When Grilling Indoors, Cast-Iron Cookware Is Your Best Friend

The joys of grilling encompass much more than the cooking method itself. The gathering of friends, pleasant al fresco surroundings, and the sights and smells of fire all contribute to a certain kind of magic. Unfortunately, aligning such elements isn't always possible. Whether it's the absence of an outdoor space or the weather isn't cooperating, the joys of such an outing take specific conditions.

However, with the proper gear, as well as some savvy techniques, the qualities of grilled food can be replicated in a kitchen, too! And no, that doesn't mean placing an outdoor grill indoors; it produces an abundance of carbon monoxide, making the practice dangerous. Instead, it's about reaching for a cast iron pan and sizzling in just the right way to attain those mouth-watering scorch marks. With some practice, the joys of grilling can become a weeknight fixture — even in small apartments. Let's dive into the details.

Utilize cast-iron cookware to replicate grilled foods

When it comes to indoor grilling, it's all about the searing surface — so the utilized pan is the most important factor. There's not a better candidate than a hefty ridged cast iron, oftentimes called a grill pan, or similarly designed panini press. The ridges are essential since they'll lift the food above the surface, preventing the conglomeration of fat, just like with an outdoor grill. Additionally, cast iron's material is ideal for charring, since it reaches and maintains higher temperatures.

To distinguish the cast iron cooking process as grilling from searing, it's all about cooking over high heat but with suspension over the source rather than coating in oil. As a result, be extra vigilant about trimming fats off of meats and place marinated foods on a rack to drain excess liquid. Start with a squeaky clean cast iron and heat it to a high temperature. Place the food, and to mimic the act of closing a grill lid, put a metal bowl over the pan. Since the method won't produce the same amount of smoke, consider adding liquid smoke seasoning to compensate. Whether it's vegetables or protein, feel free to utilize the same grilling recipes. With a careful eye on the heat, most are easy to replicate.