January 11, 2019 at 11:07 am #4350
Will roasting on an Infrared Grill work? I have a 3 burner Char-Broil and it is only 30,000 BTU. I would like to get the 8 or 12 lbs drum but don’t know if this grill would work. Has anyone used these types of grills?
-DanJanuary 11, 2019 at 11:07 am #4351
Hi Dan, thanks for the note. The infrared grills work well in the sense that it has a very nice method to evenly distribute the heat. Infrared basically means using radiated heat to cook as opposed to direct heat from the flame. As far as I can tell, the CHARBROIL red series and similar is a tad gimmicky. Basically, instead of having a standard diffuser with burners below, they instead have a rounded concave plate that seals off the coffee from the burner itself, relying on that standard burner to heat the metal curved plate and then that hot plate does the cooking. I would consider it a net plus, as the plate does a good job of spreading the heat out and evenly cooking the coffee with it. That part is good. The bad part is that these grills seem to suffer from lower BTU. Not sure why this is, but 30,000 will not be enough to get you where you want to be happy. We actually used a 30000 BTU CHARBROIL red with an 8lb drum. By blocking off 80% of the rear vent to trap heat in, we finished the roast at 28min. In my opinion about 7min too long.
We then capped off the rear vents totally. And we got roast times down to 22 min. Not quite 21, which is my limit, but close enough, and that was at 100% gas. So we pulled it off just barely.
It will be slightly better with the 6 or 4lb on this unit due to lower mass.
In short, it’s possible but it leaves you no room for maneuvering. Accelerating the roast if need be… As you will already be at max output.
My recommendations are these:
So you see it’s less a factor of the infrared itself. The coffee doesn’t care about the heat method. It’s actually better in the sense of heat distribution. But these grills seem to suffer more from low btu and that is where the problems seem to lie. If you can find an infrared grill with the adequate BTU, this would be preferable.
Curiously, there is an article I think on page 2 of the home page regarding getting better roast consistency, and it also proposed to place a metal sheet over the burners thereby evening out the heat some. So the infrared in that sense is preferable.
Can you do it with that grill? Yes. Will you be thrilled with it? Not as much as if you had the higher BTU. Hope that helps and do let me know if you have any other questions.
ShaneJanuary 11, 2019 at 11:08 am #4352
Additionally as a final point. The dynamic of infrared is that you heat up the plate to temperature then that plate does the cooking. So as you turn on the grill your heat up times will be extended. Maybe by 1/2 the time as opposed to heating the air in the grill directly with the flame or having a skimpy diffuser below. Similarly, the heat adjustments during the roast will take longer to show in the coffee area as you must heat the plate first. This is less favorable as you can’t ramp the heat as quickly or cool it down as quickly. But when you go to roast #2 this plate retains much of the heat between roast and that is good as any subsequent roasts will come to temperature quicker. If you didn’t have this plate below, then heat trapped in the grill dumps out when you open the lid. So. The infrared is good for retaining heat for subsequent roasts but less ideal for control. The converse is true for having no plate.
The best balance, in my opinion, is a standard 45,000 btu grill with a steel plate in the bottom with 1.5″ of space between the plate and all walls. This gives you a little of both worlds.
Note that electric infrared burners installed on the rear of the grill are an entirely different subject and to my knowledge, those are just fine provided the BTU is present.
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