Indoor Grilling: Bringing BBQ to Your Kitchen
We all love that smoky, rich BBQ flavor, and those streaky scorch marks from the outdoor grill. When summer has arrived, all we want to do is set up the grill and start searing steaks!
But what happens if you don't have an outdoor grill? What if you don't have a backyard? What happens if it starts to rain? Luckily, you can replicate the taste of an outdoor grill by learning how to grill inside.
From the comfort of your kitchen, you can grill up burgers and sausages, or vegetable kebabs and seafood; all you need is a cast iron griddle. Here are our top tips and tricks for the perfect indoor grilling session!
Are indoor grills worth it?
For a successful indoor grill session, there's one important piece of kitchen equipment that you need to get going. While you can 'sort of' replicate the BBQ flavors and cooking experience on a skillet, you aren't going to get as close to the real thing without investing in a dedicated grill pan.
For starters, it's dangerous to use an outdoor grill indoors. The excess smoke and waste gasses can be incredibly toxic, even if you try to grill in your garage. A grill pan takes this danger away but allows you to get as close to an outdoor BBQ, indoors, as you can. But is it worth buying an indoor grill?
Most grill pans are actually multisided these days. That means that by purchasing a reversible grill, you also have a cast iron reversible griddle to use too!
You might also be wondering, 'what can you cook on a griddle?' Well, the answer is a lot! You can cook up steaks, chicken, burgers, sausages, and any other sort of meat you'd usually BBQ on an outdoor grill. You can grill shrimp, salmon, and all sorts of seafood, as well as vegetables, of course.
You'll be super surprised at how much use you can get out of a grill, so yes, having a dedicated grill for indoor grilling is always going to be worth it.
How to grill indoors
The concept of grilling indoors is essentially the same as grilling outdoors. The same principles apply whether you're grilling on a heavy, outdoor grill or small indoor grills.
When you're grilling indoors, you just need to follow a few simple steps, and you'll look like a professional, even if you've never actually used grills for indoors before. You need a heavy grill pan with raised ridges on the bottom, a dependable stovetop, and a drizzle of oil.
In four simple steps, you're on your way to grilling:
- Set up your grill pan on the stovetop in your kitchen. Heat to high temperature.
- Drizzle your oil over the bottom of the grill pan and let it heat until it starts to sizzle.
- Prepare your meats and vegetables and place them over the raised ridges of the grill pan.
- Grill on one side for a few minutes, then flip your meat and vegetables over to grill on the other side.
Once your meats and vegetables (or seafood!) are perfectly grilled indoors, it's time to serve up the feast to your hungry family and friends. You can cook almost anything indoors that you would normally cook on an outdoor BBQ! Don't forget the sides either. What's an indoor BBQ without the potato salad, after all?
Indoor grilling tips
Grilling indoors is that simple, but there are a few more tips, tricks, and hacks that you'll need to start to reproduce that authentic BBQ flavor indoors. Here are our top tips from our indoor grilling experts!
The size of the pan is important
When it comes down to the size of your grill pan, bigger is definitely better. Purpose-built outdoor grill pans are great because they have so much space. The larger your grill surface, the more you can cook, and the better organized your BBQ will be.
If you can only grill one or two items at a time, your meats are going to get cold while your vegetables are still grilling. You want to be able to serve everything piping hot in the middle, so the larger your grill pan, the better!
Cast iron is king
The material you pick is essential too. Our indoor grill experts always recommend using a heavy-duty cast iron grill pan - it is a safest cookware for your health. Not only does cast iron last forever, but it can actually add a lot to the flavor.
A well-used cast iron pan retains a lot of the taste from previous cooking sessions, while if you're using a sauce or spices when you're grilling, the iron helps to contain that flavor as you cook.
Keep your grill seasoned!
The most important tip when it comes to indoor grilling is keeping your grill pan well seasoned. Seasoning is a layer of oil that forms a protective coating on the bottom of your pan after the oil is heated up. This seasoned layer is naturally non-stick, so it ensures your meat doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
Seasoning also stops your pan from rusting while adding an extra layer of taste to your indoor grilling experience. Seasoning occurs naturally every time you cook with oil, which is why it's always important to drizzle over some oil before you start grilling.
You can also add on a more robust layer of seasoning, by baking your pan upside down in the oven after covering the bottom in oil. We recommend doing this regularly after cleaning.
Marinate your food
The quickest way to get the smoky, BBQ flavor we readily associate with a summer grill party is to marinate your food well in advance. If you can, prepare your food the night before or early in the morning.
Choose your favorite marinade, be it a classic BBQ sauce or a creamy pepper sauce, and let the juices soak in. You can do the same with seafood or with vegetables if you're vegetarian.
Don't hold back on the spices
If your indoor grilling goals are to replicate outdoor grill flavors, then don't hold back on the spices. The spices you pick can really help you to add that 'grill' element to your food. Many spices are naturally 'smoky' in flavor, and work fantastically well indoors as well as outdoors.
For a classic smoky taste, we always recommend liberally applying a smoky paprika spice to your food and letting it sizzle on the grill. There are so many more great spices too, from black peppercorns to Cajun seasoning. If you want a bit of fiery spice, then some chili powder will never go amiss either!
Use high heat for scorch marks
One of the best things about outdoor grilling is searing those scorch marks onto your food. For some reason, sausages or grilled bell peppers always taste better when they have that smoky scorch mark across them!
Well, you can easily replicate that inside on an indoor grill too. You need to get your grill pan up to high heat so that the raised ridges are ready to burn! Place your food down and let it grill, then press down hard on each side to allow the high heat sear the outside.
It is important that you only do this once, as when it comes to grilling, you're always better off leaving it to cook, rather than moving things around on the grill pan.
Indoor grilling is a great way to get that BBQ feel without ever having to leave the comfort of your kitchen! With our handy grilling tips, you'll be a master indoor griller in no time at all! Why not bookmark this article for when you next start grilling indoors?
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