Infrared versus Convection Burners - Which do you recommend?
Author: Rett Rasmussen Reference Number: AA-05402 Views: 232 Created: 2020-06-19 07:51 Last Updated: 2020-06-19 07:52 0 Rating/ Voters

We first created Solaire in 2000 with only infrared burners available, because we knew then, and still now, that infrared provided the heat that is lacking in conventional grills, heat that allows you to sear in the juices for more flavorful, succulent grilled food.  We also designed the grill so that there was good turn-down of the heat.  We and our customers are very pleased with the results, of both the grill and the food it produces. All-infrared is my preference and my recommendation when asked. However ...


For marketing reasons (to attract a larger customer base), we added the convection burner option to our grills.  Besides providing the widest range of temperatures available in a gas grill, it also provided a "comfort zone" which allowed customers to grill on what they were used to while learning to use the infrared burner. When I told my wife (who grills the most in our family) that we were considering adding a convection burner to the Solaire line, I asked her how she would use it. She replied "I have no use for it.  I can grill everything with infrared.  It's what I am used to using. Don’t change my grill!"  She's the boss, but we still added it to the line for those who are unsure about going all infrared.


We knew that many customers would find that they could grill anything they wanted, and better, on the infrared side.  So we designed the burners to be easily removable and offer replacement burner kits, so that the customer could change the burners to whichever type of burner they use most. Nobody with a Solaire is locked into one style. The grill can change as their needs and desires change.

The only time I recommend all-Convection burners in a Solaire is when the grill is used by non-owners, such as in a rental unit or condo or resort common-areas. The infrared burners must be burned on HIGH for at least 5 minutes after every use to keep the thousands of holes clear. The grates must be in the V configuration, and the burners must be kept free of water on the ceramic plate when the burner is cold (which would soften and break down the ceramic). But in a home situation with an owner who learns how to use Solaire and to properly care for his investment, infrared is the best.

 

Even though our IR burner has good turn down, it is not as low as what is achieved with the convection burner.  That being said, there is very little you cannot do with the infrared burner alone, including and especially fish and seafood.  One of the biggest raps our competitors had against infrared when we first came on the market was that it was too hot to grill fish.  So, as you will see in Great Grilling Simplified (Supplied with the grill and found online at https://solairegasgrills.com/resources/) we have developed timing guidelines for many types of fish.  They all come out great – the secret is the initial high heat sear, same as when you are grilling a steak.  With fish you just do it for a shorter period of time. 

 

There are some people who turn the IR burner on high and keep it there for the entire time the food is on the grill.  The food tends to have more char on the outside, which some people like.  I prefer the method of searing on HI for about three minutes per side, then turning down the heat, turning every three minutes or so until done.  This gives a good barring of the meat while minimizing extra char (this is why I promote this method in Great Grilling Simplified).  Now, the lower heat could be from turning down the IR burner (I adjust the valve on my grill to the Medium-Low position) or by moving the food to the Convection side.  The key is first searing over the IR burner.  The rest is just heat management to provide the results you desire in your grilled food.

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