Charcoal BBQs have been a popular way of grilling since day one, but more than 40 years later, with the introduction of electric grills in 1994, the popularity of the former started to fall behind. Today, while both electric and charcoal grills are very good options, electric ones, are more eco-friendly and provide a hassle-free experience thanks to the way they operate. In order to properly use an electric BBQ, it takes knowing the details on a few important aspects.
How They Operate
Although there are various models available in different sizes, styles and shapes, they all heat up thanks to a heating element which is embedded into the cooking surface or placed below it. The electric current passes through a heating coil covered in nickel and chromium alloy which is also used together with molybdenum to make the best corrosion-resistant electric grill construction called the 316 marine grade stainless steel.
The alloy is what helps the element to get heated as it resists the electrical flow which then produces constant heat – some heating elements come tilted to the surface in order for the excess juice and fat to fall in the drip pan. An electric grill also has non-stick cooking plates and more premium ones have chrome-coated cooking racks which help make the food healthier since you’ll need less oil to cook the meat. What also comes standard on these grilles are grooved grates which direct the fat and grease away from the food.
Preparing your grill for your first cookout is done by spraying it with avocado or olive oil and while a less healthy option, you can do so with canola oil too. You will also need to preheat the grill and if you have any doubt regarding this, just set it to 200°C and watch over the grill until it reaches the temperature – there are electric grills that have an automatic heat control which does this for you. Make sure you have your tongs ready before you start grilling.
Don’t put the meat on the grill before you see the ready light turn on, or until the grill reaches the desired temperature and once it does, make sure you cook one side of the meat halfway through and then flip it on the other side. Depending on the type of meat you are going to be grilling, this can take up to 20 minutes but if you are cooking precooked foods, or you are a vegetarian or vegan and cooking veggies, it won’t take as much as raw meat or any other for that matter. After every cooking session, make sure to unplug the electric grill and let it cool off completely.
Once the grill has cooled off (not completely) take the grates and drip pan off and get yourself some warm soapy water, a stainless steel bristle brush, putty knife/ plastic scraper and clean cloth(s). Start first by scraping off the cooking grates with the brush and once the grill has completely cooled, do the same thing again. This should be then followed by washing the grates with warm soapy water, rinsing them and then drying them with a clean cloth or a paper towel.
The removable bowl liner is cleaned by scraping it with the putty knife and after that, you just need to remove the liner and wash it with warm soapy water in order to clean out the excessive build-up of grease. After that, make sure to dry it off completely before putting it back into the outdoor electric bbq. Cleaning the controller and power cord should be done with a damp cloth – never submerge them in water. At the end, make sure to wipe them good and let them dry completely before using them.
Cleaning the cook box and the lid should be done both internally and externally and for the internal cleaning, you should use the stainless steel bristle brush to remove the carbonized grease which looks like an extra layer of paint. To prevent the build-up of this layer, make sure to wipe down the inside of the lid with a paper towel while the grill is still warm. For the outside of the lid use warm soapy water and a damp cloth to remove airborne debris that has fallen onto it.
The inside of the cook box can accumulate food particles and grease too which can cause a fire if there is an excessive build-up. Use a putty knife or a plastic scrapper to get rid of the debris on the sides and bottom of the grill and from the opening in the bottom of the cook box. If not cleaned properly, this opening can get clogged and the debris won’t go into the slide-out grease tray.
The catch pan is best cleaned with absorbing paper but not before the grill has cooled off as you need to take it out. This way, you will easily remove deposits of cold grease. The heating element is a self-cleaning part so you don’t need to clean it by yourself as the grill does this for you when you are preheating it.