May We Recommend: Grill Pans | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

May We Recommend: Grill Pans

Grill Pan (Ronnie Fein)

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I have a friend who cooks on an outdoor grill, even in the dead of winter, even when there’s a foot of snow on the ground.

Not me! When I'm stuck at home, it’s too cold to go outside, or simply don't have access to a barbecue, I sort of grill indoors, using a cast iron grill pan, a lesson learned from an apartment-dwelling city friend.

It’s not the same, of course. The smoky, barbecue flavor is difficult to mimic, but the crispy edge and comforting heat stripes help make the dish a more-than-reasonable facsimile. I’ve used my indoor grill pan for burgers, steak, lamb chops, fish, and boneless chicken breasts.

Here are a few pointers I’ve learned over the years that help make indoor grilling more successful:

  1. Get a good, heavy, large, cast iron grill pan. (A regular cast iron pan will do, if you don’t mind being minus the grill stripes). Make sure you season the pan.
  2. Preheat the pan for at least 15 minutes in the oven (500 degrees) or 5 minutes on a cooktop on high. The pan should be very hot before you add the food.
  3. Brush the food lightly with vegetable oil to keep it from sticking.
  4. Don’t crowd the pan; leave plenty of room between pieces (this enhances browning).
  5. It helps to place a heavy metal object such as another pan, on top of the food, to weight it down.
  6. Any favorite seasoning will do; smoked salt, smoked paprika and similar spices will give it more of an outdoorsy flavor. Serve the food as is or brush with barbecue sauce (for the last few minutes of cooking) for a more authentic summer feel.

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