September 10, 2017

Best Infrared Grill: Enjoy Hotter and Faster Grilling

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Infrared grill is the new favorite among the barbecue enthusiasts, and for a good reason--it’s just the better way to grill meat. It has been making waves among those who want to cook outdoor because of this unique way of cooking food which is through radiation.

Other grills like charcoal gas grill used the convection process, that is the flow of hot air, to cook food. Infrared grill, on the other hand, does not rely on the flow of hot air, rather, on the radiation of heat towards the food. A hot plate is placed above the burner. This can either be glass, ceramic or metal and it absorbs the heat which it then radiates to the food.

Advantages of Infrared Grill​

Fast heat up

Less energy consumption

Food is more moist

Superior food flavor

Cooks better even in cold weather

Even Heat distribution

Easy to clean

​Disadvantages of Infrared Grill

  • Difficult to operate
  • No lower heat mechanism
  • More expensive than regular grills
  • Some models are high maintenance

While infrared grills are generally easy to clean, some models require higher maintenance than others due to more delicate and complicated components.

​Types of Infrared Grill

To achieve infrared cooking, different infrared grills use different technologies. The different grills reviewed here used these different technologies and it helped me discover its strengths and weaknesses. Some of the grills that you will find use a combination of these technologies blurring the distinction. Still, others combine infrared with traditional grill all in one machine. These are hybrid machines which have their own merits as well.​

  • Ceramic burners
  • Glass panels
  • Sear plates

Ceramic is the most common material used for grilling system. You can find this in most infrared grills including the top rated ones in the market today. The design of ceramic sear burners is basically just a slab of ceramic materials which transfer extreme heat to the food using fewer open flames.

I have observed that ceramic burners attain the highest temperature among the grills I reviewed. This is a good thing but it also requires some skills to operate because even in low settings, the grill is still extremely hot. On top of that, it’s easy to clean because the extreme heat just incinerates all the meat drippings.​

​My Top 7 Infrared Grills

There are basically three ways to cook: conduction, convection, and radiation. Radiation is the new way of cooking and this review is the result of my own entry to it. Here are my top seven infrared grills.​

Char-Broil Professional TRU 4-Burner Cabinet

Via Amazon.com

Inviting the neighbor over for cookout is easy with the Char-Broil Professional TRU 4-Burner Cabinet. With a 525-square inch cooking space, it can easily handle huge feast. After cooking the food, you can allow it to rest at the 200-square inch porcelain-coated warming rack.

The Surefire Electronic ignition system ensures that there is no start-up failure in every burner and the four top-ported 443 stainless steel tube burner delivers lasting performance and reliable temperature control.


Pros

  • Reliable electric ignition
  • Equipped with powerful 13,000 btu side burner
  • Equipped with 443 stainless steel tube burner

Cons

  • A bit difficult to clean

Solaire SOL-IR17MWR Marine Grade Portable Infrared Propane Gas Grill

Via Amazon.com

Highly portable and real infrared and stainless steel burner, the Solaire SOL-IR17MWR is just a superlative cooking implement. It sports a 140 square-inch cooking area, suitable enough for 6 4-inch burgers. This grill will now shy away from ribs and other steaks with its ceramic and stainless steel burner. The v-grate form factor of the grill improves flavor and you can observe really minimum flare ups.

To make operation easy, it comes with a variety of accessories including a tripod, tank adapter, portable stand, low-pressure propane kit, mount adapter plate, natural gas conversion and grid scraper. The entire grill is around 20 pounds, portable enough for most outdoor cookouts with the neighbors.


Pros

  • Really juicy meat cooking result
  • Very portable at 20lbs
  • Comes with a variety of accessories

Cons

  • A bit expensive for a portable grill

Char-Broil Electric Bistro 180

Via Amazon.com

Char-Broil Electric Bistro 180 is your best option when gas and charcoal are not good options for outdoor grilling on your patio, deck and balcony. This grill is even portable enough for away-from-home cookout.

TRU-infrared technology truly delivers juicier food and almost absent flare-ups and even heat distribution without any cold spots.

It has removable dial which you can plug to any 120V power outlet which will give you a 1,500 Watts of grilling power. The 245-square inch cooking area is wide enough for medium cookouts and the porcelain grilling grate is just perfect for meat and vegetable alike.


