by Brooke Bartlett
If you live in an area with harsh winters or stifling summers, or if you just do not have the time to devote to maintaining a full-size grill, then an indoor electric grill might be the best way for you to cook delicious hamburgers, scrumptious seafood and tender vegetables on a grill. Electric grills are smaller and more versatile than their outdoor counterparts, and you can quickly prepare your favorite foods in the comfort of your kitchen.
Types: Most electric grills consist of a flat surface that cooks foods on one side at a time, just like a traditional grill. Some electric grills have two surfaces that cook both sides of your food simultaneously, cutting cooking time in half, while a hybrid option combines the two styles to allow you to cook with one large cooking surface or fold it to access two cooking surfaces.
Features: All indoor electric grills feature a nonstick cooking surface to make cleanup a snap, as well as allow you to cook without the addition of unhealthy oils and fats. All electric grills feature a plug-in heating element that warms the cooking surface, and most allow you to adjust the cooking temperature of the surface. Additional features, such as removable grill plates, alternative cooking surfaces, fat-draining designs, separate grease traps, bun warmers or vegetable steamer trays, are offered on some models.
Uses: You can use your electric grill to cook anything you would cook on a traditional grill. Meats, vegetables, grilled pizzas and breads are just a few of the options you have. If your grill features alternative cooking surfaces, such as a griddle or sandwich maker, you can use it to make pancakes, omelets, paninis, stir-fry dishes or eggs.
Considerations: When you are trying to decide on an electric grill model, consider your particular needs. If you have a large family, select a grill that offers a large surface area so you can cook for everyone at one time. If you live alone or cook primarily for two, a smaller model will save you money and counter space. While some features fall into the luxury category, removable grill plates are a must-have for easy cleanup.
Non-food uses: If you have small children, consider buying a model with a flat griddle surface and an adjustable temperature setting. You can create beautiful stained-glass art projects by placing foil over the cooking surface (set to low), topping that with paper and allowing your kids to color with crayons.