Why Infrared: The one basic and most important fact about infrared grills and burners is that they generate much higher temperatures than normal grills and can heat up much faster. It isn?t uncommon to hear that these grills can reach surface cooking temperatures well over 700 degrees F in as little as 7 minutes. Pretty impressive, but what does this do for you. Infrared grill makers promise that these units sear meats quickly, lock in juices, and cook faster than any other grill. The problem with these claims is that searing doesn?t work that way. Searing does not lock in juices, it causes browning and caramelization on the surface of meats (read ?searing? for more information on this). This process of browning, called the Maillard reaction, happens at temperatures between 300 and 500 degrees F. So what this leaves us with is that infrared cooks faster. That is something you can not argue with. It is this fast and hot cooking that is infrared grills greatest advantage.
Problems with Infrared Infrared cooking can be brutally powerful. While solid and dense meats can hold up to the heat of an infrared grill, fish, and vegetables can be harder to cook on this type of burner because of the intensity of the heat. While there are grills out there than offer all infrared, many grill makers have turned to putting in a special, dedicated infrared burner so you can have the best of both worlds. Regardless of the equipment you buy remember that infrared cooking takes some learning and practice. Don?t expect to get a perfect steak the first time you try out an infrared grill. I?ve seen professionals make serious mistakes on an infrared grill. For most food you cook on infrared you need the maximum temperature for a very short time, around a minute per side, before reducing the temperature or moving to a non-infrared part of the grill to finish cooking
Health Concerns: I said before that browning and caramelization occurs at temperatures below 500 degrees F. Burning and charring, which can create cancer causing substances, occurs quickly at temperatures above this point. When cooking on infrared is it very important that you keep a close eye on foods. Since your cooking time is reduced you can burn meats very quickly. Burnt food always presents a cancer risk and needs to be avoided at all costs.