Photo of smokeless grill

Do Smokeless Grills Work? Are They Actually Smokeless?

If you are familiar with most grills, you might think that the term “smokeless grill” is an oxymoron. But calling it a griddle plate might create a different idea. Still, what makes a smokeless grill truly smokeless? 

Typically, a smokeless grill has a water-filled drip tray that prevents grease from burning. It also has a nonstick coating that prevents oil from sticking to the pan, making it easier to clean.

Below, we will get into different features of indoor grills. 

What are Different Features of Indoor Electric Grills? 

Smokeless grills, otherwise known as contact grills, electric grills, or indoor grills, are an alternative to your standard outdoor grill. Common features of these grills include the following:

Dishwasher-Safe Removable Parts

Access to removable parts makes indoor grills easier to clean than outdoor grills. So many of these indoor grills have multiple removable trays. 

You can place those trays inside of a grill, allowing for an easy-to-clean machine wash. 

Simple Temperature Controls

A temperature control knob is located on the front or side of these appliances. These knobs are typically over three to five different settings, from low to high. 

  • Low settings are for vegetables and fish 
  • Medium settings are for chicken and burgers
  • High settings are usually for steak and pork chops 

It is common for your temperature settings to be non-specific on the exact temperature. The exception to this rule is the Ninja Foodi. This product has a digital display for temperature and time. 

Multiple Cooking Surfaces

The Grilling surfaces of smokeless grills typically come in two forms:

  • Form one is your standard grill pan (or grill plate). These are built to create easily noticeable grill marks, which are appealing from a visual standpoint. 
  • Form two is a griddle plate, which might just be a carbon copy. However, griddle plates typically put less emphasis on grill marks. 

Both grilling surfaces are usually nonstick and perform similar functions. 

Sometimes, grilling surfaces are made with ceramic, allowing for infrared technology. For example, this Goerge Foreman grill is made using ceramic plates

A Water-Laden Drip Tray

The drip tray of an indoor smokeless grill is typically filled with water. This serves two functions:

  • First, it prevents oil from burning to the bottom half of the pan. Burning fat is what causes smoke, which would make you have to clean the bottom tray.
  • Second, it cools the non-stick coating on the bottom half of the tray so it won’t melt off. This is more of an issue in cheaper models. 

Other Less Common Smokeless Grill Features

In some cases, you might have a grill that has the following features:

  • A lid made of tempered glass. This makes the grill better suited for defrosting frozen food. It also may reduce cooking time to keep heat inside of the device.
  • A detachable temperature dial. This is a common feature that removes any remaining electrical charge that might keep the heat moving. For example, this Gotham Steel Grill has that feature
  • Many indoor grills double as a panini press. This allows two sides of your meal to be cooked at the same time. However, panini-press-style grills are typically much smaller. 
  • Larger smokeless grills allow heat surfaces with multiple zones. These zones are divided by temperature, making them suited to cooking different foods. 
  • Some units come with an overheating and auto-off detection feature. This safety feature prevents your indoor grilling unit from causing fires. 

When is an Indoor Smokeless Grill Worth It?

An indoor smokeless grill can be a suitable replacement when you cannot have your charcoal or gas grill. Here are a few different reasons why you might need these grills:

  • If you live at a condo or apartment that does not allow you to have an outdoor grill 
  • If you are on the second or third floor of an apartment with no patio space 
  • If you live in a location with long winters where it would be uncomfortable to grill outside
  • If you can’t live without grilled food for a few months (we get it)
  • If you are a big fan of George Foreman grills and really want one 

An indoor grill can help fill the gap where a traditional grill cannot. 

Final Thoughts

Where charcoal grills aren’t an option, an electric grill will do the job. Just make sure you get a good one that won’t set off your smoke alarm! Looking for more prominent brands like Ninja Foodi, George Foreman, or Hamilton Beach will help.

You can also check out our review of the best indoor smokeless grills for your money. 

Otherwise, if you want to check out outdoor electric grills, you can click on this link. Thanks for reading.

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