Helpful Tips for Using an Electric Grill
Canada Day is tomorrow and that means it’s time to celebrate. This year in particular is sure to be an amazing experience as we celebrate 150 years of history. While you may already have plans in place for how to celebrate, don’t let that stop you from taking a last look around Calgary for something you might have missed. And if you’re more of the stay at home and have a cookout with friends type, well then this article is for you.
Electric Grills: Pros and Cons
We’re a long way from having affordable electric grills that can cook on equal footing with gas and charcoal grills and fire pits. While some high-budget appliances will bring you quality cooking that works as well, the default is to trust gas and charcoal. Still, there’s a space for electric grills and, if you know what you’re doing, you can get quality meat and vegetables from an electric grill.
First off, one thing that you won’t get with an electric grill is the smoke flavor gained from wood or charcoal stoves. You also won’t get the near-instant heat of a gas grill or the fine accuracy and control derived from propane and natural gas grills.
With an electric grill, you’re looking at a middle road between the two. While you lack the smoky flavor and chargrill taste from a wood or charcoal grill, you get faster heat since you don’t have to wait on the briquettes to reach the heat level you need. And while response times aren’t as quick as a gas grill, you’re guaranteed heat and very precise control with an electric grill, all without the gas-taste and occasional flare-ups of a standard gas grill.
How to Cook with an Electric Grill
Warm up and cool off time aside, you’ll treat your electric grill much as you would any other. The processes for searing meat or using a low-heat, long-grill for larger cuts to warm them inside without charring the outside will all still apply. The difference is going to be in how you treat the grill itself. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about losing heat as briquettes die down or your gas tank dwindles.
- • Preheat the grill to the temperature you need – GIVE THE GRILL ENOUGH TIME TO HEAT
- • Open the grill and place the meat on the tray
- • Leave the grill cover closed while the meat cooks – electric grills lose heat from their interiors faster than gas or charcoal grills so it’s important to decrease the amount of time you leave the cover open
- • Open the grill cover when flipping meats and vegetables or when removing food
It seems like a simple secret, but cooking with an electric is about heat conservation. Your grill will lose heat faster than normal so it’s important to keep the cover closed (just like you would with a gas grill). It’s better to treat an electric grill like a roaster with searing surface.
Regarding Extension Cords
As a matter of safety, we should bring up extension cords. The short of this message is: avoid them. Yes, sometimes you have to use an extension cord to meet minimum safe distances when grilling outside but avoid using a cord whenever possible. Heating elements (e.g. portable space heaters, hair dryers, etc) are all very high-impedance devices. They use a lot of current to deliver the wattages necessary for heating. The longer the cord you’re using the more energy is required overall and the more likely you are to trip a breaker or start an electrical fire.
If you have to use an extension cord, make sure that you’re using a low-gage (thicker wire) utility-grade extension cord. These are typically the bright orange cords that are very thick. They’re more expensive but the thickness of the cable gives the wire less resistance. Lower resistance means less power is dropped on the cable itself, leaving you with a cable that is less susceptible to heating and melting insulation.
This is true for any extension cord. Always use the shortest cable with the lowest gage you can when you need an extension cord, especially on high-wattage devices.