Real food was meant to be cooked outside with fire. Only evil wizards cook inside with magic boxes and electricity. Sadly, there isn’t always the option for apartment dwellers or those in the Siberian wastes to fire up their favorite barbecue grill and sear some meat for their supper. Occasionally you need to embrace the weird, wired world and use an electric grill designed to work indoors to make a juicy, succulent steak. Thanks to the help of fine men like George Foreman this process is easy, painless, and can still give you a cut worthy of your designer steak knives.
When you’re selecting your scalding indoor grilling companion, you need to think a little differently than you would for an outdoor or camping grill. You want to consider how much space you are going to need. Bigger is usually better, but a larger grill means an enhanced footprint. You should also think about how smart you want your grill to be. While brains on a bike computer are great, on a grill, you can get too simple or too complex easily. So that you’re never working too hard, but still honoring the gods of the grill, we found the 9 best indoor electric grills.
Delonghi BG24 Perfecto
Pro: Extremely easy to clean
Con: Large footprint
Infallible: As with gas and charcoal models, an indoor electric grill can give you inconsistent results. The reason behind this all boils down to heat distribution. With a fully embedded grill plate, the Perfecto doesn’t ever change how it works from one barbecue to the next. Topped off with a completely clear lid, it takes either serious effort, or distraction by an impressive ball game to cook your meat wrong.
George Foreman GGR50B
Pro: Sloped base reduces fat and grease
Con: Fat drainage hole tends to clog
Traditionalist: For the griller who likes to go out as much as stay in, there’s the Foreman GGR50B. The build is very similar to a standard charcoal grill, though it uses fully electric cooking that complies with any building that disallows gas or flame grills. With a massive 240 inches worth of cooking space, it’s big enough to accommodate your biggest backyard cookouts but can also handle smaller, more intimate affairs. If need be, you can even cook up a whole game bird.
Pro: Gets hotter than indicated for more accurate grilling
Con: Short power cord and no included lid
Sear and Serve: The overly simplistic design of the Zojirushi left us doubtful to its aptitude, but we have to say, we were extremely impressed. The 12 ½ X 9 ¼ grill is separated from the housing so the handles stay cool for easy mobility and safer handling that allows you to make you favorite foods anywhere you are and slap them on a plate straightaway. With a wider 176 to 410 degree temperature range and the ability to be stored simply, this easily saved the most space of any grill we tried.
Pro: Remarkably accurate settings
Con: Plates are tough to remove for cleaning
Brains on a Budget: Along with the world of smartphones, smartwatches, and increasingly smart televisions comes the smart grill. Even if you’ve never held a spatula or set of tongs in your life, the OptiGrill will help walk you through the process of making meat like a maestro. Using 1800 watts of cooking power attached to internal sensors that alter depending on what you’re cooking, this will give you a stellar meal with just a few button presses.
Cuisinart GR-150 Griddler Deluxe
Pro: Wide range of uses
Con: Small cooking area for the price
Pop Top: The trick to the Griddler is the floating top that allows you to work with meat of any thickness to get an even heating throughout. While many hinged grills require extra attention, you can lower this over your favorite foods and trust it to handle the rest. Can also be used as a contact grill, Panini press, or full griddle. Just crank it to the desired height and let the magic begin.
Pro: Dishwasher safe drip tray
Con: Does not easily work with a lid
Dual Action: We’ve had very limited luck when it comes to electric grills that can actually cook at two different temperatures in different regions of the surface. This is where the All-Clad sets itself apart from the pack. The dual temperature zones actually allow you to get one side hot enough to sear while the other can remain at a warming temperature. The heating elements are bonded to the underside of the cast aluminum, which avoids heat transference, instead pinpointing where the heat is delivered.
Wolfgang Puck Reversible
Pro: Very large grease trap
Con: Temperature numerics fade quickly
Quick Change: Among all the indoor grills that could also be used as a griddle, this was our favorite. The ability to reach a high level of heat quickly and maintain it made it a pleasure for both grilling and flat cooking whether whipping up burgers or a batch of crepes. At 16 ½ inches wide by more than two feet long, it really delivered for grill and griddle size in a style that was easy to use, if a bit on the space consuming side.
Weber 55020001 Q 2400
Pro: Works outdoors as well as inside
Con: Does not come with a thermometer
Outdoor Style: Unsurprisingly, Weber has managed to shove the soul of an outdoor into their indoor electric grill. At 1560 watts, it pumps out plenty of power to the 280 square-inches of cooking surface. The grill itself is porcelain-enameled cast iron, just like many of their exterior models. Add in the traditional hood, and it’s worthy of the Weber name. Just don’t try to put any coals in it.
Pro: Grill plates heat directly
Con: Messy and prone to breakdowns
Intelligence Included: This grill from Breville is smarter than the average Joe wielding a spatula while wearing Bermuda shorts and hiking sandals with socks. It is made with the Element IQ system that adjusts for temperature change when cold foods hit the grill’s surface. It then leverages its 1800 watt power output to bring the temperature back up with a burst of power. The result is more even cooking and less heat loss for faster output.