Solaire SOL-IR17BWR Portable Infrared Propane Gas Grill Review
Have you ever been to a high-end steakhouse and wondered how they get their meat to taste so amazing? Sure, in some cases it really is that they are sourcing some amazing cuts from specialist wholesalers and producers. Some steakhouses will even maintain an in-house walk-in cooler that allows them to dry age their meat for concentrated flavor.
However, most of the time the cut of meat they are sourcing is the same or only a single grade higher than the Steak you are buying at the grocery store. What really helps bring out the flavor is a trick of cooking chemistry, known as the Maillard Reaction.
When amino acids in proteins and carbohydrates are exposed to high heat, they change to create extremely complex and deep flavor compounds. Since our ancient ancestors first mastered fire the human sense of taste and smell has evolved to crave the flavors created by the Maillard Reaction.
In the case of grilling, many cuts of meat benefit from a quick high heat sear. The prime example is a rare or medium rare steak, where a lower heat propane grill might not produce enough heat to quickly sear the exterior of the steak, before the interior cooks to medium or even well done. At the same time, conventional flame also tends to affect meat’s natural moisture barrier leading to a loss of natural juices.
The Solaire SOL-IR17BWR Portable Infrared Propane Gas Grill employs cutting-edge infrared grilling technology to impart a high heat sear as you would get in a professional steakhouse. Yet is also is portable enough that you could bring it with you when you’re camping, tailgating, or you want to cook out on a trip to the beach.
It can run on a small propane canister to fuel a special propane burner that has been fitted with a ceramic infrared element. The unit includes an electric igniter. Once it comes up to temp the Solaire SOL-IR17BWR generates a high heat fire that you can use to grill meat and create a superior, flavorful sear.
It has a 140 square inch primary grill grate, which is just large enough to grill four large hamburger patties or two ribeye steaks. The Solaire SOL-IR17BWR also has a 67 square inch warming rack that can fold away when necessary.
The grill grates are V-shaped which maximizes the heat interaction between the infrared burner and the food being grilled. It also helps to vaporize any drippings for maximum aroma and easier cleanup.
It’s also worth noting that the Solaire SOL-IR17BWR is made in the United States by a family owned business that has provided high-quality grills and other cooking appliances for over 100 years!
Construction & Ease of Assembly
The Solaire SOL-IR17BWR requires very little assembly. It is made from durable materials with quality welds and fasteners. The hood is also made from high quality 304 grade stainless steel.
The Solaire SOL-IR17BWR is capable of high heat searing, while also being extremely portable. It can come up to full temperature in a little over 3 to 4 minutes. The warming rack folds back if needed or it can be used to hold food over when you are grilling batches.
It shares a common shortcoming with many other infrared grills in that it doesn’t do very well in low heat applications or for hybrid grilling. It really is meant for cooking steaks, hamburgers, hot dogs, and bratwursts, more so than chicken thighs or country style ribs.
This grill isn’t really intended to be used with the lid closed, which prohibits things like an accessory smoker box. It also struggles to grill bone-in cuts of meat.
The V-shaped primary grill grate provides 140 square inches of cooking space. This is sufficient for grilling up to four large hamburger patties or two large ribeye steaks. Two large porterhouse steaks would probably be too much for the size of the primary grill grate.
The Solaire SOL-IR17BWR also has a small 67 square inch warming rack that is built into the hood. When needed it can tuck away to provide you with added space.
The Solaire SOL-IR17BWR comes with a special carrying bag as well as other helpful accessories including tank adapter, tripod, portable stand, natural gas conversion, low-pressure propane kit, and mount adapter plate, as well as a grid scraper for easier cleanup.
Ease to Clean
Infrared grills tend to be easier to clean than even propane grills. This is thanks in large part to their high heat capacity, which tends to vaporize some of the drippings. including tank adapter, tripod, portable stand, natural gas conversion, low-pressure propane kit, mount adapter plate, and grid scraper comes with a convenient grill scraper that has been specially designed to quickly clean the V-shaped grill grates.
If some extra marinade, grease or other drippings does land on the infrared element and it doesn’t vaporize, you can clean it away with a nylon grill brush. Just make sure to do this after the grill has completely cooled down. You should avoid using a metal bristled grill brush as this could gradually start to damage the ceramic IR element.
The Solaire SOL-IR17BWR has a 1-year limited warranty ensuring that it will be free of factory defects in material or workmanship from the original date of purchase. However, some online retailers also offer an extended protection plan at a very affordable price.
If you are looking for a portable grill capable of the kind of high heat that only infrared grilling can provide, then it’s hard to look past the Solaire SOL-IR17BWR. It combines quality materials and construction with cutting-edge grilling technology. All provided by a company that has been doing it in the USA for over a century. It can also be just at home on your patio table.
Just be mindful not to expect more from it than it truly is. The Solaire SOL-IR17BWR is a high heat grill, it won’t barbecue and struggles to handle hybrid grilling applications.
- Superior high heat from infrared
- Portable or used as home grill
- Warming rack
- Comes with accessories
- Easy to clean
- Can’t produce low heat grilling
- Only has a 1-year warranty
- Doesn’t come with a stand or cart