Advice on how to grill on an electric grill?
July 27, 2013 4:26 PM   Subscribe

We recently purchased the Weber Q240, which is an outdoor electric grill. It comes with basic instructions on how to cook things and at what temps, but I'm looking for advice on how to take gas/charcoal grill recipes and translate them, as well as tips, tricks, and other recommendations.

Admittedly I'm a grilling novice, so for awhile it's going to be just getting used to grilling in the first place. In looking at a lot of recipes, they offer instructions on how to grill the particular food on gas or charcoal, but there's nothing about electric. Does anyone know how to take regular grill recipes and translate them to electric?

Also, I'd eventually like to figure out how to do some smoking. Is that even possible with an electric grill, and if so, how?

Also, are there any other sort of tips or tricks that will help me along?
posted by gchucky to Food & Drink (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've never cooked with an electric grill, but I grill every night - I've got a gas grill now, and I used to use charcoal. Honestly they're really not all that different - the heat's down below, meat and vegetables go on the grates, take it off when it's done.

Keep it simple. Experimentation will tell you what the right temperature settings work best for your grill. Me, I use two settings: Really Fucking Hot and Pretty Hot. Really Fucking Hot is for red meat, especially steaks, and also squash. Pretty Hot is for everything else. Pretty hot is about 65%. Really Fucking Hot is 112%. All the other settings I don't care about.

Here're some recipes: marinate chicken for a while in I don't know, do you want me to make all your decisions for you? Turn the grill up to Pretty Hot and let it warm up. Then put the chicken on. Turn the chicken after six minutes or something. You should have some nice sear marks on the outside. If you don't, then turn the heat up higher. If it's black, you waited too long. Don't wait so long the next time. You could use a meat thermometer, but I prefer to stab it with a knife and see if it clucks. Take it off when you think it's done. If it turns out to be not done, then put the damn things back on. Eat.

Another recipe: douse thick steaks with salt and pepper. Turn the grill up to Really Fucking Hot. Let the steaks come to room temperature. Throw the steaks on for four minutes a side, three if you're awesome. Take them off and let them rest for ten minutes because you're not an animal and you have self-control. Eat.

Another recipe: Douse some vegetables in olive oil and salt and pepper. Green beans work well. So does squash, cut lengthwise. Or eggplant or onions or even potatoes. Put them on a Pretty Hot grill. Turn them. Take them off when they're done. Eat.

Last recipe: take some fish - mahi mahi maybe, or ahi or salmon or koi. OK probably not koi. Put in some foil. Throw some olive oil, lemon slices, and herbs inside. Seal. Throw on a Pretty Hot grill for 10 minutes. Check it - is it done? Great. Eat.

Don't forget to use a fork, because again, you're not an animal.

If it turns out to be overcooked, then cook it less next time. If it's undercooked, throw it on a little longer, and make sure you keep it on longer next time too.

One tip: heat up the grill before you use it. When you put something down on the grill, it should sizzle.
posted by incessant at 6:16 PM on July 27, 2013 [5 favorites]

Best answer: The biggest difference is that electric grills are, in general, much lower output than any gas or charcoal grills. There is no Really Fucking Hot on an electric grill. It's hard to even maintain Pretty Hot, in my experience. The Weber Q 240 outputs 1,560 watts total from its two electric elements - equivalent to about 5,300 BTU/hr. The Weber Q 100, Weber's smallest propane grill, puts out 8,500 BTU/hr by comparison.

You're going to be relying less on direct heat and more on an oven-like environment for roasting, and/or preheating the grates to sear more effectively. The design of the Q 240 is meant to trap heat and allow it to build up. You'll want to preheat for as long as possible to get the grate nice and hot if you want sear marks. You shouldn't open the grill very often - do as much cooking as you can with the grill closed to maintain heat.

It's going to be like cooking on the lowest rack of your (electric) oven set as high as it will go, with the added feature of a cast iron grill grate and not filling your house with smoke.
posted by WasabiFlux at 6:46 PM on July 27, 2013

Best answer: I have the same model grill sitting on my balcony. For an electric grill, its good value for the money.
It doesn't get as hot as a regular gas or charcoal grill, so for thicker red meat, it takes longer and you have to be strategic about how much stuff you intend to cook and how.

For steaks, pork chops etc where you want it as hot as you can to sear the meat and get those grill marks (not just for show, they add a little burnt flavour) you have to preheat the grill. Turn it up all the way and let it sit for a good 5-10 mins. If you can keep it out of the wind that's even better.
Then put your meat on as fast as possible closer to the centre. (the far left is kind of a deadzone heat wise) and then close the lid and don't open it until you're ready to flip. Don't keep opening and closing the lid, you'll lose the heat and it will take forever to cook. I do 5 mins a side for about 1" thick steak and that ends up rare. For chicken legs I do about 8-10 mins a side depending on how big they are. If you have space, flip the meat onto a part of the grill that didn't already have meat on it. (so long as that spot is hot enough)

I've found its great for grilled veggies because the space between the grill slats is pretty small so you don't lose them and you don't need tinfoil. I just slice eggplants and zucchini lengthwise about 0.5 cm, brush some olive oil on them and stick em on till one side looks done (maybe 7-10 mins?) and flip.
Actually if you cover your grill in eggplants and zucchini you will quickly see where the not-so-hot zone on your grill is and then you have the bonus of grilled veggies. I do this at full heat.

For fish i recommend turning it down to about 2/3 to 3/4 hot. I just plunk it on directly if its a whole fish, but for salmon steaks or flaky fish you might want to wrap in tinfoil. (I don't bother) For something like a 1.5 lb robello, i rub salt and lemon on both sides (skin on), and let it sit for 1-2 hours. take it out of the fridge like 30 mins before cooking to let it warm up. Then if you want, rinse the fish and pat dry. Then plunk that sucker on the grill and close the lid untill the skin is crispy and flip it.

So in short:
- Preheat
- stick food on
-CLOSE LID and don't fiddle
- Open lid and flip
- CLOSE LID again ... don't fiddle ... don't do it
- eat.
posted by captaincrouton at 6:59 PM on July 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

For recipes just follow any old grilling recipes online, the only difference really is how long it takes to cook. Try buying bbq sauces till you find one you like then figure out how to recreate it.
posted by captaincrouton at 7:02 PM on July 27, 2013

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