Infrared grills are a fairly new technology. These cooking appliances provide all the advantages you get from traditional grills while eliminating many of their shortcomings. More specifically, they provide a consistent source of heat, get rid of flare-ups and use less energy.
In our article, we’ll explain how infrared grills work, their benefits and recommend top-rated models that you can use in your patio.
What is an infrared Grill?
This is a type of gas grill that employs infrared technology to cook food. With an ordinary gas grill, the flames transmit heat to the cooking grids directly.
But in the case of an infrared grill, an infrared component is placed in between the grates and the flame. As such, the gas first heats the infrared part, which then radiates heat to the food.
To fully understand how an infrared grill works, it helps to familiarize yourself with the three
Means through which heat can be transmitted: conduction, convection and radiation.
This process involves transmission of heat from one object to another. A good case in point is when you’re frying eggs or sausages in a pan. Flames from the stove’s burner reach the pan, and then the pan’s hot surface comes into contact with the food.
In convection, heat is transmitted in the form of hot air or water, and then used to cook food. This is the technique that comes into play when you boil pasta in water or roast chicken in the oven. In fact, conventional gas grills employ this method to create a steady flow of hot air around the food.
This is the technique used in infrared grills. It entails using a form of electromagnetic energy to transmit heat to the cooking grids.
If you look closely, you’ll notice an infrared burner sandwiched between the typical gas burner and the cooking area. The gas cylinders heat the infrared burner, which then sends heat directly to food.
Radiant heat is also employed when you switch on the broiler element in a conventional oven or use a microwave oven to bake potatoes. In fact, charcoal-powered grills also employ a bit of infrared (radiation) technology whenever the coals get extremely hot.
Why Should You invest in an Infrared Grill?
Faster Cooking Time
An infrared grill heats up quite fast. It also reaches temperatures that are much higher than those that a gas or charcoal-powered grill can achieve. To put this into perspective, imagine a grill that attains a temperature of 700°F in less than 10 minutes.
All these aspects result in a faster cooking time. This comes in handy when you’re cooking dense meats like steak, as it means that you can cook in as little as 1 minute on each side.
Another advantage of this is that grill lovers can look forward to grilling more often, even if they’re limited by time.
Even Heat Distribution
Another reason why you should buy an infrared grill for your patio is because it delivers consistent heat across the entire cooking area.
This means that you don’t have to worry about some portions of the meat being cold and others hot. Thanks to this uniform heat, you’ll be able to sear steaks and chops like a pro.
An infrared grill uses very little gas to reach the desired temperature. Now, apart from reducing the cooking time, this also helps you to save on fuel. Thus, you can cook larger amounts of food at a fraction of the cost you’d spend when using a conventional gas grill.
Top 5 Infrared Grills for Your Patio
Char-Broil The Big Easy TRU-Infrared Smoker Roaster & Grill
If you’re looking for an infrared grill that can be used for a variety of cooking techniques, Char-Broil The Big Easy is your best bet.
Want your chicken to have a smoky flavor? All you need to do is add in a few woodchips. Similarly, you can toss your joints of meat in a drop-in basket and roast them. Lastly, you can also use it to grill vegetables and meats. .
The Big Easy has a large capacity that can be equated to an outdoor gas oven. To be specific, it can accommodate up to 25 pounds of food if you want to roast. When it comes to grilling, you’ll have 180 square inches of cooking area.
We also love how the grill is fitted with porcelain-coated cooking grids with a zigzag pattern. These are able to retain and distribute heat over the entire grill surface.
The grilling plates are designed in such a way that prevents flames from coming into contact with food. However, they have tiny holes which allow a little smoke to pass through for a rich flavor.
And thanks to the meat thermometer provided, it’s easy to know when your food reaches the perfect temperature.
- Can be used for smoking, roasting and grilling
- Large capacity; suitable for large gatherings and holiday events
- Provides consistent temperature
- Too bulky
Char-Broil Grill2Go X200 Portable TRU-Infrared Gas Grill
As it’s aptly named, Char-Broil Grill2Go X200 is great not only for using in your patio but also for carrying along to camping, hunting and fishing trips. It’s has a tabletop design with handles on either side for easy portability.
But despite its small footprint, the X200 is solidly built using die-cast aluminum. This makes it robust while also keeping its weight to a minimum. Better yet, it’s fitted with secure latches that keep the lid closed when you’re transporting it.
Another feature you’ll love about this infrared grill is that it requires minimal assembly. Since it’s not a full-size, you can put all the pieces in their slots quite fast.
Next, all that’s left to do is screw in the gas cylinder, adjust the temperature using a dial and start grilling. But, remember to give it time to preheat; for at least 10 minutes.
The grill also comes with a sizeable cooking grid that’s roomy enough to cook for four people. Plus, the side handles can double up as a storage unit for your tongs when you’re cooking.
- Highly portable
- Requires very little assembly
- Durable thanks to the die-cast aluminum construction
- It’s difficult to clean
Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Patio Bistro Gas Grill
If you don’t have a very big patio, the Char-Broil Patio Bistro Gas might be the perfect grill for you. This is a small full-height grill, which takes up very little space.
