There are few pleasures in life more pure than sitting out in your garden on a hot summer’s day, grilling up a selection of delicious seasoned meats and vegetables for your family and friends to enjoy. Traditionally, gas grills are the best option for an outdoor cooking appliance, however there is a new kid on the block; infrared grills. So what is an infrared grill? Infrared grills utilize high power infrared technology to create a powerful radiant heat source that is capable of reaching higher temperatures then conventional gas grills.
Until recently infrared grills were only present in the most high quality steakhouses and grill bars as they were new and expensive. Now however, infrared grills cost around the same price as their standard gas grill cousins, making them the best option for outdoor cooking. This guide will show you how they work, what their advantages are, and also provide you with 3 infrared grill reviews of what we think are the best models on the market.
There are three types of heating methods to cook food; conduction, convection and radiation. Conduction is the transfer of heat from a heat source to an object such as from a stove to a frying pan. Convection is cooking in a fluid, such as cooking pasta in a pot of boiling water. Radiation however is another beast entirely. Radiation cooking uses a form of electromagnetic radiation which is targeted directly at your food. Another example of radiation cooking is a microwave oven. The microwave radiation moves the water particles, causing friction and subsequently heating up the food.
Infrared grills have an infrared element located between the grill grating and the flames below. When the flames heat up the infrared element, it emits large amounts of radiant heat. Not only does this provide a much more powerful heat source, but it also increases the energy efficiency of the cooker as it prevents heat loss.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of an infrared grill?
- Faster and more powerful heating so you can get your food cooked quickly
- Grill food more evenly
- You will need to spend less time at the grill so you can relax in the sun
- Highly versatile to different types of food
- Faster cooking locks meat juices in, making the meat more succulent
- Usually can grill with the lid open as heat is transferred directly to the food from the infrared element
- You may have to re-learn your grilling techniques as infrared grilling is different to gas grilling
- Due to the high temperatures involved with infrared cooking, if you are not careful, you may char and burn your food
Which type of infrared grill is best?
There are a variety of ways to produce infrared power, resulting in a few different types of infrared grill, each with its own unique set of features. The three main types are ceramic sealer burner, radiant glass panel burners and sealer plates. In this review however we have decided to focus solely on the ceramic sealer burner. Not only is the ceramic sealer burner by far the most popular and accessible type of infrared grill, it is also the best option for home use due to its ease of use.
For their infrared element, ceramic sealer burners use a ceramic slab, often made from porcelain which is capable of heating up to temperatures of around 700 F without producing a dangerous open flame. The high temperatures used by ceramic sealer burner infrared heaters produce prominent sear marks on cooking meats such as steaks, which is a beautiful site for grill enthusiasts. However, learning to use a high power infrared grill may require some practice as if left unattended, food can quickly burn and char. However, once you have gotten to grips with it you will never look back.
Most ceramic sealer burners are gas powered, however there are some electric versions which tend to be cheaper. I will be providing both infrared electric grill reviews and infrared gas grill reviews in this article.
So here is our list of the top three ceramic burner infrared grill reviews of 2019.
Char-Broil 12601578 Patio Bistro Tru-Infrared Electric Grill
The Char-Broil 12601578 Patio Bistro Tru-Infrared Electric Grill is one of the best value for money electric infrared grills on the market today. Its stylish design makes it a perfect fit in almost any garden/patio and it is compact too so storage will not be an issue.
This electric grill allows you full control over temperature and timing through its precision dial control panel at the front. Its porcelain cooking grates are perfectly designed to give your meat some quality sear marks and at 320 square inches in size, are spacious enough to fit 8-12 hamburgers on at a time.
As this grill is electric rather than gas it can feel as if the authenticity of grill cooking is sacrificed for the sake on convenience. Therefore, if you wish to, you can add an extra smoky flavor to your grilled meats and veg by soaking some wood chippings in water, wrapping them in foil and placing them at the back center of the grill. This way rustic charcoal grill effect is retained without any of the hassle of setting up a charcoal or gas grill.
