Does your family love barbecues but not the freezing cold? Read on for some fantastic electric grill options to keep you grilling all winter long.
There’s nothing quite like firing up the grill on the patio and getting the whole family together for some char-broiled steaks or BBQ. But nothing ruins the party like shivering hands when you’re trying to cook. So if you want to enjoy the barbecue without freezing in the cold temperatures, you should think about an electric grill.
We’re big fans of our stainless steel contact grill for grilling in winter, but there’s a lot to consider when buying an electric grill. Do you want a portable tabletop grill like a George Foreman or an outdoor electric grill from Weber? Do you want to pay a higher price for your outdoor electric grill with stainless steel grill plates? Or are you happy with something cheaper?
Here’s what you need to know– and we even threw in a favorite chicken recipe!
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Advantages Of Electric Grills
An electric grill heats up really quickly. You just need some electricity to fire up your favorite meals. After a warm-up phase, which is very fast compared to a charcoal grill, you can get started.
While you can find incredible outdoor electric grills, an electric bbq grill is great inside, too. Since most electric grills are also approved for indoor use, you can grill anywhere you want: in the house, on the porch, in the garden, or while camping. Because the grill is small, it is easier to transport than a gas or charcoal grill.
Another bonus: If it’s too cold outside or a thunderstorm starts, you can keep grilling inside with an electric grill. Here’s one of our favorite recipes for spicy honey chicken and sweet potato kebabs that you can make anywhere.
Spicy Honey Chicken and Sweet Potato Kebabs
- 2 sweet potatoes peeled and cubed
- 1-1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 medium, sweet onion cut into 11/2-inch chunks
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp garlic salt
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
- 6 tbsp honey
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
Spicy Honey Chicken and Sweet Potato Kebabs
- Place potato cubes into a small saucepan. Fill with just enough water to cover the tops.
- Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook for 4-5 minutes, partially covered, until potatoes are nearly cooked but still slightly firm. Remove from the heat; cool slightly.
- To prepare the spice mix: mix together the garlic salt, chili powder, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika and crushed red pepper. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, combine the honey and cider vinegar and set aside.
- Add chicken to a medium bowl; lightly drizzle with olive oil and toss with half of the spice rub. Repeat with the potato pieces and onion: drizzle with olive oil and toss with remaining spice rub.
- Put the chicken, sweet potato, and onion onto the pre-soaked bamboo skewers. Brush with half the honey glaze.
- Preheat the grill on medium heat; grill the chicken skewers for 8 minutes, turning often.
- Remove from the grill and brush the skewers with the rest of prepared honey glaze as desired. Serve immediately.
Manual Temperature Adjustment
Your ability for temperature control will depend on the model of grill you have. Some of them even allow you to select automatic programs that regulate the grill temperature for you. Others, like the George Foreman grills, allow you to adjust the temperature manually. That way, you decide the temperature for grilling your food, so you have an even temperature on your cooking surface.
Some electric barbecues on the market have two separate grill areas. So you can make steaks at higher temperatures on one grillage and vegetables at lower temperatures on the other. This setup is ideal when barbecuing with vegetarians or vegans, too, as the juices don’t mix.
Pay attention to the minimum and maximum temperatures of the electric grill and in which gradual manner you can regulate them if necessary. If the heat is not strong enough, your food will be raw.
Quick Cook Time for an Electric Grill
With a contact grill, your food is ready faster since you grill it from both sides simultaneously. This can be good, but be sure your meat doesn’t cook too long!
Safe Grilling With Children
Since you have more temperature control with an electric grill, it can be a great way to introduce them to safe cooking and grilling. A huge pro for a family barbecue with an electric grill is the absence of open fire. So you don’t have to beware of flames and can enjoy an electric grill with all family members. Let smaller kids put their selected foods in a grill pan and assist them with putting it on the grill. They will enjoy watching their dinner cook from such a close distance.
Electric Barbecue – Easy Clean-Up
You can buy different grill plates with a contact grill to mix things up, depending on the model. So besides the classic grilling of steak and burgers, making waffles or panini are no problem. We also think it is great that nothing can slip between the grates. Juices also don’t flow into spots that are hard to reach. So grilling and cleaning up veggies or sandwiches is pretty easy.
To clean the electric grill, take out the removable plates and wash them off. Most manufacturers say you can put those removable grill plates in the dishwasher. However, this reduces the lifespan considerably. So always wash them by hand if you can to save costs and trouble in the long run. The non-stick coating makes this very easy.
Disadvantages of an Electric Grill
Despite the many pros of an electric grill, there are some downsides, too.
- Many people miss the typical smoky taste associated with barbecuing. Proponents of the “right” BBQ compare electronic grilling to roasting in a pan.
- Even though you can control the temperature manually with an electric grill, this usually applies to the entire grill. With a charcoal or gas grill, you can use different temperature zones instead.
