8 Best Infrared Grills | March 2017
- compact grill great for small patios
- strong folding side shelves
- on wheels for easy moving
- cooks food with direct heat
- porcelain grilling grid and warming rack
- cleanup is difficult
- includes a carrying bag
- just 20 pounds so exceptionally portable
- high heat to keep meat juicy
- well-balanced locking lid
- steel won't corrode or rust
- convenient front storage table
- easy to use electric ignition
- porcelain-coated cast iron grates
- 155 square inch warming rack
Inventor Of The Infrared Grill
The infrared grill has become a household term and has changed the world of grilling, but not many people have heard of its inventor, Bill Best. He is CEO and chairman of Thermal Engineering Corporation in Columbia, South Carolina. He first came up for the idea of the infrared grill when he was working on his doctorate at the University of South Carolina. He was up late at night developing a flame arrester for rocket guidance systems when he noticed that the ceramic plate on the arrester would turn bright red and emit high levels of radiant heat, also known as infrared.
This gave him the idea to develop an infrared ceramic burner, which he patented in 1961. He initially marketed it as a commercial burner for use in making radial tires and paint-curing systems. It wasn't until the early 1980s that Bill incorporated one of his ceramic infrared burners into a food grill.
Whether out of boredom or a stroke of genius, one night he decided to take some scrap metal from his plant and one of the ceramic burners to build a grill. He took it home to cook some food and discovered that not only did it cook food quicker, it also didn't dry out food as much as traditional grills. This was the beginning of TEC Infrared Grills.
His first grills used a 50/50 combination of infrared energy and hot air. This was because, while the ceramic burners had a number of benefits, they also had one major drawback; the heat couldn't be lowered very much. In applications where low heat was needed, a ceramic burner would burn the food. Combining both methods of cooking into his grills allowed for users to cook at a range of temperatures, while still enjoying the benefits of infrared cooking.
Bill is a lifelong inventor with more than 60 patents to his name. Nearly 80 years old now, he still regularly works 50 or more hours a week and often shows up at work in the middle of the night to continue working on new ideas. He may appear to be just like any average South Carolina guy who loves to grill steak while listening to country music, but unlike the average guy, his favorite book is "Mathematics for Scientists and Engineers.”
How Infrared Grills Work
Infrared red grills work by emitting infrared heat into the food being cooked. Infrared waves, are electromagnetic waves that are between microwaves and visible light waves on the electromagnetic spectrum. The different types of infrared waves are categorized by their frequency; near, mid, or far.
Near infrared waves are the kind generated by pushing the button on a TV remote control. They don't generate a noticeable amount of heat and aren't suitable for cooking. Far infrared waves do generate a significant amount of heat, making them ideal for cooking.
Charcoal and gas grills can only reach roughly 700°F, whereas infrared grills average around 900°F, and can reach as high as 1600°F. Charcoal and gas grills also cook food predominantly through convection, which is the movement of hot air. As the fire in charcoal and gas grills burns, it causes the air to heat up and rise, continuously circulating around the food. This constant flow of air is what causes food to dry out on a grill.
Infrared grills utilize the heat radiated from a solid surface to cook food. This heat is radiated in the form of far infrared waves. The heating element also heats the air in a similar manner to gas and charcoal grills, but circulates less air so the food can retain more of its natural moisture. The higher temperatures of infrared grills also allow for the food to be cooked quicker, with less time exposed to the circulating air.
Tips For Using Infrared Grills
As with more traditional grills, an infrared red grill must also be preheated before starting to cook food. This allows the grate to get hot, sterilizing it and expanding the metal enough so that the pores close, reducing the chance of food sticking. Unlike gas grills, which need to heat up for roughly ten minutes, and charcoal grills, which often need twenty minutes or more, infrared grills are preheated and ready to cook in five minutes or less.
Protein and vegetable cooking time must be reduced on infrared grills or the food will be overcooked. As mentioned previously, infrared grills cook at temperatures well above what traditional grills can reach. For his reason, the cooking on infrared grills takes about half of the time it takes on gas and charcoal grills. For example, a chicken breast can be fully cooked in roughly ten minutes.
One should also reduce the heat setting they normally cook with on infrared grills by 30%. So if you normally cook your steaks on high, start by setting your infrared grill to medium or medium high. It is easier to increase the heat without hurting the food than to decrease it.