Are Smokeless Grills Really Smokeless?

Here's how this trendy indoor grilling solution really works.

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October 08, 2020
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Young Male Chef Turning Sides Of Hamburgers On Electric Grill

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Indoor smokeless grills promise to bring the grilling experience to the comfort of your countertop. But do they really work? We tested a few models to see if indoor grills are really smokeless, what kinds of food work best and how the flavor compares. Here's everything you need to know about smokeless grills.

First, Are They Really Smokeless?

The short answer: Not completely. But, for the most part, yes they are pretty smokeless! The majority of electric grills use infrared heat rather than direct, open flames to create a smokeless experience ideal for any indoor grilling situation, particularly those in small confined spaces like a city apartment. Smokeless grills inevitably release wisps of smoke, but usually not enough to set off your smoke alarm or irritate your guests. The Kenyon City Grill utilizes a drip pan filled with cool water, so when grease drips off your meat it immediately hits the water and cools off without releasing any smoke. Alternatively, the Ninja Foodi Smart XL Grill utilizes a temperature-controlled grill grate, splatter shield and cool-air zone to reduce smoke and keep it out of the kitchen.

Which Foods Work Best?

Anything you would grill outside, you can grill indoors! Unlike traditional outdoor charcoal and gas grills, indoor electric grills have more specific temperature controls. Much like an oven or stovetop, these controls allow you to set a certain heat, which makes cooking a variety of foods easy and efficient. The Ninja Foodi Smart XL Grill has four smart protein settings with nine customizable "doneness" levels that help to achieve the perfect temperature every time. With 500-degree searing capacity and a dedicated cyclonic air technology, this grill claims to perfectly sear meats on the outside while internally cooking them to perfect doneness, making it surprisingly flawless for cooking steaks. One user even called it the, “best steak I was ever able to cook myself!”

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1209257623

Father and son grilling t-bone steak and vegetables for family lunch.

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J_art/Getty Images

Is It Really The Same As Grilling Outside?

Although nothing can emulate the feeling of standing outside around a grill, beer in hand enjoying the sunshine with friends and family, this comes pretty close. There isn’t a better option for cooking burgers and steaks in the winter. Achieving a crusty sear on a stovetop can’t happen without creating a good deal of smoke, and burgers cooked in the oven don’t have the same deep, blackened flavor. Electric grills allow you to achieve flavor and temperature control in a cleaner, more efficient and relatively smokeless way.

Who Should Buy One?

A smokeless grill is ideal for small spaces like an apartment or a small outdoor patio. In fact, Kenyon’s City Grill is aptly named for that specific intention, designed with urban living in mind and a perfect fit for an indoor kitchen or a small balcony. This grill is approved for indoor and outdoor use, and with a nonstick grate and disposable drip tray it’s easy to achieve a perfect sear without any scary flare ups. Therefore, it’s particularly perfect for those who love the grilling experience but don’t have space for a traditional one. The powerful heating system climbs to 500 degrees in five minutes and can exceed 600 degrees in just 10 minutes. Its removeable lid is dishwasher-safe and the stainless-steel exterior is designed to be weather resistant and rust-proof. One customer said “I LOVE this thing! It heats up quickly, cooks things to perfection, and the clean-up is a breeze. Perfect for my condo!”

Looking For a Budget Option?

Try the Chefman Smokeless Electric Grill. This easily transportable grill even has multiple heat zones, so you can cook different types of food to perfection at the same time. Perfect for steak, chicken, fish and veggies, this electric cooker has an extra-large cooking surface that goes from warm to sear. With a nonstick grill grate and drip pan, it’s easy to clean and leaves your kitchen virtually smokeless.

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