The Solaire Anywhere Portable Infrared Grill is a full-sized, no-compromises top-quality grill wrapped up in a super-portable package. It even comes with its own carrying bag, and — a very nice touch — has flip locks that hold the lid closed when stowed. This grill is small in size, but not cooking power; it puts out 14,000 BTUs, nearly twice what is typical for portable grills. The secret is that instead of conventional burners, it uses a ceramic infrared grid that heats in seconds (full-blast in less than three minutes), cooks in a flash, and cools down in about 15 minutes with no coals to dispose of. It uses 1-lb. propane bottles or a 20-lb. tank with optional adaptor. It can also be converted for use with natural gas.
The grill’s surface area may seem small (155-sq. inches), but food cooks so fast, it will handle a meal for four without any trouble. The unit is super easy to clean: The burner self-cleans if you let it run on high for a few minutes after everything is off the grill — anything on the burner simply vaporizes. Both the grilling grate and burner easily lift out, allowing for easy wipe-down of the steel housing. Best of all, the Solaire is elegantly designed and ruggedly built for a lifetime of use. The basic unit is made from commercial-grade 304 stainless steel; there’s also a marine-grade version in 316 stainless.
Although I never take my grill anywhere beyond our patio, I wanted a high-performance grill that I could set up in an instant and hide away in a closet, as I hate the look of those big grills that take up deck space. Mine is 21″x12″x 3″, including the carrying handles, and weighs 20 lbs. with the carry bag. The Solaire fits the bill perfectly for me, but it is really designed for RV-ers, car-campers, tailgaters and boaters. It also has some nice accessories: Car-campers will like the collapsible tripod base, while boaters should check out the gimbaled deck rail clamp.
The only hitch is cost: At $285-$400 the Solaire is more expensive than other previously-reviewed portable grills. But as our parents told us, sometimes spending a bit extra on quality saves money (and grief) in the long term. Cost kept me from buying the Solaire three years ago. Instead, I purchased another brand name portable for $150. It was great at first, but hard to clean and started failing in the second season. I repaired it and donated it to a charity; and then bought the Solaire.