Having a kitchen grill means you have another cooking option and it can also act as a second oven when needed. What makes a grill stand out is its ability to infuse distinct smokey flavours into food. There are many types of grills in the market; from electric, charcoal, gas to many more.
Here are some tips for you to consider when selecting a grill for your home.
- What fuel is used
There are four main kinds of fuel; charcoal, gas, wood pellets and electric.
Charcoal: This is probably the most traditional form of grilling. Despite needing some time to heat up and having to clean up afterwards, charcoal produces a unique flavour which some claim as the most authentic and the best.
Gas: Just like a conventional stove, gas heats up quickly and requires little clean up. Meats like chicken and fish will be grilled perfectly but for beef steaks that require a high level of heat, it will require a gas stove with a sear or infrared burner.
Wood pellet: This is the best for smoking foods as the taste is more delicate and not as strong compared to using a charcoal grill. However, the temperature of such a fuel is relatively low compared to the others which make searing meat a problem at times.
Electric: With an electrical outlet, you can start grilling. This is the only grill with no distinct smoky flavour since it does not come into contact with combustion. Overall, a handy equipment for modern apartments where minimal smoke is preferred.
- Temperature control
This is the key to successful grilling. It is advisable to have at least two zones on the grill; one for high-heat cooking and the other for slower and lower-heat cooking. For a charcoal grill, the charcoal can be pushed to the side to allow two different temperatures on the grill. A gas grill usually has two burners; one can be turned high and another, low. A pellet grill takes home the trophy for temperature control as they usually have a digital thermostat control and some newer ones even have ports for inserting meat thermometers.
- What materials are there in the market?
The best grills are usually made from cast iron, enamel bonded steel, cast aluminium and stainless steel. Cast iron will rust easily if not well maintained and enamel will start rusting if it is chipped. Stainless steel will be a good choice for easy maintenance but easily shows grease and water spots which some might not fancy. Take note of the thickness of the stainless steel as well as some might be too thin to retain heat. Steel and cast aluminium is a better option if you prefer less maintenance and lower cost as well.
- What is the appropriate size?
This depends on the purpose of the grill, which can be for commercial or domestic use. Look out for the primary cooking surface area as it is the main cooking grate. Some manufacturers will only label the total cooking area which sometimes includes the warming rack suspended about the grill, which is redundant to your grilling. It is usually measured by square inches. Remember that overcrowding a grill can lead to food not cooking properly. It is recommended to leave a gap of an inch between steaks and other food items.
- Open-type or contact type of grill?
An open-type grill is the one we typically see where food is placed on top of the grill, and cooks from the bottom. A newer form of grill would be the contact grill where food gets sandwiched between two ridged plates and cooked top and bottom simultaneously. The contact grill can act as a sandwich machine on top of being a grill. It is considered smoke-free and takes less time to cook since food is cooked from top and bottom. The only downside is that you cannot get the authentic smoke flavour and cooking the different rarity of steaks might require some practice since heat will come from both sides.
Griddler® by Cusinart
The Cuisinart® Griddler® makes “multi-functional” an understatement! With five separate cooking options, it can handle everything from pancakes to sausages, grilled cheese to steaks, hamburgers and panini. A floating cover and one set of reversible plates that snap in and out turn the Griddler® into a Contact Grill, a Panini Press, a Full Grill, a Full Griddle, or Half Grill/Half Griddle. Dual temperature controls ensure everything is perfectly cooked!
- Base and Cover: Solid construction with stainless steel self-adjusting cover
- Panini-Style Handle: Sturdy cast-metal handle adjusts cover to accommodate thickness of food
- Removable and Reversible Cooking Plates: Nonstick and dishwasher safe for easy cleanup
- Grill Side: Perfect for grilling steak, burgers, chicken, and vegetables
- Griddle Side: Prepare flawless pancakes, eggs, bacon, and seared scallops
- Controls: Indicator lights signal Power On and Ready to Cook
- Selector: Choose the Grill/Panini or Griddle function
- Grill/Panini: Adjust temperature from “warm” to “sear”
- Griddle: Adjust temperature form 93°C to 218°C
- Drip Tray: Collects grease and removes from base for easy cleanup (dishwasher safe)
- Cleaning/Scraping Tool: Helps clean grill and griddle plates after cooking
- Plate Release Buttons: Push in to release and remove cooking plates
- Hinge Release Lever: Allows the cover to extend back for cooking in the flat position