Grilling food outdoors has been an American tradition for such holidays as the Fourth of July and Memorial Day for years. Among grillers, there is a debate between the better source of heat: propane or charcoal. But for those with outdoor kitchens, or who just wish to cook outdoors, electric grills can be the right choice. There are different types of electric grills, though, and the main difference is in the grill used outdoors and the two types used indoors. Each has its advantages and its disadvantages.
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The outdoor electric grill is similar to a propane or charcoal grill. The electric grill will have a grated cooking surface and some models will have side burners, as well. The indoor electric grill comes in two styles: the open grill and the contact grill. The contact grill will sandwich the food between the top plate and bottom plate, both ridged. An open grill is a ridged plate that can be used independently of the hob.
An outdoor electric grill functions just as its counterparts do: The griller puts food on the heated surface to cook the food. Unlike charcoal grills, however, food cooked on an electric grill will not have that smoky, earthy flavour derived from charcoal. For many, this disadvantage is enough to dismiss the electric grill. If the purpose of cooking outdoors is to get that specific flavouring, an electric grill will not suffice.
Charcoal, though, can be cumbersome to store and produces a lot of smoke, hence the infusion of smoky flavouring. But if sitting outdoors while grilling is the aim of the outing, and smoke disrupts the party, then an electric grill can eliminate that atmospheric invasion.
A propane grill can also eliminate the smoke from the cooking equation. It also provides a distinct flavouring to food because the food is cooked over an open flame. While not smoky, exactly, the grilled flavour is savoury. An electric grill simply cannot provide that particular zest. Propane for grills comes in tanks, though, and those tanks tend to run out of fuel just before the steaks are ready to be put on the grill. With an electric grill, the fuel is at the ready. No hauling the tank to the nearest propane dealer for a costly refill. Simply plug in the grill and grill up those steaks.
Plugging in the grill is great when the outlet is nearby. At the very least, an extension cord may be necessary. This, though, poses a problem when no outlet is available, such as at rustic cabins and campsites. An electric grill, even small portable ones, is confined to those places where electricity is available. A portable charcoal grill can be taken just about anywhere and fired up.
The indoor electric grills also have their advantages and disadvantages. Indoor electric grills provide a visual appeal to food because they leave grill marks, just as an outdoor grill would. The indoor grills, however, are limited in cooking area. They would be impractical if cooking for a crowd. If cooking for one or two, however, these small grills are a good option. They also provide a healthy option; much of the grease from cooked meats is directed away from the cooking area, so the food is leaner when served.
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