Infrared Grills use the hottest technology in the gas grill industry today! And I mean "hottest" in more ways than one. The infrared burners reach much higher temperatures than standard convection burners.
Convection style gas burners heat the air, and the hot, rising air cooks the food. Infrared burners produce radiant infrared energy...the same kind of heat you feel from the sun in the sky, or from a roaring bonfire off in the distance. Since the radiant heat is more focused, foods can be grilled with the cooker lid opened. And foods cook quicker.
The original infrared technology was developed by TEC (Thermal Electric
of Columbia, SC) for the automaking industry as a way to speed up the
drying time of paint. The technology eventually moved into
top-of-the-line grills. In the year 2000 the patent on the IR (infrared)
technology expired, allowing all grill manufacturers to use it in their
The first generation of infrared gas grills were very expensive, with grills costing $5000 or more. Now with more grill makers using IR in their grills, the cost for an entry level infrared grill is getting to be within reach of the average consumer. Solaire makes a portable IR grill now that costs less than $400.
Infrared burners are fueled by either propane or natural gas. A ceramic tile with thousands of tiny holes is heated by the burning gas, then radiates the infrared heat. They can reach up to 900°F - standard burners can only reach 750°. The super-hot IR waves quickly sear the outer surface of meats, sealing in the juices.
Once the meat has been seared, it can be placed over a standard burner, or the IR burner can be turned down. But one problem of the infrared burners is that they can't be turned down enough for slow cooking. Many infrared grills include a combination of standard and IR burners for this reason.
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