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Convection vs. Infrared

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What does each burner type do and what is the difference? Which is better, which is worse, is there a place for both? The main difference between the standard convection, or conventional, burner and the infrared burner is its temperature. Infrared burners will get hotter much quicker than standard burners. Infrared burners only take 2-3 minutes to heat up to between 1000-1500 degrees F near the burner's surface, where the conventional burners take 10 minutes with the hood down to reach 700 degrees F near the burner's surface and then lose a lot of heat when you open the hood to place food on the grill. This hotter temperature cooks food faster than the lower temperature conventional burners.

Infrared burners provide more direct heat that tends to go basically straight up over the burner, where the regular burners heat the air around the burner and that has to cook the food. Direct heat is more efficient where conventional burner's indirect heating is inefficient. As a result: infrared works best with the hood up, whereas the conventional burner needs the hood down to trap the warm air to cook. Infrared does not work as well with the hood down, but it's not needed in most situations and will cause food to be cooked by both direct heat and heated air, resulting in overcooking or burning food.

Another result of the direct heat is that infrared grilling can be done in most weather conditions and temperatures since it's not reliant on heating air. Weather will not affect performance unless it is an extreme condition like very excessive winds or heavy rain. Temperatures do not matter as long as the liquid propane isn't frozen and the grill is lit. Infrared grills can be used year round as long as it's not directly in the rain or snow, which can damage the ceramic if it gets wet.

Infrared's direct heat tends to sear the meat or whatever you are cooking and create what is known as the Maillard reaction, which gives grilled food its good taste. Infrared also cooks food faster, so there is less time for the juices to evaporate, making food juicier when it is cooked over infrared burners. Conventional burners rely on heating air, so it takes longer to cook and as a result food tends to become dried out and less juicy.

Some people do not like how hot the infrared burners can get with its biggest criticism being that it does not get low enough. For these people, the infravection option of 1 infrared burner and one convection burner exists. We believe that infrared can accomplish everything that a conventional burner can, but better, and that its lower temperatures are a shortcoming. Convection burners also do not do low heat well enough to be used that way and we do not think they should be used. Low heat cooking has a place in the backyard, but we believe that is in the form of a smoker or in the kitchen with sous vide and the infrared burner can be used to finish off both of these other cooking methods with a sear when infrared isn't used just on its own.

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