Infrared vs Electric Grill
Most people with a passion for grilling are accustomed to gas and charcoal grills. If you love grilling, yourself the smoky flavor of food grilled on these two types of grills is probably all you have known. But what if there were third and fourth options when it came to grilling that would be better suited for your grilling situation?
In this article, we will be sharing information on infrared and electric grills, including all there is to know about them if you are thinking of buying either one. Let’s meet the candidates, shall we?
Conventional grills like gas and charcoal usually rely on the convection mode of heat transfer. The fuel or the gas element heats the air and, in turn, hot air circulates through the food and cooks it in the process. Infrared grills, on the other hand, use the radiation mode of heat conduction.
Instead of relying on heated air, infrared grills utilize a heated surface that radiates heat directly to food. This eliminates the reliance on the air as a medium of heat conduction, and the result is higher temperatures, as air is not a very good conductor of heat.
Convection mode of heat transfer means that air has to circulate through the food. This air often carries moisture from the food away with it. As a result, you end up with drier food, especially if you grill the food over a long period of time.
In infrared grills, this air circulation does not happen, which means you end up with juicier food overall. With infrared grills, the heat is also a lot more direct, which makes the grills produce much more intense heat. With an infrared grill, you get the highest level of heat output that you can get from a grill.
For this reason, infrared grills are best suited to cook food that needs to be cooked over very high heat and for a short amount of time. Steaks are some of the food best suited for an infrared grill. You get a good quick sear on them, and also you end up with a much juicier steak when you grill it over an infrared grill.
While you might need 10 minutes preheating time with conventional grills, with an infrared grill you are set to start grilling within 5 minutes or less. Due to the high heat output, you cook food in a fraction of the time you use on other types of grills.
Most infrared grill designs use a ceramic radiant panel that’s heated using a natural gas or propane heating element, which then radiates that heat to the food. The result is very evenly distributed heat across the entire cooking surface. A few brands use a radiant glass panel instead, which is far superior.
Most infrared grills will only produce high heat. If you need to grill food at lower temperatures, these are not your go-to grills. A few brands, however, are innovating and making infrared grills that can grill at a range of temperatures.
Electric grills have increased in popularity over the past few years. Different from other types of grills, you do not need to use fuel with these grills. All you need is an electric power outlet and you are good to go.
The grill utilizes an electric heating element which, when connected to electricity, heats up and radiates that heat to your food. This is how the food is cooked.
One of the major criticisms for electric grills is that for most grilling enthusiasts, the thing that makes grilled food unique is the smoky flavor. This can only be achieved with a gas or charcoal grill. With an electric grill, you don’t get that desirable smoky element.
While the smoky flavor’s absence may turn off some grilling fans, it’s also the thing that makes electric grills unique. If you don’t have a well-ventilated grilling space, a smoky grill is not an option for you. An electric grill, on the other hand, is ideal for such situations.
If you live in an apartment with a small patio, but you still want to grill, an electric grill is ideal, as it does not produce smoke. If you want to grill indoors, electric grills also make that possible.
Other than not being smoky, electric grills are also the most healthy grill options you can get on the market. Food grilled over an electric grill does not contain carcinogens.
Different from the infrared grills, however, electric grills do not produce as much heat. This means it will definitely take you longer to grill food over an electric grill than it would on an infrared grill.
It’s also important to note that electric grills are the most eco-friendly option on the market, as they don’t rely on unsustainable fuel sources like propane charcoal and natural gas. They also do not emit CO2, which is bad for the environment.
Infrared vs Electric Grill: Pros and Cons
Infrared Grills Pros
- High heat output
- Shorter pre-heating time
- Food cooked over an infrared grill is up to 30% juicier compared to other grills
- Ideal for foods that need cooking fast over high heat, such as steaks
- Even heat distribution
- Fast grilling ideal for busy schedules
Infrared Grills Cons
- Not ideal for grilling food that requires grilling over low temperatures for longer
- There are no cooler parts of the grill, which you might need to grill some foods as heat is distributed evenly
Pros of an Electric Grill
- Not smoky
- You can grill at any time of the year, as you can use these grills indoors
- Ideal for people with tight grilling spaces
- Most eco-friendly on the market
- Healthy food-no carcinogens production
Cons of an Electric Grill
- The food does not have that distinct smoky flavor that makes grilled food unique
- Cannot be used where there is no electricity, so this grill is not ideal for outdoor parties
- Can raise electricity bills
Grilling has come a long way from the times when charcoal was the only fuel you could use. Nowadays, grilling brands are constantly innovating to improve the grilling experience and the quality of grilled food.
While some might argue that nothing can quite replace the smoky flavor of a charcoal grill, it’s always good to have more options, including these efficient, eco-friendly, and healthier infrared and electric grills.