I'll admit that I'm in complete denial that the seasons are changing. Summer gives us far too many pleasures, and I'm just not ready to give them up. But for those of you who are on the same page, I've found a little bit of solace. With Sanyo's Smokeless Electric Indoor Grill ($39.95), I've kept summer's most prized culinary offering close throughout the rest of the year, and I've just broken it out for another season of heavy use.
Aside from its economical price point, I was drawn to Sanyo's grill because it's theoretically supposed to be smokeless. When I purchased it, I lived in a college dorm equipped with the most sensitive of fire alarms, but nothing was going to get between me and the perfect piece of churrasco. This is how it works: the grill is set atop a shallow tray that you fill with water, forming a drip pan that minimizes smokiness and makes cleanup a breeze. To its credit, I never set off the alarm, but "smokeless" may be too big a claim. Place the grill under a hood, however, and the problem is solved.
I've found that one of the grill's main selling points is its size—you can easily cook ten burgers at a time, which is great since grilling tends to be a group activity whether you do it outdoors or in.
Of course, there are things you'll miss about a real outdoor grill—no electric model will give your chops the flavor of wood chips or charcoal, and this particular one doesn't have a cover, which is a clear detractor. I've remedied this by covering my meats with a layer of aluminum foil, which works well but admittedly looks a bit funny. Countering this weakness is the fact that the grill has easy temperature control up to 425°F, and the heat distributes evenly throughout the surface.
Overall, I'm a fan of the grill. I've gotten tons of use out of it over the years I've owned it, and find that the drip tray keeps the flavor of my burgers and steaks cleaner than if I'd prepare them stove-top. Not only does this give me a healthier and tastier meal, but it also keeps my apartment from smelling like food for the next week, and that's always a good thing, year round.