Why Wait For The Summer To BBQ!?
My fellow North Americans: would you say winter is depressingly dreadful, or beautifully festive? Leave it in the comments. I have a love hate relationship with winter. I absolutely love the holidays, but detest the snow and cold. For me the worst part of winter is not being able to fire up the barbecue, and that’s kinda a big deal because I can’t do without my t-bone steaks! This year the Canadian winter has been extremely harsh with very few warm spells/breaks. It got me thinking…..I can’t barbecue because I don’t wanna freeze my butt off, and at the same time I don’t wish to spend $$$$ at a restaurant on an expensive steak dinner…but there’s gotta be a solution.
And there is…step forth the indoor electric grill!
Genius contraption in my mind, and the solution to all my meat problems. BBQ 24/7! That’s what I’m talking about. Try stop me now, old man winter! Below are 4 reasons you need to get your hands on one of these, if you haven’t already.
Why You Need An Indoor Electric Grill!
#1 BBQ Steaks All Year Long!
This is by far the biggest reason to get an indoor grill. Get your steaks, marinate those suckers up, and crack open a cold beer.
If by any chance you’re vegan and reading this, sorry I’m not sorry! Just kidding hahahaha.
If you’re vegan, you should know that electric grills aren’t just for the insane carnivore, you can also make some finger licking grilled vegetables (more on this in #2).
#2 Take Your Veggie Game To The Next Level!
Who ever says you can’t grill vegetables has lost their mind!
Be bold, be adventurous and take some risk in the kitchen for Pete’s sake!
Here’s a few ideas to get you started:
- Grilled Corn On The Cob—I usually grill without the husks. Once it’s ready, make a paste of red chili, salt, and lime juice, and rub generously over the corn while hot. Sink your teeth in!
- Grilled Cassava—If you haven’t tried this yet, boy are you in for a treat! In case you didn’t know, Cassava AKA Yuca is a starchy root that’s jam packed with fiber (read more by clicking here). You should be able to pick some up from your local grocery store. If you can’t find it there, maybe try an Asian grocery store wherever you live. Cut your cassava into long chunks, and toss it on a grill. You can use the same chill spread in #1, or eat plain.
The above 2 are my favorite grilled vegetable recipes, but you can experiment with just about anything. If you have any other cool ideas, share it in the comments!
#3 Grilled Seafood!
Grilled steak or grilled seafood? If you could only have one of these for the rest of your life, what would you pick? Leave it in the comments!
Grilled seafood is another reason you need to get your hands on an indoor grill.
Some of the seafood I typically grill:
- Salmon—Probably the most simplest, and quickest fish to cook in my opinion, especially if it’s a steak or fillet cut. Don’t believe me? Check out the video from Thomas Joseph demonstrating how it’s done! (all credit to Everyday Food).
- Whole Fish—Requires a bit more patience and time to cook, unlike the salmon above. If you do it right, there’s nothing quite like it!
- Squid—You can either grill squid rings, or the whole squid. If you’ve ever been to south east Asia (Thailand, Malaysia), you’ll know grilled squid is incredibly popular!
You can also do grilled oysters, cockles, shrimp, and mussels. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s a common theme here….there really is no limit when it comes to grilling!
#4 A Healthy Alternative To Fried Food
What’s better for your health, grilled food or fried food? A long contested topic with varying opinions depending on who you ask. Without going into the nitty gritty, these are my thoughts:
Grilled food is a healthy alternative to fried food, provided you don’t char or burn.
For those of you who didn’t know, the charred parts are carcinogenic. To keep it simple, don’t over grill and you’ll be fine! Here’s an interesting article debating grilled and fried foods. It’s definitely worth a read!
George Foreman GGR50B—The Best Indoor Electric Grill Available Today!
There are several awesome indoor grills available currently, so picking out this one was not an easy decision. A lot of factors were taken into consideration (more on this later in the post), but ultimately this trumps the rest! Below I talk about what I really like, and dislike about it.
Everything I Love About It (AKA The Good)
The Fact That It Can Be Used Indoor/Outdoor
The ability to use this as an outdoor grill makes it very different from the competition. To be specific, it comes with a removable stand which can be left on, or removed depending on where (indoor/outdoor) you use it. What’s really cool is the ability to take this on camping or picnic trips without much hassle. Because it sits on a stand, it’s basically self supported. Definitely a unique and cool feature that no other grills have!
You Have Tons Of Room (240 Square Inches!)
One of the major drawbacks with most indoor grills in my opinion is the limited grill space. This is hardly ever a problem with outdoor grills, where you usually have as much room as you need. To me having lots of room is super important, and I’ll tell you why. I typically grill both beef and chicken at the same time, and because some of my guests only eat chicken, I need to ensure both meats don’t touch or come into contact. Yup, some people are picky about these things.
What I love about the GGR50B is the large 240 square inches of grill space. Plenty room to grill chicken, beef, and maybe even throw some cassava into the mix as well!
It Doesn’t Take Long To Get Going
One thing I love about electric grills is that they typically don’t take much time to fire up. In fact, they’re much quicker compared to charcoal grills, which take a while to get going. The GGR50B has 5 different heat settings (low to high), so you can adjust temperature to suit your specific needs. I typically adjust my knob to 3 and 4, as I’ve found this setting works best.
Cleanup Is Quick And Painless!
There’s 3 things you need to worry about when it comes to cleaning: domed lid, grill plate, and the drip pan. I’d throw the lid and the drip pan into the dishwasher, but the plate I’d wash by hand using dish soap and a sponge. Why? Because you may ruin the non stick coating on the grill surface by placing it in a dishwasher. Better to be safe than sorry!
