May 01, 2020

Prepping meals on an infrared grill is the centerpiece of any cookout. Whether you have a small or large crowd in your backyard, they’re all hungrily waiting for the steaks, burgers, and whatever food you’re cooking. But are infrared grills really worth the hype? Let’s weigh the pros and cons.

Pros

Starting off this infrared grills pros and cons battle, let’s dive deep into the positives of owning an infrared grill.

  1. Takes less time to cook

If you need a powerful backyard grill that can cook steaks quickly, an infrared grill is your best bet. Depending on the model, an infrared grill can reach temperatures as high as 700°F. This kind of infrared heat means you can cook meats quicker and feed a hungry crowd more efficiently. The high temperature makes an infrared grill capable of cooking meats for only a minute per side. You’ll get to save a good amount of time with this option.

Another advantage of faster cooking is that it means less stress for you. Whereas using a gas grill may require you to stand for a longer time to monitor the food, you don’t have to do the same for an infrared grill. Quicker cooking times make sure you serve perfectly cooked meats without spending hours grilling the food.

  1. Faster preheat 

All grills - charcoal grills, gas grills, infrared grills - must be preheated before you start with the actual grilling. The advantage of infrared grills is they can heat up quickly.

A traditional charcoal grill can take 10-20 minutes in the preheat stage. On the other hand, a gas grill takes less time at 7-15 minutes. But the technology used in an infrared grill allows preheating times at 5 minutes or even less. So with little waiting time to get to the right temperature, you can get cooking faster with an infrared option.

  1. Enjoy juicier and tastier food

One of the main pros of infrared grills is that the food stays moist and juicy. That’s because the infrared element produces a radiant heat that penetrates the meat without messing up the moisture barrier. Gas grills produce hot air that breaks that barrier, making the food dry. But that’s not the case with infrared grilling as it doesn’t rely on hot air for cooking. As such, all the flavor and fluid content will be locked inside. And who doesn’t like juicy steaks and burgers, right?

A quick search will tell you that infrared grilling retains 35% more of the natural meat juices compared to other grilling options. Plus, the high heat and faster cooking time means no problem in cooking even the toughest meat cuts. 

Overall, if you don’t want your food to dry out, use an infrared grill to trap in all the meaty juices inside. 

  1. Even heat distribution

One of the pros that consumers like best about infrared grilling is the even heat temperature. A charcoal grill or a gas grill surface may have hot and cold spots because it uses convection or conduction heating methods. This may result in inconsistencies with how the meat is cooked, and you obviously don’t want that.

Infrared grills do not have hot or cold spots, as it’s equipped with the technology to distribute equal heat to the entire cooking surface. So, with infrared grilling, you’re sure that the entire meat is cooked evenly. Even cooking means much tastier food too!

  1. Cooking options

If versatility is one of the pros you search for in a grill, infrared ones have it.

With infrared cooking, you don’t need a side burner as you do with a gas grill. You can place your pots and pans on the grate that your infrared bbq grill comes with. That being said, you don’t need a separate stove in the backyard as well. 

What does this technology mean for you? Well, if you’re cooking other kinds of food for your guests aside from burgers and steaks, you can use the infrared grill as well. As such, you could have everything on one surface.

Furthermore, many infrared grills available in the market today have a low temperature setting. You can use this technology for smoking or slow-cooking. 

With the low temperature option and versatile cooking surface, infrared grilling is definitely what you need in your backyard. 

  1. Less use of fuel

Another big pro of infrared grilling is that it’s energy efficient. It has less ignition time and it loses little heat when you’re cooking, so it doesn’t use much fuel as compared to a gas grill.

To be more specific, using infrared grills will directly transfer the infrared heat on the meat and food while you’re cooking it. On the other hand, regular burners heat the air around the burner in order to cook the food. So with the direct method, infrared grilling helps you save on gas costs.

The advantage of less heating time also comes into play in this factor. Due to its ability to quickly heat up, it uses less gas and is thus more efficient compared to gas grills

More specifically, you’ll be using about 30% less gas with infrared heating. This makes infrared grilling energy efficient compared to other options.

  1. Eliminates flare-ups

Grills are notorious for flaring up - any search for pros and cons will tell you that. This may cause charring on the meat, which in turn causes health problems. And of course, you wouldn't want to get any health concerns due to cooking with your new grill.

A flare-up happens when excess fat drips, when it’s too windy, or when there’s too much food on the cooking surface. Sometimes, you need to put out the flares. But with the technology used in infrared grills, flare-ups are not much of a problem.

  1. Easy to clean

If you’ve experienced the tedious cleaning of a traditional charcoal grill, then you’d be extremely happy with how easy it is to clean infrared grills. 

