Our New Gas Grill: Char
Last week I shared with you that we had went to Sears to look for a new grill, as part of the free photography class I am taking sponsored by Sears Grilling. We did lots of comparisons and walked away fairly certain about the one we would buy.
During the week, I was sent a gift card to go buy our new grill. After we got back from our trip to Comic-Con, we headed back over to Sears go buy the gas grill we wanted, but after getting there, we found that it was out of stock. The sales associate checked the inventory at all the other local Las Vegas Sears stores and it was out of stock at those stores too. It must have been quite popular!
So, a change of plans. We checked the other options and decided wed go with something different. Very different. My husband had a major interest in the Char-Broil TRU-Infrared gas grills, so after a look at the different models with this new cooking system, we made our decision.
This week our class focused on taking better product photos with a big focus on our lighting. Well, I hope youre ready because Ive got lots to show you!
Heres a close up of the grates. Quite different, huh?
Many gas grills have a single lid mounted temperature gauge, but our new grill has several. There is one located directly above each knob that is used to show the temperature of each grate.
This is designed to give us precise control and monitoring of the food cooking.
And so far, we have been.
If this was your grill, what would you grill first??
What Are Infrared Grills
If you want to find in-depth information about infrared grills, we have a detailed break down that looks at if they are worth the cost. If you want a quick rundown though, read on to learn the essentials.
The word infrared refers to a method of heat transfer. On infrared grills, grill plates are designed to transfer heat into infrared radiation, and then cook the food.
Some infrared grills have one or two grill plates designed to transfer infrared heat, and might be called a sear zone or something similar. Other grills are comprised solely of infrared grill plates.
You might think this sounds very high tech, or you might even think it could be a health hazard.
In reality, the burning coals on a fire also emit infrared radiation. So cooking with infrared radiation has really been around as long as fire has. It just hasnt been harnessed in a convenient and efficient way until recently.
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Napoleon Prestige 500 Freestanding Propane Gas Grill With Infrared Burner
These high quality grills arent the cheapest option, but there isnt much they cant do. If you have a bit of cash to throw at a grill, then the Napoleon Prestige 500 is definitely worth a look.
With 500 square inches of cooking space, and the capability to grill, sear, bake, smoke and roast, these units can handle anything you throw at them.
The lid is well insulated so when closed, the grill can be used as a smoker. Throw in a smoker tube filled with your favorite wood chips to make the meat as smoky as you like.
When you want to grill, the lid folds away, right out of the road.
Note that not all of the burners are infrared. The Prestige 500 has a 18,000 BTU rear infrared burner and rotisserie kit and a 14,000 BTU infrared side burner for high temp searing.
The sear plates reach a staggering 1800°F so to say searing is easy is an understatement.
All components are made of quality materials and the unit itself is made in Canada
What we like:
- Thoughtful design features such as a cupboard under the grill for storage, tool hooks inside the doors, reversible WAVE designed grill rods to reduce the amount of food that falls through the cracks, and the ability to order the grill natural gas ready.
- The rotisserie kit that comes with the grill can hold up to 25 pounds.
- Large size You can cook up to 30 burger patties on the main cooking area of this unit.
What we dont like:
There is also the option of a charcoal tray for this grill, but you will have to order it separately.
Hacks To Turn Your Regular Grill Into An Infrared Grill
If your budget is tight, dont despair. There are a couple of handy accessories on the market that can convert parts of your ordinary grill into infrared and give the best infrared grills a run for their money.
We found these infrared hacks suggested over on amazingribs.com.
These interlocking grates amplify heat, prevent flare ups and sear your food really well. No they are not infrared technology, but they produce very similar results for a fraction of the cost.
To use these grates, just measure up your grill and buy the right sized grates. Simply take off your existing grates, replace them with the Grill Grates and enjoy great searing.
Get the latest price on Amazon.
Charcoal Grill for Searing
If you have a charcoal grill hanging around, put it to use!
For big cook ups when you have multiple things on the go, set up your charcoal grill on the side and sear you meat there.