Due to its petite design, it provides only 240 square inches of grilling space. While this cannot rival with the cooking surface of a full-sized grill, it’s enough to enable you to do some real grilling; in fact, it can accommodate about 5 hamburger patties.
The Char-Broil Bistro is equipped with a single burner. This is the element responsible for distributing heat consistently and uniformly on the stainless steel cooking grids. The burner produces approximately 13,000 Btu, which is enough to grill foods such as chicken, steaks and fish.
This grill is powered using a 20-pound propane tank, which conveniently fits in the space underneath it. With such a setup, it’s very easy to move the entire grilling unit at once.
Another noteworthy feature of this grill is its easy assembly. When we received the Bistro, we managed to put all the pieces together in under an hour.
- Small footprint; hence, ideal for tight patio spaces
- Easy to assemble and use
- Reasonable pricing
- Takes long to preheat
Char-Broil Signature TRU-Infrared 420 3-Burner Gas Grill
If you’re looking for an infrared grill capable of cooking food at lower temperatures, the Char-Broil Signature 420 is a fantastic choice!
It’s equipped with 3 stainless steel burners,which can be adjusted to deliver either high or low temperature. Apart from being able to sear meat or cook veggies using less heat, the adjustable temperature also provides a safer grilling experience.
Unfortunately, the adjustability of the temperature increases its price slightly. But for the higher price tag, you’ll get more advanced features.
For instance, the Tru-Infrared 420 has a sturdy build. Made from a blend of stainless steel and cast iron, this is the kind of grill designed with durability in mind.
Moreover, using this grill is a breeze. Thanks to the SureFire electronic ignition system, you’ll get an instant spark at every burner; and this makes for easy grilling.
What’s more, the cooking plates are coated with porcelain. This material facilitates even distribution of heat, and it makes the plates easier to clean afterwards.
- 3-gas burner for adjustable temperature setting
- Decent cooking surface of 420 square inches
- Surefire Electronic ignition for easy start
- Equipped with a storage cabinet for storing extra items like wood chips and grill tools
Char-Broil 463370719 Performance TRU-Infrared Gas Grill
If you’re not ready to splurge on a pricey infrared grill, the Char-Broil 463370719 Cart Style Grill is a good alternative. Like the Tru-Infrared 420, this one also gives you 3 burners to work with.
There are several other things we like about this grill. For one, it does not result in production of flare-ups. The fact that it uses infrared technology aids in distributing heat uniformly across the grill plates, and this prevents flare-ups.
Also, this gas grill has the largest cooking surface of 450 square inches. Measuring 26.6 x 17.3 inches, the Char-Broil has enough cooking space to hold 24 burgers. Even better, it uses cooking grates that are coated with rust-resistant porcelain material.
What’s more, this gas grill is equipped with stainless steel top-ported burners providing the highest level of durability. The burners also offer a wide range of temperature with precise control.
The side burner is another nice addition to this grill. This one comes with a lid, and generates up to 10,000 BTU, which is fit for preparing sauces or side dishes while you continue grilling. If you’re not using the side burner, you can fold down the lid and use it as a preparation area.
- Ample cooking surface area
- Includes a side burner
- Stainless steel burners for optimal durability
- 3-gas burner with adjustable temperature
- Hard to clean between cookings
Is it easy to cook using infrared grills?
While these types of grills confer tons of benefits, using them is a bit of a learning curve.
Infrared grills reach incredibly high temperatures of up to 1000°Fahrenheit. As a result, it’s easy to burn or overcook your food if you’re not paying attention. If you’re a first-time user, don’t expect to get a perfect steak. It might take a while to get the hang of grilling at such intense heat.
While there are a couple infrared grills that allow you to cook at low temperatures, the majority lack this setting. If you want this feature, your best option is to invest in a hybrid grill that blends an infrared element with a conventional burner.
Is it safe to use infrared grills?
Yes, it is. Infrared grills do not pose any more danger than the conventional models. An important point to note is that the radiant heat used in these grills is entirely different from nuclear radiation. The latter is released when unstable atoms from a given nuclear power plant break down.
With grilling, the term radiation is used lightly to mean that heat is traveling in air through waves. Apart from infrared grills, toasters are another common household appliance that use radiation. When powered using electricity, the toaster heats up certain elements that radiate heat directly to the bread, creating that brown, crunchy toast.
However, this doesn’t mean that infrared grills are completely harmless. When used improperly, they pose health risks. By improperly we mean overcooking or allowing food to burn, which creates a cancer risk.
As recommended earlier, you should monitor your food closely when cooking with an infrared grill.
Char-Broil is a prominent grilling company that makes high-quality and affordable equipment. In the past few years, they have focused on infrared grills, and their hard work is evident from their range of products.
If you’re looking to buy a grill for your patio, we recommend Char-Broil The Big Easy. It’s affordable and features a 3-in-1 design; can roast, smoke and grill. It also has an adjustable temperature setting and a cooking surface area of 180 square inches.
However, if you want a more portable unit, Char-Broil Grill2Go X200 is a better option. With its tabletop design, this grill takes up very little space and is easy to carry around.