It can take a lot of energy to clean off the juices and sauces that burned on the charcoal grill. But when you get an infrared option, it would take minimal effort because you just have to wipe it away. The food particles that are left behind on the cooking grates turn into ash. 

In addition, some infrared grills also have a self-cleaning feature. All you have to do is get it up to high heat and all the debris and leftover food drippings will be incinerated. 

  1. Extremely durable

One of the best things you'll like about infrared grills is that they last you years. They’re made of stainless steel, and many companies use the durable 304 variant. Since that's the case, they are highly resistant to corrosion, especially when compared to regular steel. 

With this kind of durability, you can expect that your new grill will be used in many good years of cookouts and parties. But of course, it depends on the model you buy. You should check what material it’s made of to be sure it’s of high quality. 

That being said, durability is something that’s important to consider. If you’re a backyard chef who wants reliable grilling equipment, it’s better to purchase something with a higher price tag and be able to use it for a long time, than buy something super cheap yet breaks down in a few months.

Cons

Now, let’s move on to the second part of our pros and cons battle of infrared grilling.

  1. Takes more space

If you’re convinced that infrared grilling is for you, know that it will take up some space in your backyard. One of the cons of infrared grills is that they’re usually bulky, so you have to search for a space to put it without having to move it around. They’re also heavy and made from materials like stainless steel, so make sure you have space for it in your backyard or outdoor kitchen. Otherwise, other smaller grills like 3 burners might be better options.

Indeed, you’ll find lightweight and more portable infrared grills on the market as well. They typically have handles or wheels for you to easily move and take on trips. While there’s no problem in buying portable grills for infrared cooking, keep in mind that there may be compromises made when it comes to performance. For one thing, portable options may not have enough cooking surface for all the food you want to cook. 

Then again, we can’t deny that portable and smaller grills can be pretty useful for people who like camping or beach trips. But for people who plan on having epic BBQ parties in an outdoor kitchen, we highly recommend that you get an infrared grill that’s up for the job. Three or four-burner grills are also among your options.

  1. High temperatures

High temperatures are an advantage because it allows for faster grilling time, but if you’re not careful when you cook food, the high temperatures may be one of the cons of infrared grills.

The high temperature an infrared grill is capable of makes it easy to burn food. There are grills that don't have a low temperature setting, making it extremely challenging for cooking food that doesn’t need high temps as much. We’re talking fish, vegetables, and other kinds of seafood as well.

But don’t worry, there are low-temperature infrared grilling options out there. This feature will allow for smoking and slow cooking. It’s great for all those dishes that don’t need searing temperatures. 

  1. Expensive

Price is also one of the cons infrared grills have. They have a pretty steep price tag, but that’s because of the advanced technology and features that are within the grill. Some companies even incorporate their own patented technologies to make the outdoor grilling experience great for every kind of cooking situation.

Furthermore, infrared grills are made of high-quality stainless steel, making it a durable piece of equipment that will last you years. Many products are covered under a limited lifetime warranty -- another thing to check before you make a purchase.

So although the expensive price is one of the cons of infrared grills, it’s really reasonable depending on the features it brings to the table. That being said, always do your research first when buying an infrared grill.

So, are infrared grills worth it?

The short answer is yes, since they can provide you with good steakhouse-quality meats faster. This kind of grilling equipment may make a hole in your pocket, but they’re a worthy investment to have in your outdoor kitchen. 

Infrared grills are perfect for every home, particularly if you like having summer cookouts and barbecue parties with your friends and neighbors. Grilling steaks, barbecue, ribs, burgers, and other dishes has never been so quick and easy. 

Can you just imagine the satisfaction on your guests’ faces when they taste the delicious, juicy meats that you cook on the grill? You’ve probably heard of the saying “Food brings us together,” and that’s what you can do with the dishes you’ll cook on this great equipment.

Final Words

Now that you’ve weighed the pros and cons of infrared grills, it’s entirely up to you to decide whether it’s the right fit for your outdoor kitchen. Infrared grills provide faster cook times, energy efficiency, an easy clean-up, and much tastier and juicier meats. Some also provide advanced features that can further improve the experience. Still, some of the drawbacks are they can be bulky, expensive, and you should be careful when cooking because of the high temperatures. 

If you’ve decided you want an infrared grill for your backyard cookout after reviewing the pros and cons, the next thing to do is to check our review of TEC infrared grills. Of course, you want to purchase what best fits your needs and your budget as well. 

But if you’re not really a fan of the high temperatures in infrared grilling, gas grills from the brand Blaze might a better match.


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