Making the Right Choice
An infrared gas burner consists of ceramic plates surrounded by burner grates in a 304 stainless steel framing.
The gas BTU output of an infrared gas burner is no higher than that of a traditional gas burner, however, the ceramic plates create an intense radiant heat from the burner. The Napoleon series gas grills are able to obtain temperatures of 1800 degrees Fahrenheit in as little as 30 seconds. The infrared unit does not use as much convection as a gas burner does to heat food. Instead, the heat energy is absorbed directly by the food being cooked.
In short, to use an analogy, an infrared gas burner is to a gas grill as a super charger is to an automotive engine. Infrared gas burners boost the heat energy to a higher level.
What are some the benefits of using infrared? First, is obviously the shorter grill times. Some may say that infrared grilling produces more flavorful food because the intense direct heat seals the surface and enhances natural flavor for succulence and taste. The drippings from the food are instantly vaporized, adding a great natural flavor to food. Because of this, flare-up is virtually eliminated.
Napoleon series grills that are equipped with infrared burners use these in combination with traditional burners for the following reason. Infrared is used for searing meats quickly to lock in juices and flavor. The temperature adjustment range is limited from 700 degrees to 1800 degrees, plus or minus. Therefore, after searing takes place, the final cooking is performed over the gas burners. The advantage to this two-step process is that cooking time is reduced, less gas is used and food can be prepared exactly to taste.
An example of how a steak might be prepared is as follows. Sear the meat over the infrared sear grate for 2 to 3 minutes per side depending on thickness. Slide the meat over to the gas burner and finish cooking to the preferred doneness. Following this process will prevent the meat from being charred and tough. Fish can be prepared the same way. A popular fish for searing is Ahi Tuna. Sear the tuna 2-3 minutes per side (you can stop here if you like the fish on the rare side), or finish the tuna over the burners.
Infrared grilling is a great way to cook a variety of foods. Most gas grill manufacturers who offer infrared on their grills will also provide recipes and tips for infrared grilling. When you are shopping for your next gas grill, check out the Napoleon line with infrared before you make a final decision.
W.P. Law, Inc.