600° F and 1,000° F.
- Radiant glass burners, which set a cooking grid (usually made from stainless steel) over a panel of radiant glass. These generally cook at lower temperatures than ceramic systems, reaching from between 200° F and 850° F. If you plan to do a lot of low-heat cooking on an infrared grill, you may want to look into getting one of these.
- Heat emitters, which place the cooking grid directly over a heat emitter. This is the safest way to grill with infrared heat, practically eliminating the chance of flare-ups, but it comes at the cost of temperature. A heat emitter usually has a temperature range of 300° F and 650° F.
Recipe to Try: Rosemary-Brined Rotisserie Chicken
This recipe for rosemary-brined rotisserie chicken is one of many that comes to us from Weber and professional chef Jamie Purviance. The brine combines rosemary, caraway seed, garlic, and black pepper to make a delicious result. It's extremely simple to make — the hardest part is waiting for the chicken to soak up the brine! Meanwhile, you get all the convenience and health benefits of cooking on a rotisserie.
What can you cook on an infrared grill?
If you can cook it on a traditional gas grill, you can also cook it on infrared. This includes delicate food items such as small fish, sausages, and even stuffed vegetables.
Is it safe to grill bacon?
Although it is safe (and it can be delicious) to grill bacon, you can't just throw the strips onto your grill. Be certain to place your bacon on something solid, like a sheet of aluminum foil, to prevent the grease from dripping down and causing a fire.
Are infrared grills hard to clean?
When cleaning an infrared grill, be especially careful when cleaning the heating element. In many cases, you can set your infrared grill to its highest setting to char any stuck-on food, making them even easier to clean than you would expect. Aside from this, you can clean an infrared grill in much the same way as you would clean a regular gas grill.