Say Goodbye to Summer, But Not Grilling
The air is getting colder
As the leaves are falling down …
Say goodbye to summer
All the leaves are changing colors
Put on your warmest jacket
“Say Goodbye to Summer,” by Harder To Fall from their album Autumn
With Labor Day behind us, it may seem the season for grilling is just about a thing of the past. Sure, there may be a weekend here or there that warrants firing up the grill, but having to put on a jacket to grill a burger just wrong.
What if the end of summer didn’t have to signal the end of grilled foods? After all, a master barbecuer only needs some meat, a spatula, and a kitchen—yes, a kitchen—to enjoy the mouthwatering flavors of perfectly grilled steaks.
When you grill indoors, you use cooking methods and surfaces that are similar to how you cook on your backyard grill. They’re similar, but not the same. You don’t want to bring a gas or charcoal grill indoors to barbeque your dinner. Why? Three good reasons:
- You’ll fill your house with smoke and carbon monoxide, threatening the breathing ability of your family and friends.
- It’s messy. Even grilling outdoors is messy (especially if you use charcoal), but that multiplies indoors.
- You’ll create a fire hazard.
So, how do you grill indoors during the fall and winter? All you need is either an electric grill or a grill pan.
When it comes to electric grills, there are a couple different types you can choose from:
- A traditionally-styled grill, like the Waring Pro Cast Iron Grill.
- A Panini type grill like the Cuisinart Griddler or the larger Griddler Deluxe.
Traditional-styled grills that sit on your counter top typically are made with a cast iron grate that sits above an electrically powered source of heat. Since there is no flame, the grill doesn’t create any smoke to will fill your house with sooty walls and unpleasant odors.
Indoor cast iron grills are heated evenly so that meat remains juicy and tender. Different temperature settings help you cook a wide range of meats and veggies to the optimal level of doneness. The grill plates allow any grease to easily drain, so the food you’re cooking ends up being a little healthier as well.
By far the simplest solution to grilling indoors is to use a grill pan. While your food won’t be gently licked by the flames of your grill, giving it a smoky, slightly charred flavor, it will be seared just right. And that locks in all the flavor and juice that grills are best for.
A cast-iron grill pan, which is similar to a griddle or skillet, sits over one or two of your stove’s burners, is easy to clean, and can be stored without taking up too much space in your kitchen cabinets.
While you aren’t grilling directly over an open flame, the process of cooking meat or vegetables with a grill pan is similar.
- You cook with a high, intense heat that is applied directly to your food.
- Very little additional fat is used when grilling the meat.
Unlike frying pans, which often have butter or oil applied to them to help prevent sticking, grill pans use the fat already found in your food to keep the food from sticking and to give it flavor. Allow your grill pan to preheat so that once you throw some meat on its surface the pan will quickly sear the outer layer, trapping all the juices within. Adjust the amount of heat you use by turning your stove’s burners up or down, according to the needs of your recipe.