For enjoyable home cooking and dining, a well-equipped kitchen is a necessity.
Many home cooks keep looking for useful appliances to help with their preparations and cooking. One of the most popular tools in the kitchen is the electric grill.
Electric grills let you enjoy the “outdoor” grilling experience without the risks that come from cooking with fire. Electric models have improved much at searing flavor into meat dishes. Some also serve as a Panini maker or griddle. Certain models have conveniently removable heating plates that are dishwasher-safe.
Even the best models don’t have that many complicated features, but some conveniences like a built-in temperature gauge are quite useful. Contact grills don’t need gauges as they have no lid, but most have adjustable temperatures and a light to signal when the grill is hot enough.
- Outdoor electric grills are similar to traditional gas or charcoal types in that they have domed lids and gratings on which to flip and sear foods, under which are heating elements. They tend to be easier to clean than traditional grills, and many feature removable grates which are dishwasher-ready.
- Indoor electric grills are usually contact grills which enclose, flatten, and cook the food between bottom and top heating surfaces. They cook foods like burgers much faster, as both sides of the meat get to cook at the same time. Such models keep heating elements away from the food, removing the risk of hazardous flare-ups.
- Electric griddles are good for items like pancakes, sandwiches, French toast, fried eggs, or anything you’d cook on a flat pan. The better electric grills heat evenly and consistently across their entire surface.
- Panini presses or sandwich presses, feature a type of lid which “floats” via special adjustable hinges on top of the upper bread piece. Both sides of the grill radiate enough heat to melt the filling right to the center while browning the outside evenly. The best models can be flipped to reconfigure as a normal grill for cooking other items.
- Temperature gauge. Many covered grills have temperature gauges built into the lid to let you know when it’s hot and ready. With contact-style models there may only be a ready light to signal when the set temperature is reached.
- Quick heat recovery upon closing. The best grills have the power to quickly bring temperatures back up to desired levels once an opened lid is closed.
- High Temperatures. Although meats cook fine at a range of temperatures, high settings of up to 600F are needed to nicely sear steaks and other substantial cuts.
- Adjustable thermostat. Consistently even heat at varying temperatures is key, and a quality thermostat adjusts to the required heat levels accurately. Even a simple Panini maker could use temperature tweaks for varying sizes and contents.
- Removable plates or grates. A large grill without removable plates or grates is not as easy to clean as one with detachable ones, especially if they are dishwasher-safe.
- Floating hinge. For contact grills, a floating hinge which presses down to cook the top of foods as much as the bottom helps to ensure even cooking on all sides. This is especially important for sandwich grills, for if the lid doesn’t press evenly on the top, it may press melted fillings out the side or else badly flatten everything.
- Long cords. All models need to be powered from nearby outlets, so try to select one with a cord long enough to reach around your kitchen or dining room.
Many condo associations allow the use of electric grills in place of traditional fired grills, but always check to be sure.
Many users like to leave their grill or griddle on a counter or at the patio for frequent use. Outdoor grills could use a wheeled trolley to move them to inside storage, plus a cover for hiding the unit or protection from rain.