Pros

  • Small portable form factor
  • Electric powered
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor grilling

Cons

  • Not suitable for thick steak

Char-Broil Big Easy

Via Amazon.com

The most unique among the grills reviewed in terms of form factor, the Char-Broil Big Easy will grill, smoke or broil you food inside a cylindrical structure. A 25-pound turkey of a large cut brisket is no match for this grill with its TRU-infrared technology which proves to deliver evenly cooked and juicy food without flare ups.

It can accommodate a maximum capacity of 25 pounds for roasting and 180-square inches of grilling area. If you want to add flavor, you can use the smoker box.

This is one serious cooking implement. It has a temperature range of 9,000 to 18,000 btu. What I like about this product is that it’s not a single purpose one. It can double as a broiler, smoker and an oven at the same time.


Pros

  • Multipurpose
  • Affordable as far as infrared grills go
  • Consistently juicy result

Cons

  • The grilling area is a bit limited

Magma Products, A10-918-2GS Newport 2 Infra Red Gourmet Series Gas Grill

Via Amazon.com

This product from Magma allows you to view the food as it cooks with its tempered glass viewing window. Proudly made in the US, its dynamic combustion system ensures even heat distribution even in heavy winds.

The infrared technology called "Anti-Flare" produces intense heat, reduces flare-ups and immediately incinerates meat drippings giving your food a great smokey flavor. This makes this machine ideal for outdoor cooking.

Its electronic ignition system ensures failure-free start-ups. With a grilling area of 162-square inch, it’s perfect for grilling chicken breasts, burgers, steaks or fish.


Pros

  • Made from mirror polished stainless steel
  • Foldable legs allow for greater portability.
  • Heat level is controlled by enclosed thermometer

Cons

  • Temperature is displayed in colors but not in degrees

TEC G-Sport FR Propane Gas Grill On Stainless Steel Pedestal

Via Amazon.com

This review won’t be complete if we don’t include an infrared grill that sports a radiant glass panel burner. This is a unique technology from TEC at the moment, it uses glass panels to radiate the heat instead of ceramic or the standard sear plate.

It sports a whoping 22,000 btu rated infrared burner with radiant glass panel that won’t shy away from anything you want to cook. The cooking area is 309-square inch which is bigger than anything reviewed so far. Despite its huge power, this grill is totally portable. My only gripe against this grill is that it’s too expensive.


Pros

  • High-temperature range
  • Radiant glass panel
  • Wide cooking area

Cons

  • Too expensive

Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill

Via Amazon.com

The Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill is a unique product in the sense that it is the only charcoal powered infrared grill in this review. This machine is for those who want to experience infrared cooking but still want to retain the smokey flavor of charcoal. This grill will give you the best of tradition and high tech.

With a 360-square inch of cooking surface, you can cook anything with this grill. The 22.5-inch cooking grate is coated with porcelain prevents flare ups. While charcoal may not provide stable temperatures compared to gas and electric, it’s easy to monitor with its hinged lid with a mounted temperature gauge. For easy cleanup, this grill sports a removable ash bowl.


Pros

  • Wide cooking area
  • Porcelain coated grate prevents flare-ups and distributes heat evenly
  • Highly affordable
  • Uses less coal than regular charcoal grill

Cons

  • Needs something to kill the coal after cooking

Final Thoughts

The clear winner in this review is the Char-Broil Professional TRU 4-Burner Cabinet. The wide cooking area and the table on both sides are the deciding factor for me. The features are great and the price is reasonable. Despite its size, it’s still portable enough for outdoor cookouts.

If money is not an issue, the TEC G-Sport FR Propane Gas Grill On Stainless Steel Pedestal is the best pick. It is the most high-tech of all the grills in this review but the features come with a great price. I’m not sure I’m willing to pay that price for a grill, infrared or not.

If you want infrared cooking but wants to remain true to tradition, the Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill is the best compromise. Another advantage of this grill is that it’s unbelievably affordable. Although it lacks the features that a more expensive grill would have, this thing works. So if you’re into a more minimalist setup, this is the grill to go.

What is your experience with infrared grilling? Have tried grills other than the ones reviewed? Share a word or two in the comment section below.​

    Claire J. Ruiz

    I'm Claire, and my passion is cooking. I believe that food is what actually unites people and the dining table is where we set aside our differences. When we eat we become vulnerable because enjoying food requires a different level of trust and surrender to the person preparing your food. Sharing and enjoying food is one of the most intimate experiences in life.​

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