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Infrared main burner(s) for Napoleon P500?

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    Infrared main burner(s) for Napoleon P500?

    Hi,

    Does anyone have experience with replacing a main burner (or 2?) in the Napoleon Prestige 500 with an infrared “sear” burner?

    I’ve had a P500 for about 6 months and have discovered that 80% of the time I’m just using the little side sear burner. I like to put a good char on steaks, and then bring them up to interior temperature very slowly — either in a very low oven (foolproof) or occasionally in the main part of the grill on the cooler side of a 2-zone setup (saves a trip inside, but requires more monitoring and can’t maintain as low a temperature reliably). While the Napoleon side sear burner is hands down the best steak searer I’ve found (outside of taking the time/mess to run the Santa Maria), I feel kind of stupid keeping a giant grill on my tiny patio to just use its side burner… and the side burner is so small that if I’m cooking for 4 I have to sear in batches.

    So I was pretty intrigued when I discovered that Napoleon makes a retrofit kit that lets you replace one of the 4 main burners with an infrared sear burner. (Presumably you can even replace more than one…) I’ve ordered two. Does anyone have any experience with these? A few things I’m wondering:
    • Which 2 burners should I replace if I want to maximize searing surface area but not lose the ability to occasionally do a traditional 2-zone low-and-slow cook in the grill? Can the sear burners be turned down low enough to serve as the hot side of a 2-zone during a long, ~200F cook? Or should I alternate their placement (I.e., sear, normal, sear, normal) so that I still have one normal on the hot side side? (If so, any problem with the meat slowly dripping over the one of the turned-off sear burners while it cooks? The flame holes look tiny and I’d imagine could clog easily if juice/sauce/spices drip while the burner is off and can’t just carbonize the drips…) Or can the rear (rotisserie) burner go low enough to make the whole grill function as a low-temperature outdoor oven?
    • What sort of grate should I use over the sear burners? I have Grill Grates today, but I was assuming I’d go back to the stock stainless steel grate on at least one side once the sear burners go in? (I know the side sear burner is useless with the stock cast iron grate, but fortunately Napoleon makes an awesome stainless replacement…)
    • I realize part of getting a really strong sear is positioning the meet very close to the heat source… and it looks like the traditional gas burners are located much further below the grill grate than the sear burner is under its grate. Does anyone have any ideas how to reduce this distance (e.g., jury rig a lower grate over the new main sear burner)?
    Thanks in advance for any advice!

    -Mike

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