Indoor grilling is a specialist area for the simple reason that an outdoor grill cannot safely be used in the house. Both charcoal and gas grills produce carbon monoxide which can be lethal in an enclosed environment so using the outdoor grill indoors is a major no-no.
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Another advantage of the indoor grill is the weather can have no effect whatsoever on when you can use it. There’s nothing to stop you grilling outside on a cold, rainy day if you are protected, but it simply isn’t as much fun. Meanwhile, you can grill to your heart’s content inside without a care for the weather.
Therefore, the safe and simple method is to purchase an indoor grill and this indoor grill guide gives you an idea of the products available. But firstly, what type of indoor grill suits your cooking needs?
Open or folding
The open grill is much the same idea as an outdoor grill; they contain a heating element and grilling surface and the food is flipped from one side to another to cook. This provides an experience more in line with the outdoor grills.
The folding contact grill is like a Panini press, which is the forerunner of many of the modern designs. They cook both sides of the food at the same time and can safely be left to do their job without as much monitoring as an open grill requires.
Tips for using an indoor grill
Every grill has different settings and options, and these will all come with ideas of what to do. Here are a few general tips:
- A general rule is to pre-heat any grill for the best results
- Any outdoor grill recipe can be used on an indoor folding grill, simply half the cooking times involved as there are two sources of heat not just one
- Cook boneless meats in folding grills otherwise as the meat shrinks, the bone will mean it is not close to the grilling plates and will take much longer to cook
- If you are using marinated meat, gently blot with a paper towel before cooking to reduce the amount of smoke generated and save time on the cleanup.
Cleaning these grills are easy, most have removable plates which can be cleaned in the dishwasher so simply leave to stand until cool. Alternatively, once cooled, you can wipe with a damp paper towel and remove baked on food and moisture then the grill is ready to go again.
To grill or to griddle?
Many of these grills give the option to grill or to griddle, but what does this mean in real life? A griddle has a flat surface and are used to cook food such as bacon, eggs and pancakes. A grill, meanwhile, has a ridged surface and is similar to an outdoor BBQ grill for cooking steaks, burger and chicken. The grill option is also ideal for Paninis and toasted sandwiches.
The Breville Smart Grill lives up to it name due to the range of different settings available on the appliance. It has low heat modes, Panini modes and even a searing mode for meat which correspond to different temperatures between 320 and 450 degrees.
The plates are designed with Breville’s Element IQ technology which compensates when cold food is placed onto the grill when pre-heated. This enables more efficient cooking and less chance that meat is made tougher due to extra cooking to off-set temperature loss.
It opens in a flat, BBQ mode where the grill lid opens 180 degrees and has six different adjustable settings on the height of the lid. The integrated drip tray is removable for easy cleaning as are the non-stick, dishwasher-safe plates.
Unit size: 15 x 6.5 x 16 inches; 9 lbs
The Cuisinart Griddler combines six different cooking modes in one machine; full grill, half grill, full griddle, half griddle, top melt, contact grill and Panini press. The non-stick plates are reversible from grill to griddle and are removable for easy cleaning.
The lid also has six different adjustments depending on the cooking mode used. The grill has an integrated drip tray, as well as a special cleaning tool and all elements, are able to be cleaned in the dishwasher. There is a total area of 240 square inches to cook with and can sear up to 500 degrees for two minutes at a time.
Unit size: 14 x 15 x 7.6 inches; 13.3 lbs.
This Cuisinart grill has five different modes to suit whatever you are cooking from a contact grill, full or half grill, full or half griddle and Panini press mode. It has a Panini press style handle and floating hinges to accommodate different sizes of food.
The temperature indicators help to use the adjustable controls within its range of 200 to 425 degrees while the removable plates are non-stick and dishwasher-safe. The removable drip tray can also be cleaned in the dishwasher. It comes with a special scraper tool as well as a gourmet recipes book to guide you.
Unit size: 11 x 13 x 7 inches; 8 lbs.
Don’t forget when grilling, no matter what, make sure the room is ventilated! There are no risks of harmful gases as discussed above, but smoke and fumes can build up and set off a fire alarm as well as being unpleasant.
These are just a glimpse at the range of indoor grills that are available on the market and offer a range of features depending on what you need and want from your grill. There is a variety of budgets covered with these appliances and the size of your kitchen space can also have a hand in the decision of which is the best grill for you. But this review gives you a place to start and may have whet your appetite for a few meals to sample along the way!