Infrared BBQ Grills 101: Technique, Cost, Flavor, and Beyond
December 10, 2020 / Comments
If you’re like us, you love to grill!
The enticing smoky aromas, the vibrant colors from the fire, the sizzle of the meat as it hits the grill, the sweet and tangy scent of Redneck Lipstick BBQ sauce wafting from the grill… it’s paradise.
By this point in your grilling adventures, you’re probably looking to upgrade your BBQ equipment and are wondering if an infrared grill is the right choice.
Well, in our years upon years of BBQ experience, an infrared grill knocks a traditional gas grill out of the park any day!
Today we’ll tell you all about what infrared grills are and why they’re an excellent choice, along with:
- The pros and cons of using an infrared grill for BBQ
- How much you can expect to spend on an infrared grill (+ the top brands to choose from)
- 5 quick grilling tips to help you make the most of your infrared grill
What is an Infrared Grill?
Infrared grills use infrared technology as the primary or optional heat source, instead of an open flame. As a result, the radiant heat source cooks meat evenly by providing direct heat.
In comparison, open flame grills require a “heat distribution” system of sorts such as charcoal to distribute the heat. This results in an uneven distribution of heat.
Of course, something needs to create energy in order for the infrared heat source to heat up and reach the proper grilling temperatures.
This is why infrared grills still require propane or a natural gas element.
There are three main types of an infrared burner system:
- Ceramic Infrared Burner System: This is the most common burner system. This system produces hundreds of small flames that heat up evenly and rapidly. Temperatures can reach up to 1,000℉.
- Radiant Glass Panel System: The glass panel system is commonly found in grills made by TEC. It places the cooking grid on top of a radiant glass panel, which is located on top of a durable stainless steel burner. With this system, temperatures can reach up to 900℉.
- Heat Emitter System: Infrared grills with heat emitter systems use a stainless steel tube burner with a metal heat emitter panel located over the burner with a cooking grid on top. These systems produce much lower temperatures, with the highest being around 600-700℉.
As with any type of grill, an infrared grill has its fair share of advantages and disadvantages
8 Major Pros You’ll Love in an Infrared Grill
Rapid Preheat Time
Since you don’t have to wait for dozens of coals to heat up, infrared grills can preheat in a lightning-fast 3-5 minutes.
Reduced Cook Time
Thanks to the extremely high temperatures and direct heat, you can achieve the same mouth-watering grilling results in a fraction of the time.
For those who don’t grill as often as they’d like due to the long prep and cook times, an infrared grill can solve that problem!
Evenly Distributed Heat
When grilling with gas or an open flame, you’re bound to have spots of extreme heat and extreme cold. For the inexperienced griller, this can result in an unevenly cooked steak or burger—which is the last thing you want!
The design of an infrared grill ensures a nice, evenly distributed, direct heat at all times.
There’s a reason infrared grills are found in steakhouses all over the world. Infrared grills are the perfect option for searing meat due to their extremely high temperatures.
If you want those crispy, seared grill lines on your BBQ, get an infrared grill!
All meat contains a moisture barrier. If broken with hot air, the meat becomes dry, chewy, and undesirable.
Common logic would make you think that a grill capable of hotter temperatures would dry the meat. But, because the grill uses infrared energy that produces radiant heat instead of hot air, the moisture remains inside the meat!
When cooked on an infrared grill, meat and veggies contain up to 35% more of its natural juices.
That’s even better than using a BBQ spray bottle!
Because an infrared grill uses less gas to heat up, you can save money while grilling more!
Safer to Grill
Gas grills and open flame grills are notorious for flare-ups and other super dangerous situations. With an infrared grill, flare-ups are significantly reduced thanks to the system design.
Easier to Clean
Many infrared grills come with a self-cleaning feature! And, with the high temperatures created by the radiant heat, any food scraps or crumbs are instantly turned to ash making these grills significantly easier to clean than gas or charcoal grills.
4 Infrared Grill Cons That May Sway Your Decision
Infrared Grills are Expensive!
The main disadvantage to owning an infrared grill is the cost. The best models and brands will cost you anywhere from $700-$5,000+.
Yes, $5,000+ for a grill!
If you’re serious about investing in an infrared grill, do your research and find the brand and model that fits your budget. Otherwise, a more affordable charcoal grill will work just fine!
You Need to Do Your Research
We just told you that infrared grills are expensive.
So, if you see a super cheap one on the market, be suspicious!
Many of the cheaper models are that inexpensive for several reasons. Mainly, these models are:
- Difficult to clean
- Made of cheap, flimsy parts and materials
- Unable to achieve high temperatures
Do your research and choose a top-quality infrared grill you can afford.
