How to Cook Thick Cuts of Meat on an Infrared Grill

Grilling on infrared is a skill that takes a little bit of time to develop.  Those who are good at it will cook juicy and tasty food, while those who are bad will make their food into a burnt, inedible mess.  Part of improving at infrared grilling is learning to cook thick cuts of meat, which with a little bit of practice and help from this guide you will be on your way to cooking thicker and larger pieces of meat.

It should go without saying, but thicker cuts of meat will take longer to cook, however it can't be forgotten that infrared is not low and slow, it is hot and fast.  Many people when they get their hands on a big piece of meat will forget this and act like they suddenly have a smoker or something, throw the lid down, and forget about it and end up with a hockey puck.  Although it is hot and fast, you can't try to rush thicker cuts of meat either.  Others seem to only know about the high setting and wonder why their outside is a rock and their inside feels like it just came out of the fridge.  In order to cook thicker cuts of meat, you're going to need to have a different approach that might not come naturally to some.

The 1st step is going to seem counter intuitive to some, but you start off on high for about 2 minutes on each side to make a nice sort of crust.  This is not only going to make it easier to flip later, but you're also making the outside about as done as it's going to get so you can only focus on cooking the inside.

After the initial sear, the 2nd step is to turn the heat down to between medium and low.  It's not an exact science, but the temperature will depend on the size of the meat, with generally the thicker the cut, the lower the heat setting.  Some might want to put the hood down here, but I wouldn't recommend it unless you have a wood chip smoker accessory or something.  I've never actually had the lid down for much of anything on an infrared grill and it's always come out fully cooked, tasty, and not burned; it's all about finding the right heat setting and timing.

Typically I've ended up flipping over thick pieces of meat four times after turning down the temperature, so each side has has 1 longer cook session and one shorter finisher.  The amount of time per side on this step is going to vary depending on the thickness of the meat, but generally after you turn down the heat the meat should be left alone for at least 5 minutes before flipping.  After you flip, the other side should be left there for just as long.  After this it crosses over from being science to just pure art and it will take some feeling, probing, and cutting to figure out what needs to happen next.  This is the the skill based part that is going to take practice, figuring out the final timings after turning it to low, but there are methods you can use to help you check.  I like to use either some tongs or the edge of my spatula and see how much give the meat has to it, usually before every flip.  The more the meat is cooked, the more resistance it will give when squeezed, with undercooked meat being squishy.  My usual method is to flip, leave it for a few minutes, then check, while also being sure to just flip it every couple of minutes to help keep the outside from getting overcooked.  Don't press too hard though or you'll squeeze juices out of your meat.

Thicker cuts of meat tend to take between 15 and 25 minutes on the infrared grill, with the thickest taking longer and the thinner taking shorter amount of time.  Don't get discouraged if you don't succeed right away, don't curse the infrared grill and say it's too hot, it's going to take time getting good at it.  You will burn a few pieces of meat along the way, and you will probably have to throw some others in the microwave after you under compensate, but eventually you will be able to grill meat of any size and thickness on your grill.  If you can master thick meat, you can master anything on the infrared grill.