Gas Grill - Conventional or Infrared?

  • #1
russ_watters
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Gas Grill -- Conventional or Infrared?

So I know we have some serious grillmeisters here, who can help me with this. I'm in need of a new grill and I see that there are both the normal and now infrared grills. Does anyone have any experience with the infrared? They are pricier, but they advertise faster/better cooking. They look like a nightmare to keep clean though.

Here's the two I'm looking at:
http://www.lowes.com/pd_212564-82210-463244012_4294857763__?productId=3723240&Ns=p_product_qty_sales_dollar|1

http://www.lowes.com/pd_218825-82210-463247412_4294857763__?productId=3511278&Ns=p_product_qty_sales_dollar|1

They are the Lowes brand (I think), but appear to be good quality at a low price. A similar looking Weber costs 2-3x as much and I just don't see that as reasonable.

Opinions?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Hepth
Gold Member
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I'm not extremely into grills, having bought this one
http://www.sears.com/kenmore-4-burner-lp-red-gas-grill-w-searing/p-07116132000P

figuring it'd be "enough". It seems similar to the one you posted above. I can only say that I'm dissappointed and wish I had gone with something either BETTER (weber) or HOTTER (IR?). It takes FOREVER to get up to a decent temperature. This is not due to the BTU limit (the grill gets hot), but rather to the thin aluminum cover. Most Webers have cast iron IIRC, if not its REALLY thick; and they're made to really keep the heat in. This means, on my friends weber he can get up to 500F fairly easily whereas in my kenmore, I don't think I ever could.

This is not good as I love seared Tuna, as well as grilling Filets, and you really want a high temp for that.


So no real opinion, having not really used IR grills before, but one thing to check out is to go actually do a hands-on in store and check the build quality. Some of the char-broil/kenmore/mediocre brands have good grills, but some just are made poorly.
 
  • #3
turbo
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I own a Char-Griller "locomotive". The gas portion of the grill can get to 500 degrees easily. It's nice to have the smoker to provide indirect heat to the charcoal section, so you can smoke turkeys and other slow-cooked meats.

chargriller.jpg
These are standard-issue at tractor supply and other outlets.

smokedturkey.jpg
Here is a turkey being smoked by indirect heat in the charcoal grill. Very flexible cooking tool.
 
  • #4
D H
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The gas portion of the grill can get to 500 degrees easily.
To paraphrase those Pace picante sauce commercials, "[strike]New York City?[/strike] Gas grill? Get a rope."
 
  • #5
turbo
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To paraphrase those Pace picante sauce commercials, "[strike]New York City?[/strike] Gas grill? Get a rope."
Sometimes food needs to come in hot and fast. The propane end of the grill is perfect for searing tuna steaks. I use all sections of the grill, and they all have their uses.

BTW, the little "smoker" section of the locomotive is perfect for cooking small amounts of food over charcoal.
 
  • #6
466
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I've owned many over the years. I finally returned to a simple kettle type Weber with charcoal only. It will fast cook very nicely, and slow cooks as well as any smoker I've ever used. If I light it first, the coals are ready by the time I get the meat prepared, so it is as quick as any gas grill, and much easier to keep clean. Easily saves unburned charcoal for next time, and will cook with real wood when I want to. But best of all, IMHO the meat taste so much better than with gas.

The infared is a means of providing indirect heat, but don't buy anything that does not give you the option of direct heat. It is very easy to rig any grill for indirect heat.

I BBQ nearly every weekend at home and on Thursdays on a public grill in a park if it don't rain. I've slow cooked a whole turkey on an open grill with a wood fire in a public park using indirect heat.
 
  • #7
466
1


An idea that I've found very useful: I bought three dutch ovens in different sizes. The largest is the biggest one that will fit into a large kettle type grill with the lid closed. They are the type with feet on them and a flat lid so I can stack them and put coals on top of the lids so the one on top of it has coals under it.

For slow cooking with smoke, I put the large lid directly on the grill and put the large oven without a lid on top of that. Boston butt or small turkey can fit into the oven. Close the grill lid and fully open all the vents. I can pack enough charcoal into the grill to cook for up to ten hours this way, and I have two cast iron plates between the fire and the meat. Or I can stack the ovens on the ground next to the grill and cook anything else I want to serve. Bake bread, biscuits, or pies if I want to. If I don't want to put a fire on the ground, I turn a large pot upside down and stack the ovens on top of that.
 
  • #8
turbo
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Most gas grills use IR heating. The gas section of my Char-Griller has three burner-bars. Each of the burners is topped with a metal "tent" to distribute the heat. When I want 500 deg to grill tuna, I use just two of the burners, and the heat from those burners is redistributed as IR from the metal tents. My previous gas grills had metal racks to hold lava rocks or ceramic "stones" above the burners. Again, they grilled with IR, not with direct heat from the gas.

I have always had a Brinkman smoker/grill and a little Weber Smokey Joe around, but I wanted the Char-Griller for the flexibility and large capacity. I like smoking with hardwood, and the Char-Griller makes it easy to add charcoal and hardwood without disturbing the food that is being smoked in the larger chamber. I have grilled small stuff (burgers, steaks, etc) in the large charcoal chamber with great results, but I like using the small smoker section to cook turkeys, etc, indirectly in that big charcoal section. Flip the damper on that chimney to avoid losing heat, open the little smoker section and recharge it, then re-open that damper. Very easy to use.
 
  • #9
466
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Turbo: I used the same setup for years until everything rusted away. It was great. What I have now was an effort to keep it simple and cheap.
 
  • #10
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I used IR for steaks last weekend and they turned out great!
 
  • #11
turbo
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Turbo: I used the same setup for years until everything rusted away. It was great. What I have now was an effort to keep it simple and cheap.
I can understand that. My change to the char-griller was motivated in large part to the fact that the burner-bars in the gas section were covered by the metal tents to provide the IR. No need to fuss with lava-rocks or ceramics. I don't know what the temperature in that hood might get up to if I used all three burners - never had to try. Still, 500 deg is plenty to get a seared, yet rare tuna steak. My wife called at lunch today, and asked me to take out another tuna steak, so the grill will get another workout tonight.
 
  • #12
turbo
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I used IR for steaks last weekend and they turned out great!
Is there any gas grill that uses direct flame to cook food? :confused: With the metal shields over the burners, lava rocks, and ceramic bricks, it seems like there is an endless supply of IR grills out there. Still have not found a non-charcoal/wood grill that is configured for direct heat.

I have always loved cooking over coals (since I'm 60+ you might expect that) and the first thing that I did when getting to a picnic area was unloading some seasoned wood and starting a fire in the fire-pit. Sometimes it was as simple as browning some salt pork or cooking up some hot dogs, but I loved roasting fresh corn. Peel back the husks but don't detach them, remove the silk, butter the cobs, add some salt and pepper, and pull the husks back into place and tie them. The corn doesn't get charred, and it comes out a lot stronger and sweeter than boiled corn.
 
  • #13
466
1


Turbo and I are very similar. It does not bother me at all to tend a whole hog for 18 hours straight, using a wood fire.
 
  • #14
643
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A car grill is the best grill for road kill.:cool:
 
  • #15
466
1


That is funny. But I have used a truck grill and hood to improvise a smoker to cook a whole hog. Where I come from, if you hit a hog or deer, you check to see if the meat is still good. If so, you don't waste it. Time for a BBQ party.
 

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