Fight Seasonal Depression: Grill Indoors!
September 9, 2013
When the days start to turn cooler and the leaves begin to color, I often sense a sadness coming over me. I pout more, my shoulders slump, and life turns gray. Now, given my family history, it certainly could be Seasonal Affective Disorder, but I’m convinced it’s also because it is almost time to put the grill away for the winter.
And that makes me … give me a moment … tear up.
But it doesn’t have to be that way!
Get the grill out! (of the cupboard)
Let me first be clear—anyone who says indoor grilling isn’t real grilling is mistaken. Maybe you don’t get as much of the smoky goodness of outdoor grilling, but that’s what they make liquid smoke for.
And don’t even suggest that a real grillmaster would never grill indoors. A real grillmaster can grill anywhere, anytime, every time.
Finally, do NOT simply bring your outdoor charcoal or gas grill into the living room—you don’t want to asphyxiate your family! However, there are plenty of other indoor grilling options, including actual grills, grill pans, and if all else fails, your oven's broiler.
Indoor grills come in several different shapes and sizes. Some are self-contained and some are more closely related to a grill pan and you put them over the burners on your stove.
- Cuisinart Griddler Deluxe: The Deluxe Griddler This sweet new family-sized Griddler improves on the regular-sized Cuisinart Griddler. Both provide grill or griddle capabilities (or both at the same time), but the Deluxe also has SearBlast technology to sear your steaks, fish fillets, chicken breasts, or veggies.
- Waring Pro Cast Iron Grill: This grill gives you the heat retention and outdoor grilling flavor of cast-iron in a standalone countertop grill—but is smokeless. Sear steak (and other meats) to perfection year round. Prepares 6-8 hamburgers at once—or roast veggies and grill chicken or fish. This baby also helps keep your counters clean with splash guards on three sides.
- Breville Smart Grill: With reversible heating plates, the Breville can also serve as a griddle—or as half griddle, half grill. And it opens flat for BBQ mode or can be used to create grilled sandwiches or paninis by folding in half.
- Cuisinart Oven Central: Don’t let the name fool you, yes the Cuisinart can be an oven and bake cupcakes or casseroles, but it is also a contact grill. Ideal for a college student (no open coils) or for a smaller family.
- CHEFS Cast Iron Reversible Grill/Griddle: With CHEFS cast-iron reversible grill/griddle, you have the best of all worlds: char-grilled flavor, high ridges to create sear marks, and flat surface to cook breakfast or dinner entrees. Grill indoors anytime with this double burner griddle.
- Nordic Ware Flat Top Reversible Two-Burner Grill Griddle: This indoor grill sits atop two of your stove’s burners and can be used as a grill or a griddle.
Grill pans can be used for indoor or outdoor cooking. They look similar to a skillet, but have a ridged cooking surface to make sear marks and elevate foods so fats drain to the bottom.
- Le Creuset Square Grill Pan: Ideal for paninis and other grilled sandwiches, this Le Creuset pan has deep sides that make it equally perfect for burgers or bacon. Combines the performance and practicality of cast iron with a glossy porcelain enamel exterior.
- All-Clad LTD Nonstick Grill Pan: Available in round or square. The ridged cooking surface gives you the necessary grill marks while raising food so fats drain to the bottom. For healthy, flavorful meats, fish, poultry, and vegetables.
- Lodge Logic Square Grill Pan: America’s original cookware company provides a pre-seasoned high-sided square grill pan to sear meat, seafood, or vegetables.
Grilling in your broiler
Grilling with your oven’s broiler is the same concept as grilling on a grill—just upside down, according to best-selling cookbook author Mark Bittman in a piece for NBS News. The flames (heat) come from above your meat or vegetables rather than below. And—bonus—the juices of whatever you’re broiling stay in your pan.
Consider using a cast-iron (or enameled cast-iron) skillet (or grill pan) instead of your broiler pan to grill in your oven since a broiler pan is such a pain to clean. Place the skillet 2-3” away from the heating element then heat your oven to its maximum temperature (typically 550 F). After it reaches temp, turn the broiler on.
Bittman says you can grill almost anything in your oven’s broiler; meat, fish, shellfish, chicken (best without skin), even vegetables.
The biggest difference between a grill and an oven broiler is that ovens have a thermostat. This means your oven can turn itself off when it gets to a certain temperature, leaving your food to cook in its own steam. You don’t want that. To keep your broiler burning, prop open the door. This allows heat to escape and keeps the oven from reaching its highest temperature and turning off.
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