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Grilling is a classic American pastime! A grill is a big purchase, but it’s one that people who love food know is worth it.
A good quality grill can be a complete culinary revelation! So, with that in mind, it’s important that you know what to look out for when buying one.
One key feature of many grills is an infrared cooking feature. Infrared grills cook hotter and quicker than regular gas grills - but this feature can come at a price.
We’ll tell you all about both infrared grills and regular gas grills, so that you can make an informed choice when you’re deciding what features you need on your grill!
Infrared grills might seem like they’re modern or even futuristic technology, but they’ve actually been around for a few decades now (TEC gets credit as the inventor of infrared grills).
They work by using infrared radiation - a part of the electromagnetic spectrum that essentially produces light that the human eye can’t see.
Instead of being able to see this light, we experience it in the form of heat - or rather, in the case of an infrared grill, our food does!
So don’t worry, this isn’t radiation in the scary, nuclear plant sense! It’s a safe and efficient way to heat your food.
An infrared grill can reach temperatures that some normal grills can only dream of - and all while using less gas!
You might wonder how an infrared grill can possibly work when powered by gas.
After all, infrared heat lamps require electricity to run, just as any other light bulb.
So how can a gas grill cook using infrared light as a heat source?
Well, the grill uses the gas fuel to heat an object that emits the infrared radiation which cooks your food.
In fact, it’s usually just a piece of metal, glass, or ceramic that gets heated up by a gas powered heating element.
When heated up enough, this produces infrared radiation - essentially, it starts glowing brightly with heat!
Or, it would if you could actually see the light coming off it.
Heating the grill this way can produce very high temperatures, and can let you cook more quickly and efficiently.
Infrared burners perform especially well in cold and/or windy climates. The infrared heat waves go virtually unaffected by the elements, unlike traditional gas burners.
However, infrared grills cost more than regular gas grills. The price alone can make them off-putting to many consumers.
Also, infrared grills are great, but they’re not perfect for everyone. They might be hotter and quicker, but they don’t cook any better per se.
You can cook fantastic food on any grill, gas or infrared.
In fact, the extra heat of an infrared cooker can actually make cooking difficult at first, as even with variable heat controls the speed with which food cooks can take you by surprise - and maybe lead to some overcooked food.
Regular gas grills are tried and tested devices that have served as cooking implements for millions of households and businesses for many years.
Of course, technology improves over time, as do manufacturing standards and safety requirements - but the underlying principle behind the gas grill has remained pretty much the same.
Most people who have grill experience are more likely to be familiar with a gas grill than an infrared grill.
They’ll feel instantly at home with a gas grill bought new, just as they would with a decades old model.
After all, a well maintained gas grill can last a lifetime - and on the whole, if you can cook well with one, you can cook well with them all.
Infrared grills aren’t inherently any harder to cook with, but they’re a different experience.
They can heat up far more quickly than you may expect, and reach higher temperatures.
This can mean that using a gas grill is actually easier, as you can feel more in control of the temperature.
Also, let's be honest - sometimes, speed isn’t everything! Some people simply prefer a slower cook.
Whether it’s because your meal needs a slower cook time for better flavor, or you simply want the cooking to be a slower, more relaxed experience, sometimes a slower cook time can be better!
Infrared grills are less common by comparison - not least because regular gas grills tend to beat them on price.
A gas grill isn’t a small purchase, no matter which one you buy.
Many people don’t feel that the extra cost of an infrared grill is worth it for their cooking needs.
After all, gas grills have been a fantastic way to cook for so long, that many people simply don’t feel the need to use anything else!
Ultimately, there isn’t a simple answer.
Both infrared grills and regular gas grills are absolutely great purchases, and will provide you with years and years of fantastic cooking experiences.
It doesn’t even depend on how good a cook you are either - as an experienced cook can use any tool and make fantastic food!
Some cooks prefer the tried and tested gas grills that they’ve always used, whereas others rely on the extra heat and quicker cooking times that you can only get with an infrared grill.
Cost is of course a big factor too. An infrared gas grill can be more efficient in the long run, as it uses less fuel to create more heat.
However, that comes with the downside of increased initial cost.
Infrared gas grills are more expensive than regular gas grills, which can really turn people off the feature.
For some, the time and fuel savings are worth it - but those who cook less often might find that they’re simply not worth the money.
No matter whether you choose to buy an infrared grill or a regular gas grill, as long as you choose a reputable brand, you’ll end up with a quality product that will help you to make fantastic food for years and years to come.
Ultimately, the decision of which is best for you comes down to your needs, your budget, and the sort of cooking experience you want.
As long as you consider these factors, you’ll be able to find a fantastic grill that does everything you need and more for years and years!