Not only will it leave more space in your grill, but you will get much better results searing over charcoal than you will with other types of grill .
Whack your griddle pan on the grates of your barbecue or side burner, get it piping hot and coat it with just a little oil.
The superheated surface will make better contact with your meat and produce superior results for searing than you could expect from an ordinary grill.
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% Juicier Barbecued Food
Conventional grills rely on convective heat. Similar to a hairdryer, the heat is transferred by hot air. The food dries out quickly. TRU-Infrared Grills, on the other hand, generate radiant heat. Very high temperatures are allowed to develop quickly on the grill surface, which are then transferred directly to the food you want to barbeque. Moisture is sealed in and the food remains juicy and tender.
Which Series To Buy
Based on my personal observations and reading through hundreds of user reviews, the Performance series under-performs the Signature/Commercial series due to the one-piece emitter/grate design. Although its tough to expect much from a gas grill under $200, the question remains: Is the Char-Broil TRU-infrared performance series the best gas grill under $200? The answer is no, a standard convection grill may serve you better. For just $200 the best gas grill is going to light, heat relatively evenly, and last a couple of years. TRU-infrared isnt going to add any value at this price point. Finding the best gas grill under $200 isnt difficult if you know what to look for. Lazy-Q Life has done the homework and laid it all out for you here.
Thanks for reading!
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Our Top 7 Choices For The Best Infrared Grills For 2022
Weve selected six of the best infrared gas grills on the market today. These are our favorite grills for intense searing across a range of price points.
Infrared technology used to be limited to the most expensive grills.
Char-Broil has been changing that perception with the Performance TRU-Infrared gas grills.
We think the Char-Broil Performance TRU-Infrared 3-Burner Gas Grill is the best infrared grill for most people.
You get 450 square inches of primary cooking area with 24,000 BTUs spread across three burners with a 10,000 BTU side burner to boot.
For warming, there is also a 150 square inch warming rack which is porcelain coated, and swings away when not in use.
The grill itself performs well, reaching high temperatures with ease. Searing is a pleasure, as the heat is distributed evenly across the cooking plate.
The consistently good results you can achieve on this grill really do rival some of the more expensive competitors weve seen.
The lid and firebox stand are also porcelain coated for increased durability.
What we like:
What we dont like:
- The infrared plates on this unit can be difficult to clean There are small holes in the infrared plates which can get bits of food stuck in them. Not only does this contribute to the difficulty in cleaning the grates but may lead to the odd flare up as these bits of food catch alight.
- Gas bottle placement is stored under the unit where other manufacturers may take advantage of the space for shelves.
Upgrade Pick Saber Cast 500 32
If you are looking for a high-end infrared gas grill, Saber are an excellent choice. They have developed their very own patented cooking system which uses infrared heat.
The Saber Cast 500 32 Inch 3 Burner hits the sweet spot for price and quality out of all the infrared options over $1,000 and earns our top spot for the best luxury infrared grill.
All the burners on the grill use this technology, and unlike most infrared grills that only have one temperature , Sabers patented technology allows for great temperature control.
Saber grills also offer fuel efficiency, the capacity for incredibly high temperatures, flare up reduction and the resilience and durability of stainless steel construction.
You get 500 square inches of primary grilling area plus an adjustable, enamel-coated 175 square inch warming rack can be folded down to keep foods warm or folded away to give you more space.
When it comes to durability, all burners, infrared emitters, side shelves, and cooking grates are made of 304 stainless steel.
This particular model also includes an 18,000 BTU side burner. The burner is dual control and offers you that extra spot on the grill for boiling, wok cooking or keeping food warm.
Like the Char-Broil reviewed above, the side burner has a lid so you can use it as a side shelf for extra prep area.
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What we like:
What we dont like:
Read our full Victory gas grill review.
What we like:
What we dont like:
Also Check: The Grill At Quarterfield Station
How Do Infrared Grills Work
Infrared radiation heats food when electromagnetic waves are emitted from the heated surface. These waves travel at the speed of light and in every direction, so they cook very efficiently and at incredibly high heat when compared to other grilling methods.