- As advantageous as electricity is, it is not available everywhere. Especially in the great outdoors, a charcoal grill might be more helpful than an electric grill. When going camping, you should consider bringing a backup grill if you’re not familiar with the campground.
Best Electric Grills for the Winter
So you’ve weighed the pros and cons and decided to start grilling? Excellent choice! Here are a few of our top picks:
- Char-Broil Patio Bistro: Looking for a way to create the authentic feel of an outdoor gas or charcoal grill, but with a bit less effort? Check out the Char-Broil Patio Bistro! With this Char-Broil, you can even add wood chips to give your chicken or ribs a smoky flavor.
- Weber Q 2400: If you really want to crank up the heat at your next event, this Weber grill might be the outdoor electric barbecue for you! It has a higher price tag than some of the others, but lots of great features like cast-iron plates, an aluminum body, and incredible heat control settings.
- George Foreman 2-Serving Classic Plate Grill: If you want an indoor grill that’s easy to wash, it has a small cooking surface, but it’s perfect for someone who’s just cooking for one. At a price point around $20, it’s also a perfect electric grill that’s easy on your budget.
- Cuisinart Contact Griddler: If you’re in the market for a smokeless grill with excellent temperature control, the Cuisinart Contact Griddler might be your next appliance. With easy-to-clean grill plates and a built-in drip tray, you’ll enjoy the flavors of your meat without the extra grease.
- Swissmar Stelvio Raclette: When you want a fun raclette experience, this tabletop electric grill is an excellent choice! We’re partial to the granite top, but the classic grill works well, too. If you want a less expensive option, Hamilton Beach makes a non-stick option for half the price.
Recipe Ideas for the Electric Grill
What can’t this appliance do?
Bacon: If Michael Scott on The Office has taught us anything, it’s that there’s nothing quite like waking up to the smell of crackling bacon. Using an electric grill is a great way to reduce clean-up (no pesky bacon grease in the pan).
Breakfast Crunchwrap: My friend made a crunch wrap on the electric grill the other day, and she (a HUGE Taco Bell fan) said that it changed her life. So it may be time to skip the drive-thru and start making your own Crunch Wrap with hashbrown patties, eggs, bacon, and cheese all wrapped in a crunchy, folded tortilla. Perfection.
Eggs: Thought eggs were just a stovetop dish? Think again. Yes, you can even fry eggs on the electric grill. Serve with a chimichurri sauce or your favorite condiment (we won’t judge you if it’s ketchup).
Sliders: While these can be the appetizer or main dish, hamburger sliders are a classic. Use Kings Hawaiian rolls or dinner rolls! They’re perfect for little hands, too, that may not be ready to take on the bigger hamburgers.
Quesadillas: Cheese and tortillas. When all else fails, quesadillas are always a crowd-pleaser. For the adults, add some jalapenos or extra fillings to spice things up.
Potato Medallions: You can’t go wrong with potatoes. Sometimes, pre-heating the oven can create a lot of waiting time, especially if you’re in a hurry. With the Foreman grill, you can quickly get potato medallions soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside (and bonus points for those nice grill marks).
Lemon Butter Tilapia: Fish is one of those dishes you just need to dress up a little bit, and you hit perfection. With some savory herb butter and lemon, this mild, white fish becomes a delectable dinner that you can grill indoors. And with a little bit of non-stick spray, an electric grill is easy to clean up!
Grilled Shrimp with Garlic Butter: Throw some shrimp onto skewers, and you’ll have a savory appetizer or main dish. Don’t forget to dip them in your favorite aioli (we love chipotle-lime) or cocktail sauce!
Brown Sugar Grilled Pork Chops: Brown sugar just makes everything a little bit better, right? Try a brown sugar and soy sauce marinade on your pork chops or pork tenderloin before tossing them onto the electric grill!
Grilled Peaches: While peaches may be one of the summer’s flavors, that doesn’t mean you have to wait until summer to have these tasty, grilled masterpieces. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and you’ll have a mouth-watering treat that the whole family will love.
Snickerdoodle Stuffed Croissants: Stuff your croissants with a sweet mixture of cinnamon, cream cheese, and icing sugar, then pop them into the grill. You’ll thank me later.
Strawberry Cheesecake Burritos: A sweet burrito? What more could anyone want? Stir together mascarpone, milk, sugar, and vanilla and dollop the filling along the bottom third of each tortilla; sprinkle with strawberries. Fold in the sides and tightly roll up to enclose filling. Brush with butter, sprinkle with sugar and pop onto the grill.
Get Your Electric Grill On!
Whether you want to host a winter barbecue with your friends and family or just heat some meat on your own, an electric grill is a great idea. It’s safe and extremely versatile. Does your family like grilling, too? Tell us on social at #getfamilyapp!