Infrared grills work in a high output and low consumption manner; they are designed to be quick, economical in terms of energy and easy to use. They work by generating heat without flame which has no drying properties on the food, and is therefore better for the tenderness and texture of the food.
This lack of tendency towards drying food is in fact the biggest advantage of cooking with infrared heat, and is much marketed by the sellers of infrared grills. As they point out, hot air has been used to dry things for centuries, so when you use hot air and flame to cook your food you are essentially drying it out. This is not quite so true of charcoal, which actually generates a lot of infrared heat, but not the same amount as infrared cooker, which cooks without any hot air at all. However, you should be aware that the charcoal only reaches its optimum infrared cooking state once it has reached the ‘glowing’ stage of burning, where all extraneous combustible material has been burnt off.
Infrared cookers are also quite clean. As they don’t scorch the food in the way that gas and charcoal grills do they are less likely to need extensive scrubbing to clean them! Again, a major selling point for the keen griller who wants to spend their time grilling, rather than scrubbing off the blackened charcoal which used to be a steak.
Infrared grills vary in price quite significantly, depending on the size and model you require. As they are still relatively new as barbecuing equipment goes, they are more likely to be expensive than your standard charcoal burner which has a hundred generic variations in the local supermarket. The average price tends to hover around a few hundred dollars for the most standard, going well up into the thousands for a top of the range model. The top of the range models are worth it for quality and durability, but don’t forget that you may pay more for quality than you will get back in value, so consider your choice carefully.
Price will also vary on whether you want a large outdoor grill, or a portable type which can be packed up and taken away with you. The larger models which are similar to the gas grills of old will again be up into the several thousands, even from the cheapest retailers. But the advantage of these is that you can hold extremely large outdoor parties and wow everyone with your cooking prowess!
Some well-known suppliers of infrared grills are TEC and Lincat, but like any branded products they are more expensive than generic types. To get a really good deal on an infrared grill go to an online site like E-bay; there is a healthy second hand market going in infrared grills already, and you would do well to check if the grill you want is available at ‘nearly new’ quality levels online.
Whatever you decide, infrared grills are here to stay!