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Common issues with electric outdoor barbecues

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Lamb cooked well, despite the common issues with electric outside barbecues

Many people believe that it's impossible to have an authentic "barbecue" with an electric grill. And for this reason, a couple of years ago, people wouldn't have considered this type of grill for outdoor cooking, and the open flame would've been the only choice. However, in the past few years, the electric grill has come a long way. But even though significant strides were made in the quality and design of this type of grills, there are some common issues with electric outdoor barbecues, and we'll try to solve them right here and now.

Keep in mind that here we won't cover electrical projects that DIYers should not take on. Instead, we'll focus on the most common problems that can you can easily solve without knowledge about electrical components.

Despite the issues with electric outdoor barbecues, they can do the job
Some say that an electric grill should be used only if a gas or charcoal grill can't give you what you need. But actually, modern outdoor electric grills can do an excellent job of cooking meat. While a charcoal or gas grill would win in a competition, it doesn't mean that you should neglect an electric barbecue's performance.

If you have access to a power outlet, you can easily make use of the fact that the electric grill is portable. In most cases, this type of grill is quite affordable. Also, temperature management is easy, and you'll never run out of fuel, unless there is a power outage.

Grill not performing well during the winter
The truth is that even the best electric barbecues would perform better during the summer than they would in winter. Since the outside temperature is low, it causes heating elements to work harder. As a result, some of the best models will struggle to maintain the right temperature.

The solution would be to move your barbecue to a covered area, perhaps a patio. Another solution is to bring your barbecue to storage where you can keep it safe from the elements. Remember, given that it has electronic components, you can't keep your barbecue anywhere. You need to find the right place to store it where it will say safe during the off-season.

Heat generation
Unfortunately, depending on the design of some electric barbecues, it can be hard to generate the heat needed to cook food properly. You should check the overview of some of the best electric grills, but before that, try to get a recommendation from someone satisfied with this type of grill.

Longer cooking time
The electric grill takes longer to get going, and this affects the cooking time. The food might take longer to cook than on gas grills, where the heat is instantaneous. On the other hand, this is also the issue with charcoal barbecue. Nonetheless, this can get quite frustrating and might turn you away from your electric grill. Unfortunately, the only solution would be to have this in mind and plan your time accordingly.

Meat on a cutting board.

Cooking time might be longer.

Uneven heating
This is one of the common issues that can occur due to a blockage in the burner unit. To solve this, it's necessary to clean it as much as possible and detach the burner if necessary.

Can't get the "authentic barbecue taste"
Maybe the biggest issue with an electric outdoor grill that people have is that it won't really provide the "authentic" grilled taste. What we usually associate grilled food with is the taste that the actual flame provides. While gas or charcoal grills can do this, it's harder to get with an electric grill, despite the amount of heat they generate. While you know that there's no flame with electric barbecue, the real question is, can we somehow simulate the flavor?
It takes some time and effort, but you can experiment to get that charcoal flavor while using an electric grill. There are numerous options, including mesquite woods, marinades, and other solutions.


Even though there's no fire, can we get the authentic taste?

Electronic components failing over time
While electric barbecues are usually quite reliable, they're not as durable when compared to charcoal or gas barbecues. Since they have electronic components such as temperature regulators and electric elements, they can fail after a while. For this reason, it might be a good idea to invest in other types of grills. However, if you want your grill to last, it's essential to keep it safe while you don't use it.

You don't need to understand the types of electric wiring to fix this issue. All you need to do to make sure your electronic grill stays functioning for as long as possible, you need to take proper care of it. Unlike with charcoal or gas grills, you don't want to clean your electric grill while it's hot. Wait until it's cool to the touch to start with cleaning. Clean cooking grids with water and a sponge or grill brush. If the food is not coming off, use a baking soda and vinegar mixture to clean the hardened bits. With this kind of grill, cleaning is easier since there's no carbon buildup. Also, most grills can at least be partially disassembled, so you can easily wipe down the insides.

The grill is smoking
If some grease has leaked onto the elements instead of falling onto the drip tray, there's going to be a lot of smoke. However, even though this is inconvenient, it's not that much of a problem when it comes to outdoor grills. First, remove and clean the drip tray. After that, turn up the heat so that all the grease can burn off. Eventually, the smoke will dissipate.

A man sitting on a bench in smoke, taking a photo.

Grease can cause smoke.

Finally, when handling an electric barbecue, keep in mind to follow all the electrical safety tips. Despite the common issues with electric outdoor barbecues, they can still give you a good cooking experience. It really depends on you, your preferences, and your budget. If you want a quick and easy barbecue cooking that you can control, think kind of grill is a good option. However, if you want to get that authentic barbecue flavor, the real flame is the only option, so consider a charcoal or gas grill instead.