Infrared gas barbeques (split from Ontario board)
- duckdown May 9, 2009 11:40 AM
I want to get one of those gas models that embee has, that goes up to 900 degrees... i need to seriously start checking into model #s
Mine is a Napoleon Ultra Chef. It's their "economy" line and looks somewhat cheesy, but is stronger than it appears.
I discovered the heat potential by lucky accident. The dealer told me not to run the infrared on high with the cover closed (though Napoleon doesn't actually warn against doing this). I goofed and forgot to turn off the infrared when I started the two other burners and closed the cover.
When I returned after a suitable preheating time, I found the grill's thermometer at the top of its range (600). My probe registered 900. It was a "lucky" accident since everything was fine. The dealer thought this would have warped the cover and casting, but it didn't.
I can push it even higher, since you can put a bin full of charcoal on the sear plate in addition to using the gas. Napoleon approves of this practice and even sells a charcoal addon. There isn't any particular culinary reason to do this, though.
I expect that using this much heat will shorten the grill's life, and I don't do it often, but it's great for pizza. I don't know how durable this grill will be. My previous Napoleon, a higher end unit, was a pain, with parts constantly dying, though their warranty support was great.
As to the infrared, yes, it is under the meat. It sears unbelievably fast. A thin rib steak cooks to rare, with a crust, in about three minutes. For a thick steak, you either lower the infrared or move the meat to a cooler zone. It does, indeed, create a grilled flavour.
Grease clogging isn't an issue. It vapourizes. The gas ports do get some gray ash buildup, which I clean with compressed air. I wish I could get a bigger infrared brick, since you can only fit two burgers, or one big steak, over the heat.
For straight grilling, the brick heats to about 1800. However, the grill is set very high and the infrared is extremely distance sensitive, so you need to mess around with the grilling surface to maximize the heat on your food. I presume that the grill height is for safety, and that improvising a lower grilling surface isn't safe, but I never claimed to be rational about food.
I wouldn't get an expensive "infrared only" grill, since it does make some things more difficult to cook.
We actually have a Napoleon right now, it's about 5-6 years old. A P450RB I think is the model
looks like this: http://www.johnstones.com/uploads/ima...
I can't tell you how many times I wish we opted for the infrared version instead... but I thought it might chew through the propane really quickly...another reason we should look to upgrade to Natural Gas
Thanks for the informative post, I'm a little weary about the small surface grilling area for the infrared though. I rarely am cooking just one steak, but cooking for other family members too.. so I'm not sure how this would work
I wonder where I can read up on new 2009 models from top manufacturers... but I'm not sure where to find this kind of info. Surely Weber, or Napoleon, or someone else has some new models out there...
Weber doesn't make infrared. Napoleon was the only manufacturer that put tube and infrared burners into one casting that could fit in our backyard. There may be bigger and/or more expensive units that have the feature.
The Napoleon "Ted Reader" model sold at Crappy Tire does come in a natural gas infrared version. However, they put the infrared grill outside the casting (where a side burner would typically go). As such, it would have no impact on the temperature within the casting. This design could imply a hint that I should take :-)
Napoleon dealers do not carry this model (which is actually a "Mirage", made by Napoleon in China). They tend to disparage it, but I am convinced that it is superior in quality to the much more expensive "Prestige" models that are made in Barrie.
The all infrared Tec and Solaire grills are extremely expensive. They are great for grilling steaks, but they aren't a treat when you want to grill a chicken or bake something.
Do you use a pizza stone? The Big Green Egg has a specifically made pizza stone, and it gets up to 700 degrees, I believe. Apparently does a good job. I'm just thinking maybe the stone would make a difference on your Weber.
Anyhow, I think any place that sells a BBQ also offers to deliver/assemble it.