Just An Electric Grill? Here’s How to Make the Best of It.

Sure, it’s nice to have your own backyard, but lots of us live in apartments, condos and other kinds of multiple unit dwellings. The fire code in most big cities prohibits the use of open flames on balconies or terraces in high-rises, so that means no charcoal or gas grills. It doesn’t say you can’t grill, it says you can’t barbecue with an open flame. So the good part is knowing that the lugging of charcoal bags or propane tanks is not part of the equation.

It’s summer in North America, and hot (the hottest summer ever, warns former VP Al Gore) so we need to keep the stove off in the kitchen and cook burgers, hot dogs and steaks (and bacon, chicken, corn and other vegetables …) outside. An electric grill is the only way to go. Just plug it in and wait for it to heat up. When the old grill finally stopped working, Max, who is not generally the authority figure in matters cooking-related, wanted a CookNumber:

He couldn’t say why, he just did. It looked good, and it cost a lot of money, so it just had to be the best. Not usually the Affordable Luxury approach, unfortunately. Daisy B., who has actually cooked before, went down to the local big box home improvement stores and looked at what they had. What they had, mostly, was the Char Broil Patio Bistro Infrared Electric Grill. Daisy patiently explained to Max that the Char Broil grill was bigger, hotter, cheaper and it didn’t need a stand. There was plenty of room inside to put hickory, mesquite or apple chips for a more authentic smoky grilled taste.

Some assembly is required. It’s sort of halfway between Ikea furniture (with the wordless comic book directions) and Lego toys, like putting a bike together to go under the tree at Christmas. Not hard, but it takes a little while to get everything screwed together. Then you plug it, wait 20 minutes until it gets really hot, and you’re ready to barbecue. It wouldn’t hurt to have a fire extinguisher around, but you probably won’t need it.

Affordability: 7                  Luxury: 9

Available from Amazon (and lots of other places)

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