Best of all, this grill is blazingly hot! With the lid closed, this grill can heat up to over 600 degrees when left running for around 20 minutes, which is more than hot enough to quickly cook for meats without losing any of the juices.
Customers report that putting together this grill is very simple and should only take a little over an hour before you are ready to cook. Due to its compact design this will only be a one time job as you will never need to dismantle it.
- Very hot for quick cooking
- Quick and easy to put together
- Stylish design
- Uses electric power so may feel less authentic
- If bolts are not properly fastened then the structure may be wobbly
This infrared electric grill is a great low end infrared grill which will provide you years of summer time grilling for a very reasonable price. This model is versatile enough to cook almost anything grillable and very quickly at that. If you are looking for a cheap grill and don’t mind electric then this is the choice for you.
Char-Broil 463370719 Performance TRU-Infrared 3-Burner Cart Style Gas Grill
This award winning infrared gas grill is probably our favorite out of the bunch. This grill is suitable for large families due to the enormous 480 square inch grate surface with additional cooking space on a swing-away warming rack that provides an extra 180 square inches of space. With three stainless steel burners, this grill will provide 40,000 BTU of raw heat power, plenty enough to fill the grill with over 20 burgers and cook them quickly.
One of our favorite features of this grill is how evenly it distributes its heat. There are no hotspots, cold spots or flare ups, making the cooking process much less fiddly. You can just sit back with a beer at let the grill do the work.
One of the main reasons people may think twice before getting the grill out is the dread of cleaning up afterwards. Customers of this grill comment that it is by far the easiest grill to clean of any they have tried. The grill comes with a specialized scrapping tool to remove any left over food before wiping down. There are three easily remove plates which sit above the flame which can be removed every now and then for a deep clean by soaking in warm water and soap.
- Impressive cooking space and power
- Beautiful Design
- Gas powered
- Plenty of workspace
- Cooling rack
- Suitable for large families
- Easy to use controls
- This large grill may take longer to assemble
- May be difficult to store due to size
- Chrome may peel if not stored properly
This infrared gas grill gets it right every time and for such a reasonable price you really cannot go wrong with this model. It’s durable, energy efficient, high power and beautiful to look at. Of all the models we have reviewed, we found this grill to be the best all rounder for the price.
Solaire Anywhere Portable Infrared Propane Gas Grill, Stainless Steel
The Solaire Anywhere Portable Infrared Propane Gas Grill, Stainless Steel is a mid range infrared gas grill and subsequently has high quality design and parts. The makers of this grill describe its power as a rocket under the hood. At 14000 BTU in a 155 square inch grilling area you can see why. For its size, this infrared grill packs a lot of heat.
One of the main selling points of this grill is that it is a portable infrared grill. It is fairly light weight and has spring-loaded latches for easy transportation. Its handles are well designed and do not get hot in the sun so carrying it around is easy. It also runs on 1 pound propane tanks which can be carried along to a picnic, friend’s house or wherever you want to grill. With a conversion kit this grill may also run on larger tanks of propane for when you are grilling at home.
Cleaning requires literally no effort with this grill, as it gets so hot that it vaporizes any left over mess on the grilling tray and grates. This means you will only have to do a manual clean once every few uses, a big time saver and a great excuse to get the grill out more often.
- Easily portable
- One of the hottest infrared models available
- Cooks meat with an authentic charcoal flavor with all the juices locked in
- High quality stainless steel body
- Small enough that storage is no issue
- Smaller cooking area
- When cooking thick cuts of chicken you may need to parboil firs to ensure it is fully cooked
If you are looking for a portable infrared grill then the Solaire Anywhere Portable Infrared Propane Gas Grill, Stainless Steel is your best option. For the quality and set of features which it has to offer it cannot be beaten on price. Spending a little more for the option of portability can be a wonderful decision, allowing you and your family to get out of the house on a camping trip or share your new grill at a friends house.