Open Grill vs. Folding Contact Grill: Pros and Cons
We are so fortunate to live in a time where there are tons of options for preparing our food.
With the advent of all kinds of alternative cooking devices such as pressure cookers, air fryers, slow cookers, and combination devices that can perform all these tasks and more, it can be difficult to find which device works best for you and suits your specific needs.
Today we’ll be diving into the grilling niche and, more specifically, indoor vs. outdoor grilling methods and devices.
There are many different pros and cons to each type of cooking, and there may be times when one is much better suited to the task at hand. Follow along for an in depth discussion on the pros and cons of open grills and folding contact grills.
What’s an Open Grill?
The “open grill” category encompasses a few different types of appliances, each of which functions differently and in a different environment than the others.
To begin with, let’s talk about traditional open outdoor grills. The grills most people are familiar with, these can range from charcoal to gas and even wood fired.
While most of them do include some kind of lid, they are still considered to be “open” because only one side of the food is in contact with the cooking surface whereas the other is exposed to air.
This means that one side will cook much faster than the other, resulting in the need for closer monitoring and more frequent moving or flipping to ensure even cooking throughout.
Indoor Grills: The Comparison
There is another category of open grills that is becoming very popular as well: indoor grills. These can, as the name suggests, be used inside because they are powered by electricity instead of a burning fuel source.
They mimic the effect of standard grills by having a grill plate or something similar in contact with one side of the food while the other side is exposed. Many of these indoor grill options also include a lid which functions as both heat and smoke control.
The benefits of traditional outdoor open grills are pretty well known.
First, these types of grills are very powerful and often have an enormous cooking surface. This makes cooking for a crowd easy, and many people like to play the “grill master” role at parties and gatherings. They are also very powerful and get extremely hot due to the open flames they produce.
These flames and the smoky flavor that they infuse food with are often the biggest draws of open grilling. It’s tricky to replicate the flavor that a charcoal grill gives a nice steak or hamburger, after all.
Some open grills are very portable as well, making them great choices for camping or use at a cabin. Requiring no electricity, you’re pretty much only limited by how much fuel you bring along.
Drawbacks of Indoor Grills
There are some drawbacks to open grills as well. While some run off of electricity and are designed specifically for indoor use, most are not.
This means you are limited by the weather, temperature, and other outdoor conditions if you want to use them for cooking. Also, their high heat means that they can be hard to control.
Once you get them up to temperature, they tend to stay there, making it easy to overcook or burn food.
Another popular option for grilling is to use a folding contact grill. These types are commonly referred to as “George Foreman Grills”, although that is a brand name and does not encompass all of them.
These grills function almost like a panini press in that they sandwich the food (usually meat) in between two heated plates in order to cook both sides at once.
Indoor Grill Benefits: The Obvious Truth
These grills became hugely popular due to their claims of reducing the fat content of meat and allowing you to grill indoors. While it is true that you can use them indoors, the claim of fat reduction has since been debunked.
These grills are a great option for someone without an adequate outdoor space for grilling, or for people who find themselves being limited by the weather or other environmental factors.
Since they cook both sides of the food simultaneously, it’s much easier to get even doneness and to avoid drying out or burning your food. However, there are a few drawbacks to folding contact grills.
For one, you won’t get the same grilled flavor in your food as if you had used a traditional open grill. Second, these grills typically have a very small cooking surface that only allows for cooking a few items at once. This may not be an issue, unless you typically have to cook for a larger family.
Learn More About Indoor Grills
Whichever grilling option you decide to go with, be sure to weigh both the pros and cons of your individual situation. Reading our product reviews is a good idea for finding out how well received a grill has been by others.