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Sep 5, 2007 06:00 AM

Sear Zone high-intensity infrared burner

Has anyone had any experience with a barbecue with a Sear Zone high-intensity infrared burner?

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  1. Saw this at Sam's Club over the weekend. Seems like a really bad idea. I have a TEC grill with the full size infrared burner. It takes some tricks to get used to dialing in the proper cooking temps -- the Sams Club unit could be a nightmare of inceration...

    1. I can't speak for your specific unit, but cooking with infra red takes some practice. If it's a decent burner, it should do a great job with something like a thick steak. But you will need to watch carefully to keep the meat from burning. Once you have a good sear on both sides, move the meat to a spot over a regular burner to finish cooking. Don't try to adjust the infra red. It just defeats the point. You may notice some oddities. For example, the dark grid marks may appear between the grill surfaces rather than being created by them. But this is just cosmetic.

      I have a salamander (infra red broiler) in my gas stove, a typical late eighties consumer model from (defunct) Caloric. This puts the infra red over, rather than under, the food, so dripping fat is less of an issue. But I still burned a lot of food before getting a feel for it. It's interesting to watch fat vaporizing from a piece of meat, rising toward the burner grid, and disappearing in a puff of flame. I couldn't live without this now (a problem when the stove dies, since few stoves I can afford or that fit my kitchen have this feature today)

      You do NOT want to cook a chicken, or anything else that will drip fat, over that burner. The likely outcome will be an incinerated exterior with a raw interior. Not good at all.

      TEC grills, in my opinion, aren't very good because they are infra red only. They are very hard to control for normal cooking. Take the word "sear" literally and you should be okay.