One of the kitchen appliances that has become a fixture in the modern kitchen is the electric grill. This is a simple but multifunctional device. The capabilities and benefits of this device are beyond doubt. And the variety of electric grills makes it difficult to choose. Read our article about what parameters and functions you should pay attention to when choosing this device.
Grill and raclette maker
Despite the similar cooking principle, a grill and a raclette maker are different devices with different functionality. And the dishes prepared in these devices are different. For example, it is impossible to cook scrambled eggs or melt cheese on an electric grill. But you can’t fry a real steak in a raclette maker.
The main difference between a raclette maker and an electric grill is the presence of a stone plate and special portion pans. These elements are the basis and feature of the raclette maker. And the additional grilling surface, with characteristic grill-like stripes, only expands the possibilities. But it cannot fully replace an electric grill.
The ability to prepare simple and tasty dishes in the kitchen is provided by a simple kitchen appliance – an electric grill . However, many are faced with the problem of choosing such a device. And this is largely due to ignorance of what and how can be prepared using such technology.
The simplest dish that can be prepared in an electric grill is crispy toast for breakfast. In addition to toast for breakfast, you can cook steak or entrecote for lunch in the electric grill. Fry fresh vegetables as a side dish for meat, and cook especially tasty and juicy fish for dinner. There are a lot of dishes, and almost every device comes with a recipe book. All you need to do is try cooking.
The capabilities of an electric grill are not limited to just cooking meat; there are devices with much expanded functionality. For example, a grill with additional replaceable surfaces in which you can cook delicious waffles. Hot cheese sandwiches can be prepared quickly and conveniently on the grill. All this makes the electric grill an indispensable assistant in the kitchen.
At the same time, oil is not used for grilling, as when frying in a regular frying pan. And if it is used, it is in very small quantities. This method of cooking distinguishes grilling from other, classic methods of frying.
The design of an electric grill is quite simple. The base is a heated surface on which food is prepared accordingly. This surface is heated by a heating element, which can be either open or closed. What does it mean? In the closed type, the heating element is located under the plate or built into it. In the open type, there is no plate, so all the heat produced by the heating element directly affects the products that lie on the grill.
By the same principle, devices are divided into contact and non-contact. Contact plates consist of heated plates through which heat is transferred to the products. Non-contact heat is transferred directly from the heating element to the products. There are horizontal and vertical contactless electric grills. Electric kebab maker is also called vertical.
Contact grills, in turn, are divided into one-sided, when there is only one heated surface, and press grills, when two surfaces are used for cooking – one from below, the second from above. This creates a press effect that allows you to press the product between the surfaces for better contact and uniform cooking.
One common element common to all electric grills is the heating element. It is this element that is responsible for the power of the device.
A very important characteristic of an electric grill is power. The functionality of the device depends on this indicator. The more powerful the grill, the more dishes you can cook. Not in terms of volume, but in terms of variety.
Devices up to 1000 W do not differ in functionality: toast, sandwiches, vegetables and thin pieces of meat – this is the basis of the functionality of such devices. Limited power will not allow you to quickly compensate for the loss of temperature during cooking, and may not provide the required temperature at all. For example, when cooking steak, the surface temperature should be at least 200 degrees. And even if devices up to 1000 W provide initial heating to such a temperature, it is not a fact that they will be able to maintain the required one. Frying sausages and making cheese sandwiches is the limit of the capabilities of devices up to 1000 W.
Grills with a power of 1000 to 1500 W are already more functional. A burger patty or a pork chop is quite suitable for such electric grills. Vegetables, fish, meat, all these products can be cooked on an electric grill with a power of 1200 W or more.
But if your goal is a classic medium-well-roasted beef steak, you should consider options with power from 1600 W, or even better, from 2000 W.
Therefore, when choosing the power of the grill, proceed from your needs. If you only cook breakfast, a power of up to 1000 W will do. But if the basis of your dishes will be meat, you need a more powerful grill – from 2000 W. Take this into account when choosing, because the more powerful the grill, the more expensive it is.
The presence of removable plates expands the possibilities. Thus, some grills are equipped with additional plates, such as flat plates or baking plates. Of course, this increases the cost of the device, and additional plates need to be stored somewhere. But on the other hand, they are easy to replace with new ones in case of damage. Or upgrade your existing grill. Fortunately, there are now many such additional plates sold, with different designs and purposes.
An important condition: panels are easier and cheaper to change without a built-in heating element. But with a heater built into the panel, the grill heats up faster and maintains the temperature.
All contact electric grills have a non-stick coating, and the material for making the plates is usually aluminum. It is the coating that ensures frying without oil. Therefore, cleaning such a surface has a number of features. No hard brushes or abrasive cleaners, otherwise even the slightest scratches will lead to complete unusability of the plate. A soft sponge, a minimum of non-abrasive cleaning products and hot water. Only with this cleaning method will your electric grill last a long time.
Some manufacturers allow the use of dishwashers to clean surfaces. But it is still better to clean such non-stick surfaces by hand.
Important condition: be sure to let the grill cool down, otherwise if water gets on the hot surface of the plate, it may crack.
Tray for fat and juice
A very useful device, especially when frying fatty meat. Firstly, the drainage of fat and juice from the cooking area ensures frying, not stewing. In addition, it is no secret that when frying on an electric grill, it is not possible to avoid the formation of smoke that is produced when that same fat burns. Therefore, the less it is, the more convenient it is to cook. And the tray for juice and fat is easier and faster to clean.
It is more convenient when the tray is located in front. With this arrangement, you can visually monitor the process and you will definitely not forget to clean the tray.
Some grills can be opened 180 degrees. This doubles the frying area. Plus, if the grill can adjust the temperature separately on both surfaces, it’s as close to an outdoor barbecue as possible.
You can fry meat on one surface and vegetables on the other, and the difference in thickness of the products is not important. You can control the degree of cooking of each piece individually.
Manual or automatic mode
Some grills can automatically adjust the temperature and cooking time. To do this, preinstalled programs and corresponding buttons on the control panel are used. You select the type of product, press the appropriate button, and the grill itself will cook and turn off, giving a signal that it is ready. But you shouldn’t completely trust the device to cook. The quality and type of product is of great importance here. For example, cooking fish. There are many types of fish, and they all require different cooking times and temperatures. The automatic program has only averaged data on the basis of which cooking takes place. This does not mean that the fish will not turn out on the automatic program. It will work out. But maybe not the way you wanted. In this sense, manual adjustment is more convenient. This way you can achieve exactly the result you expect.
The presence of automatic modes does not improve the result in any way, but only slightly simplifies the cooking process and increases the cost of the device.
The same applies to the display on the control panel. When it is there, it is more convenient to control the temperature. But it does not provide any significant advantages. A more beautiful device means a higher price.
Tips for choosing
For rare preparations of toast or sandwiches, it makes no sense to purchase a powerful electric grill; up to 1000 W is quite suitable .
For periodic use , it is worth purchasing devices with a power of 1200–1900 W. In addition to breakfasts, they can also handle meat and fish dishes.
Cooking a steak or using the grill as a barbecue requires power from 2000 W. Devices of this power are the most common.
The presence of removable panels in the grill makes it easier to clean both the panels themselves and the grill body. And the ability to replace them with others expands the functionality.
Electric grills with automatic programs will eliminate the need for precise temperature control, but you should not expect high results from them. Because this is greatly influenced by the quality of the products. The grill only executes the program built into it based on averaged data.