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What Is a Convection Grill?

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  • Written By: Glyn Sinclair
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2016
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A convection grill in an outdoor cooking appliance that employs convection technology to cook a variety of foods and dishes, usually over charcoal, gas flame or other types of briquettes. Convection grilling cooks the food by allowing constantly heated air to circulate evenly within the grill unit. This reduces the burning and overcooking that are sometimes experienced with straight conduction cooking, which is when the flame or grate comes into direct contact with the food item. The ideal cooking temperature for a convection grill is 400° to 600° Fahrenheit (204.4° to 316.6° Celsius).

Another simple yet effective feature of a convection grill is the side or front door that is used to check on the progress of the food. As opposed to opening up the top hood on a regular grill, the convection grill allows the user to lift a front panel, thus keeping the heat flowing up and contained within the unit as well as keeping a constant and even flow of heated air over the food. This method also can cut down on cooking times. Steaks, sausages, baked potatoes and gourmet dishes in oven-safe crockery can be baked, roasted or grilled in a convection grill.

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Certain convection grills are equipped with fans to circulate air even more efficiently, virtually eliminating any hot or cold spots within the unit. The fans also help circulate the charcoal or wood smoke flavor over the food. Other convection grills come with monitoring systems to remotely check on the food without having to open the hood at all. Some of these systems even have the ability to signal the user when the food is fully cooked.

Essentially, a convection grill is the same as a convection oven, so preheating the unit before cooking, depending on the dish, is recommended. A compromised seal around the hood should be replaced, because this could render the convection technology ineffective. It is advisable for the user to brush a thin layer of olive oil directly onto the grill before cooking meats such as beef or chicken. Food items in containers will obviously take a little more time to cook.

Another benefit of a convection grill is that it can use significantly less fuel, whether it is gas, charcoal or wood. The fat drippings from a conventional grill will tend to spill down the top hood when opened, whereas with the convection grill, the super-heated drippings will simply drain to the bottom of the unit. The side door also allows for safer grilling because the food is able to be inspected away from any direct flame after the grill plate has been pulled from the unit.

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