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May 16, 2011 02:08 PM

Electric BBQ tips?

I love grilling….it opens up tons of easy and quick (and delicious) dinner options. Living in downtown Boston, I’ve been grill-less for a few years (silly fire regulations). My brand-new apartment building lured me in with the promise of BBQs on the roofdeck. I went up last week to see...electric BBQs. Like, they are plugged into the wall. They aren’t exactly like George Forman’s, but have normal grills that heat up.

I tried a simple steak on these things last night. I usually cook my steaks 4 min on each side (give or take a few min depending on thickness), on the electric grill on full heat it took me 12 minutes ON EACH SIDE to get a steak that wasn’t blue. Unfortunately, the slow (for steak) cooking method left the meat a bit rubbery.

So, I know that the grill isn’t ideal, but wonder if anyone has any tips on how to make the most out of the plug-in bbq? Any ideas how to get a bit of smokiness into the meat?

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  1. In my experience, electric bbq appliances work fairly well with kabobs and similar preparations but they're terribly inefficient when it comes to grilling any of the larger cuts of meat. Getting a nicely finished steak on one of them, without it being disappointingly chewy, has never worked for me. You could introduce smokiness using some liquid smoke as part of the pre-grill rub, but trying to get smokiness into the meat using wood chips or other commercially available materials doesn't work well at all. I think that's because, in order to get any smokey flavor into the meat, it has to be on the heat so long that it gets tough and rubbery.
    If you try liquid smoke, use it sparingly. It goes a long way.

    1 Reply
    1. re: todao

      Great tips---I'm beginning to regret the costco pack of ribeyes I bought yesterday!

    2. I know what you mean; Electric grills are like trying to cook with a flashlight. I have used a Farberware indoor hearth before with good results. I bought one for my daughter (who is in the same position as you) at a thrift store with a rotisserie for 10.00. They’re on E-bay for a little more.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Woodfireguy

        Good point. The rotisserie style of open grilling provides a low/slow approach that can be very satisfying. Toss the electric "grill" off the roof and get yourself a rotisserie. Not much good for steaks but a prime rib might be a better choice for dinner anyway. ;>}

        1. re: todao

          Believe it or not, they do an OK job grilling because the element is very close to the grill. These are cool little units. They even have a kabob attachment that rotates five skewers with the rotisserie motor.

          1. re: Woodfireguy

            hmmm...I'm intrigued. Are they really "smoke-less" like they claim? The ventilation in our apartment is really poor.