Those that opt for the top-of-the-line infrared grills will notice that they are quite bulky.
If you have limited balcony, deck, or patio space, make sure you measure before buying any brand of infrared grill. Otherwise, you may end up buying a grill that doesn’t fit your space!
Beware of High Temperatures
While high temperatures are a benefit of infrared grills, they can also be a detriment to those who are inexperienced with grilling.
It’s far too easy to overcook meat on this type of grill if you’re not observant!
How Much an Infrared Grill Costs: The Top Brands Breakdown
Again, infrared grills are pricey! You can easily spend thousands of dollars on a grill based on the brand, type, and size of the model you select.
Fortunately, there are several brands you can trust when looking to invest in a high-quality grill:
Solaire infrared grills are available in a wide range of sizes and price ranges to match any outdoor kitchen or grilling budget.
- Known For: Tough materials and lifetime warranty
- Best For: New grilling enthusiasts and BBQ masters
- Price Range: $300-$9,000+ (Lots of options!)
Sure, us Rednecks don’t like to make a big fuss about anything fancy… but that all goes out the window when it comes to a Lynx infrared grill!
As the luxury model of infrared grills, Lynx grills are made with commercial-quality materials in the USA and come with a supportive warranty.
- Known For: Commercial-quality materials and made in the USA
- Best For: BBQ enthusiasts with a big budget
- Price Range: Lowest model starts at $2,500-$3,000
Serious about infrared grills? Then buy from the people who invented it!
And, since their grills are 100% infrared heat, you don’t need to worry about potential flare-ups! (But, please always grill with caution!)
- Known For: Inventing infrared grills, durable stainless steel materials
- Best For: Serious grillers
- Price Range: $1,500-$6,000
Char-Broil infrared grills are available in a variety of models ranging from 2 to 4 burners.
- Known For: TRU-infrared grill models, compact size
- Best For: Casual fans of grilling and at-home BBQ
- Price Range:$300 to $1,000+.
Due to the lower price range, however, many customers mention that the Char-Broil infrared grills can be difficult to clean.
Nexgrill infrared grills can be found at major appliance retailers such as Home Depot. Nexgrill’s are perfect for the novice griller looking to try infrared grilling for the first time!
- Known For: Numerous features such as battery-powered ignition
- Best For: Beginners
- Price Range: $300-$700
5 Quick Tips for Making the Tastiest BBQ on Your Infrared Grill
Grilling on an infrared grill isn’t that much different than a gas or charcoal grill. However, there are a few things you need to know before you begin:
1. Always Preheat!
Just as you would for any other grill, always preheat before putting any meat or veggies on the grill.
The best part about an infrared grill is that you’ll only have to wait 3-5 minutes for it to be ready!
2. Proper Meat Prep
When you’re prepping your meat for grilling, be sure to pat it dry before throwing it on the grill. Moisture on the surface of a cut of meat will turn to steam rather than creating those beautiful grill lines when searing.
As always, let meat reach room temperature slowly before grilling. This keeps the moisture locked in for those tender, juicy bites we want from BBQ.
3. Don’t Sear Too Long
When using an infrared grill to sear steak or fish, you only need 2-3 minutes on each side. Once seared, drop the temperature to cook the meat to the desired level of doneness.
Remember, it’s easy to overcook when grilling at such high temperatures, so be on your A-game!
4. Low and Slow is Possible
All Rednecks and BBQ fanatics know that low and slow is the key to mouth-watering, fall off the bone BBQ.
At first glance, it may not seem like infrared grills can accomplish this due to their extraordinarily high-temperature ranges. But that’s not true!
You can cook BBQ and veggies at a low temperature using an infrared grill. But, it takes a bit of practice.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with lower temperatures, specific time ranges, and other BBQ tricks on your infrared grill. Keep an eye on the temperature and you’ll be good to go!
5. You Have to Add BBQ Sauce
Infrared grills can only be used when you cook meat smothered in BBQ sauce.
Okay, that’s not entirely true. But since infrared grills lock-in that juicy moisture we love in BBQ recipes, adding a sweet, spicy, and tangy BBQ sauce kicks your meal up a notch!
Be an Infrared BBQ Master: Grill with Confidence with Redneck Lipstick
Whether you choose a top-of-the-line luxury infrared grill or a trustworthy model from TEC, you can grill like a pro when you add Redneck Lipstick BBQ sauce to your recipe!
From locking in the mouth-watering moisture to mastering the perfect sear, you’ll become a grilling legend when you pair an infrared grill with the smoky, tangy flavors of Redneck Lipstick BBQ sauce.