If you are fond of grilling your food or if you enjoy outdoor cooking, you must have a great functioning grill with the least hazard risks available. There are multiple types of grills in the market. Some grills run on gas, and some grills use charcoal and wood pellets as their primary fuel source.
Gas grills also come with an infrared setup.
So, an infrared grill is essentially a gas grill that levies on infrared technology as its primary heat source. However, it can come with a dual heating source mechanism in which the infrared heating panel can be used as an optional burner.
The difference between a conventional gas grill and an infrared grill lies in its heating element. The conventional gas grill has flames that heat the grates directly. However, in an infrared grill, an infrared heating plate is present between the grates and the scorching flame.
What is an infrared grill or burner and how is it better than a conventional grill?
With most high-quality infrared grills, you can enjoy the great benefits of quick preheat times, faster cooking times, even heat distribution across the grill surface, juicier food overall, and a professional steakhouse quality searing.
When describing infrared burners or grills vs. conventional burners or grills, an important point to remember is that a conventional style gas grill will produce more diffuse heat, sort of like a flashlight.
Whereas the heat that comes from infrared is very direct and concentrated, more like a laser beam.
That is why infrared broilers are generally used in steakhouses for the intense sear and crust they can produce at extremely high temperatures.
The design of an infrared grill has a basic gas chamber area covered by a radiant panel.
This allows infrared grills to have very even heat across the cooking surface.
The most common design of this radiant panel you will find is a perforated ceramic tile covered with a protective stainless mesh.
Several popular brands are featuring high-quality infrared grills or burners using this design.
Certain companies are manufacturing a uniquely designed infrared grill, in which the grills have a radiant glass panel that spreads out the heat from the grills very evenly as it rises to the food that you are cooking on your grill.
One major advantage of using an infrared grill over a conventional grill is the incredibly quick preheat time.
With an infrared grill, you will be ready to cook within 3-5 minutes, making them perfect for a busy schedule.
You will also notice the food you cook over infrared will be cooked to perfection in a fraction of the time compared to cooking over conventional grills.
Another important feature that chefs want from their perfect sear is the ability to reach temperatures between the 800- and 1,000-degree range. At these temperatures, you will get excellent grill marks, caramelization, and a beautiful crust across the entire surface of your steak.
The companies that are manufacturing ceramic infrared grills have been found to be able to reach and produce some of the highest heat outputs amongst all the other types of grills.
If we look past the great exterior sear that you get with infrared grilling, you will also find that the food you cook over infrared will be incredibly juicy.
The reason behind this is that an infrared grill works to eliminate the convective air movement than a conventional burner uses to heat your food.
When grilling over infrared, the moisture barrier of your food remains intact and the food you grill will retain up to 30 percent more moisture.
A common misconception about infrared grills is that they are only designed to cook well at high temperatures.
Top grill brands in the industry are constantly innovating and have created variable temperature infrared cooking systems.
Some of these grills come with a variable temperature stainless steel burner underneath a radiant glass panel.
With this unique design, it is possible to grill at a low of about 200° or a high of about 900 degrees which is a huge temperature range for an infrared grill.
This makes it possible to enjoy the benefits of infrared even when cooking something fairly low and slow. You can cook something like shrimp at lower temperatures or crank up the heat too high for a perfect steakhouse searing.
If you are confused between the option of cooking over an infrared grill or a conventional grill, there are a lot of hybrid grills available in the market, which will typically feature several conventional burners paired with one infrared zone.
If the bulk of your cooking will be over a conventional grill, infrared side burners are also a great option. With this type of setup, you do not have to dedicate any of your main grilling areas to an infrared zone, giving you the best of both worlds.
Tips to clean an infrared grill:
Now that you have determined the benefits of an infrared grill over a conventional grill, you would think if its cleaning process were the same as any other conventional, or if it is different?
Well, the whole cleaning process is essentially the same, however, you just have to be a little extra careful to clean the infrared heating element and the grate.
Experts suggest that like any other grill, you must give a thorough clean-up to your infrared grill to prevent flare-ups at least two times a year. Many people clean their grills after every cooking session, and that is also a good practice as it will not allow much cooking debris to collect over the grates over an extended period.
Also, with an infrared grill, you must notice if there is any damage to its heating element that comprises the infrared plate and the grate.
If you follow the following steps that will tell you how to clean an infrared grill, you will see your infrared grill working perfectly for a very long time.
- First of all, you have to determine if your infrared grill is working alright or if it needs repair. When you have determined that it is working absolutely fine but is just extremely dirty, all you need to know is to begin cleaning with its heating element.
- The heating element of an infrared grill can be completely based on a gas system or it can also be a hybrid burner. In any case, you have to remove the grimy debris on the heating element of your infrared grill with a wire brush. Alternatively, or simultaneously, you can use a ball of steel wool too. It is especially important to clean the gas heating element of your infrared grill to prevent any debris or grime or leftover food particles to obstruct the openings of the burner.
- You can even use a “grill floss” instead of the wire brush as some particles from the wire brush can break down and get inside the system while removing hard, stubborn debris.
- Your next step is to focus on the grate of your infrared grill. You can apply grease to remove the grate easily.
- If the grate of your infrared grill is made up of metal, then you can use a stiff or harsher steel-wire brush over its sides to get rid of all the debris. However, if the grate of your infrared grill is made up of cast iron, or if it is coated with porcelain, it is better to use a brush that has soft bristles, preferably made of synthetic nylon. You must not use harsh or stiff objects to clean these surfaces as they can etch or abrade the grate and that can harm your infrared grill.
- Now, fix the grate back in its place and heat your infrared grill. Experts suggest that heating up your grill at a high temperature is one of the most effective ways to clean it. The scorching heat will burn off all the remaining debris and cooking leftovers, and soon they will all turn into ash.
- After cooling it down, you can use a brush with metal bristles to clean off all the burnt debris and with the help of a soft brush, you can simply whisk off all the ashes too.
- After this thorough clean-up, if you think that you are done, then you are wrong! You now have to check the heating surface of your infrared grill to remove any debris or ash particles from there also. It does not matter if your heating panel is made up of glass or ceramic, or metal. You anyway have to use a gentle brush to whisk off the debris from this surface. Do not use any hard material on the heating surface of your infrared grill.
- If there are any stubborn food deposits on this surface, you can use a non-abrasive chemical cleaner that can make it squeaky clean and radiant once again. A gentle dishwashing liquid may also suffice for this purpose with a little thorough scrubbing with a cloth or sponge.