Individuals living in apartments, condos and community controlled properties often find that the rules do not allow for charcoal, gas or propane grills. For people who love cooking and entertaining outdoors, this leads to the question, what's the alternative? The answer may be an outdoor electric grill. While these are not quite the same as using more traditional grilling methods, you can still find the best electric grill that suits both your budget and your lifestyle with a little smart shopping.
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One of the first considerations in what constitutes the best outdoor electric grill for your household is whether you prefer a patio style grill or a tabletop model. Table top grills fit smaller spaces nicely, typically providing enough surface area to grill for about four people. The systems are lightweight and easily stored away.
Patio electric grills look a little more like standard barbecue systems, with either a dome or flat top. They offer more cooking surface for those offering food to a larger group of people. If you're considering this option, note that many patio style electric grills have wheels so you can still move them to suitable storage areas when not in use.
As you're shop for electric grills, you'll discover there are two basic types. One follows the basic construction of an outdoor grill, with food placed on top of the cooking unit. The second type, a contact grill, presses food between two heated plates. Both designs have value, so what constitutes the best one depends on personal taste.
Open outdoor electric grills look more traditional, even though they don't give you the distinctive grilling flavour. The food takes on grill marks, and you can make more food on the open system. However, if you have sensitive smoke detectors you'll have to monitor this grill carefully.
By comparison, the sandwich style grill won't handle much more than a 1-inch thick piece of meat, or "bone in" cuts. These systems, however, produce less smoke and can make panini style sandwiches, too. You can adjust the cooking time to personal tastes, and both sides of your food grill consecutively, saving energy.
For some consumers, the final choice among various electric grills boils down to specific desired features. For example, the simplest electric grills have very low wattage, meaning they don't produce a lot of heat. If you do much grilling, look for systems that produce higher temperatures for that searing effect.
High-end electric grills offer computerised cooking. This might be a good choice for someone just learning how to grill since you can program in the type of food. Afterward, the system sets the time and even tells you when to turn the food.
Other features worth considering include timing devices, temperature indicator lights, temperature gauge, non-stick cooking surfaces and dishwasher-safe removable parts.
As of 2011, high-quality outdoor electric grills run between £78 and £325, depending on features. The higher end of the spectrum includes computerised models. While simple charcoal grills cost less at most points of sale, the ongoing expense of charcoal quickly gains on the base price of an electric system.
When it comes to grilling systems, price doesn't always correspond to quality. Take the time to read over consumer reviews about the best outdoor grills before investing.
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