On days when it’s too wet or cold to grill outside, we all appreciate being able to whip up a barbecue indoors. There’s something about the grilled flavor of foods that oven cooking doesn’t quite replicate.
Here’s how to do indoor grilling so that you can enjoy succulent grilled food year-round.
The most important thing to know about indoor grilling is that it does not involve an outdoor grill inside.
Outdoor charcoal and gas grills give off carbon monoxide, which can kill you, even in small amounts. Every year people make this fatal mistake.
For indoor grilling, you MUST use a grill or grill pan like the cast iron Uno Casa model designed for indoor grilling.
Go for Cast Iron
You’ll want to use a cast iron indoor grill rather than a Teflon or other type of grill. Why? Because cast iron holds heat very effectively, and there are built-in ridges for those grill marks you’re after.
You’ll need to season your cast-iron grill first, but the results will be worth it.
To season your cast-iron grill:
1. Wash and dry it.
2. Heat it for a few minutes on the stove afterward to get rid of any lingering moisture.
3. Rub it all over – inside and out – with cooking oil.
Repeat this seasoning process 3 or 4 times, and that’s it! You’ll never have to do it again since you’ll be using fat every time you use your grill.
Oil Both Sides of Your Food
To prevent burning and sticky bits of charred food (which isn’t healthy for anyone, nor does it taste good), oil both sides of your food before grilling.
For fatty meats, trim the fat before grilling. Yes, you want some fat on the grill, but too much fat will lead to more smoke than you might want or need. For instance, duck breasts are not the best choice for grilling, as there will be quite a lot of smoke created by all that fat.
Choose foods without large portions of fat, such as steaks, chicken breasts, shrimp, fish fillets, burgers, and hot dogs.
For vegetables, slice thick ones lengthwise, such as eggplant or zucchini.
Make Grill Marks
We eat with our eyes as well as our tastebuds, so press grill marks into your food before serving. Press your meat at a 45-degree angle to the grill lines on the pan for a few minutes. Then rotate and do it on the other side.
Your food will look like it has come fresh off of the barbecue grill.
Try Smoking up Your Marinade
You can use a smoky flavored barbecue sauce or marinade to add that BBQ touch. Liquid smoke is another option – add a few drops to your sauces and marinades. Liquid smoke is made from flavor compounds taken from real smoke.
Don’t over marinate, however. Food that has been sitting in marinade for too long can actually toughen up. This is because flesh breaks down while in contact with acidic ingredients such as vinegar or lemon juice.
Marinate lean cuts of meat for a maximum of 2 hours, and fish for only 20 minutes.
Spice rubs are another way to enhance the flavor of your grilled food. Spices such as smoked paprika or dried chipotle can accomplish a similar effect to liquid smoke and taste delicious. On the other hand, if you’re really looking for that authentic smoky taste, an offset smoker is still the best option. However, you would have to take your cooking outdoors.
A note on salt: Salt is best added to your food just before serving. If you salt your meat on the grill, it will dry out faster. In the case of red meat, the salt will make the texture tougher when added before grilling. Wait till it’s on your plate.
Don’t Press Down
When grilling your food, it can be tempting to press down on those steaks to see the juices come out. However, by doing so, you are drying out your food, so avoid this temptation. Let your food grill nicely and save the inner juices when you are cutting into it on your plate.
Let It Rest
Remove your meat when it reaches about 5 degrees shy of your desired internal temperature. Then cover it loosely with foil and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. This will increase the temperature to the desired amount while allowing the juices to redistribute themselves throughout the meat. You’ll enjoy juicy mouthfuls of food as a result.
Enjoy your indoor grilling and bon appetit!