Infrared cooking is changing the outdoor grill industry
While 2000 ushered in a new century, it also ushered in a new era of infrared outdoor grilling. What happened? The patent for the infrared burner expired in 2000, allowing multiple manufacturers to harness and market this cutting-edge technology to the general public. The past 12 years have witnessed the industry expand rapidly, offering many infrared choices. But what is infrared cooking?
Infrared cooking uses burners that rely on radiant heat to cook your food, while traditional wood and gas burning grills rely on heating the air inside the grill, or convection heat. What are the advantages of cooking with an infrared grill and radiant heat over convection? Infrared grills will heat up faster and produce higher temperatures than the traditional gas grill (a few gas models can exceed 700 degrees F, while many infrared models can exceed 1,000 degrees F).
While many cooks and grill manufacturers claim the main advantage of an infrared grill is the ability to sear cook meat like a steakhouse (thus trapping the juices for an internal stewing of the meat) many people dispute this, claiming searing as a cooking method does not trap anything. These critics of sear cooking claim it does nothing outside of severely browning the exterior of the meat.
But two advantages of an infrared grill that cannot be disputed are the even cooking surfaces created by radiant heat and ability to cook food quickly. Take the Saber SS 330 Infrared Grill from Saber Grills, which is pictured above right as an example; view the SS 330 Infrared Grill from Saber Grills here. This grill offers the ability to heat from zero degrees to more than 700 degrees in less than 10 minutes. Obviously this quick heat up, along with the higher temperatures available with an infrared grill, will reduce the amount of time you spend preheating and cooking along with the amount of money you spend on gas.
There are three main types of infrared burners we will discuss. The first group of infrared grills offer burners that emit 100% infrared cooking power (pictured left is a diagram for the Saber SS 330 Grill Burner, the grill pictured above, as an example). This is achieved by building a sealed burner that holds multiple levels of stainless steel, each level designed specifically to capture heat from gas burners placed below. After this heat is captured it is release into the grill above. Since the burning gas is in a controlled air vacuum (inside of the sealed burner), the heat is passed into the grill not by convection (the air), but by radiant heat.
The second type of infrared burner replaces the stainless steel layers with ceramic tiles, reducing the infrared cooking power (sometimes by as much as 50%). These ceramic tiles have tiny openings that capture the heat from the gas burners below, which is then release in a rapid and consistent fashion in the grill above. While this does reduce the cooking power somewhat, this technology is less costly than the stainless steel infrared burners, making them affordable to the general public.
Increasingly common is the hybrid or combination grill that offers traditional gas surfaces along with a dedicated surface that features an infrared burner. The intense heat of the infrared burner can be shocking to many people; most cooks avoid using infrared grills for delicate foods such as fish. These combination grills, such as the ALX2-56 BFGR Jumbo Grill & Refrigerator from Alfresco Grills with a dedicated "SearZone" burner, allow you to quickly sear your steaks to lock in the juices, and then move them onto the traditional convection zones for the finishing cooking cycle. The ALX2-56 Jumbo Grill & Refrigerator is picture right as an example of a combination grill, with a dedicated "SearZone" infrared burner; view the ALX2-56 BFGR Jumbo Grill & Refrigerator from Alfresco Grills here.
If you are an outdoor grill master and are looking for the next new thing, infrared grills should be considered. You will improve your grilling performance, allowing you to control the exact amount of heat and be precise, with no flares of heat or black, charred foods. Infrared does allow fast and quick outdoor cooking with no hot spots, but does provide freakish cooking power that must be controlled and monitored. Family Leisure offers a full selection of outdoor grills, from gas to charcoal to infrared; view Family Leisure Outdoor Grills here.
Add a Comment