What's So Hot About Infrared Grills?


cooking food on grill

Cooking our food over an open flame is something humans have been doing since we discovered fire. In the ensuing millennia, however, little has changed about the basic process of outdoor cooking. That is until the 1980s came along. That’s when infrared cooking technology was developed by Bill Best, founder of the Thermal Engineering Corp.

Infrared cooking employs radiation to help gas grills cook food faster and more evenly. Gas burners super heat an emitter plate, made from ceramic or stainless steel, which sits just below the grill’s grates. Heat from the plates then radiates evenly to the food on the grill, rather than flickering and flaring as can be the case with standard gas grills.

Initially, due to its high cost, this technology was only used in high-end commercial kitchens. But in 2,000, the expiration of Thermal Engineering Corp’s patents opened up the technology to home chefs. While early consumer infrared grills were eye-wateringly expensive, that’s no longer the case. Today, infrared grills are similar in cost to standard gas grills. In many higher-end grills, an infrared burner is incorporated in the design along with the standard burners, giving you more options for cooking your meats and veggies.

So why would you want to incorporate infrared into your grilling arsenal? Because it cooks meat faster and more evenly for a juicier result than its traditional gas grill counterpart. Here’s a rundown of the benefits of infrared grills.

Infrared vs. Convection

Gas and charcoal grills cook primarily through convection: hot air circulating the food, trapped by the lid of the grill. This can lead to food drying out. With infrared, the heat radiates directly into the food, cooking it more quickly so that it stays juicy. It also means you can leave the lid open when cooking, helping you keep a closer eye on how your food is cooking.

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