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Having an electric grill is a convenient alternative to maintaining and using traditional gas or charcoal grills. Both options produce delicious food results, but instead of purchasing charcoal or wood and maintaining a fire in an outdoor grill, you are simply plugging in an electric grill to get similar results.

There are normally two types of electric grills for you to consider learning when it comes to how to use an electric grill. The first electric grill is an open style grill common for outdoor use, and the other is a smokeless contact grill usually found in a kitchen.

Each of these electric grills has its own set of pros and cons, but both distribute the heat across your food evenly to ensure proper cooking results. Using an electric grill is very simple and can be used to cook a wide range of foods.

Indoor Electric Grills & How To Use Them

With a contact style of electric grills, the profile is usually the smaller of the two electric grill options. They are electric grills most commonly used for cooking indoors as they are smoke-free and fit perfectly on the countertop in a kitchen due to their compact size. 

A contact grill cooks food by pressing it between two heated metal plates. One of the biggest benefits of using a contact grill is that the pressure of being pressed while it cooks helps drain away excess grease and fat from your grilled food. These grease drippings are not dripping into an open fire, so they will not produce any smoke indoors.

Contact grills are almost always smokeless electric grills, which is essential for indoor grilling. The heating elements in the two plates are regulated by an internal thermostat that helps maintain a safe, smoke-free cooking temperature for most foods, from vegetables to pork chops.

How to Use an Electric Grill Inside

Setting up your new contact style grill is quick and simple. Find an open and uncluttered space on your kitchen countertop and place it down. Ensure it is near an electrical outlet so you can easily plug it in. 

Before plugging the electric grill in, make sure you have wiped down the upper and lower plate with a damp cloth. This ensures any dust particles gathered during manufacturing and boxing are removed before cooking your foods.

Plug your electric grill in and close the lid. Let the grill preheat for a few minutes until the temperature light indicator changes. This means your electric grill is at a suitable heat to start cooking a variety of raw or precooked meats.

Ensure the grease drip pans are in place before adding food. This catches excess grease as it cooks out of your food. Place your food onto the grill towards the centre as much as possible. Slowly lower the top plate and close the electric grill firmly. There should be a small clamp that will secure itself when it is closed.

A woman's hands work on a kitchen appliance to prepare meat.

Leave the grill closed for up to 20 minutes, depending on the type of food you start grilling. For example, vegetables and deli meat will take much less cooking time than raw beef.

Once the food is cooked, open the grill and remove the food with tongs or a spatula. Unplug your grill and let it cool before wiping it down with a damp cloth to remove leftover food particles or remove the drip pan for cleaning.

Open Grills & How To Use Them

If you love outdoor traditional grills but don’t like the hassle of purchasing and using charcoal or wood chips to maintain a fire, an open electric grill is a suitable alternative to consider. Similar in size and shape to some conventional outdoor grills, an open electric grill usually is not used indoors.

Open style grills do great on a covered patio or balcony and can be used on sunny days in your garden or yard. However, always ensure your electric grill is protected from the rain and other weather when enjoying outdoor grilling.

An open-style grill will normally be round in shape, though a rectangle is also common. They usually have a single metal grill for you to place your food on, though some larger units will have two metal grills.

Commonly, you can find open style grills with pedestals to allow you to use them as a freestanding unit instead of setting them on a picnic table. Open style grills will reach a higher temperature than contact grills but will often produce smoke, making them unsuitable for indoor use.

How to Use an Open Grill

Using an open style grill is not dissimilar from using a traditional grill. If you are using a grill with a pedestal or other form of leg support, ensure you place it on a level part of the ground or on a sturdy tabletop.

If your grill is not a non-stick model, you can use your favourite non-stick cooking spray to ensure an easy release when cooking vegetables or meats. This also helps with cleaning up afterwards since you won’t need to scrape any food particles from the grilling platforms.

Plug your grill in and give it some time to preheat. Most open grills will have a temperature setting you can adjust to suit the type of food you will be cooking. If you are cooking an assortment of food at once, try setting the grill at a medium temperature and monitoring each food item separately.

Close up look of hands turning steak around

Unlike a contact style grill, you will need to flip or rotate your food to ensure even cooking with an open grill. Since the heat is only coming from the bottom of the grill, if you are grilling a large cut of meat, you will need to let it cook halfway before flipping it to the other side.

Once your food is cooked, remove it carefully with tongs. Unplug your grill and let it cool before you move it indoors for storage or try to wash the grilling platforms.

Safety Tips

  • When you learn how to use electric grills, always place them in an area away from other items. Due to the heat, it can melt or burn nearby items such as plastic bowls, walls, or napkins.
  • When you use an electric open-style grill outdoors, never cook during weather events. These grills are not weatherproof and should only be used on clear and sunny days.
  • Never use any type of fuel when you use an electric grill. Even though it may look like there is room for charcoal, the electric heating element is all you need for proper cooking.
  • Ensure your grill is smokeless before grilling indoors. Open style grills especially are known for producing smoke and should only be used outdoors.
  • Do not immerse your grill in water. The removable grease tray is dishwasher safe and can be fully immersed in hot water, but you should wipe the heating plates of the grill with a damp cloth.
  • Always read over your user manual before you cook. Not only can
  • it tell you safe ways to use your grill, but it may also have some helpful recipes and cooking times to go by.

Use Your Electric Grill Safely

Whether you are looking for a smokeless contact style grill you can use in the kitchen or would prefer an open grill for use outdoors, there is a wide range of electric grills that will work for your needs, especially if you are just learning how to use an electric grill.

Having to deal with setting up a charcoal grill can take a lot of time and effort, and both a charcoal grill and gas grills offer the same smoky flavour to your food as an electric grill does. The only thing you may lack is the grill marks on some food you get from using an open flame.

Being able to enjoy grilled meats for family gatherings and special events can be a great way to bond and entertain guests. Also, using an electric grill inside ensures you can cook food no matter what type of weather is happening outdoors.

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