11. March 2014
Last year at the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association (HPBA) Expo, we showed backyard barbecuers and grill manufacturers something they had never seen before: their steaks, burgers, and hot dogs as they cook. Our ultimate concept grill included a transparent glass-ceramic panel in the hood that would grant grillers a window into their dinner, allowing them to keep an eye on their food without lifting the lid and releasing all the heat.
Since then we’ve spoken to a number of manufacturers and consumers about our concept grill. With their feedback — including new opportunities for pushing the design even further — we returned to the lab and emerged with two new concept grills that reimagine the potential of the home barbecue. Once again, we showed them off at HPBA. Here’s what we came up with and why every home barbecuer will be salivating for these grills.
1. Unobstructed views. We took our original concept grill and blew up the viewing area by 23 percent, creating a hood front that displays the entire grilling surface. Built completely from NEXTREMA glass-ceramic, this hood can withstand not only the searing heat of barbecues, but even the thermal shock stress that could be caused by rain or spilled drinks.
One of the biggest concerns about the glass-ceramic hood in the original concept grill was that the smoke and grease from the food would block the view of the burgers, dogs, and kebabs. Well, we put it to the test, and even with the smoke, we could see our entire dinner from start to finish, and even caught a flare-up before it got worse. Take a look:
2. Getting in shape. Our first ultimate concept grill used a curved panel of glass-ceramic in the grill hood. But of course grills come in all shapes and sizes, so we produced a number of new configurations so that the glass-ceramic fits any grill hood. For example, while our first new concept grill features a curved sheet of glass, our second includes a domed lid. Whether a grill’s hood is curved, angled, or boxy, glass-ceramic can fit its shape to give barbecuers a clear view of their dinner.
3. Ready for rotisserie. A 2012 survey showed that a side-burner is the number one add-on barbecuers look for in a grill, which is why both of our new concept grills include one. But the second most desired feature is a rotisserie. Since NEXTREMA efficiently and evenly radiates IR waves, grillers can install it over rotisserie burners to prepare perfect chickens, roasts, and other rotisserie favorites in their own backyards.
4. Futuristic design. Curved glass is the mark of futuristic design in everything from cars to buildings to phones. We brought this trend to our concept grills, presenting two new ideas for a high-end barbecue that marry functionality with design for a true centerpiece of a deck or backyard.
These concept grills reinvent the barbecue with glass-ceramic, a material not often associated with grilling, but which offers a number of advantages, from transparency to heat resistance to its ability to radiate heat for a rotisserie.
And while these concept grills won’t be in your backyard to kick off the summer on Memorial Day weekend, their versatile designs could be easier to weave into existing grills, meaning you might be able to keep an eye on your steak sooner rather than later.