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Backyard Chefs Fired Up Over Infrared Grills 229

Vicissidude writes "With the expiration of a key patent, major gas-grill manufacturers have scrambled to bring infrared cooking to the masses. The grills are still powered by propane and have traditional gas burners that heat mostly by convection — or hot air. But they also can cook foods with radiant heat generated by one or more infrared burners. Char-Broil says its advanced burners operate at 450 to 900 degrees, hotter than the 450 to 750 degrees of standard gas burners. And unlike charcoal, which can require 20 to 30 minutes to reach its 700-degree cooking temperature, heat from the infrared burners can be adjusted quickly. Bill Best, founder of Thermal Electric of Columbia, S.C., developed the technology in the 1960s, primarily to give automakers a faster way to dry the paint on cars."
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Backyard Chefs Fired Up Over Infrared Grills

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  • Re:YRO? (Score:5, Informative)

    by mangu ( 126918 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @11:55PM (#19288613)
    As I understood it, the article is about a patent expiration. I think the message here is that the mass marketing of a consumer item was delayed a few years because there was a patent holding it back.

    So much for patents being an incentive to innovation...

  • by Whuffo ( 1043790 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @11:59PM (#19288649) Homepage Journal
    Just got a new grill a couple of weeks ago and it came with an "infrared burner" in it. There's nothing that says that a geek can't enjoy a nice grilled T-bone from time to time is there? Can't have pizza every night, you know.

    OK, so this fancy burner looks different but doesn't seem to make a significant difference in performance. YMMV and all that, but I wouldn't pay extra for one of these. It's basically a ceramic grid that the gas blows through, so it's more fragile than the typical rolled steel or cast iron burner - probably cheaper to manufacture, too.

    Actually, it's about as close to a non-significant change in gas grill technology as you can get. Who greenlighted this story?

  • unlike charcoal (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 27, 2007 @12:07AM (#19288713)

    it will cook bland food with no flavour
    charcoal (especially made from your favourite food, like oak chippings) is part of the equation a catalyst if you will

  • Waste of money (Score:5, Informative)

    by uvajed_ekil ( 914487 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @12:29AM (#19288853)
    CharBroil is now selling consumer propane grills with technology licensed (or parts directly purchased?) from Thermal Engineer Corp, I understand. My restaurant used TEC commercial char broilers successfully for years, and they performed well. Recently, we tried switching to the infrared-style grills, and almost immediately purchased new grills made by another manufacturer. We were assured that the TEC infrared models would cook fast and evenly without flaring up. However, they caught fire in spectacular fashion on a regular basis. Utterly terrible.

    To make matters worse, the glass plate that does the work precludes misting or dousing with water to extinguish small fires. Food particles, marinade, etc. fall on the glass and collect there, and are almost immediately ignited. I can't wait to see the complaints CharBroil gets after Joe Barbecue Wizard every shatters his glass plate trying to clean it or sets his house ablaze.

    If you think this shouldn't be posted here, you are a loser. BBQing and grilling out = stuff that definitely matters!

  • Re:unlike charcoal (Score:5, Informative)

    by futuresheep ( 531366 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @01:04AM (#19289053) Journal
    Mesquite Charcoal and a charcoal chimney. No filler, no fuel needed, burns hotter and cleaner, leaving a much smaller mess behind.
  • Re:YRO? (Score:5, Informative)

    by rizzo420 ( 136707 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @09:06AM (#19291419) Homepage Journal

    i used to work for an outdoor furniture, grill, wood stove store that sold higher end grills (TEC, ducane, PGS, and some vermont castings). the TEC grill [] i mentioned was not made by char-broil, it was made by the same company that invented the infrared paint dryer thingy. they were the most expensive grills we sold and had the problem the article describes with the ceramic parts.

    i was never a fan of these grills, (1) because they were expensive (cheapest being like $900), (2) because they cooked so damn fast (these didn't have the regular gas burner on one side, it was all infrared), and (3) because they go so damn hot that if you left it on long enough and closed, the top could weld itself shut (we've seen this). this was 7-11 years ago that i worked for this place (summer job in high school and college). so no, they did not wait for it to expire. if you re-read the article, you will see that the other grill manufacturers waited for it to expire, but there was one company who was making these grills... the same TEC (Thermal Electric of Columbia) that made the paint drying stuff (and it's described in the about section of the website i linked above).

    while with the expiration of the patent, the price might come down a bit, i don't think it'll come down a whole lot. the grills are generally made with stainless steel to deal with the high heat. so all the nuts and bolts and screws and everything are stainless, driving the price up a bit.
  • Nice ad-piece (Score:3, Informative)

    by swordgeek ( 112599 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @12:50PM (#19292809) Journal
    The entire article was written as if were an ad for Char-Broil. The whole thing was, "Char-Broil did this, Char-Broil has adopted this feature, etc." Oh, except for the one line:

    "Most leading grill makers, including Solaire, Weber and Whirlpool's Jenn-Air, also offer grills that use infrared."

    No shit, sherlock. Most of them came out with it before Char-Broil, and quite possibly have done it better. Napoleon Grills [] has had this feature for a few years now, and makes a far better barbeque than Char-Broil.

    I hate articles like this. Just enough information to make people believe they're reading news, rather than advertising.

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