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When most of us think “grill”, we think “barbecue”. And the minute this word is uttered, most mental images will involve large green parks or beaches. Looking for a 1500w powerxl smokeless indoor electric grill?
However, not everyone can afford frequent excursions. Moreover, if you don’t have a backyard, or you live somewhere with very extreme weather, you may be stuck waiting for months on end before enjoying the scent of grilled meats.
This is where indoor electric grills can come in to save the day. They allow you to add that extra seared, crispy layer to your hotdogs and burgers straight from your kitchen.
Just until very recently, grilling indoors created too much mess and strong scents. Nowadays, new models promise to make the task easier than ever.
The Best Indoor Electric Grill we Could Find
The PowerXL Smokeless Grill was created to make indoors grilling a stress-free and discreet experience. This may sound simple, but from a physics perspective, it is quite an impressive feat: that charred flavour we associate with grilled meats comes from three things:
- The volatile compounds created by the charcoal and wood when burnt
- The chemical reactions created exposing protein fibers to very hot temperatures (Maillard reaction)
- The smoke and vapour created by rapidly heating the meat
The first element, while completely absent from an indoor grill, is the easiest one to replicate with the right seasoning.
On the other hand, the other two are technically easy to make with any very hot iron – once you don’t mind smelling the Barbecue on your curtains for weeks on end.
So how does the PowerXL Smokeless grill solve this? Mainly, thanks to a sturdy tempered glass cover.
This doesn’t just prevent splatters and smoke from invading your kitchen: it also helps conserve heat and ensures the griddle reaches higher temperatures more quickly – therefore saving you time during the preheating stage.
The lid is supplemented by a smoke capture fan to the sides of the main plate, which will capture all the smoke and expel filtered air back out.
Both the fan and the grilling temperature can be controlled using the LED touch panel on the side. We found the controls to be intuitive and easy to figure out. However, the dial did not provide any haptic feedback, so it was hard to see if you had adjusted the temperature.
The griddle plate itself is also remarkably mess-free. It comes with a thorough non-stick finish that is meant to handle anything from steak to scrambled eggs without needing you to scrape or soak anything.
To be fair, you will still need some cooking spray if you are planning to make scrambled eggs, as egg white protein burns too quickly. However, if you are just in the mood for some bacon rashers or a pork chop, you can rely on the meat’s natural oils.
The griddle plate is reversible: completely smooth on one side (meant for eggs, pancakes, and paninis), and ridged with grilling grates on the other one (to create nice ridges on your beef). Both the griddle plate and the glass lid are dishwasher safe.
The other major perk of this grill is the efficient way it uses space. Its shoebox-like construction offers the widest possible grilling surface, and packs all heating coils, control knows, and even the dripping tray underneath it.
The full grill is less than 12 inches wide and therefore can fit on your kitchen aisle or table easily.
|Two-sided grill plate.||The control panel is not very responsive.|
|Efficient smoke capture fan.||Too heavy to be truly portable.|
|A non-stick surface that’s easy to clean.|
|Smokeless Indoor Electric Grill Reviews|
What Makes an Indoors Grill Outstanding?
Indoors grills will unavoidably be judged by comparing them to their outdoors peers. Nowadays, there are many “multi-function” grills and grilling ovens working under the same basic principles.
However, not all of them can produce grilled meats with the same flavour notes as a proper charcoal-fueled outdoor one.
This is because the technology to heat a set of metal coils is, by itself, pretty simple. However, without the proper design and resilience, many of these grills will turn out to be simply an overpriced sandwich press – they simply don’t allow the type of heat or the versatility required to truly control your meats.
When shopping for an indoor grill, look out for the following functions:
Indoor grills are available in two categories: as a flatbed layout, where you can simply place your food on top of the grilling pan; or as a closed lay, similar to a panini maker.
Closed lay grills can help you save space when you are cooking small portions. Well-used, they can also help you cut on the cooking time, by toasting the meat on both sides at the same time.
However, they can also overcook meats, especially softer ones such as ground beef or chicken breast.
To cook beef or pork, you need very hot metal, and you need to keep it hot for a very long time. Because of this, a proper indoor grill will need to handle electrical power of at least 1200 watts – but ideally, it should be closer to the 1500 to 1800 watt range.
Not all meats require the same amount of muscle – and no proper barbecue can be complete without a side of grilled veggies. In an outdoor grill, adjusting the temperature is a matter of fanning the flames or removing a few pieces of charcoal.
For an indoor grill, you will need to rely on a control panel or temperature dial.
Some cheaper models often only come with a basic “ON” button, and simply continue heating up until they hit a certain limit.
The maximum temperature is usually good for either chicken or burgers, but rarely for both – and thicker cuts of pork, or a line of asparagus may be impossible to handle properly.
The smell of old grease is not very pleasant, and few people would be OK with it lingering for days after cooking. Because of this, a good outdoor grill needs to be easy to clean – but steer clear from shiny Teflon coatings.
These often degrade or peel away when exposed to very high temperatures, and will require you to tiptoe around with plastic or wooden utensils instead of metal tongs.
Once the non-stick coating wears away, or if it gets noticeably scratched, you will end up with a grill plate that’s impossible to clean: scratches and crannies, when exposed to heat, often create an ideal nest for bacteria.
Smoke detectors are now mandatory in almost any apartment building or condo unit. This poses a problem for indoor grilling, as the smoke and vapor coming from the sizzling meat can easily trigger your anti-fire alarm.
Because of this, most indoor grills now come with some sort of smoke reduction system.
Lids or splatter control
If you are trying to make the most of tight quarters, it is important to avoid getting bacon grease on every single surface in your kitchen. Most indoor grill models address this by adding a lid.
However, the lid should not be confused with an anti-smoke system: a tightly closed lid, with no exhaust fan, will keep all steam around your grilled meats. This may yield you stringy, overcooked “boiled” meat rather than a proper barbecue.
Quick Tips for Indoor Grilling
One of the best ways to imitate the smokiness of an indoor grill is by seasoning and treating your meats before you grill them. The following tips will help you improve the flavour of your grilled meats:
- Don’t sprinkle any seasoning directly on the meat. Instead, mix any powdered seasoning in oil and then brush it on top of the meat.
- Steer clear from any seasoning rubs or marinades that contain sugar. These will create too much smoke. Instead, try paprika and cumin.
- Prevent the oil or grease from smoking (or going rancid) by adding a few drops of butter to your olive oil.
- Hold off on the salt until the meat is nearly done. This will prevent it from drying.
- Always preheat the grill before placing the meat on top of it. Adding the meat when the iron is still cold won’t cook it properly, but it may degrade the texture.
- After grilling, don’t wipe off the excess grease right away: use it to cook your veggies.
Living in an apartment, or in a region with very cold winters, should not keep you from enjoying the unique flavour of grilled meats. The PowerXL Smokeless Indoor Electric Grill is a reasonably-priced and potent option for anyone looking for an indoor grill.
Make sure to leave a window open and to season your meat properly, and enjoy!