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Small Appliances

Philips' smokeless grill is mostly haze-free

The Avance Collection Indoor Grill gets your meat a-cooking but grease removal is a pain.

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Food will get seared, just like a real charcoal grill.

Aloysius Low/CNET

When I first heard of the Philips Avance Collection Indoor Grill last year, I was impressed with the idea that I'd be able to do my meat grilling indoors without clogging up the apartment with smoke.

While the grill works mostly as advertised during the time I spent with it, you'll still have to deal with the fragrance of cooked meat filling up your home.

How it works is pretty simple, instead of charcoal, you plug the grill into a power outlet and the infrared heaters, which are angled to bounce the beams towards the meat at the top, do the magic. There are two heat settings, a keep warm function, and one that pumps up the temps to 230 degrees Celsius (446 degrees Fahrenheit). Turn it on, and you can get to cooking straightaway. There are no smart apps or controls you need to worry about.

The grill takes about five minutes to warm up, and you can then lay out your meats and watch them cook. To be smoke free though, you'll need to use lean cuts -- it's the burning fat that causes much of the smoke. Also note that there's not too much space to work with, you can grill about four burger patties at the most at one time.

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There's enough space to grill enough food for four.

Aloysius Low/CNET

I found that having a constant temperature made things easy to manage, and the food, such as pork loins and chicken breasts, were cooked to perfection -- with grill marks to boot. That said, there might be some who would prefer finer control over the heat output, especially if you want to sear or cook your meat slower.

As the grill is non-stick, there's no need to butter or oil up the grill in advance, and fat that seeps out from the meat drips below to the collecting pan. Both the removable grill top and pan can be chucked in a dishwasher, so no worries there.

The only issue that bugged me was that fat and grease would collect at the sides as well as the reflectors, and they were pretty hard to remove once the grill cooled down. You can't wash those parts, and I've tried different grease removers with no luck. I didn't want to use a stronger, more abrasive sponge, as that could scratch the mirrored finish of the reflectors.

The Philips Avance Collection Indoor Grill is a great product if you're living in a small apartment (like me) with no outdoor spaces for a proper smokey grill, but you'll have to figure out how to either ignore the grease stains or clean it (with a lot of work).

Retailing for about $280 in the US, the Avance Collection Indoor Grill doesn't appear to be available in Australia or the UK. You can get it in Singapore, where I tested it, as well as other countries in Southeast Asia.

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