With winter fast approaching, barbecuing outdoors is going to be off the table for many people until the weather warms up a bit. Or perhaps your housing management forbids the use of gas & charcoal grills, which puts you in an awkward position. So how do you satisfy your need for that fantastic grilled food? There are a few different options for grilling indoors, such as standalone infrared grills. These can be pricey though, and take up precious space in your apartment.
Another option is to get a Korean stovetop grill. These appeared on the market a few years ago, and they allow you to grill food directly over one of your stove plates. But how well do they really work, and are they worth investing in? Let’s see if we can find out below.
How do you use them?
Some of you may be wondering how these kinds of units actually work. And it is quite simple – each unit has an outer and an inner part. The outer part otherwise known as the drip tray is put on first directly over the hotplate. The drip tray is often a donut style shape, which has a hole in the center so that it can fit over the cooking ring. It is designed this way for two reasons – one is so that it can catch all the grease as it comes off the cooking plate.
And secondly so that it can be filled with water which prevents smoke, and helps to stop the food from drying out. Once the drip tray has been put in place you can put on the cooking plate, which is often a circular design, aside from some cooking vents which are placed directly above the outer part to catch all the excess grease as it drains off. If you are still confused, then the picture on the left should give you a better visualization of how the Korean stovetop grill works. It is a simple design though, and takes literally seconds to get up and running.
Almost all of these Korean bbq stove top grills work on electric, gas and propane stoves, however you should always double check that the specific model you are interested in will work on your stove setup. In terms of pricing, they tend to range from around $10 for the cheap models all the way up to around $50 for the more premium models. There are quite a few different models available on the market, so it is worth doing a little research to make sure you get a reliable product. Now let’s move onto some of the more popular models you will currently find for sale.
Chefmaster Indoor Grill
First up we are going to have a look at the value orientated Chefmaster indoor smokeless grill. This model sells for around $10, and is a very affordable option for anyone wanting to test out these types of grills. It has a 12.5″ grill area, and works on electric, gas and propane stoves. The grill has a nonstick coating, however it feels quite light and flimsy. At this price point it is to be expected though, so we can’t complain too much. However, there is one issue with this model that we cannot ignore, which is the nonstick coating. It seems like this coating is very fragile, and in some cases has started to peel off after only one use!
This is a widely reported issue with this particular Korean bbq stove top grill, and is certainly not an isolated incident. There is no mention of whether or not there are harmful chemicals such as PFOA and PTFE in this nonstick coating, so you could be putting your health at risk by mistakenly ingesting this coating if it came off on your food. For that reason alone we cannot recommend this model at all, and we suggest you look for an alternative option. If you want to make up your own mind, then have a look at the many hundreds of unhappy user reviews on Amazon about this particular problem.
Kitchen Home Stove Top Grill
If you are looking for something more reliable, the Kitchen Home Korean Stovetop grill is worth considering. This is a clone of the popular Grill It stovetop model, which seems to have disappeared from the market in recent months. It comes with a retail price of $20, so it is good value for money. It is similar in size to the Chefmaster model we looked at above, although the build quality certainly feels much better with this model. The grill feels a bit heftier, and it has a double coated nonstick coating which seems to be quite durable.
The outer area of the grill is mostly open, which gives you more of a barbeque style grilling surface. The drip tray is made out of stainless steel, and filling it with water ensures a smoke free cooking experience. With a huge range of positive user reviews, this model seems like a good choice. You can find out more about it on the Amazon product page.
And finally we come to the top end option which is the Techef stovetop korean bbq. This model is a little pricier than most of the other options at around $35, but it does have a number of features that justify the price. For starters this model is made in Korea, so the quality is a step above the competitors products, which are almost all made in China. The grill tray offers around 12″ of cooking space, and this is made out of extra heavy gauge 5mm aluminum. It has a “Teflon Platinum coating” which is triple coated on the top of the grill surface for enhanced durability, and double coated on the bottom of it for easy cleaning.
TECHEF claim this model is dishwasher friendly, but a simple quick hand wash is generally enough to get it clean. The teflon coating is PFOA free, so there should be no health concerns if the coating starts to come off. TECHEF also say that it is safe to use metal utensils with this grill, although we would suggest sticking to silicone utensils to be on the safe side. The bottom drip tray section is made out of aluminum, and feels very well made.
So that is a look at some of the most popular Korean stovetop grills you will find for sale on the market today. The Chefmaster indoor grill is not a model we could recommend, but it seems to be a popular choice so we felt it was worth a mention. The Kitchen Home stove top grill is a better option if you don’t want to spend too much, and it is a solid overall choice. The TECHEF grill is the priciest option, but definitely the best out of the bunch. So which one is best for you really depends on how often you intend to use it, and how much you are comfortable spending.
Remember to take a look at a few user reviews first, to make sure you are getting a quality grill.