Have you ever wondered how high-end steakhouses get that perfect steak every time? Well, the answer is all in the cooking style. Infrared grills (also known as salamanders) achieve high-temperature cooking with the heat coming from above and an adjustable tray that allows you to control how close or far from the heat your food is.
While commercial models are far too pricey for most backyard cooks, the Schwank Infrared Grill is a portable model that can be used at home.
This grill gets up to 1500°F (no, that’s not a typo!) and can sear steaks in a matter of minutes. I’ve been busy cooking steak on the Schwank Grill to test it out and see if it’s the real deal.
Schwank sent me this grill for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Schwank Infrared Grill overview and first impressions
When I opened the Schwank grill, I was immediately impressed by the sleek design. It’s a fully stainless-steel grill with clean lines and a beautiful look and feel. The grill has a high-quality look, and I could tell within minutes that the build quality was impressive.
If you’re a big steak eater and want restaurant-quality steaks at home, I think it’s a great investment. It also doubles as a pizza oven if you purchase the additional pizza stone, so if steaks and pizzas are your thing, then it’s worth a buy.
Schwank Infrared Grill specifications:
|Dimensions||25”W x 17”D x 15”H|
|Grilling Area||120 sq. in.|
|Grill Type||Infrared / Portable|
|Material||304 Stainless Steel|
|Number of Burners||2 Burners|
|Grilling BTUs||13000 BTUs|
|Propane Hose Length||39” long|
|Price||Check Latest Price at Amazon|
The Schwank Grill allows you to cook steakhouse-quality steaks at home. The technology was invented by Gunther Schwank back in 1938 when he first found that you could use gas to create infrared technology that revolutionized the industry.
Schwank’s technology has been supplying major steakhouses worldwide since the 1970s, but in 2020 they decided it was time to bring the same technology to people at home with the Schwank 1500 Degree Portable Infrared Grill. Now, you can cook steakhouse-quality steaks right in your backyard.
Schwank Grills are made in the USA right near Augusta, GA, in the same factory in which they produce their infrared heaters. Each grill is assembled by hand and constructed from high-quality 304-grade stainless steel.
What I like:
- The overall design is sleek.
- Easy to use.
- Made in America.
- Drip pans double as a place to melt compound butter or cook vegetables.
- Quickly pre-heat to 1500°F.
- Able to cook steaks in 2 to 3 minutes.
What I don’t like:
- Size limits you to 2 steaks at a time (possibly 4 with a smaller cut).
- The price tag is difficult to justify unless you are a frequent steak eater.
- Does not come with a stand, requiring you to have an outdoor table to set it up.
- Seasonings (especially sugar) will burn at such a high temperature.
What is an infrared grill?
First things first, let’s talk about what infrared grilling technology is.
No matter what type of grill you’re using (charcoal, electric, pellet, etc.), they all distribute heat in the same way. You’ve got your heat source (typically where your fuel is located) and some type of grates or surface that you place the food on to cook.
The heat travels from the heat source through the air before it reaches your food, which results in a loss of heat energy and can lead to uneven cooking depending on how the heat is displaced.
The infrared grill has one additional component: a small piece of metal that absorbs the heat from the heat source and distributes it evenly across the surface of the burners. This ensures that you have very even heating across the surface of the burners, and it allows the grill to be able to handle hotter temperatures (in this case, 1500°F).
Testing the Schwank Portable Infrared Grill
I wanted to try out the grill’s ability to cook a steak as perfectly as they claim. I also wanted to test out some vegetables in the drip tray, so I figured a couple of New York Strip steaks, compound butter braised mushrooms, and onions would be the perfect meal to test the Schwank on!
The first thing that impressed me was how quickly the grill heated up.
While it doesn’t have a temperature gauge, the inside of the grill was roaring hot in just a few minutes. Turning the grill on couldn’t be easier, either. You turn the knob on the top and push it down, then push the button on the front of the grill to ignite the burners.
I was concerned that seasoning would burn, so I kept it simple with a bit of sea salt (let’s be honest, good beef doesn’t need more than that anyway) and added about ¼ cup of garlic and herb compound butter to the drip tray at the bottom of the grill.
I also sliced up some onions and mushrooms and placed them down into the drip tray. I let them cook for about 10 minutes before adding the steak to ensure that the steak and vegetables finished cooking at the same time.
Per the instructions, I added the steaks directly to the bull logos on the slide-out cooking tray. I had the grill set at at Level 3 when I pulled the tray out to add my steaks.
I tried to raise it to a Level 7 so I could sear the steaks, but my steaks were a bit too thick to get it that high, so I cooked them at a Level 5 (about 1” away from the burners).
I let them cook for 90 seconds per side until they were seared nicely, and at that point, they had reached 100°F. I moved them down to the drip tray and let them finish in a bath of compound butter for another 5 minutes or so until they reached medium rare.
Overall, I would say the Schwank is one of the easiest ways to cook a steak I’ve found. The process is quick, and the grill is easy to use – sliding the tray up and down between levels only takes one hand, and they provide all of the tools you need to remove the tray and slide it in and out without risking burning yourself (because it DOES get very hot!).
The result was a super tender and juicy steak. I was impressed by how juicy the steak was – I think because it cooked so quickly, the steak was able to retain a lot of the moisture that would otherwise be lost in longer cooking methods.
Final thoughts: Should you buy the Schwank?
I think the Schwank is a great addition to any backyard for a serious steak eater. If steak is something that you enjoy weekly, or if you like having date nights every month at fancy steakhouses like Morton’s or Perry’s, then I can definitely see the cost of the Schwank being justified.
Now, if you only eat steaks a few times a year, I’m not sure the $1,300 price tag is worth it for you. The grill is amazing and produces a fantastic steak, but it’s not a cheap addition to your grill collection.