Want to grill but don’t have a grill? Learn how to grill without a grill with these 4 easy methods.
Imagine digging into a piece of juicy steak that smells amazingly delicious grill marks across it, signaling that you are about to put something yummy inside your belly. Meat cooked over a grill is nothing short of divine especially when accompanied by grilled vegetables and marinated with the best seasoning in family’s secret recipe book. There is magic and a certain umami when that smokey flavor gets imparted unto whatever piece of protein, vegetable or food which is cooking on a barbecue grill.
Unfortunately, not everyone has the space or the time to set up a propane or charcoal grill and start a barbecue. It is important that when you are dealing with open flame cooking, you have the right space and have enough open area to avoid any accidents as well as not end up smoking up the entire house!
If you are one of those people who do not have the area or the grill to make your barbecue dreams come true, do not despair or lose hope! Believe it or not, the option to grill is still very much available for you! You can definitely enjoy food that looks and more importantly, taste like it has been cooked in an open flame grill. All you need to know is how to grill without a grill.
Grilling without the actual grill? It does sound a little confusing and maybe a wee bit impossible, right? Not really. Here are some of the best ways you can deliver that same smokey, tasty goodness of food like it just came off the BBQ!
1. CAST IRON GRILL PAN
One of the ways for you to grill without a grill is to invest in a good grill pan, specifically a cast iron one. Grill pans can be used indoors and will sit comfortably on top of your stove or burner at home.
Grill pans have different sizes and models that will cater to your needs. Some pans come with a handle or two, making it easy to move around and use. There are grill pans which are small enough to cook a serving of steak while there are others which are spacious and large enough to sit across two burners, giving you more cooking area as if you are actually grilling on a flat top grill.
Grill pans are also good equipment to cook meat in since it has ridges on the bottom which allows the fat to drip off and away from the food so it does not boil or simmer in its own juices. These pans are also made of good quality but not extremely expensive.
How to Grill on a Grill Pan
- A lot a few hours for your protein to marinate to infuse all the flavors into it.
- Heat the grill pan from medium to high then add a little bit of oil. Use as little oil as possible to give your meat a better sear.
- Wait until the pan is hot before putting your protein in.
- Flip once, halfway through your cooking so you will get a good char or sear on both sides.
How is the grilled flavor imparted?
Food gets its grilled flavor from the contrast in taste because the meat will have areas that are charred while others just get browned. So, the difference between the cooking of the portions will give you that barbecue-like flavor. This is achieved through high heat which makes cast iron grill pans the best option since it can handle high temperature while distributing the heat evenly. This results to a rich brown sear on the surface of your meat while mimicking great looking grill marks as well.
- Grill pans will not give food the same smoky flavor that you will usually get from a grill.
- They are bulky and somewhat heavy which can be difficult to maneuver or store in a small kitchen.
- You will run the risk of smoking out your apartment if you heat your grill pan for too long.
2. OVEN BROILING
The broiler in your kitchen is actually a very good equipment to grill without using a grill. In case you haven’t explored your oven yet, it is highly convenient to know that it comes with a broil function which is perfect to grill fish, poultry, meats and even vegetables.
A broiler works like an upside-down grill where instead of heat emanating from the bottom, it actually comes from above. It works very well with food and recipes that require direct heat when cooking. Both grill and broiler require direct high temperature to actually cook the food. The broil option in your oven is perfect for quick-cooking grill recipes.
Most kitchen ovens come with a broil option or setting so you can simply opt to buy an oven that fits the space in your kitchen best. If you have limited counter space, choose the ones that are compact but have different cooking options plus, there are also vertical ovens with broiling features which are great space savers.
How to Grill in a Broiler
- Set the oven rack unto the highest position about 4 to 6 inches from the heat source.
- Turn on the grill function in your oven and preheat for at least 5 to 10 minutes depending on the size of your oven.
- Prepare the pan and line it with foil. Choose a pan that has ridges so that the oil will drip away from the meat and it doesn’t boil or simmer in its own juices.
- Lightly spray the pan with oil and place the food in it. Place the pan into the preheated oven, leaving a small opening in the door to prevent the oven from getting too hot. This keeps the food from burning.
- Once you reach the food’s halfway cooking time, flip it so that it cooks evenly on both sides.
- If you are broiling vegetables, be sure to check on them frequently since they can burn easily when cooked in high heat.
How is the grilled flavor imparted?
The broiler cooks food almost the same as the grill making meat or chicken juicy and tender on the inside while being crispy on the outside. The heat comes from the top of the oven with temperatures around 500 to 550 Fahrenheit. Ovens also have rotisserie options which can be good for cooking poultry and meat evenly while keeping the juices locked in, much like cooking a steak on the grill. Overall, your meat will get a good char.
- There won’t be any grill marks or smokey flavor imparted in your food.
- You constantly have to look into the oven to check on your protein, especially vegetables unlike the easy view and access you can get from grilling or cooking on a grill pan directly on a stove.
3. THE SMOKING GUN
Smoking food is not necessarily grilling however, if you are looking to enjoy meat that has that smokey flavor without using a charcoal grill or an actual smoker, then you best bet is to use a smoking gun. This device is used by most chefs especially when they want to impart certain flavors into an ingredient or protein. Unfortunately, smoking guns are quite expensive.
Don’t despair though because you can actually use a DIY method!
How to Use an Indoor Smoker
- Use a wok or a disposable aluminum pan and line it with heavy duty foil.
- Select your choice of hardwood chip (i.e., applewood, mesquite, hickory etc…) and spread them out on top.
- Place another layer of foil on top of the wood chips and then place a rack on top of it.
- Cover the rack with foil and poke holes in the top.
- Turn on your burner on high heat and set the wok or disposable pan on top of it.
- Once you see smoke rising at an even rate from the pan, place the food you want to smoke on the rack and cover the “rigged smoker” tightly with foil.
- Smoke for 30 to 60 seconds before uncovering and removing the food before you broil or cook the food in a grill pan.
How is the grilled flavor imparted?
The food will be grilled on a grill pan or the broiler after it has been smoked with the DIY smoker or if you use a regular smoking gun. This adds an additional level of flavor to your meat and elevates your food as well. The smokey flavor of the woodchips you selected to use will also give that hint of flavor reminiscent of how you also put wood chips on your grill or barbecue as it cooks.
- Smoking is not grilling and will not cook the protein entirely during the process.
- Smoking usually works best with sliced vegetables, fillets of fish and smaller pieces of meat.
4. SMOKY INGREDIENTS
Finally, one of the easiest and fastest ways for you to impart a smokey and fake grilled flavor to your food is by using SMOKY INGREDIENTS!
You can use spices and condiments like smoked salt, smoked paprika, barbecue rub, marinades and sauces as you cook with any of the aforementioned methods above. Just remember to use them sparingly so you can get the proper balance in your meal. Don’t go overboard, especially with chipotles and spicy chilis or else you will end up burning your mouth and not your meat!
Remember, these methods will not bring you the 100% barbecue or grilling experience but will somehow satisfy your cravings for it. If you absolutely got to have that traditional, charcoal grilled meat, then you might want to go out for a lovely BBQ dinner in restaurant or plan a camping trip!
Hi, I’m Adam and I’m a HUGE fan of Food and Cooking.
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