Outdoor electric grills offer a lot of advantages over traditional gas or charcoal grills. They are convenient, easy to use, and allow you to take the grilling experience places that open flame grills cannot, such as apartment balconies, yachts, or anywhere an open flame ordinance exists.
But, if you’re in the market for an electric grill, there is an important question you should ask before you spend your hard-earned dollars. That is, will the grill produce that authentic grilled flavor my guests and I are accustomed to?
That’s a pretty significant question. If the grilling experience doesn’t deliver for you, the chances are good that your electric grill purchase will end up collecting dust in the garage instead of providing years of grilled food and good times.
Learn More – The Developer & Designer's Guide to Outdoor Electric Grills
So, how can you serve up a course of food with authentic grilled flavors on an electric grill? The secret is to skip the flattop or griddle models and choose an electric grill that looks, operates, and delivers results just like a traditional grill.
Here are the two most important design features to look for in an outdoor electric grill to make sure you can provide an authentic grilled experience for your guests.
Related: Choose the best electric outdoor grill for taste and upkeep
Use an Electric Outside Grill with Grates, Not Grooves
Do you want a grill that merely cooks the food on raised grooves or one that grills the food on grates suspended over a heat source, much like a traditional flamed grill? Many outdoor electric grills are simply flattop griddles with raised grooves, which give the food a distinctive grilled look but do not deliver on the grilled flavor. If you’ve ever used one of the popular clamshell-style grills, you know that while the food may look grilled, it doesn’t quite have the flavor you’d expect.
However, electric grills with removable grates cook the food in the same way a wood, charcoal, or gas grill does, by suspending the food on the grates and superheating the air beneath. This produces the distinctive char and flavor you can only get when there is airflow between the food and the heat source.
Outdoor Electric BBQ Grills Need Flavor Bars
Having actual grill grates is only the first half of the grilled flavor equation. The second half is the all-important flavor bars. These bars sit above the heating element, playing a vital role in introducing flavor to the food as it cooks. The bars catch all the juices and drippings of the food throughout the cooking process, vaporizes them, and re-introduces them to the food as the heat and smoke rise back up.
Outdoor electric grills with grooved flattop inserts try and mimic this process, but have a hard time replicating the flavor because there is such limited airflow between the food and heat source. So, if an authentic grilled taste is on your menu, look for electric models that include flavor bars above the heating elements.
Remember, you don’t need to compromise on flavor to gain the convenience of an electric grill. Whether you want to cook on the balcony of your luxury condo, a backyard patio, or the deck of a yacht, authentic grilled flavors are still available to you with a quality electric grill. Manufacturers such as ElectriChef have extensive lines of outdoor electric grills designed with ease of use, professional-grade durability, and, most importantly, flavor in mind.