An indoor grill is a great way to enjoy grilled foods all year long. Use the Sears Buying Guide to decide what’s right for you.
Can’t enjoy barbecued food? Whether it’s due to a lack of space or money or because of where you live, rest assured that you don’t have to have a barbecue to enjoy the mouth-watering flavour of grilled foods. All you need is an indoor grill to create the unmistakable grill-marks everyone looks for in a perfectly-grilled steak or the flavour-producing char-marks in any number of veggies. An electric indoor grill is ideal for all foods – meat, vegetables, fish, even fruits and desserts.
There are three main types of indoor grills – open grills, contact grills or hybrid grills – each somewhat similar, but with their own benefits that you will have to weigh before making a purchase.
Similar to an outdoor barbecue, you simply cook your food on the top and flip as necessary until your doneness level is achieved. An open-style grill is ideal for cooking steaks, chicken, pork chops, fish and all kinds of meats, as well as vegetables. Won’t “squash” thicker foods and it’s easier to cook to the desired doneness level.
Contact (Clamshell-style) Grills
This is a grill that cooks both sides of your food at the same time due to two separate grill plates, one on the top and one on the bottom. A contact grill cooks food very quickly, but it’s sometimes difficult to ensure your food is at the correct doneness level. These grills are great for burgers and grilled sandwiches as it can work like a Panini press. A contact grill also makes clean-up easier due to little to no splatter or mess outside of the grill.
Hybrid (Multi-functional) Grills
A hybrid grill combines both a contact grill and an open grill to give you the best of both worlds. It usually features a hinge that will allow you to flip one side of the grill to become a large open grill, or folder over to be a contact grill. It’s ideal for the home cook that plans on using the grill for both styles of cooking.
There are a few key features to keep in mind when purchasing an indoor grill, so whether you’re making a steak, grilling some veggies or about to enjoy a Panini-style grilled cheese, make sure you’re well-versed in the features below.
Cooking Surface Material
Grill plates are usually made from heavy-duty cast aluminum with a non-stick coating (be sure not to use metal utensils as they will damage the non-stick coating). Also look for embedded heating elements, which deliver even heat, thus ensuring even cooking. Many models now feature removable grill plates, which is a great advantage when it comes to cleaning.Cooking Surface Size
Indoor grills vary tremendously when it comes to overall cooking area. You can find grills with enough space to cook anything from a mere two hamburgers, all the way up to enough steaks to feed an army. You’ll have to figure out beforehand what you’ll be using your grill for and how much space you will need. You’ll want a grill that has plenty of room because you can always use one that’s too big, but you can't fit extra food on a grill that is too small. One benefit of a smaller grill is that it is lighter and takes up less space, but a larger grill can cook all the parts of your meal at the same time.Power/Temperature Settings
Choose a grill that allows you to control the temperature that you’ll be cooking at, whether it’s through a digital display or simply a dial. This will assure that you cook your foods at the correct temperature, which would be difficult on a grill with generic settings like “Low”, “Medium” and “High” (although a “Low” heat setting is ideal for keeping food warm). Also ensure your grill can reach a temperature that is high enough to cook any food you will put on there. You’ll want it to be as hot as 450°-500°F.Floating Hinge
If you’re looking for a contact grill, make sure you get one that has a “floating” hinge, which is a hinge that, while it works as a normal hinge, allows one side of the grill to move away from the other, thus allowing both sides of the food to be cooked evenly. Many floating hinges can accommodate foods up to two inches thick. It’s also beneficial to look for high-quality hinges that won’t wear out.
Look for grills that are dishwasher safe and have non-stick coatings for easier cleanup. Also, removable grill plates offer a big advantage, and accessories like the grease drip tray and scraper should also be dishwasher safe.