I’ve been using a high-temperature top-heat grill for some time now and I must say: I love it! Never before have I had meat this tender and yet with such a nice crust.
The setup of a top-heat grill is simple.
Located at the top is the burner.
Below this there are runners for adjusting the height of the grate.
All liquids are collected in the grease drip-tray at the bottom of the grill.
The whole insert is removable. Once the grill has cooled down you can just take it out and clean it in the dishwasher.
Top-heat grills come with a max-temperature of 850 Degrees Celsius (that’s 1,562 Degrees Fahrenheit for those still using the outdated imperial system).
This is really hot, but to be honest, this is measured directly inside the heating-element. The temperature on the surface of the meat is approx. 600 Degrees which is still well above the minimum temperature of 400 Degrees required to achieve the “caramelizing” effect that comes with the Maillard-reaction. This causes a chemical reaction which leads to an extremely tasty crust.
There are two types of top-heat grills: those that run on propane gas and electric grills.
As I use my grill inside, I decided to buy the “Steakreaktor” from Klarstein.
Using a gas-grill inside is dangerous as the grill burns a lot of gas in a very short time to achieve and maintain the high temperature. Especially in a small kitchen this may lead to a lack of oxygen and a high concentration of Carbon-Monoxide, a possibly fatal combination.
For the test, I took two nice chunks of organic steak.
Before going on with preparing the meat make sure that you turn on the grill and set it to the highest possible temperature.
For the Steakreaktor this will be “Hotter than Hell”.
The grill will heat up within approx. two minutes.
The steaks were salted using Black Lava Salt which, as I find, gives the meat a great flavour.
Never add pepper at this stage! With the temperatures the grill reaches, pepper will burn and cause an unpleasant bitter taste, spoiling the meat.
The meat is then placed on the grate of the grill.
Here, you need to take care to place it as far back as possible to make sure that it’s located under the burner.
The meat is then pushed into the grill.
Make sure that it’s located as close to the burner as possible. Not too close though, as under the heat it will rise slightly. If it then touches the burner it will slide off the base-plate when you pull it out.
After a few minutes (depending on how well done you like your meat) you pull out the grate and turn over the meat.
Personally, I like my meat very rare so I do it approx. 3 minutes on each side.
If you take your meat from the Sous-Vide you’ll want to grill each side for approx. 45 seconds.
Here you can see the great crust you get from a top-heat grill.
If you look closely at the example, you’ll see that the meat was placed slightly too far to the front of the grate. About one centimeter of meat wasn’t directly under the burner so it doesn’t have a crust.
Liquids that ooze from the meat are collected in a small tray at the bottom of the grill.
As you can see on the photo, only a tiny quantity of juice and fat actually ran out of the meat. The high temperatures will cause the Maillard-reaction to start almost immediately, effectively sealing the surface of the meat and keeping nearly all liquids inside the meat where they belong.