When we think of cooking during the summertime, we all envision the smoky hot embers coming from an outdoor grill as we enjoy the sunshine and good company. But what do you do if you’re longing for the taste of burgers, steaks, or veggies, and don’t have a grill?
The answer might not be all that surprising, but we’re here to tell you that you can still capture the same taste and flavor of an outdoor grill, inside! Your oven is capable of conquering practically all of the same eats an outdoor grill can, it’s just a matter of how to do it.
If you don’t have access to a grill, or if it’s just flat-out too hot to cook outside, check out how you can whip up some delicious meals that will give off the exact same outdoorsy flavor, all by using your oven.
When we talk about using your oven as a comparable option to your outdoor grill, the main feature you’re going to focus on is the broiler. The broiler is perhaps the best-kept secret lurking inside your oven, and plenty of people still aren’t aware of how many benefits it offers.
Broiling is essentially upside-down grilling, or radiant heat coming from above versus radiant heat from below. Using the broiler will provide intense heat for grilling or searing, and can even cook things faster and more efficiently than an outdoor grill. In fact, many of the best steakhouses in the country broil their steaks rather than grill them.
Using your oven’s broiler to grill up grub inside can be a very convenient alternative to cooking outside. It takes half of the effort of getting the grill ready, plus, your finished product will be just as good – if not better!
However, using your oven to grill inside is extremely dependent on setting the right temperature. On some ranges, you can set a precise temperature for broiling, but for others, there’s only low and high broil which can make it a little trickier to cook foods just right.
Low broil is usually between 400 and 450 degrees, and high broil is between 450 and 550 degrees. We recommend using low broil for thicker foods that need to go to a high internal temperature, like chicken breasts and other meats. And if you’re cooking veggies, such as eggplant or zucchini, use high broil to get a nice quick char on the outside without overcooking.
Along with the proper temperature, another key component of grilling with your oven is setting the correct position for your cooking racks. If your food is too close to a direct flame, it can brown or burn on the outside before it’s cooked through. Or even worse, it can even ignite and start a fire.
And if the food is too low, the broiling element can’t work its magic, and your food will look like it was baked or roasted. Most ovens have four to seven rack positions, so we recommend experimenting with the different positions to find the perfect spots for your different dishes.
Choosing the Right Pan
As our last piece of advice for using your oven to grill, we want to stress the importance of using the right pan. Not using the right pan can result in your meals being ruined and huge messes being made inside your oven.
Broilers produce intense heat, causing the fat in foods to render quickly, so that’s why we recommend using a broiler plan or something equivalent. Broiler pans are specifically designed to facilitate fat dripping away so that it doesn’t accidentally ignite, and they have a lower pan to catch drippings with a slotted upper pan that allows rendered fat to drip down.
On an outdoor grill, this happens naturally as fat drips away from food through the grates as it cooks.
On the days where it’s too scorching to cook outside or a grill isn’t an option, using your oven to cook up foods can be a fantastic option. Ovens can still create the same flavor and aroma of an outdoor grill, all without you having to break a sweat.
And if you think your oven might need an upgrade this summer, we’ve got your back! We offer a