Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Infrared Searing For The Beginner


             If you’re accustomed to grilling, it may come as a surprise that grilling with the power of infrared heat is a totally different scenario. Just like any other cooking technique, it takes some time to master. For some this may happen quickly, and without much effort, while for others it may be more gradual. The most beloved method of cooking on an infrared grill is searing, which locks in moisture and creates savory flavor.

            Infrared technology in terms of grills is solely owed to the company TEC, or Thermal Engineering Corp. In the 1980’s they pioneered this technology and applied it to grills, and the end result was an ultra powerful grill, with the highest heat output on a grill ever seen. The technology was then patented, and these grills were only available to those in commercial environments such as restaurants. Once the year 2000 rolled around, this patent expired, and infrared gas grills were able to be sold to the public. At first, people did not catch on as quickly because of the enormous price tags that were attached. But because they were no longer protected, the technology was then accessible to everyone, and soon other manufacturers were releasing their own takes on the almighty infrared.
            Many people, once they’ve purchased an infrared grill, are anxious to begin cooking on it, and to know the proper ways to use it. Strangely, no one as of yet, has released a book that details the instructions that work best for grilling infrared. Above all, you must always keep in mind the difference in heat that this type of grill will bring. It’s really not your ordinary heat source, and it is way more powerful. The standard output is 1500 degrees, and will cook a steak in minutes. The grill’s hood must always be kept open during grilling because of the intense pressure that is generated by the gas. The powerful heat then rises off of the burner, and unlike a traditional grill, infrared gas grills do not conduct heat in the air. This is known as directional heat, and it travels directly upwards.
            It is important to note that the grill presents an interesting surface to work with. In between the grates is where the heat will rise from, and will cook the food that is placed on it, differently from the areas where the food hits the grates. The meat will have to be turned at very short intervals, somewhere between 30 and 45 seconds apart. This change in position changes the heat from direct to indirect. As you turn, the time lessens because even though the food may not be receiving direct contact with the infrared heat, it is still receiving residual heat that is present in the air due to conduction. 15 seconds in, there will be obvious stripes, signifying areas that have been cooked and others that have not. As you turn, the cooking is more even. Once this process of precision is complete, you will flip your item over to do the same process on the other side. Generally, you can allow about one minute and 30 seconds for each side as a safe estimate for total cooking. And, this my readers, is searing. Quick cooking, over extreme heat, with utmost attention paid to your subject.
            Among the different foods you can sear, ground beef hamburgers can be one of the trickiest as they are not exactly flat and can rarely get a searing that compares to that of fillets. Steak and fish fillets are the prime examples of foods that sear perfectly, ensuring perfection in tenderness and flavor.
            So, if infrared grilling is going to be on your personal to do list, or if you are just curious, I hope you’ve learned a thing or two from this little instructional! Happy searing!

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