For example, on an infrared gas grill, the infrared plate is heated by the gas flame underneath the plate. The heat is then emitted off the plate as infrared radiation and cooks the food sitting above.
- Speed These grills cook incredibly fast. They can reach 700°F in around 7 minutes.
- Even Heat When you grill with infrared, there are no hot spots or cool spots.
- Efficiency Because these grills heat so fast and burn so hot, you can have your cooking done in a very short time.
- Less Flare Ups Some types of infrared burners are less likely to cause flare ups due to the sheer intensity of the heat.
- Easy to Clean Those super high temps also make cleaning a breeze. Just crank up your infrared burner when you are done and any food left hanging on will be incinerated.
Cons of infrared cooking:
The best infrared grills are designed to take advantage of the pros while minimalizing the negatives
Should You Buy An Infrared Grill
Infrared grills burn hot, sear better than any other type of grill and brown your meat evenly.
However they can be a bit of a one trick pony when it comes to grilling and that trick is searing.
While you are most likely to see infrared technology in the form of a sear zone on a grill, you can get barbecues which use this technology in the cooking chamber as well, and this opens up a whole new area in which infrared technology is an appealing option.
If your burner has an infrared plate in the cooking chamber, the heat coming up from the coals is converted into infrared radiation.
This means that your food is being cooked by convection conduction AND infrared radiation .
In short, every last bit of that heat is going to be used up to cook your meat evenly and efficiently.
Compare that to a normal cooking chamber. Your food is cooked by convection and conduction only.
So yes, your food will still be cooked if you have a normal grill, and it will still be mighty tasty. But infrared cooking does have an edge.
But infrared grills cost more. Weve included the best budget infrared grill as well as some great more expensive options.
So while there are many advantages to owning an infrared grill, you need to consider your budget too.
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An Overview On Bbq Grills
In many areas of the country, when the weather turns warm, the barbecue grills come out. Summertime is for backyard get-togethers where hamburgers and hot dogs are grilled up and handed out. Foods like steaks and chicken are never quite as good as they are when cooked on a good grill.
But if you havent shopped for a new barbecue grill in a while, you may be surprised at the many options. Youll still find plenty of gas-powered grills, but even they have improved. You can now find grills that use technology to ensure every inch of the grill is heated to the same temperature, eliminating the need to move food around to make sure everything cooks evenly. Youll also find that some grills start with the push of a button and heat up quickly, which means you wont have to stand around waiting for it to reach the right temperature.
There is a dizzying array of options to consider when you start looking at BBQ grills, and it can be a little confusing, says culinary expert , member of Les Dames dEscoffier, dining editor for Better magazine and food journalist. Some people prefer the ease of a gas grill easy to turn on, quick to get to temperature but there are other energy sources to consider, like infrared, wood pellet, electric, and charcoal briquet.
And of course, there is the traditional charcoal grill.
What Does Char Broil Tru Infrared Grill Mean
A tru infrared grill, renamed Amplifire in 2022, converts the hot air generated in traditional gas grills into infrared heat. The heat is distributed evenly over the entire grill surface and flare ups are prevented from happening entirely.
To me, this means that the meats I grill will get a nice sear, which as a chef is very important. Check out these grill marks from the first time we used it:
Heres what I said about this grill right after we first used it almost six years ago:
There are so many things we love about the new stainless steelChar-Broil grill. The first thing I noticed are the porcelain-coated grates which are great for preventing your food from sticking. There is also 525 square-inches of grilling space which means you can cook up to 29 burgers at once.
Next was the side burner which makes it so nice to just heat up a side dish or quickly reduce a sauce. Its also dual fuel enabled, which means you can connect to natural gas at home. We havent done that yet but were definitely going to try it.
But its the AmplifireCooking System that really separates this grill from any others Ive cooked on. It allows your food to cook evenly with no flare-ups. The night before our barbecue, my parents grilled some steaks. They both raved that they were the best theyd ever had on a grill and neither could believe how evenly they cooked.
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