When the craving to toss some burgers on the grill strikes it’s hard to resist. But when winter weather is afoot, throwing a backyard barbecue simply isn’t an option. Luckily, grilling indoors has become quite popular in recent years among creative home chefs, and there’s more than enough inspiration available for you to host your own summer-inspired BBQ right in the warmth of your own kitchen.
The first step in pulling off an indoor cookout is finding a suitable replacement for your outdoor grill. There are a slew of recommendations to be found across the internet, but grilling enthusiasts and home chefs alike share one suggestion for the most effective grilling substitute: a cast-iron grill pan.
Cast-iron grill pans have been a long-standing favorite within the culinary community and will give your meal the flavor closest to a backyard cookout. To get that “dining set covers pulled off, summer bbq” flavor, be sure to douse your pan in smoky seasoning before using. A pinch of smoked paprika will add a delicious kick to your meats.
Probably the most important step, however, is to be sure to cover your pan with a bowl or other safe covering. This will trap the smoke and saturate it into the meat, giving your meal the authentic bbq taste you’re craving.
Meat Your Match
Your choice in meats can make or break your indoor cookout. It may be tempting to toss the heartiest cut of beef the butcher offers on your cast-iron grill pan, but barbecue aficionados recommend steering clear of fatty meats that will produce excess smoke as well as large cuts of any type due to their need to be covered by a proper grill lid.
Instead, opt for lighter meat options such as hot dogs, chicken breasts, and even seafood like shrimp or fish filets. Choosing leaner cuts keeps things on the healthier side while retaining the heartiness you’re looking for. You can even recreate those classic grill marks that bring to mind pulling off the outdoor furniture covers and enjoying some food and fun in the sun.
While grilling inside and keeping the charcoal or gas grill outside with the outdoor table covers may cut down on some of the risks posed by cooking with an open flame, it’s still crucial to keep safety your number one priority when hosting a winter cookout.
Be sure to have your stove fan running for the duration of your indoor grilling session. Even though you won’t have as much smoke accumulating as you would cooking over an open flame, just a small amount of smoke can cause lung and eye irritation. As always, have a fire extinguisher at the ready to take care of the possibility of dangerous grease fires or out-of-control flames.
Using a proper charcoal grill substitute is a surefire way to emulate a summer BBQ, but a savory selection of sauces will give your indoor barbie a boost. There are a lot of great recipes out there, with many of the best cooking magazines and foodie shows providing a bevvy of delicious options. From peach to white to spicy pepper, there are bbq sauce recipes that will excite even the most discerning palette.
While spicy, flavorful sauces will keep you and your guests warm as you look out over your outdoor furniture covers keeping your backyard accessories safe from the winter cold, be sure to label your homemade sauces properly. You don’t want your guests to confuse the spicy with the smoky.
Atmosphere is Everything
When you decide to throw an indoor cookout in the chill of winter, recreating the atmosphere of a backyard BBQ is essential. The weather may not be conducive to putting away the outdoor table covers and serving up a beer-and-burger fiesta in the yard, but there’s plenty of ways to channel that fun energy while cooking indoors.
Queue up a playlist of summertime hits to stream. Kitchen chair covers can be customized with barbecue-themed graphics, while summer inspired cocktails will bring your guests right back to the warmer months. January winds may be raging against your custom insulated covers outside, but it will be nothing but summery fun inside.
Keep Clean and Carry On
A huge perk of cooking outdoors is the simple cleanup involved. While cooking in the confines of your kitchen may involve a little bit more elbow grease when it comes to cleaning up after your indoor cookout, there are steps you can take to make post-dinner tidying up a breeze.
Cleaning as you cook cuts down on the hassle of having to scrub every dish and pan after dinner has been served. As soon as you are done using a utensil or kitchen accessory, place it in the dishwasher or allow it to soak in the sink as you finish grilling. Kitchen chair covers can help prevent any grease splash staining for chairs near the stove, and any grease that escapes from your cast-iron grill pan should be cleaned immediately.