One of the many anticipated events at RainyDayMagazine is FirstGrill. The first one was back in 2006. It proved so popular that we have been doing it annually ever since. We usually hold it in May, but we are holding off until the beginning of June this year for a reason we'll make clear in a few weeks.
One of our editors got an infrared grill last year and has been extolling its virtues. According to Jay, "There is no question that infrared or radiant cooking is the wave of the future. Radiant cooking has no airflow so the meat is much juicier and more tender. Microwave cooking is a problem because the radiant heat is at a wavelength that tends to heat unevenly and is not 'tuned' to the best wavelength for food. Infrared is considered to be at just the right wavelength for getting juicy red meat and fowl. Browning and carmelization (the Mallard effect) is also enhanced since the fat dripping off the meat is vaporized before it hits the infrared emitter—another advantage, since you don't get the flareups you do with charcoal. The other plus is that infrared grills heat up much faster. Fish and veggies are a bit more of a problem, but with care work as well."
So for this year's FirstGrill, we found a TEC Cherokee listed on Craigslist which looked to be in pretty good condition. The burners had no rust on them and looked to be in good condition. They are usually the first things to go and can be expensive to replace. Unfortunately, we were not able to fire up the burner to see if all the jets were clear. We did not see any corrosion around the jets and the seller assured us that the unit is in excellent working condition. We decided to pull the trigger on the grill as the risk was minimal.
Another reason we got it was because it has a few features which we really liked. The unit is sized perfectly for our smaller city deck. While the unit looks like a full standing grill, it is actually a portable unit sitting atop a stainless steel stand. The stand is designed to secure the propane canister and hide the tank from view, and has a handle to make it easy to move everything around. If we ever wanted to take the unit with us, all we have to do is lift grill off the stand. How cool is that?
TEC is the inventor of infrared grills and their units have an excellent reputation. They had the infrared grill market to themselves for many years, but their patent expired in 2000. Soon after, others began muscling their way onto the market. TEC has managed to maintain their leadership position by using higher grade and heavier guage stainless steel. The quality really shows: even though our particular Cherokee model was discontinued in 2006, there is not a speck of rust anywhere on the unit. We will clean it up and give it a test run before the big event. Can't wait!!! [Permalink] - TEC Infrared Grill
Note: A few readers have written to inform us that the grilling rack on the TEC Cherokee was shown placed upside down. Thank you for letting us know! The two images below show how the rack should be configured: drain holes toward the rear, channels pointing up.