— Around The Home
Element Smokeless BBQ brings the joys of grilling inside
The Element works with both gas and electric ranges
For many people, grilling is an activity that's limited to the warmer months, when clear weather makes preparing dinner outside both practical and enjoyable. Once the weather turns, the rain cover comes out and grilling is over. The Element Indoor Smokeless BBQ brings grilling inside, where people can enjoy it year round.
There are existing options for indoor grilling, but they miss the mark miserably in terms of recreating the actual grilling experience. A grill pan sears a nice set of marks, but it's devoid of any smoky flavor - one of the main reasons to grill in the first place. The same can be said about electric grills. Bringing the charcoal or gas grill inside obviously isn't an option because of smoke and gases. Indoor spaces and real-deal grilling just don't mix.
The Element BBQ (grill to those that are particular) attempts to be the straw that mixes authentic grilling with the indoors. It's essentially a pan that heats over a gas or electric stove. Unlike the average grill pan - typically just a pan with bars on it - the Element has integrated lava rocks to provide a more genuine grill experience and taste. The designers say that lava rocks are smokeless and safe to use inside.
Used in some gas grills, lava rocks are known to heat up grease and drippings, providing a more flavorful grilling experience. They also heat up quickly and provide an evenly distributed heat for cooking. They're already used in commercial grills and charbroilers designed for the indoors; the Element just packages them in a versatile tool that can be used with an existing range.
The Element's grill is height-adjustable, and its handle is removable, giving cooks a little extra versatility in preparing meals. It includes an integrated grease pan that can be removed for cleaning.
The Element smokeless BBQ is available for pre-order at Ideacious. With a price tag of US$225, it's not the cheapest way to grill inside, but it should offer an authentic grilling alternative for the months when you just can't bring yourself to fire up the outdoor grill.
About the Author
Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work.
All articles by C.C. Weiss
I have trouble believing that grilling meat is smokeless under any conditions. But still an interesting idea.
DemonDuck I have seen lamb being cooked with radiant heat and no smoke at Gyro House Mediterranean Grill in Aloha Oregon.
Great idea. Will it work on induction cookers? Can't see a mention of it anywhere.
$225 ??? No, sorry
DemonDuck: Given the nature of the project we were sure to do some extensive prototyping / proof-of-concept work before getting it up on the site - the results were solid! Once we establish a demand for the product (based on how many preorders we sell) we will move on to testing additional production models and securing standard certification on the product.
Colm Gibney: The Element works on all type of ranges (gas, electric & induction) with comparable results.
Years ago I used to won a range-top griller - I forget it's name but I called it "the magic hubcap" and it seems similar to this, except for the lava rocks (and it was 10% of the cost). It was okay, but like most gadgets lost its appeal after a few months.
Come on $225...you have to be kidding me!
No mention of the grill surface material? It's bright in the pic so I would assume it's aluminum although stainless steel would be preferable. Not a bad idea, would love to see a video of it in action.
So what does the lava rock look like after you cook a steak? Is it a greasy smelly mess that you won't want to put inside your cabinets? That's one of the good things about a greasy grill...it stays outside. I like this idea but cleanup seems like it would be hopeless with regards to the rock?
How hard could clean up be? Just dump the rocks into a paper bag, clean the pan and store it with other pans. You could still keep the rocks outside if you want.
A friend of mine invited me about a year ago to try out his propane-powered lava-rock grill. Everything was turning out nice but suddenly the dripping grease caught fire. And, believe me, it was a tough job to put that fire out (grease-soaked hot lava rocks). Water just spread in every direction, and applying the fire extinguisher put it out only momentarily....the lava rock just lit up again, like trick candles. We had to pick the rocks with tools and drop them in a bucket with water....
You can imagine it was quite far away from being smokeless....but it was fun!
Charlie, you've heard that saying: there's no smoke without fire. Lava rock grillers are quite common in England. You must also have heard not to put out a chip pan of oil with water.
Did the fire extinguisher blow all the meat away? I can picture now! Have fun.
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