You don’t have access to an outdoor space for grilling. Sad. But there’s hope for that mesquite-grilled, smoky flavor — even if you live in a big city or apartment where traditional charcoal or gas grills aren’t allowed (ugh). You don’t want to blow up the place, do you? This sunny, warm-weather bummer can still include a crunchy char and grill marks when we show you how to grill indoors using these select grill pans and appliances. Check out the merits of each type of grill for your potential shopping pleasure.
For most surfaces, you’ll want to lightly rub the grill or grill ridges with canola oil, and brush your steak, kebabs, chicken, vegetables, or seafood with olive oil, salt, and pepper before throwing it on the heat. If your pan starts to smoke before you place your food on it, then it’s too hot. But let your food smoke a bit, and make sure to turn on fans and open windows. You want that smoky flavor, don’t you?
The same rules for handling meat on an outdoor grill apply indoors: don’t move the food too much once it’s on the grill, and after you take it off, let it sit a few minutes before slicing, if you’re going to slice.
Nothing compares to real outdoor grilling with charcoals, or even gas. Electric grills just don’t compare. But there are a few tricks, such as rubbing on some smoked salt and smoked paprika. Now get out (in) there and grill with one of these grills, which we curated as our favorites, starting from the highest to the lowest price points.
1. Le Creuset Enameled Square Skillet Grill Pan | Buy
This is the Mercedes of grill pans, and the price tag doesn’t let you forget. But you will never need another one in your lifetime. It’s 10.25 square inches. People love cast iron because of the superior heat distribution and retention. Usually you can’t place the pans in the dishwasher, though, so this dish washer-safe pan is a bonus. We still would be reluctant to put it in the dishwasher though. The ridges provide tasty grill marks on food and allow for lower-fat cooking as the excess fat drips down. Cast-iron handle and opposite handle make carrying heavy cast iron easier, and the colorful (six color choices) exterior enamel resists chipping and cracking. $179.95. Buy it here. (For a much more affordable option, check out the Lodge grill pan for $14.19.)
2. All-Clad Nonstick Grande Grille | Buy
With a surface area of 20-by-13 inches, it’s truly grand. Place the pan over two of your burners to transform your stovetop into a commercial-quality grill. You can adjust your burners to cook foods at different temperatures on the same pan. The three-layer, hard-anodized aluminum, stainless steel, nonstick pan releases your food easily and resists scratches. You can use it in the oven including the broiler too. $99.95. Buy it here.
3. Cuisinart 5-in-1 Griddler | Buy
Don’t be fooled by the griddler name on this countertop appliance. It’s a contact grill, panini press, full grill, full griddle, and half grill/half griddle. There’s a floating cover to adjust to the thickness of the food, or you can not use the cover. The surface area of each plate is 11-by-9 inches. Change the grill out for a flat-top surface, but the grill’s nonstick cooking plates drain grease into the drip tray for healthier cooking. Adjustable temperature controls with indicator lights are nice, and the brushed steel looks classy. $84. Buy it here.
4. Delonghi Perfecto Indoor Grill | Buy
This grill is better than other similar ones, mainly because it has a cover to keep your food warm while it’s resting. The drip tray is easy to remove and clean. It’s also quite affordable. The large surface area means you can cook enough meat to feed a family of four, but it also means it’s a space hogger on your counter. The thermostat can help you ensure you don’t under-cook or over-cook your meat, seafood, and poultry. $47.95. Buy it here.
5. George Foreman Electric Grill | Buy
This is the classic, the standard of indoor grills, touted more than 15 years ago as a healthier way of cooking indoors because the fat drains into the tray in front of the sloping grill. There’s about 60 square inches to cook about two burgers or steaks at once. The nonstick grill surface is nice, as is the removable plate, which you can stick in the dishwasher. $39.99. Buy it here.
— Head Image: Zojirushi Indoor Electric Grill/Amazon.