How to Cook With an Infrared Burner on a Gas Grill

Infrared burners have been used by restaurants for many years to quickly cook steaks and other thick cuts of meat. Regular gas and charcoal grills use hot air to cook meat. Infrared burners, which are now available on home gas grills, cook food by quickly heating a ceramic plate underneath the wire grill rack to high temperatures. The infrared radiation that emanates from the plate immediately sears the outside of meat, locking in moisture and giving the meat a charcoal-like taste. Because infrared grills heat up and cook food quickly, it's important to understand exactly how they work before attempting to use them.

Fire up the grill. Turn on the gas according to the instructions for your particular make and model, and turn on the infrared burner. Wait 1 to 2 minutes for the burner to heat up; infrared burners heat very quickly, so this won't take as much time as a normal grill.

Place the meat on the wire rack above the infrared burner. Wait about one minute, then flip the meat and sear the other side. Because the infrared burner gets so hot and cooks meat so quickly, it's best to use thick cuts of meat such as steaks and pork chops on an infrared grill. The burners tend to char thinner items such as fish and vegetables.

Finish cooking the meat to the desired doneness. There are two ways to do this. The first is to leave the meat on the infrared burner, flipping it every 30 second to 1 minute until it's done. The meat will take no more than 4 to 5 minutes to cook with this method, but it will be much easier to overcook the food.

You can also move the seared meat to the non-infrared side of the grill and finish it off in the traditional fashion. The meat will take about twice as long to finish preparing, but it will cook more slowly and therefore will be easier to control.

Remove the meat from the grill and cut into it to make sure it's cooked thoroughly. Turn off the grill and let it cool.