So, what’s the big deal about infrared cooking?
April 12, 2017
Why backyard chefs are all fired up
Perfectly seared on the outside – yet tender and juicy on the inside. With grilled meat, that’s the culinary goal.
But acheiving it can be tricky. Tricky, that is, until infrared grilling came along.
Is infrared new?
Infrared technology has been around since the 60s, but in those years it was used more in industrial applications, not in cooking. In the 80s, inventor and founder of Thermal Engineering Corporation Bill Best (who just happened to also be a grill enthusiast), came up with the idea of adding a ceramic infrared burner to his barbecue grate. His hunch was that with infrared technology, he could cook foods faster without drying them out, and he was right. The big steakhouses were soon to follow, but it wasn’t until decades later that the home grillers would have access to this technology without it being cost-prohibitive. Why? Best’s patent eventually expired. So now even backyard cooks can create steakhouse-worthy meals at home.
Why cook with infrared?
In short, cooking with infrared means cooking fast, at high temperatures. A traditional convection grill uses circulating hot air (like an oven) to cook the food. A potential problem with this method is that the hot air can dry out the natural moistutre in what you’re cooking (ever had a hamburger hockey puck?). With infrared grilling, the airflow is directed away from the cooking surface, helping to lock in the food’s natural juices, producing tastier results.
Are there any pitfalls?
If power can be considered a pitfall, then yes. Infrared grills can reach surface cooking temperatures over 700 degrees, in less than 10 minutes. So while this is ideal for a solid cut of meat, it can make grilling more delicate foods – like fish or vegetables – a little more nuanced. That’s not to say you need a different grill for each different food catergory; many infrared grills have a burner you can control separately for these exact situations. So it really comes down to what you use your grill for most. If all about seared meat perfection, an infrared grill is probably right for you.
See how the SABER® infrared technology works: