There’s nothing like a good cookout: your best mates, lots of beer, and one man in charge of the grill.
Here’s the issue though: grilling is highly dependant on the state of your backyard. You can’t grill if it’s too cold, or too rainy, or even too hot. Or maybe you live in an apartment and there simply isn’t enough room for your grill.
The great ‘God Of Grills’ heard our concerns and THAT’S why he created electric indoor grills. Us lowly mortals can now finally grill without having to deal with the unpredictable outdoors.
Of course, not all electric grills are made equal. They’re not all the classic George Foreman either; other manufacturers have stepped up to the plate and delivered their own contributions to the grill scene. Although it is nice to have so many indoor grills to choose from, it does mean that can be an overwhelming amount of options, and it can be pretty difficult to find the right grill for the right task.
That’s why I’ve done it for you. I like beef and beer as much as the next guy, and we’ve all had good cookouts ruined by crappy weather in the past. I’ve spent countless hours testing and re-testing every indoor electric grill I could get my hands on, in a mission to find the very best on the market.
So let’s bring those cookouts inside with these excellent indoor grills!
Best Indoor Electric Grills of 2019: The Top 10
One of the main reasons people often opt for an indoor grill is the sheer fact that they take up so much less space. When space is precious and you have to consider how to use every square inch you have, and something that offers multiple functions in one device becomes a lot more valuable. That’s why Cuisinart made this lovely stainless steel number.
The Cuisinart GR-4N starts out as a closed grill, but that’s not entirely what it is. Like most closed grills, it also functions as a panini press; if you’re getting tired of cold sandwiches, just stick them in there, warm them up, and see difference a bit of heat and toasting makes to the taste. But that’s just the start of its capabilities.
My Thoughts On The GR-4N Grill
Got company over and need more cooking space? The top half can open up all the way, and now your GR-4N is an open grill with twice as much room as the closed version.
Are you in the mood for breakfast and want to fry up some pancakes and eggs?
Pop the grill plates off and put them back in the other way around. The other side of the grill plate is a flat griddle, so just put them in that way and you’ll have a double-wide griddle.
Can’t decide between the two, or need to both fry and grill at the same time?
You can leave one plate as a grill and switch the other over to a griddle! How many times have you seen someone cooking pancakes and ribeye steak on the same machine?
Flexible & Spacious Cooking Size
It’s a lovely little arrangement, and immensely flexible. Each plate offers a hundred square inches of cooking surface, so you get two hundred total if you open it up. They are also non-stick and dishwasher-safe, but as always when it comes to non-stick stuff, be careful not to scratch the surface.
If you’re craving waffles and not mere pancakes, then Cuisinart is actually one step ahead of you. They offer a set of waffle plates for around thirty dollars, so you can snap them into the GR-4N the exact same way as the included grill plates. Just like the standard plates, they’re removable and non-stick.
Features & Specs
Your controls are centered in three knobs in front of the machine. The central dial serves as the off switch, and allows you to select grill or griddle. The griddle knob to the left sets temperature with six settings, ranging from 200F to 425F. On the right, the grill-panini knob has warm, low, medium, high, and sear settings.
When you open it up to double-wide, you can use either knob as needed to control heat. On that note, the GR-4N’s heating element consumes 1500 watts, and it’ll reach optimal temperature in about ten minutes.
What I Don’t Like: Where The CR-4N Falls Short
In terms of downsides, there’s nothing much wrong with the machine itself. The cord is a bit short, so you may need to play around with your counter layout. The grill plate buttons have a habit of breaking after they’ve got a few years on them.
The most significant downside, however, is the three-year warranty. Some customers actually received defective products, and of course sent them back for repair or replacement. However, upon contacting Cuisinart to make use of the warranty, they were informed that Cuisinart required them to pay for the cost of shipping the item back!
Despite this, the GR-4N is an excellent product with a great range of flexibility. If you’re in doubt, you’ll always have options with it.
Buy the Cuisinart GR-4N Electric Grill.
The problem with open grills is; while they look very much like outdoor grills, in terms of sheer utility they don’t really hold up compared to their larger fueled cousins.
But some open grills still manage to impress, like the Hamilton Beach 25361.
It’s an open grill, technically, but it also comes with a stainless steel lid with a handy viewing window. (For reference the Hamilton Beach 25360 is the exact same model, it just doesn’t have the viewing window.)
Hamilton Beach 25361: The Features
The grill plate is non-stick and gives you about 115 square inches of cooking surface. It’s not all that much, but it’s more than enough for four people. Temperature ranges from a warm of 200F to a sear of 450F, controlled by a lovely little knob in front with eleven separate settings.
Yes, eleven settings.
There are few grills with temperature control as fine as this one. The grill consumes 1200 watts of power, and needs about ten minutes to reach the sear temperature.
The lid, grill plate, and drip tray are all dishwasher-safe, and also happen to be removable for easier cleaning and storage. However, it’s not intended to be used with the lid off; if you leave the grill open, it’ll keep going into preheat mode to retain the temperature you selected.
What I Don’t Like: Where The Hamilton Beach Falls Short
There are a few downsides. For one, the power cord, at two feet, is a bit too short; you may have to do a bit of rearranging on your kitchen counter. Second, while the grill is made from light materials to save on weight, it can sometimes feel flimsy, especially the lid. Care is warranted.
My Final Thoughts
These minor drawbacks aside, the Hamilton Beach 25361 is a magnificent grill with capacity and capability to cook up a feast for the whole family or a small group of friends. There are few indoor grills that can come close to the true outdoor experience, but the Hamilton definitely gives it the good old college try.
Any time we talk about indoor grills, one name is always going to come to mind.
And for good reason, since it’s the name that popularized the appliance.
We’re talking about George Foreman… the original Lean, Mean, Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine.
This famous line of grills still continues to glorify this great boxers name and has diversified itself into countless different iterations. But today, we’re looking at just one.
George Foreman: The Features
Their 4-serving grill comes in two versions: the GRP1060 and the GRP3060. The only difference is in the top plate: the 3060 has a top plate that’s entirely flat, while the 1060 recesses the central part so that the rest of the top plate forms a U around it. That is literally the only difference; internally speaking, both are exactly the same product and will deliver exactly the same performance. For the sake of a model name, we’ll use the GRP1060P.
If you’ve used a George Foreman before, then you know the blueprint, and the GRP1060P doesn’t stray from it. Practically speaking, it’s a handy little thing. It’s a closed grill with an incline to drain the fat away, just like its predecessors.
The floating hinge gives you quite a bit of freedom to close or open fit whatever you’re cooking, though it does have a maximum separation of 1.5 inches. Its maximum temperature is 400F, and it’ll reach that in just four minutes.
It’s only rated for 1150 watts, but it heats up quickly thanks to the size of the grill plates at 9.5”x7”. That gives you just over 60 square inches of cooking surface, which honestly isn’t that great; you can just about fit four quarter-pounder burger patties inside, and that’s already crowded.
When you’re done cooking and have moved on to cleaning up, the good news is that the grill plates are non-stick, removable, and dishwasher-safe. The drip tray, also dishwasher safe, rests on the bottom of the incline, just like the classic George Foreman. Remember to put it on before you start grilling.
What I Don’t Like: Where The George Foreman Falls Short
Downside-wise, there’s two biggies. First, there’s pretty much no control of two important things. There’s no power switch; the moment you plug it in, this baby’s live, and the heating element starts going. There’s no temperature control, either; once it gets to its maximum of 400F, it stays there until you unplug it. This means you can’t really leave it alone, not if you like your food cooked properly.
The other thing is that it’s tiny. It has the smallest cooking surface of all the grills we’re reviewing in this article. Sure, it also means it’s small as a whole and won’t take up much space on your counter, but then you can’t feed more than four people with it, and only if they’re fine with a quarter-pounder each or multiple rounds of grilling.
My Final Thoughts On The George Foreman GRP1060P
Overall, as the main item in your kitchen, the GRP1060P falls short. However, if you’re cooking only for yourself or one other person, or as an aid to a stove, to do some things that the stove can’t, it serves well enough.
- Fast heat-up time
- Compact, will fit into any kitchen
- Excellent price
- Good for small-scale cooking
- No temperature control
- Too small for large servings
Technology is advancing every day, and devices are getting smarter and smarter. The T-fal GC70 may hit your checkbook hard, but it provides the latest and greatest grilling technology on the market.
At first glance, it’s a pretty standard closed grill. The top cover and bottom cover each hold a non-stick, dishwasher-safe grill plate, offering ninety square inches of cooking surface. There’s a panini-style bar handle to open or close the grill.
An Overview Of The T-Fal
The floating hinge and an opening angle of ninety degrees let you stick pretty much anything between the two plates; no need to worry if your four-layer sandwich is going to fit, because it will. The whole thing is inclined and the drip tray, also dishwasher-safe, attaches to the front of the grill, similar to the design of the George Foreman.
Of course, we’re not here for the standard grill features. We’re here to find out just how smart the GC70 is.
Features & Specifications
Look at the handle, and you’ll see a wealth of options depicted in drawn icons. From the left, the Automatic Sensor Cooking adapts the grill to the thickness of whatever you’re cooking so you get perfect grill every time.
There are six cooking programs in the middle; burgers, poultry, sandwiches, sausages, red meat, and fish. Once a program is selected, it adjusts the grill’s cycle time to cook your chosen food to perfection, no brainwork involved.
On the very right, there’s an indicator light that changes color according to how cooked-through you prefer your food, with audible beeps to alert you as each level is reached. If you’d rather do it all yourself, there’s a manual option. To top it all off there’s even a frozen mode, which is used to either defrost or fully cook frozen food.
What I Don’t Like: Where The T-fal GC70 Falls Short
There are some downsides, however. That ninety square inches can get pretty tight, if you’re expecting to do more than about four quarter-pounders.
Further, there’s no heat control. All you get is on or off. Everything else, the programs take care of; for manual, you basically just monitor how long it’s been and what the cooking % indicator displays. Some creative types may wish to give this one a pass, due to the lack of control in your cooking.
My Final Thoughts
Overall, the GC70 is a step in the right direction. Novices or people who don’t really want to get into the finer details of grilling will see themselves in good hands. Thought if you’d prefer a bit more control over your grilling experience, you may want to look elsewhere.
Best Indoor Electric Grill For Portability
Our Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥
The EB-CC15 is an open grill, and it looks pretty much like a grill transplanted indoors. It offers a grilling surface of just over 12”x9” or 108 square inches; not quite the largest in town, but pretty good all the same.
Zojirushi EB-CC15: The Features
You have a temperature range of 176F to 410F, controlled by a thermostat that plugs into one side of the grill. The heating element is built into the grill plate, and it consumes 1300 watts. With that power, it takes about five minutes to warm up to cooking temperature.
The good thing about the heating element being built into the grill plate means that the heat is evenly spread all over the plate; no more worries about going this way or that way to find the spot that’s heated properly. And it makes for a faster heat-up time, as the heat doesn’t have to travel that far to make contact with the grill plate; it’s already there.
However, there is quite a notable downside: you can’t submerge it in water. Not only will it mess up the ceramic non-stick coating, but it’ll also mess with the internal heating element, so you’ll have to clean this baby by hand.
Easy Cleaning & Storage
A lovely thing about the EB-CC15 is that it breaks down into four major components: grill plate, drip tray, plastic housing, and thermostat with power cord. It therefore becomes handy for cleaning and storage, especially since the drip tray is dishwasher safe.
Reassembly is simple and quick, although one notable thing is that the grill won’t heat up at all, unless all parts are in place.
The grill plate is also equipped with a pair of cool-touch handles. This means that, if the need should arise, you can unplug the thermostat, take the grill plate off the base, and serve off it right onto your dinner plate.
What I Don’t Like: Where The Zojirushi EB-CC15 Falls Short
In terms of downsides beyond the ones already mentioned, there’s no lid. This extends cooking times more so than you’d think, so you’ll be getting quite acquainted with the EB-CC15 with all the time you’re gonna spend watching it cook. The major downside, really, is the maximum temperature; 410F isn’t bad, but it’s nowhere near as high as other grills, and thus a sear won’t be quite as good.
It’s overall a decent grill. It’ll serve you well.
Get the Zojirushi EB-CC15 Indoor Electric Grill here.
When you’re on a budget, you’ve got to pick your purchases carefully. If you’re looking for value for money, the Delonghi BG24 does it pretty well.
It’s a classic open grill, with all that implies, and it’s a fairly hefty one, taking up a bit of room on your counter. If you can spare the space for it, the BG24 offers a cooking surface of 12”x6”, which doesn’t sound a whole lot, but you’d be surprising how much you can fit onto it.
Furthermore, there’s a cool glass lid to help with cooking time, which helps you see how your food is doing, and whether it’s time to turn it over.
The ‘Perfecto’ Grill: The Features & Specifications
Speaking of cooking time, with the BG24 you’re armed with a decent set of controls. The detachable thermostat provides five heat settings, an off setting, and a highest grilling temperature of 450F. Just the temperature to get your meat to sear. The heating element is fairly powerful, needing 1500 watts, though it is rather slow to heat up, as you’ll have to wait a whole ten minutes for it to be ready.
Once it is ready though, the heat is evenly spread throughout the grill plate, due to the fact that the heating element is built into the plate. Of course, tis also means that the grill plate is not at all dishwasher-safe, nor is it safe to immerse in water. But since it’s non-stick, it’s easy enough to clean by hand.
Another little innovative feature that you might like to use is the ability to unplug the system and carry the grill to the table to serve off of. This is safer than it sounds, as the raised rim and lid make spillage less of a problem.
What I Don’t Like: Where The Delonghi BG24 Falls Short
The BG24’s main downside is its size; you will need to spare a bit of real estate if you want it. The cord is also a touch short, so you may need to move a few things around the counter.
If you’re strapped for price, the Delonghi BG24 makes for a very good deal.
- Even heat all over the grill plate
- Excellent glass lid
- Can serve from the grill
- Excellent value for money
- Can’t fit thicker foods inside
- Rather short cord
There are really just two main areas that indoor grills falter in comparison to their outdoor big brothers: taste and size. There’s not much we can really do about taste unless we get creative, since outdoor grills have the advantage of smoke, which something we’re trying to avoid by cooking indoors.
But we can do a little something about our size problem, and geometry lets you pull a few creative solutions.
That’s why the Maxi-Matic EMG-980R is a circle. It’s a fairly cheap grill, but it’s got a lot of bang for it’s buck.
Features & Specifications
Let’s look at what it offers. The entire unit is basically a 17” circle, 4” tall; a bit substantial, but capable of fitting into most places. The grill plate is 14” in diameter. That gives you 150 square inches of cooking surface to work with, so unless you’re bringing some really big steaks, you can feed four people very easily.
That circular grill plate is solid, not perforated, and thus is ridged to give the appearance of grill marks. It’s also non-stick, but not dishwasher-safe. Control-wise, there’s a detachable thermometer that plugs into the side, with five different settings.
Grill Temperature Control
Your lowest temperature is 250F, highest is 450F; pretty good for an indoor grill. To protect you from splashes and to help heat retention, there’s a clear glass lid with a ven. The heating element is rated at 1300 watts, and takes around five minutes to heat up to cooking temperature.
The grill unit itself incorporates cool-touch handles and a base, and we’ve already mentioned the detachable power cord, so you guessed it; if you really need to, you can unplug the thing, carry it to the table, and serve off the grill. Can come in handy at times, though the rather substantial size of the EMG-980R makes that process a bit of a dicier proposition than most.
What I Don’t Like About The EMG-980R Grill
And as always, there are some downsides. First off, the grill plate isn’t dishwasher-safe, but since it’s non-stick, it’s not too much of a problem; just remember your non-stick cleaning fundamentals.
A few other things: The thermostat knob is a touch fragile, and may wear out with extended use. The grill housing is made of plastic, so care is required to keep it from falling apart. The drip tray is a bit on the small side, so if you’re cooking particularly fatty foods, you may need to drain it in the middle of cooking.
Overall, the EMG-980R offers phenomenal value for its price, especially when you need to go big.
- Very large cooking surface
- Excellent temperature control options
- Can serve off the grill if needed
- Stores easily
- Plastic body, maybe too fragile
- Too large for some kitchens
Among other things, one major reason why you can’t use a grill indoors is all the smoke. We talk about how and why smoke comes from the cooking process in our FAQs below.
Counteracting smoke, and branding grills as smokeless, is a main selling point among electric indoor grills. Now, this black number from Philips deals with it in a new and different way.
How, you ask?
A few particular solutions. You’ll note that it’s a rather tall sonuvabitch; that’s because the heating element is placed along the sides of the grill instead of directly beneath the plate. Furthermore, those heating elements aren’t the ones we’re used to; instead, the Philips uses infrared heat and a set of heat reflectors to cook what’s on the grill plate. This also provides another benefit: It’s provides perfectly even heat all over that plate.
Non-Stick Aluminum Grill Plate
The grill plate, now that we come to it, is made from aluminum and is non-stick, offering a hundred square inches of cooking space. The drip tray is also thankfully dishwasher-safe. There are exactly three components: the grill itself, the grill plate, and the drip tray; and right out of the box, they’re already installed, so you can get right to grilling in no time at all. The heating element eats up 1660 watts, and it takes about six minutes to heat up to cooking temperature.
What I Like About The Phillips Smokeless Indoor Grill
Now, here’s what everyone’s been waiting for: Does it live up to its name?
Put simply, yes. Even the fattiest foods with most ‘smoke potential’ don’t emit much on the Philips, and there’s another benefit: the infrared heat means the drippings aren’t even hot, and this means that there’s absolutely no chance of flare-ups happening in your kitchen.
What I Don’t Like About The Phillips Smokeless Indoor Grill
But even something this good still will have it’s inevitable downsides. A major issue that may turn off serious grillers is the lack of temperature control. Your only settings consist of; off, warm, and on – which heats the grill up to 446F; Philips says that this is the perfect temperature to sear meat, but it also means there’s not much room for creativity.
It also takes up a bit of space in your kitchen; that black monolith is going to stand out, though it’s definitely something to show off. More practically, it’s murder on your wallet. New technology doesn’t come cheap, after all.
If you’re willing to shell out for it, the Philips is an excellent grill for its price that lives up to its name.
- Even heat distribution
- Virtually no smoke at all
- No flare-ups
- Quick set-up time
- No temperature control
- High price
The greatest weakness of all indoor grills is that they’re smaller, and therefore, can’t feed nearly as many people, as an outdoor grill. But that doesn’t stop some from trying, like this particular model from Krups.
The PG760’s main attraction is easy enough to see: Two individually-heated grill plates, both of which add up to a total cooking surface area of 170 square inches! If you’ve got a few friends coming over, the PG760 will most definitely keep up.
Impressive Grill Temperature Control
The temperature control also manages to impress bringing five settings to the table; 200F warm, low, middle, and high, and a 450F sear. The heating element, which gobbles up 1500 watts, needs about ten minutes to reach that sear temperature.
The grill plates are removable and non-stick, and along with the drip tray, are completely dishwasher-safe. The heating element has had some thought put into its design, as it pretty much fills the grill edge to edge.
That’s where the ‘smokeless’ part of the name comes from. Still, no grill is ever truly smokeless. Check our FAQ below regarding smoke for that matter.
What I Don’t Like About The Krups Indoor Grill
There are some downsides. Most notable is that, despite the good heat control, there is no power control. The moment you plug it in, heat starts building up. There’s no off switch or setting except to unplug it, so you can’t really leave the PG760 alone. Also, a word of warning, the things got no lid in sight. It still has good cooking time, but best to make sure your apron is up to snuff and prepare to be splashed.
Overall, the PG760 is a solid enough grill with a hell of a cooking surface. It’s great if you’re having friends over, but the size can be a downside in itself, as it’s a rather hefty thing.
- Large cooking surface
- Excellent temperature control
- Even heat distribution
- Takes up a lot of counter space
- No power control
- No lid
Editor’s Choice: The Best Indoor Grill Of 2019
It took me a lot of debate to pick a best grill of the nine we listed above. Each grill has their good sides, their unique selling points, and their unfortunate downsides. While we’ve chosen what we believe is the best, it might not be the best for you. That grill is the one that best fits your kitchen, your needs, and your means.
They were honestly all just so good. The Hamilton Beach is pretty much an outdoor grill that decided to walk back into the house one day. A crowd favorite will surely be the Philips and its infrared heat, with it’s utterly smokeless design.
I loved how much damn food you can fit on the Krups and the Maxi-Matic, while the T-fal wins points for it’s innovation. The George Foreman held up well in it’s own right; it’s hard to leave a brand that’s served so well over the years.
However, the grill that won me over, thanks to its endless versatility was the Cuisinart.
It’s not every day you see one appliance performing five different functions as flawlessly as the Cuisinart does, that’s a lot of value in just one grill. If you’re cooking just for yourself, it can turn out steaks and paninis as quickly as any closed grill, and if you’ve got visitors coming over, it can open right up to have more cooking surface than you can shake a stick at.
The Cuisinart is just so damn versatile, it’s a handy thing by itself, or as an assistant to the stove. Whatever you need it to do, the Cuisinart GR-4N can do, whether it’s toast a sandwich, sear a steak, or cook eggs and chicken at the same time.
Choosing An Indoor Electric Grill: The Grill Wilson Grill Buyer’s Guide
So, what are the things you should be looking for in an indoor electric grill?
So right off the bat, the most important thing is to consider if you prefer an open grill or a closed grill.
Open grills are basically the same kind of grill we’re all used to. The heat source is beneath the grill itself, and then you put your food on top of the grill and turn it over as needed. Some come with lids, others without.
Advantages Of Open Grills
Their best advantage is that since they’re only flat on one side, they handle uneven foods very well (think vegetables, or shrimp). Closed grills, coming at the food from both surfaces, often have difficulty the geometrically challenged foods.
Also, open grills generally have more cooking space than closed ones. If you’ve got a lot of people to cook for, this might be a concern, so if you’re expecting a lot of people over, an open grill at a given price point will generally be more capable of meeting their needs than a closed one.
Disadvantages Of Open Grills
One downside of open grills is that you don’t get much protection from anything that splashes off your food, so best hope your apron’s up to snuff. And since the heating element isn’t quite as powerful as an open, charcoal-powered flame, there may be a measure of heat loss that making your food take even longer to cook.
Some of these downsides are mitigated if you have a lid. A lid means less heat loss and thus a faster cook time. A metal lid is better for heat retention, but without a viewing window, there’s the obvious problem of having to open it to view the food. A glass lid solves that problem, but glass isn’t as good as metal for keeping heat in.
Closed grills use two heating surfaces and cook the food being grilled between them. The classic George Foreman grill – the one that comes to mind when you think about an indoor electric grill – is an example of a closed grill; you may also hear the term ‘contact grill’.
Advantages Of Closed Grills
The advantage comes from the two cooking surfaces. Since the food is being heated from two sides at once, closed grills cook much faster. They’re also less smoky than open ones. They also have another niche in sandwich preparation. Some may deride closed grills as being nothing more than ‘overgrown panini presses’, but really, is that a downside? When you can go from preparing yourself a nice hot sandwich in the morning and use the same device to grill yourself a steak in the evening, where’s the disadvantage there?
Closed grills also tend to be easier to clean. Open grills tend to have perforated grill plates, in the same way as outdoor grills; while this means the experience isn’t too far removed, it also makes them an annoyance to clean, as you have to get into the nooks and crannies all over the plate and the grill assembly. Closed grills almost universally have solid grill plates with ridges, which are far easier to clean.
Disadvantages Of Closed Grills
In terms of downsides, closed grills tend to have smaller capacities than open ones. Also, the cheaper types tend to not have floating hinges. A floating hinge lets the top half separate entirely from the bottom, which helps with uneven food in the middle, it also lets the grill open up a little more. A cheap grill with no floating hinge means it only has a limited range of motion, and therefore you can’t fit anything thick in between the grill plates.
Open vs Closed Grill
Neither type really is outright better, as the precise model can give those qualities its own unique spin. Examine the grills you’re buying, check their reviews, and see what works best for you and your needs.
A few other things to consider while you’re looking:
Grill’s Cooking Surface
First, cooking surface; that is to say, how much food the grill can accommodate. If you’re cooking just for yourself, then anything will do. However, if you’re expecting guests, you might need something a little larger, or you’ll have to have them wait a bit while you cook in batches. The thing is, the more cooking surface you have, the larger your grill is going to be, so if you’re short on counter space, you’ll have to find the right balance between capacity and size.
Think about temperature control. Not all foods are cooked at the same temperature; what may be a good sear for meat may well be hot enough to burn the heck out of your vegetables. A grill that offers control over how hot you make it means you can cook food at the right temperature and avoid any unwanted taste in the cooking process.
Burnt food that tastes like fire and smoke isn’t really good for anyone. Generally speaking, most ‘warm’ settings start out at approximately 200F. If you’re cooking meat regularly, look for a maximum temperature at around 450F; this is the best you can get for a sear in indoor grilling.
Next, power control. Does it have an off switch in addition to the temperature settings? Or does it automatically turn on the moment you plug it in? If it’s the latter, then that can be quite dangerous, as not only do you lose control, but it also means you can’t leave it unattended, or else it becomes a fire hazard. To take that worry off your mind, look for grills that specifically have adjustable thermostats or a distinct off setting or power button.
Also, check the power. This will be expressed in watts; you’ll see anywhere between 1000 to 1800 watts. It’s basically a measurement of how powerful the electrical systems are, and thus how fast the grill plates heat up.
An otherwise-good grill can be undercut by low power. If it takes fifteen minutes to reach sear temperature, is it really worth it when another grill can reach the same temperature in half the time? Of course, a higher wattage also means a higher power bill, so if you’re aiming to save a few dollars, maybe keep that in mind.
Check what material your grill is made out of. Metal is the best option, as it’s the toughest and it can handle a high heat, but it’s also the most expensive and it can get pretty heavy. Plus, while it may handle heat, it also heats itself up in operation; you’ll need to leave your grill to cool off before you can touch it. Plastic is less expensive and less prone to heating up, but it’s also easier to break.
Then look at the grill plates, for several reasons. First and most important, are they removable? It’s practically a requirement these days, because having removable grill plates mean that it’s going to be a lot easier to clean. Even if they aren’t dishwasher-safe, it does mean you can still pop them out of the grill and not have to worry about hitting the rest of the grill while you’re cleaning them out.
Are The Grill Plates Non-Stick?
Further, are they non-stick? You don’t want to have to wrestle with your grill to get your steak out. Non-stick grill plates make life easier for everyone, and they’re also much easier to clean. Bear in mind to never use metal utensils with them, or anything else that might scratch the coating; keep it to rubber or plastic, and don’t wet them for longer than they need to be wet.
Grill Drip Tray
Also check the drip tray. This is a little tray that either goes beneath the grill or – for inclined grills like the George Foreman – hooks onto the front end. Barring a few foods, you’re always going to get cooking juices on your grill plates, and you can’t just leave them there to gum up the plates.
The manufacturers know this, which is why the plates are built to drain off the juices into the drip tray by one means or another. Which is a good thing as we don’t want bacon fat splashing all over your kitchen when you can save it to use elsewhere.
The next few items are things that aren’t quite necessary but are nice to have, for various reasons.
First, handles. Cool-touch handles especially will help you move a grill around, especially in the case when you’re done with cooking and need to move the grill aside if you’re out of counter space. Or if you want to serve directly from the grill. Or when you just want to move it around. Let’s face it; handles are handy.
There’s also indicator lights. The most common ones are to signal whether it’s heating up or is already at cooking temperature. This is sort of in between ‘absolute necessity’ and ‘nice to have’. Let’s face it, does anyone really want to use the ‘hover your hand over the grill plate’ method of testing temperature? A nice good light will save you that trouble.
A timer may be the lazy man’s tool, but don’t underestimate it. It means you can go and do other important things while your grill takes care of the food. Just set your temperature, put your food in, set the timer. While the grill does its thing, you can then cook something else on the stove, or get plates and silverware ready, or anything else. It saves time and effort, and who can say no to that?
Frequently Asked Questions
Will My Food Taste The Same As On An Outdoor Grill?
Unfortunately not. The thing about outdoor grilling is that the wood or charcoal impart their own taste onto the food being cooked. As indoor grills are electric, you’re not going to get any of that. So, flavor has to come another way. Think of this as an opportunity to experiment. If you don’t like the flavor of an indoor grilled steak, try a marinade and see if it works better.
One possible solution, if it’s the smoky taste you’re looking for, is liquid smoke. This lovely little product will impart that glorious taste of that smoke into your food. But take care to use it carefully and sparingly, because that stuff is strong.
Are All Electric Grills Smokeless?
Smokeless is honestly relative. The main source of smoke in grilling is from drippings coming into contact with a heat source. On a standard wood-fired grill, it’s easy to see where that’s from: fat splashing onto the wood, to start with. With indoor electric grills, some are less smoky than others thanks to their construction; the ones with non-perforated grill plates and integrated drip trays will tend to put out less smoke.
However, another source, though a much smaller one, is just fat burning up regardless of where it is. This is pretty much down to the food you’re cooking instead of what you’re using, so there’s no way around it. So if you’re cooking with really fatty foods, or you’ve got a very heavy marinade on your meat, you will be getting smoke regardless of what you’re cooking it on. To completely avoid smoke from an indoor grill, stick to lean meat.
Or you could cheat and use the Philips model we reviewed above. That one comes the very closest to having absolutely no smoke, thanks to its innovative heating system
Why Is Temperature Control Important?
We’ve noted the temperatures and settings each grill above is capable of. This is important, because a huge aspect of proper culinary art is how fast your food is heating up, which is directly affected by how hot your cooking implement is. Deliver heat too fast, and you burn your food; too slow, and you change the flavor or leave it undercooked or raw.
This is especially relevant when you’ve got multiple types of food to consider. Your ideal steak has got those lovely char lines on it, but isn’t actually charred inside. But that high-temperature sear you use for steak might not be the best way to grill your veggies, or they could catch fire. If you can turn the heat down a little, then there’s less dancing about the issue and you can cook your food exactly how you like it.
How Do I Look After A Non-stick Grill Plate?
The most important thing is to keep the coating intact. So: Use only plastic or rubber utensils and don’t scratch the surface. When it comes to cleaning, some manufacturers do make their grill plates dishwasher-safe. If your chosen grill is one of those, that’ll save you some trouble. If not, or you’d rather not risk the dishwasher, keep in mind these basics:
Nothing abrasive and nothing harsh. Basic soap and warm water will do. As long as the coating remains intact, all you have to do is give residue just a little extra push and it’ll come off. Be gentle with the sponge and try not to use the scouring pad. Once cleaned, dry out the plates thoroughly. Leaving it wet will actually mess up the coating as well, so ensure they’re nice and dry before you return the plates.
What’s The Best Grill For A Beginner?
The answer to this depends on how deep into grilling you’re planning to go. If you want something where you can just stick a steak or pork chop into, and let the grill do the work, then the T-fal OptiGrill is your thing; just push the right buttons and wait for it to signal its desired doneness.
If you’re planning to grill for the sake of grilling, and haven’t got the space or money to invest into an outdoor grill, then our recommendation is the Hamilton Beach.
Bear in mind that the sheer range of temperature options may take a little getting used to. But overall it’s great beginners choice, it has enough cooking space, a good sear temperature, a lid to help protect you from spatter, and to top it all off it’s relatively easy to clean.