If you want a good steak, grill it. If you want a superior steak, grill it over an infrared sear burner. It is a steakhouse restaurant’s secret weapon for creating juicy, flavorful steaks with that signature crusty exterior.
An infrared sear burner has hundreds of tiny flame ports that allow it to reach much higher cooking temperatures than traditional gas grill burners – more than 1,000˚ F, in fact.
This intense, radiant heat directly penetrates food in the same way the sun’s energy warms your skin. By contrast, a typical grill burner heats the air to cook food with convection energy. As a result, food grilled over infrared cooks up significantly faster and retains more moisture.
What Foods Can You Grill Over Infrared?
While infrared-grilled steaks are the bomb, an infrared burner can be used for much more. The searing heat is great for thin-cut boneless chicken breasts, pork chops, meat for fajitas, and even vegetables. A few minutes and a quick flip, turns out food with deliciously browned exteriors and juicy centers.
An infrared burner can also be used in tandem with traditional burners to grill other cuts that require longer cooking times, such as pork loins, thick steaks, roasts, and more.
In this type of combo cooking, meat is first seared over the high-heat infrared burner and then moved over the lower heat of the traditional burners to finish cooking. It can also be done in the opposite sequence, using the “reverse-sear” technique. In this method, food starts out over low or medium heat till it’s nearly done, then is quickly seared at the end over the infrared burner to achieve that tasty browning and crusty texture.
All Infrared vs. Hybrid
You can buy an entirely infrared grill, but if you do, remember this: what’s great about infrared burners can also be the downside. Many do not have the ability to turn the heat down to lower temperatures, so they become kind of a one-trick pony.
Infrared’s searing temperatures may incinerate delicate foods like fish filets, or items that need indirect heat, like bone-in chicken pieces. In addition, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to experiment with techniques like smoking, rotissing, and cedar-plank cooking on an all-infrared grill. Also, not all grilling accessories will hold up under the intense heat of an infrared burner.
A best-of-both-worlds approach is to create a hybrid grill that combines an infrared sear burner with traditional burners for maximum cooking versatility. This way, the infrared burner becomes a high-heat sear zone, while the traditional burners can be used for other grilling techniques and foods that require lower temperatures.
A Hot Option and a Pro Tip
The infrared burner can be swapped in to replace one of the grill’s traditional gas burners in just minutes, using a Philips head screwdriver. The infrared burner can easily be switched out again as needed, should you want to use the entire grill surface for traditional grilling.
The 26,000 BTU Infrared Burner delivers intense heat, perfect for searing steaks. But, unlike other infrared burners, it also incorporates Variable Heat Technology to be able to turn the temperature down to a more moderate level.
Now, the only steakhouse secret you’ll have left to master is making those cool crosshatch grill marks. (Psst… we can help you out with that, too!)
Pro Tip: Start with clean cooking grates. Make sure the grill is preheated so the grates are good and hot. Season and oil the steaks or other protein. Place the first side down on the grill and sear for one minute. Then, rotate steaks a quarter turn and sear one minute more. Turn the steak over and repeat on the other side. If the steak doesn’t “release” from the grid when you go to rotate or flip it, just wait a few seconds and try again. If you force it, the meat will stick to the surface and you’ll lose all those good sear marks.)