All Things Considered, It’s Quite Affordable
In my opinion, this is one of the more affordable indoor grills you can find (click here to check latest pricing on amazon). Don’t know about you, but the less I pay, the happier I stay!
Everything I Dislike About It (AKA The Bad)
I’m Not A Fan Of The Domed Lid
Everything is great about this, except the lid. I’m not a fan of the domed lid for 2 reasons: 1. If you drop it, you risk denting or damaging it pretty easily, 2. You can’t leave the lid halfway open like you can with other electric grills. Maybe I’m being overly critical, but I want to list these cons so you’re aware should you choose to buy.
Is It The Same As A Charcoal Grill? Not Quite…
Before buying any indoor grill, it’s important for you to understand the limitations. Will it cook to the exact same quality as a charcoal grill? Nope. It doesn’t matter which one you buy, no electric grill will match the results of a charcoal grill. Cooking on a charcoal BBQ can be considered an entirely different way of cooking altogether. Believe it or not, the charcoal itself has nothing to do with that trademark flavor, it’s the dripping from your meats! Your meat drippings vaporize when they touch the charcoal, and they rise back up and soak your meat full of that awesome goodness we’re all so fond of (source: Wired). Here’s an interesting write up for all of you grill fanatics!
The best indoor electric grill in my opinion is the George Foreman GGR50B. It’s very close to being the perfect electric grill, if not for some very minor shortcomings (see above). Having said that, I want to share with you 2 alternatives, to give you a broad idea of what’s available in the market.
Hamilton Beach 25361
Another awesome indoor grill that’s convenient, simple, and highly effective. If you’re not looking to spend too much, this is probably something you should look into. You have about 118 square inches of cooking surface to do your grilling; nowhere close to the George Foreman above, but large enough to cook for a family of 4. My favorite thing about this grill is how easy it is to operate. Plug in, set your temperature (it can go up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit), wait till it gets hot and then start grilling. Another really cool feature is that the lid has a window, so you can watch your food as it cooks. This is great because I no longer need to open/close the lid every couple minutes!
Cuisinart GR-300WS Griddler Elite Grill
A grill and then some! It has 6 different cooking options: panini press, full grill, contact grill, full griddle, half griddle, and top melt. I probably wouldn’t use it for anything other than grilling, so all these extra features are kinda useless to me. But what I really like about this is that you can grill on 2 separate plates at the same time, and even cooler…..each plate has its own temperature control! Remember how earlier on in the post I mentioned my predicament with cooking chicken and beef together? This would totally solve that problem! It also looks really really good. Have this on your counter and you’re sure to get some compliments! The biggest downside: it’s gonna run you some $$$$$!
6 Very Important Things To Consider Before Buying!
#1 Grill Surface—How Much Do You Need?
We all have different needs when it comes to grilling. I typically require a large cooking surface simply because of how much I BBQ at a single time. I’ll do t-bone steaks, chicken thighs, lamb ribs, and cassava all at once if I can. If you’re not like me, don’t worry about getting a 240 square inch grill surface. You could potentially save some $$$ by looking into a smaller unit. Spend some time thinking about this before you buy!
#2 Temperature Control—What Range Is Acceptable To You?
Every indoor grill I’ve come across has adjustable temperature control. What’s different is the temperature range you get from one device to the other. For example, the Cuisinart GR-300WS (see above) goes up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas the Hamilton Beach 25361 (also above) goes up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. The difference may not seem significant at first glance, but it can be if you’re searing meats and fish! It all boils down to how you like your food grilled…..some people like the sear and others don’t!
#3 Size—Do You Care?
Size is another important consideration which is often overlooked. Some things to think about:
- Where will the grill be kept? If it’s on your kitchen counter top, you need to make sure you have enough space.
- Will you be carrying it on the go? If you’ll be carrying it on camping/hunting trips, you may want to investigate compact, portable solutions.
Always spend some time looking at product dimensions before you buy!
#4 $$$—What’s Your Budget?
The best indoor electric grill certainly isn’t the one that costs the most $$$$…..not for me at least. Having said that, you should spend some time determining how much you wish to spend. Prices tend to vary, and you’re looking at anything from around $50-300. What’s your budget?
#5 Multipurpose—Panini Press, Timers etc.
Expensive grills usually come with all the bells and whistles: timers, sandwich presses, dual contact plates, and adjustable lids. While these additional features are good to have, they ultimately don’t change grilling performance. I could throw a steak on a simple, effective grill like the GGR50B, and probably achieve the same results as you would if you used the one with all the fancy features. Again, all the extras don’t excite me much. You’ll need to decide how you feel about them!
#6 Cleaning & Maintenance—Look For Something That’s Easy!
Here’s an important recommendation: stay away from all indoor grills that don’t have a drip pan. Grilling can get pretty messy, especially if you’re cooking meats rich in fat and oil. That’s why you’ll want to buy a grill that has a drip pan or some sort of mechanism to catch the drippings. Check to see if the drip pan, and lid are dishwasher friendly. I typically wash the grill plate by hand for 2 main reasons:
- You could ruin the non stick coating on the grill plate if you place it in the dishwasher.
- Some grill plates have a heating element embedded inside of it. I’m not gonna risk putting it in the dishwasher!
If You Enjoyed Reading, Please Consider Sharing!
Hope this article will help you in your quest to finding the best indoor electric grill. If you got some value out of this, a share would be massively appreciated! To avoid disappointment you should always remember one important thing:
Charcoal grills and electric grills cannot and should not be compared. They cook/grill using different techniques!
That’s not to say, electric grills don’t yield good results. Get the right one, and use it correctly and you’ll be pleasantly surprised! Finally, feel free to leave me your comments and questions below. If you have experience with indoor grills, let us know what worked or didn’t work for you!