When servicemen returned from the war in the 1950s, they began to live in new housing development on the outskirts of cities. These new 'suburb' neighborhoods provided more outdoor space and the ability to cook outside. Barbecue grills evolved with the very first ones having a primitive design. A shallow metal baking pan was placed on top of thin legs and was used to heat up charcoal. A grill was balanced on top and used to grill meat.
These Braziers were wide open and posed some hazards. When a breeze picked up, ash and hot embers would fly away, endangering anyone in the vicinity. Although cheap to devise, they had no provision for cooking food at en even temperature.
A few years after this new type of outdoor food grilling, George Stephen, a backyard grilling aficionado, came up with an answer to these primitive grills. Stephen worked for Weber Brothers Metal Spinning Company in Mount Prospect, Illinois, and worked on producing metal buoys. He cut a buoy in half, put a grate in it, created openings for venting air, and used the other half for the top. Weber produced the first kettle grill in 1952!
Not everyone was an outdoors type, though, and cooks enjoyed the grilled food but wanted an alternative they could use inside. One of the first electric grills was the George Foreman Grill, created in 1994, and was respected as the best electric grill. It's still popular today! We've reviewed our TOP PICKS for electric grills to make it easier for you to decide on which one to buy!
- Best Electric Grill For The Money
- Options When Choosing an Electric Grill
- Types of Electric Grills
- Electric Grill Options
- Don't Be Afraid to Fall in Love With an Electric Grill!
Best Electric Grill For The Money
1. Best Choice - George Foreman 4-Serving Removable Plate Grill
There's nothing like the quality of George Foreman electric grills and the health benefits as they remove up to 42% of the fat from your food!
This grill is designed with the patented slope to move the excess fat and grease away from your burgers and meats. Grease ends up in the drip tray; not in your food. In addition, this electric grill is made with the newest GeorgeToughTM non-stick plate that boasts a 3X tough and durable cooking surface. Increased resistance to scratches makes this a true non-stick surface so you'll never need to use oil to keep food from sticking.
We love the 'floating hinge' that will adjust according to the height of the food your grilling. The heating elements are imbedded and there's an indicator light to let you know when the grill is ready. Make delicious Panini's, burgers, chicken, grilled vegetables, potatoes, and more! We love the many features of this electric grill and made it our TOP PICK!
2. George Foreman 15-Serving Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill
This George Foreman Electric Grill is for both indoor and outdoor use; the grill stand is for outdoors, but you can remove it for indoor countertop use!
It has an adjustable temperature control and probe so you can choose from 5 heat settings, letting you cook your food to the perfect doneness. You can use the low setting to keep foods warm and the high setting to sear steaks or pork chops.
The high dome allows for the heat to flow evenly so your food is cooked evenly. This helps if you're cooking a whole chicken or turkey or a roast. And your landlord will love this grill!
There's no charcoal, gas, flare-ups, or even sparks. This large electric grill has enough room to cook for a large group of people and clean up is easy with a drip tray that collects the extra fat and grease.
- Apartment patio and kitchen safe!
- Has 240 square inches of circular grilling surface
- Grill food for over 15 servings
- Non-stick coating
- Removable indoor/outdoor stand
- Adjustable Temperature Control
- Electrical cord may fit in plug loosely and heat up too hot causing it to melt.
3. Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler
The Cuisinart 5 in 1 Griddler performs 5 functions in 1 electric grill! The hinged cover and reversible cooking plates make this a contact grill for cooking burgers, chicken, or that juicy steak.
It also works as a Panini press, a full electric grill, a griddle, and can be used as half grill and half griddle for making breakfast easy! There are two temperature controls; one for each side and it has indicator lights to let you know it's on and red and green lights to let you know when it's on and when the grill has reached the desired temperature. Large, easy-to-read knobs let you choose grill or griddle function and to set the temperature.
You can lay both top and bottom open to create 2 surfaces for grilling and griddling and there is a drop tray to keep grease away from your food. This electric griddle is perfect for a small family dinner, brunch, or an entire meal for two people!
- Stainless steel self-adjusting cover
- Sturdy cast-metal handle adjusts to accommodate thickness of foods
- Has a grill side and a griddle side
- Power ON indicator light
- Hinge release lever allows for flat cooking
- Some customers complained the grease does not drain properly.
4. Cuisinart GR-300WS Griddler Elite Grill
This Cuisinart Griddler Elite is with 6 functions in 1; it's a contact grill for making burgers, fish, chicken, or to grill a steak, a Panini press, full griddle, full electric grill, half grill/griddle, or as a top melt for cheese toppings and appetizers.
It has a large LCD electronic display so you can keep track of the temperature and the timer with dual settings for both sides when it's used as a flat grill.
Cuisinart built in a searing function with a temperature of 500F. SearBlast will sear steaks, locking in the flavor! The top cover is adjustable to fit your meats and vegetables and the temperature is precise to be sure your food is cooked properly.
When both sides are open, this electric grill provides 240 square inches of grilling surface. We loved the non-stick grill trays that can be removed and put in your dishwasher. Even stuck on cheese and sauces will come off easily.
- Reversible and nonstick grill/griddle plates
- Dual zone temperature control
- Sear function can reach a 500F temperature for up to two minutes of searing
- 60 minute countdown timer
- Electronic LCD display and blue LED indicator lights
- Customers did not feel the sear temperature was hot enough.
5. Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Patio Bistro Electric Grill
Have an intimate barbecue with this Char-Broil Electric Grill. Infrared technology cooks your food with evenly spread heat across the entire grill surface. Foods won't dry out and the temperature can be adjusted from a low, simmer to a high, sear. Large dials allow you to have complete control over the settings for the 1750 watt electric burner. The grill also has a gauge on the top to keep an eye on the inside temperature. There's a top and bottom grate so you can cook burgers on the bottom and slow-cook marinated vegetables on the top. If you're used to a gas grill, but don't have the space or yard to barbecue, this Char-Broil Electric Grill makes a great alternative!
- 320 square inches of grilling surface area
- Porcelain-coated premium cooking grates are easy to clean
- Frame is on wheels to easily move around
- Made out of steel
- Perfect for apartments, balconies, and small patios
Users reported problems with this grill rusting.
Options When Choosing an Electric Grill
Many barbecue enthusiasts would balk at an electric grill! The term 'electric grill' may have a bad sound to it, but there are many shapes, sizes, and function for these alternatives to gas grills. When you can't grill outside or don't have the time to light charcoal or wood and then handle the cleanup later, electric grills are a great choice.
Before buying an electric grill, there are many different options to consider. You will have certain requirements if you are cooking for one, yourself, or you cook for a large family. Many of the grills we reviewed in this article have differing features to fit your needs!
#1 Best Choice George Foreman 4-Serving Removable Plate Grill
12.28" x 6.5" x 13.27"
3 Year Limited Warranty
#2 George Foreman 15-Serving Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill
20.5" x 22.2" x 13"
1 Year Limited Warranty
#3 Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler
13" x 17" x 10"
1 Year Limited Warranty
#4 Cuisinart GR-300WS Griddler Elite Grill
14.65" x 16.22" x 8.11"
3 Year Limited Warranty
#5 Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Patio Bistro Electric Grill
25.2" x 24.4" x 38.2"
1 Year Limited Warranty
Types of Electric Grills
An open grill like the George Foreman 15-Serving Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill and the Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Patio Bistro Electric Grill are designed to be like their cousin gas or charcoal grill for outdoor grilling. You can fit more food on these open electric grills, which is great for families or small parties. They have a heater element in the bottom where the charcoal or wood chips would normally be lit.
A contact grill is akin to the George Foreman electric grills that took over the novelty of grilling inside. They make great grilled sandwiches and are perfect for singles or empty nesters who want an easy way to grill for two. Contact grills cut out fats in cooking and grilling and make cleanup easy.
Electric Grill Options
A Grill and Griddle Combined
The nice thing about an electric grill that has one half for grilling and the other half for griddling is making an entire meal for one or several people at once. Breakfast can be a breeze on the Cuisinart GR-300WS Griddler Elite Grill as you cook bacon on the grilling side and then your eggs and pancakes on the griddle side. It also works well if you want the grill your steak and have the other side to sauté vegetables or potatoes.
Size and Portability
If you live in an apartment and want a grill that is safe for your balcony or to use inside, consider the size. The original George Foreman Grills like the George Foreman 4-Serving Removable Plate Grill allows you to make 4 burgers at once for a small dinner with two couples. You can also perform many other cooking tasks like brazing your vegetables and frying steaks all with less fat because of the classic George Foreman slanted grill plate.
If you have more room and want to be able to cook for a group of people, the open electric grills will suffice to replace grilling outside on a charcoal or gas grill.
Knobs and Controls
If you want simple, then go for an electric grill with temperature controls only. But if you want to have more options to cook with and a timer, purchase the Cuisinart GR-300WS Griddler Elite Grill with its large LCD screen and options like dual zone temperature control and the 60 minute countdown timer. Most of the contact grills have knobs and controls, while the open grills are made more like your outdoor gas or charcoal grill.
Don't Be Afraid to Fall in Love With an Electric Grill!
Yes, the idea of an electric grill for your barbecue needs or to grill foods seems like a pallid substitute for real backyard grilling, but when the weather outside is bad or if you just don't have the room to have a grill, electric grills are a great choice. From the smaller, counter-top models like George Foreman and Cuisinart to the 'closer to a real grill' upright open electric grills, there are plenty of choices for you.
We chose the TOP PICKS for the best electric grills and reviewed them here so you can choose one to buy that works for your needs. And don't worry; 'electric grill' doesn't mean no barbecue sauce or no crispy, grilled edges. Whichever grill you choose, the options, design, and controls will provide plenty of similarities to outdoor grilling, plus afford you indoor options like Panini sandwiches and brunch for two!