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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Indoor Grilling

One of the first things we bought as newlyweds was a charcoal outdoor grill. Shortly after that a small tabletop hibachi joined our outdoor cooking equipment. The problem with both was could not be used indoors so we went without grilling during the cold winter months. Let me tell you that first barbeque of the season was very much anticipated! A few years later we bought our first propane outdoor grill that saw a considerable amount of year round use. We are a bit more refined now using a natural gas grill as well as charcoal and wood for cooking outdoors. I've posted several times on this blog how I use my outdoor grill as an oven and that we grill outdoors year round.

Grilling outdoors is not as pleasant during a snow or thunderstorm! I was very excited when I found my first indoor grill and oh how I wish I had taken a picture of it! It was about the diameter of a large, round slow cooker and made of ceramic. An inner cone shaped insert sat on the rim. A couple of cups of water was poured into the cone insert to help control smoke. The open burner went on top followed by a small grill. Unfortunately the water did not control the smoke so we had to open the kitchen window and disable the smoke alarms but we were at least able to grill indoors during inclement weather. The other downside was the small cooking surface so we had to grill in batches. Fast forward to recent years and indoor grilling has taken on a whole new meaning!

Jenn-Air grillChicken Medallions

We currently have two indoor grills. One is a removable cartridge for our Jenn-Air® downdraft range and the other is a tabletop model made by Charlescraft. My indoor grill of choice is the cartridge for my range. It consists of a 2000 W burner, drip pan and 2 coated grates. The drip pan has a small drainage hole that allows any juices to flow though to a removable drip pitcher under the stove. The high velocity, filtered downdraft system (white grate cover at top) virtually eliminates any smoking issues! It has a large surface area for grilling as well. The temperature can easily be adjusted.

Pictured are grilled chicken medallions I made a few months ago. Surprisingly this grill cartridge sees more use for grilling vegetables and breads than it does for meats. It gives lovely grill marks with consistent results. However, there are times that the countertop indoor grill comes in handy.

CounterCraft grillCounterCraft Grill

A countertop indoor grill is especially suitable for those living in apartments where other types of grills are not allowed. We bought the tabletop model at a closing out sale for Eaton's. At the time it was expensive at $79 despite being on sale at 50% off so I don't have the heart to get rid of it. It has about half of the cooking surface as the Jenn-Air® grill cartridge and it takes up counter space during use but it does a fairly decent job. The base is deep enough to hold a couple of cups of water to reduce smoking. There is a small side griddle to keep food warm. It's supposed to function as a griddle but it doesn't! There is a detachable splatter shield to protect your walls as well. The real downside to this particular grill and most countertop grills is there is only one temperature. However, most of the parts are dishwasher safe.

round steakRound Steak

Pictured is the marinated (herbs & garlic) round steak we grilled on Monday. As a side I cut up left over baked potatoes and warmed them as well using the small side griddle. The small simple side salad was topped with mashed avocado rather than salad dressing.

Using an indoor grill even if the grilling temperature can be adjusted has it's limitations. Unlike an outdoor grill, indoor grills do not have cooler spots. The food is grilled using direct heat only for the entire grill surface making them unsuitable for cooking more than one type of food at a time. This can be overcome to some degree if the indoor grill temperature can be adjusted. In this case you can grill the meat first, reduce the temperature then grill the vegetable. Design limitations of indoor grills simply do not permit cooking foil wrapped potatoes or foil packets. Indoor grills cannot be used for low, slow grilling nor can they be used with foil smoking packets. Some smoke is to be expected when using any indoor grill so do take that into consideration. Minimize this problem by grilling lean cuts of meats. Avoid chicken with the skin on, sausages and any cut of meat with a strip of fat on it. Despite the limitations an indoor grill is a worthwhile addition to your kitchen appliance collection!

1 food lovers commented:

Garden Gnome said...

Thanks Marly :)