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Backyard Chefs Fired Up Over Infrared Grills 229

Vicissidude writes "With the expiration of a key patent, major gas-grill manufacturers have scrambled to bring infrared cooking to the masses. The grills are still powered by propane and have traditional gas burners that heat mostly by convection — or hot air. But they also can cook foods with radiant heat generated by one or more infrared burners. Char-Broil says its advanced burners operate at 450 to 900 degrees, hotter than the 450 to 750 degrees of standard gas burners. And unlike charcoal, which can require 20 to 30 minutes to reach its 700-degree cooking temperature, heat from the infrared burners can be adjusted quickly. Bill Best, founder of Thermal Electric of Columbia, S.C., developed the technology in the 1960s, primarily to give automakers a faster way to dry the paint on cars."
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Backyard Chefs Fired Up Over Infrared Grills

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  • Apocalypse (Score:3, Funny)

    by McGiraf ( 196030 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @11:48PM (#19288571)
    I like the taste of paint in the early morning
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Will you be able to get that glossy shine on you steaks too?
    • Re:Apocalypse (Score:4, Interesting)

      by arivanov ( 12034 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @11:48AM (#19292331) Homepage
      Tell me about it. I used to have a circa 1980 Soviet industrial paint drier operating on this principle (they did not give a flying f*** about American patents at the time). IR gas burner. No visible flame, no open flame in fact. The entire burner was neatly enclosed behind the IR radiating body. With this contraption it took 10-20 minutes to completely dry half a wall painted with emulsion or with fresh wallpaper in 3-5C temperatures (compared to 3-4 hours). The only problem was that it ate most of the oxygen in the room in no time at all so you could not use it to warm the room itself and you had to have all windows opened while using it. Quite a strange experience. The room was freezing cold and the humidity was at solid 100%, but the paint was drying in no time none the less. Me and my dad decorated most of our apartment that way at the time (1984).

      I have not tried cooking sausages on it at the time (in a hindsight - I should have).
  • by niko9 ( 315647 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @11:49PM (#19288583)
    That's hot!
  • YRO? (Score:5, Funny)

    by bronzey214 ( 997574 ) <jason.rippelNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday May 26, 2007 @11:50PM (#19288589) Journal
    How, how, HOW(!?!?) is this related to my rights online?

    Will owning this grill magically make my Firefox not fit in my internet tubes? It's from all the hamburgers isn't it?

    Maaaaybe, it's for roasting my Thunderbird on a spit glazed in BBQ sauce. I guess that's somehow related.
    • Re:YRO? (Score:5, Informative)

      by mangu ( 126918 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @11:55PM (#19288613)
      As I understood it, the article is about a patent expiration. I think the message here is that the mass marketing of a consumer item was delayed a few years because there was a patent holding it back.

      So much for patents being an incentive to innovation...

      • by Harmonious Botch ( 921977 ) * on Saturday May 26, 2007 @11:59PM (#19288645) Homepage Journal
        There is lots of hot air.
        Everything gets grilled.
        The idea is analagous to car technology.
        And there was a patent involved.
      • Re:YRO? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Zouden ( 232738 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @12:03AM (#19288687)
        On the contrary, I think this is a perfect example of patents being an incentive to innovation:

        With the expiration of a key patent, major gas-grill manufacturers, including market leader Char-Broil, have scrambled to bring infrared cooking to the masses with models in the $500 to $1,000 range. Previously, such grills cost as much as $5,000.

        So Bill Best invented the grill, patented it and used his temporary monopoly to sell the grill for a high price and (presumably) made lots of money from his invention. Why shouldn't he be allowed to do this? It's not like an infra-red grill is a basic human necessity.
        Now the patent has expired, other companies are free to improve it and sell it for cheaper. Fine. That's why patents have a limited term of 20 years (and it's exactly why copyright should have a much shorter term too).
        • Re:YRO? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @12:53AM (#19289003) Homepage
          So Bill Best invented the grill, patented it and used his temporary monopoly to sell the grill for a high price and (presumably) made lots of money from his invention. Why shouldn't he be allowed to do this?

          The question is not why he should be "allowed" to do this, but why other people's freedoms should be restricted to facilitate this. Remember, a patent doesn't give the inventor rights, it takes away rights from everyone but the inventor.

          And in this case, it might not have been a bad call. However, the fact still remains that, instead of spurring on the invention of consumer-level infra-red grills, this patent held back development until such a time that the patent was no longer an issue.

          • other people's freedoms should be restricted to facilitate this

            Why is a 'freedom' for me to copy someone else's product and sell it, preventing Bill Best from recouping the investment (in this case, time & research) that he put into 'inventing' the thing in the first place? It's not a 'freedom' that's taken away, for goodness sakes.

            • by cgenman ( 325138 )
              Why is a 'freedom' for me to copy someone else's product and sell it?

              Do you think the people who start fast food resturants invented the concept? Do you think people who sell t-shirts are responsible for clothing? That the food vendors in New York City all independently came up with the idea of a hot dog?

              People sell things they see other people selling all the time. Without that, the free market just wouldn't work.

          • by Zeio ( 325157 )
            You should read the letters between Madison and Jefferson about limited monopoly. Jefferson helped to pioneer the free library system, and was always supportive of the idea that lighting an another candle from your own candle costs nothing.

            However, the framers of the formerly free constitutional republic known as the USA, were very respectful of what they termed "limited monopolies." The inventor should be able to own and leverage his inventions for profit. It is his property, his ideas, his methodology, an
        • by Jartan ( 219704 )

          So Bill Best invented the grill, patented it and used his temporary monopoly to sell the grill for a high price and (presumably) made lots of money from his invention. Why shouldn't he be allowed to do this? It's not like an infra-red grill is a basic human necessity.

          He didn't invent the grill he invented a method for drying car paint faster. The article gives no indication at all if he's actually made any money off the patent in fact. It implies his company worked with the grill industry AFTER his patent

        • by cas2000 ( 148703 )
          1. using infra-red for cooking isnt exactly non-obvious. infra-red lamps/heaters may have been new tech in the 1960s but they're basic stuff these days.
          this gives an unfair advantage to the first person to make a product (a grill heater) out of someone else's invention (infrared lamp).

          patents should be real inventions, basic research, not for something as obvious as putting parts together.

          2. if patents are only 20 years (i thought it was meant to be 17 years), and the "invention" was in the 1960s, why is t
          • Re:YRO? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @05:50AM (#19290481) Homepage Journal

            if patents are only 20 years (i thought it was meant to be 17 years), and the "invention" was in the 1960s, why is the patent only expiring now?
            They extended it by adding 1) a network card to the device 2) the words "with a computer" to the document.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            That's the sad fact. Even the more justifiable "genuine" patents are nothing more than a very simple implementation of existing technology, and the only reason it hasn't been already used is because there hasn't been any need so far.
        • Aside from the patent issue that makes this story sort of tech-related, it's mainly a Labor Day tie-in story.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by VampireByte ( 447578 )
          It has the word "patent" in it, so it must be YRO. So if a little girl scuffs her patent leather shoes, it must be reported to slashdot regardless of the fact that "rights" and "online" are not involved. If it was her right shoe then it will show up here even faster because such an event is certainly as important as losing our freedoms.
      • Re:YRO? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Jartan ( 219704 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @12:09AM (#19288731)

        As I understood it, the article is about a patent expiration. I think the message here is that the mass marketing of a consumer item was delayed a few years because there was a patent holding it back.

        The article is worded badly. The original patent was created in the 1960s and expired in 2000. Then after it expired they started trying to figure out how to use it in a grill and it still took them 7 years to make it cheap enough for home owners.

        The article doesn't seem to really go into WHY they waited for it to expire though. It could be that they couldn't use it anyways for all we know.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 )
          Then it's pretty ambiguous. For all we know, it might still have taken until 2007 for the cost of the materials & technology to go down far enough to be affordable for this use.

          The article didn't say for sure if the original company was willing to license the technology out at rates low enough to allow affordable grills, nor did it say how much they wanted for the licenses.

          I would suspect that it's very possible that it was the actual construction cost and not the patent cost that was prohibitive, but
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by nacturation ( 646836 )

          The article is worded badly. The original patent was created in the 1960s and expired in 2000. Then after it expired they started trying to figure out how to use it in a grill and it still took them 7 years to make it cheap enough for home owners.

          Correction: the patent expired in 2000 and it took them 7 years to hire a PR company who was clever enough to make this a patent-related business news story instead of a much more boring new product announcement. And it's got all the right makings... this is the technology used by high-end chefs (social proof), used to cost $5K but now yours for under $1K (value), be one of the first on your block (exclusivity), etc.

        • Re:YRO? (Score:5, Informative)

          by rizzo420 ( 136707 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @09:06AM (#19291419) Homepage Journal

          i used to work for an outdoor furniture, grill, wood stove store that sold higher end grills (TEC, ducane, PGS, and some vermont castings). the TEC grill [tecinfrared.com] i mentioned was not made by char-broil, it was made by the same company that invented the infrared paint dryer thingy. they were the most expensive grills we sold and had the problem the article describes with the ceramic parts.

          i was never a fan of these grills, (1) because they were expensive (cheapest being like $900), (2) because they cooked so damn fast (these didn't have the regular gas burner on one side, it was all infrared), and (3) because they go so damn hot that if you left it on long enough and closed, the top could weld itself shut (we've seen this). this was 7-11 years ago that i worked for this place (summer job in high school and college). so no, they did not wait for it to expire. if you re-read the article, you will see that the other grill manufacturers waited for it to expire, but there was one company who was making these grills... the same TEC (Thermal Electric of Columbia) that made the paint drying stuff (and it's described in the about section of the website i linked above).

          while with the expiration of the patent, the price might come down a bit, i don't think it'll come down a whole lot. the grills are generally made with stainless steel to deal with the high heat. so all the nuts and bolts and screws and everything are stainless, driving the price up a bit.
    • by ignavus ( 213578 )
      You can have infra-red devices on your computer, right?

      Well, now you can cook with them. Instant nachos and pizza. See? You don't have to go off line to make it.

      Sheesh! Doesn't anyone here think?

      Mmmmmmm, grilled Firefox.
  • Ahhh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CaffeineAddict2001 ( 518485 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @11:57PM (#19288621)
    Is there anything propane CAN'T do?
  • by Whuffo ( 1043790 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @11:59PM (#19288649) Homepage Journal
    Just got a new grill a couple of weeks ago and it came with an "infrared burner" in it. There's nothing that says that a geek can't enjoy a nice grilled T-bone from time to time is there? Can't have pizza every night, you know.

    OK, so this fancy burner looks different but doesn't seem to make a significant difference in performance. YMMV and all that, but I wouldn't pay extra for one of these. It's basically a ceramic grid that the gas blows through, so it's more fragile than the typical rolled steel or cast iron burner - probably cheaper to manufacture, too.

    Actually, it's about as close to a non-significant change in gas grill technology as you can get. Who greenlighted this story?

    • by jandrese ( 485 )
      On the other hand, it won't rust like a rolled steel or cast iron burner, and unless you take your grill on the road a lot the physical strength won't matter as much as the corrosion resistance. I'd say the ceramic grid is likely a better technology, and I bet it's more expensive than the steel/cast iron version.
      • Why would pottery be more expensive than steel? How exactly did this 4000 year old technology get patented in the first place?
    • I put some ceramic honeycomb material from an old infrared space heater on the rack where the lava rocks would go, makes for an awesome poor man's infrared grill.
  • by Stickerboy ( 61554 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @12:13AM (#19288759) Homepage
    Now more steaks and burgers can be burned on the outside, raw on the inside!
    • by vidarh ( 309115 ) <vidar@hokstad.com> on Sunday May 27, 2007 @05:59AM (#19290527) Homepage Journal
      Just the way it should be. Well perhaps not burned, but brown. The ability to get me a steak that is juicy enough and red enough that my plate looks like I've just slaughtered an animal on it by the time I'm done is the measure of someone who knows how to do a good steak. I want it warm all the way through, but still pink/red all the way through or the flavor will have been completely ruined.

      It's hard enough to find a steak house capable of delivering a truly rare steak that isn't lukewarm, and without warmer grills there's no way I'll bother eating a grilled steak.

  • Where's the flavor? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ninety-9 SE-L ( 1052214 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @12:13AM (#19288761)
    I've been using propane grills for a number of years, now. Although simple to use and quicker at reaching their desired heat, I find they're quite a pain to clean and maintain. Yearly, I have to replace the burners, lava rocks, and scrape all the crud off the sides. I think the glass plate may or may not help in this department, however, it all depends on if you let the grease sit on it for too long. I recently switched back to charcoal for the time being and I have to mention, the taste you get from charcoal is unbeatable by any propane grill. With that in mind, what kind of taste are you going to get from a virtually flame-less grill? To me, it's no different than sticking a steak in the oven (assuming an oven could reach 700-900*).
    • I would highly recommend dumping the propane and going with mesquite charcoal. With my charcoal chimney, I'm ready to cook in about 15 minutes. Unlike briquettes, mesquite has no filler, plus you can use less since it also burns a bit hotter, so there's a lot less mess afterwards to scoop up. I spend about 30 seconds to clean out the ashes into my ash bin.
    • Propane burns fairly clean and ads little in terms of flavor, no matter how the heat is transferred to the meat. Charcoal ads that certain smokiness that some of us love. These "flame-less" grills burn the same tasteless propane as other grills, therefore they shouldn't add anything much to the flavor, nor lack anything that standard gas grills provide. I've tried all sorts of cooking methods, and I still REALLY like charcoal for a lot of things. The new infrared ones just make cooking evenly at a high temp
    • What's interesting is that many barbecue chefs are switching to propane-fired infrared grills because you have the fast heat up speed of gas combined with the high temperature cooking of charcoal (conventional gas grills cook at around 500 F., charcoal grills cook at around 700 F., and infrared grills cook at around 750 F.). At least with an infrared grill, you don't waste time waiting for the the grill to reach the right cooking temperature (even with a charcoal chimney starter, it takes several minutes to
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by flyingfsck ( 986395 )
      Actually they are quite easy to clean. I just light it and run it at maximum for 15 minutes. Whatever is left after that doesn't matter...

      BTW, this is best done after you finished cooking your steak, since it takes a long time to cool down to a usable temperature. Don't let the barby stand dirty.
    • by smoker2 ( 750216 )
      The best steak I ever had was cooked on a disposable charcoal Bar-B-Q, sold in a tin tray with lighter fluid already applied. Wait 10 minutes, add steak, cook and enjoy. Of course the taste may have been improved by the sprinkling of black hash [idmu.co.uk], but whatever....
      The only problem was, I felt like I wanted another steak 10 minutes later :~(
    • by sabinm ( 447146 )
      I too, love the taste of a good steak well cooked with the flavor of charcoal. I often find myself NOT going to steak restaurants because of their complete inability to cook a proper hunk of meat. It is always too well seasoned and cooked too thouroughly.

      But in my quiet moments, when I think no one is paying attention, I often ponder what wicked pre-historic cheffery predisposed
      mankind to prefer half-burnt/half-raw slabs of meat? And am I a slave to this tribal preference?
    • I've seen sauce sold at stores called "liquid smoke" that supposedly adds the smoke flavor to anything. It was in the BBQ sauce isle, I think. Or you could try marinading steaks in whisky, especially the cheap stuff that you can really taste the charcoal in.

      Haven't tried either, but I know some pros like to use those methods even on charcoal or mesquite grills.
  • Waste of money (Score:5, Informative)

    by uvajed_ekil ( 914487 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @12:29AM (#19288853)
    CharBroil is now selling consumer propane grills with technology licensed (or parts directly purchased?) from Thermal Engineer Corp, I understand. My restaurant used TEC commercial char broilers successfully for years, and they performed well. Recently, we tried switching to the infrared-style grills, and almost immediately purchased new grills made by another manufacturer. We were assured that the TEC infrared models would cook fast and evenly without flaring up. However, they caught fire in spectacular fashion on a regular basis. Utterly terrible.

    To make matters worse, the glass plate that does the work precludes misting or dousing with water to extinguish small fires. Food particles, marinade, etc. fall on the glass and collect there, and are almost immediately ignited. I can't wait to see the complaints CharBroil gets after Joe Barbecue Wizard every shatters his glass plate trying to clean it or sets his house ablaze.

    If you think this shouldn't be posted here, you are a loser. BBQing and grilling out = stuff that definitely matters!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 27, 2007 @12:39AM (#19288903)
  • Bah! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jcr ( 53032 ) <.moc.cam. .ta. .rcj.> on Sunday May 27, 2007 @12:42AM (#19288921) Journal
    If you can't master a simple task like making a charcoal fire, you don't deserve a steak.

    • by Torodung ( 31985 )
      With or without lighter fluid?

      • Whatever you throw on your fire, you're going to taste on the food. So.. technically it's up to you.
      • With or without lighter fluid?
        I start mine with newspapers and dry sticks. Takes a little more skill than lighter fluid, and I really mean "a little". You can get one of those chimney things, but it's optional.

        A lot of people make grilling more complicated than it needs to be. All you really need is a sturdy metal grate, some hard wood (DO NOT use soft resinous woods like pine - it creates a lot of soot and makes the food taste funky) and something to light it with.
      • by abb3w ( 696381 )

        With or without lighter fluid?

        By "lighter fluid" you mean Liquid Oxygen [youtube.com], right?

        • by Torodung ( 31985 )
          "No smoking allowed. O_2 in use."

          Well, certainly "no smoldering" at least! I love it.

  • This'll teach the dog not to get all up in my grill.
  • I would assume the patent application is for the way they *generate* the heat, not for the process of "using heat to cook." I'm pretty sure there's prior art on that one. ;^)

    (and why anyone would want to cook meat at TWICE the normal temperature of a common grill is beyond me. It sounds like a "Home Improvement" MORE POWER moment. 6 hours at 350F is not the same as 3 hours at 700F. Just ask Alton Brown.)

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Whuffo ( 1043790 )
      Good idea - ask Alton why you'd want to cook meat at higher temperatures than found in the home kitchen. The holy grail of steaks: nicely browned and grill marked on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside - can only be found through the application of very high temperatures.

      Many steak house kitchens use a cooking device called a "salamander" to cook steaks. It's essentially two of these infrared elements; one above, one below and just enough room to slide the steak inbetween. Those reach temperatures

      • For those who wonder why anyone wouldn't use charcoal - turn knob, push button - 15 minutes later the temperature is passing 700 and it's time to toss the meat on. Yum yum - and after cooking, turn the main burners all the way up, close the lid, and check back in 30 minutes. All the mess is now ash; brush it away and it's clean again. I start mesquite charcoal in a charcoal chimney on my grill grates. This gets the coals started and heats the grates at the same time. Takes about 15 minutes to do this, and
  • by evanbd ( 210358 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @12:49AM (#19288963)
    This is a perfect example of one of the big problems of patents as currently implemented. They're supposed to be there to reward inventors and promote innovation -- but here the patent was doing the exact opposite, it's preventing new grill designs. The headline shouldn't be "patent expiration enables new grills," but rather "patent expiration makes grills cheaper." In theory, the market should make this happen through patent royalties. But obviously this patent holder would be making more in grill royalties if the patent were being licensed at a reasonable rate, and the grill makers and grill users would be better off too. So why do we all too often see patents *not* being licensed? The more I see this occur the more I think a compulsory licensing scheme for patents would be helpful. Remember, patents aren't just supposed to reward inventors -- they're supposed to encourage inventors to share their ideas *so that society can use them*. Patents should be benefiting both the inventor and the rest of us!
    • The question is, why didn't he license it? Was it because he's a dick? Did he not see the point? Was the money offered too little? Were the grill companies dicks about it? The law gave him several decades to market this - the reasons why it wasn't licensed don't matter. Fortunately, the law then says that anyone can play with it - and they are. Maybe he just needed a better agent - anybody know for sure?
    • by mr_matticus ( 928346 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @01:22AM (#19289163)
      Well, the patent expired 7 years ago, so there goes that theory.

      Patents do encourage inventors to share their ideas, but they were never meant to go into society's hands concurrent with issuing. Without a limited patent duration, you have two possible realities: either the company gets a perpetual stranglehold on that technology because government has no business limiting it (the Libertarian approach) or you have companies terrified of introducing their discovery because if cost them millions of dollars to figure it out, and cheap knockoffs for a fraction of the price would appear on the market nearly instantaneously (the "information wants to be free" approach).

      Neither one is particularly beneficial for society or companies. This sounds exactly like evidence for why patents work and are an important part of the innovation cycle. It also demonstrates that companies like to hide behind patents keeping their "great products" from the market when in fact they haven't really figured out all the details (i.e. a smoke screen for their vaporware products). If it was the patent holding back innovation, this article would have been written in 2000. There have certainly been infrared products offered for sale for several years now, legally, but beyond the reach of most customers. If you think that's because of the patent and not because of the newness and narrowness of the market, though, you're kidding yourself.

      Adapting a technology to a new market and new packaging costs a lot of money and involves a lot of trial and error. Any patent licensing on the method is just one small part of that.

      Yeah, at first glance it sounds like a great idea for "the rest of us" to get things 15-20 years faster. But the flip side is, "what's in it for the creator/investors?" Investors deserve to get something out of the deal, too. If that's a decade or two of exclusive use to generate profits, which are in turn invested in new products (and corporate accounting blunders), so be it.

      Yes, we could force companies to have profit limits, spending requirements, and compulsory licensing of their creations. We could also eliminate hunger entirely by dictating food production and distribution. It's only a matter of what you want to give up to do that. Part of living in a "free" society is understanding that there's a good and a bad side to that freedom, and you can't just pick and choose the good parts without accepting the less-than-ideal consequences.
      • by bky1701 ( 979071 )

        Part of living in a "free" society is understanding that there's a good and a bad side to that freedom, and you can't just pick and choose the good parts without accepting the less-than-ideal consequences.

        So let me get this. You just defended patents, and now praise "'free' society" for being the ability to be as greedy as you want? Free society would be that "'information wants to be free' approach" you derided. Sounds like you are a little too current-day-centered on your view of freedom.

        • And it sounds like you're completely one-sided with your take of freedom.

          People are greedy. Fact. But if companies get too greedy, the customers should shop elsewhere. It keeps itself in line. When there's collusion and cartel formation, that's why we have governments. No, they're not perfect either.

          A free society means a free society. But you can't have a free society with more than one person without stepping on someone's toes. You have your freedoms, they have theirs. There's a compromise between
      • Is that 20 years is a lot longer than it used to be. Shutting off an entire line of technology for 20 years may have been a reasonable trade till as recent as 20-50 years ago, but I think it should be obvious that this is no longer a good trade. AND good ideas can be monetized much more effectively these days, with the internet, fast shipping, larger markets, etc. So I'm all for striking an intelligent balance, but I think patent length needs to be tied to some metric of how quickly technology evolves.
      • by PPH ( 736903 )
        So granting patents for true innovation is a good idea. The original innovation occurred back in the 1960's with the invention of a method for generating IR (heat) using this particular technique. The '60s are long gone, and so was this patent. Applying this technology to another application requiring heat doesn't count as a novel idea IMHO.

        On the other hand, if the use of this 'ceramic IR radiator' for cooking was considered to be a novel and useful application deserving of a patent, then it should have

      • GP: This is a perfect example of one of the big problems of patents as currently implemented. They're supposed to be there to reward inventors and promote innovation -- but here the patent was doing the exact opposite, it's preventing new grill designs.
        P: Well, the patent expired 7 years ago, so there goes that theory.

        I don't follow. The patent expired 7 years ago and now we have new grill designs that don't require fragile ceramic pieces. The fact is that we did not have those designs before 2000 wh
    • Why would anyone in his right mind pay for simple and obvious 'inventions' that are based on ancient bronze age technology? So manufacturers just ignore the things and wait for stupid patents to expire.
  • Whats the point in patents if nobody will use them until the expire?
  • What about the RADIATION? Think of the CHILDREN!!!

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/6677051.stm [bbc.co.uk]
  • by Roblimo ( 357 ) Works for SourceForge on Sunday May 27, 2007 @09:18AM (#19291467) Homepage Journal
    I, too, vote for mesquite (or other high-quality "real wood") charcoal and no-fluid, chimney charcoal lighting.

    I have an easy-to-clean Son of Hibachi [sonofhibachionline.com] for everyday grilling and a big, oval Patio Classic [patioclassic.com] BBQ with adjustable airflow for slow cooking -- that also functions as a party-scale grill when we host cookouts for large groups.

    Some people seem to think lighting charcoal is a big deal. Not so. Crumple 3 sheets of newspaper, put them in the chimney (the Son of Hibachi functions as a chimney in its "closed" position), pour the desired amount of charcoal (15 briquets or so for our small grill, full to the brim for the big one) into the chimney on top of the paper, light paper through the air holes at the bottom of the chimney, then do something else for 15 minutes.

    Now pour the charcoal into your grill or BBQ and.... cook. Or, in the case of my Son of Hibachi, open it out flat, spread the briquets, and... cook.

    For slow-cooked BBQ (super-tasty ribs and briskets), be prepared to add more charcoal after two - three hours. Lift the grill, pour in about as many unlit briquets as lit ones already cooking, and use your charcoal tool (in my case a giant cast iron spoon) to make sure the unlit briquets are nestled well among the lit ones, put the grill and food back, and close the lid. Come back in a couple of hours and... eat.

    Both of these units are super-easy to clean. I have BBQ heretic (propane-using) friends who are amazed when they see that cleaning my charcoal cookers is *easier* than cleaning their flavor-destroying, gaseous monstrosities.

    Infrared heat is great for drying paint on cars and metal surfaces in general. But for cooking? (shudder) Not on *my* Florida patio. When it comes to BBQ, we like the real thing around here.

    - Robin

  • I bought a Trager. Runs on wood pellets made from furniture wood shavings/scraps with forced air to keep it buring.

    It produces a heat from about 120 up to 500 degrees. No matter what you throw on there, it gets a nice red smoke ring on it. I routinely get asked "My god, what did you put on this steak? It tastes great!"

    Just a little salt and pepper, the smoke does the rest.

    Oh, and for an interesting taste on a steak, add a little dried mint to your herb shake. It gives it a very nice taste and people often s
  • Sounds like the kind of radiant gas fire common in British living rooms. A burner at the bottom heats an unglazed, vertical ceramic surface with an array of protruding pimples to red heat. This gives off IR. A heat exchanger cools the combustion products and releases this heat back into the room before they are drawn up the chimney (or, if you have no chimney or don't want to risk it with CO, out of the balanced flue).

    Anyone within line of sight of the radiant elements feels warmth from absorbing infra-
  • Nice ad-piece (Score:3, Informative)

    by swordgeek ( 112599 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @12:50PM (#19292809) Journal
    The entire article was written as if were an ad for Char-Broil. The whole thing was, "Char-Broil did this, Char-Broil has adopted this feature, etc." Oh, except for the one line:

    "Most leading grill makers, including Solaire, Weber and Whirlpool's Jenn-Air, also offer grills that use infrared."

    No shit, sherlock. Most of them came out with it before Char-Broil, and quite possibly have done it better. Napoleon Grills [napoleongrills.com] has had this feature for a few years now, and makes a far better barbeque than Char-Broil.

    I hate articles like this. Just enough information to make people believe they're reading news, rather than advertising.

"How many teamsters does it take to screw in a light bulb?" "FIFTEEN!! YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?"