Convection vs. Infrared Convection vs. Infrared

Convection vs. Infrared Convection vs. Infrared

What is the difference between each type of burner and what are their respective benefits and drawbacks? Is it necessary to choose one over the other, or are they both useful? The primary distinction between a standard convection burner and an infrared burner is their temperature. Infrared burners heat up much faster than traditional burners, reaching between 1000-1500 degrees F close to the surface in just 2-3 minutes, whereas conventional burners take approximately 10 minutes with the hood down to reach 700 degrees F near the surface and lose heat when the hood is lifted to position food on the grill. Because of the higher temperature, food cooks more quickly on infrared burners than on traditional ones of lower temperature.

The advantage of infrared burners is that they emit direct heat that travels straight up over the burner, while regular burners heat up the air around the burner to cook food. Direct heat is more efficient than indirect heating from regular burners. Therefore, cooking with infrared burners is more effective with the hood up, unlike regular burners which work best with the hood down to trap warm air. Using the hood down with infrared burners is not recommended as it can cause overcooking or burning of food by both direct heat and heated air. However, this is usually not necessary in most situations.

Infrared grilling can be carried out in a wide variety of weather conditions and temperatures due to the direct heat, which doesn't depend on heating up the air. Inclement weather conditions such as heavy rain or exceedingly strong winds won't affect its performance. As long as the grill is lit and the liquid propane isn't frozen, the temperature isn't a factor. Although, if the grill is in direct contact with snow and rain, the ceramic could get damaged, meaning that it's best used year-round with some caution. 

The heat from infrared burners has a direct effect on the meat or other food, resulting in the Maillard reaction, which enhances the taste of grilled food. Additionally, infrared burners cook food more rapidly, reducing the likelihood of evaporating juices and ensuring juicier results. In contrast, traditional burners rely on heating the air, which takes longer to cook and increases the risk of dried-out and less succulent food. 

There are those who are not fans of the intense heat produced by infrared burners and criticize its inability to reach lower temperatures. However, a solution for these individuals is the infravection option, which includes one infrared burner and one convection burner. We are firm believers that infrared burners outperform conventional burners in every aspect, except for their limited ability to reach lower temperatures. Convection burners also fall short when it comes to low heat cooking and we do not recommend using them for this purpose. While low heat cooking has its place in the great outdoors, such as with a smoker, we feel that it is better suited for the kitchen, where you can use sous vide. The infrared burner is the perfect complement to these cooking methods, as it provides the ideal sear that is often missing when using infrared on its own. 

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