Indoor Grilling 101

June 24, 2021

Whether you’re a city dweller or simply someone who doesn’t have space for an outdoor grill, you shouldn’t have to go without when it comes to grilling on those perfect warm summer nights that beg for BBQ. Here are my best indoor grilling tips!

There’s nothing better than a BBQ dinner in July, am I right? While we now have an outdoor grill that we love, that wasn’t always the case. For many summers living in a small apartment in New York City we craved grilled dinners, and I found a solution! I sincerely believe that you can get the taste of an authentic backyard BBQ from any indoor kitchen. It just takes the right tools and techniques to get those signature summer flavors.

1. Get a good grill pan

I prefer a cast-iron grill pan that sits over two stovetop burners as it holds heat really well and the ridges give your food authentic-looking grill marks. My favorite cast-iron grill pan is this one from Lodge!

Whenever you use your indoor grill pan, oil the food, not the grill pan over and over. The process should look like this – heat your pan over high heat just until it begins to smoke. Then brush your ingredients with oil and any other seasonings and grill according to the recipe directions.

Don’t forget to pre-season your grill pan if it’s not already pre-seasoned. To do this, preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and liberally rub some canola oil liberally over the pan using a clean paper towel, then bake it in the oven for 30 minutes. Turn the oven off and let the pan sit in the oven until completely cool. That’s it!

3. Go for the grill marks

To get those professional looking grill marks, place food on the grill pan at a 45-degree angle to the ridges for about 2 to 3 minutes, then rotate 90 degrees, and place the same side down on the grill pan so the ridges now run at a 45-degree angle in the opposite direction. Continue grilling for another 2 to 3 minutes. When it’s time to flip, just turn it over— don’t worry about creating marks on the other side since it won’t be the presentation side.

4. Let it be

Be patient with the process and don’t turn or flip the food before it’s ready, This can cause it to cook unevenly and fall apart. Also, a common mistake is pressing down on the food which squeezes all the juices out. Not only does this dry out your food, but that can also cause foods to burn and create more smoke.

5. Fake the smoke

The best smoky flavors are going to come from outdoor grilling (especially a charcoal grill), but make up for some of that by investing in smoky-flavored rubs and BBQ sauces. This will add additional flavors that your indoor grill pan won’t be able to.

6. Indoor ingredient winners

I think some of the best foods for indoor grilling are chicken breasts, steaks, burgers, hot dogs, shrimp, and fish fillets. (that’s a lot of options!) Larger cuts are tough to execute properly so stick to these manageably sized options.

7. Take the temp

The best way to tell when meat is done is to use a reliable instant-read thermometer to accurately check the internal temperature. I love my Thermoworks Thermapen – but admittedly it’s an investment. But I strongly feel that having a good digital thermometer is like having an insurance policy for dinner. So worth it.

8. Rest, rest, rest

Consider removing your meat from the pan when it is about 5-7 degrees below the intended internal temperature, Cover it with foil and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. The carryover cooking will bring it to the proper temp and all the juices to redistribute which will give you juicy meat or fish.

Looking for more simple weeknight recipes? Check out Recipe Club.

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