Grilling is the ultimate cooking method. There is nothing better than the smell and taste of food straight from a grill, and no one knows that better we do here at Fire Food Chef!
There is, however, one thing that can ruin a good BBQ and that is rain. The whole point of grilled food is the grill—and it is not safe to bring it inside.
But that doesn't mean we have to go back to eating spaghetti. There are plenty of grill recipes that can be transferred from the grill to our kitchen.
Why should a little rain, or maybe a lot, ruin the food and fun? So put on your goggles because we are going on a culinary dive.
Before You Get Started
Before I get into all the delicious recipes, there are some important facts you should know. Safety should always come first—so keep these things in mind before taking the recipes indoors.
No matter what anyone says, never bring the outdoor grill inside your home—and that includes the garage.
Both gas and charcoal grills produce a significant amount of carbon monoxide. The gas is odorless and tasteless but can be fatal if exposed for too long.
My advice to any grill lover, if you live in an area prone to bad weather, is to get an indoor grill or a grill pan. These are easy to use and don't take up too much space in the kitchen.
Best Grills for Indoors
In order for you to achieve the best results, it's essential to have the correct tools. There is a variety of smart, indoor grills available that can do the job. You can either buy an electric countertop grill or a stovetop grill pan.
The are three varieties of electric grill to choose from—a contact grill, an open surface grill, or a stovetop grill or pan.
The contact grill is similar to a panini grill, with two sides containing heated metal plates. Simply place the meat, or whatever you're cooking, in the middle of the grill and it will cook both sides at once.
These are great because they can be used for other things as well—like making a panini for instance. The downside is that, depending on the appliance, it can take up quite a lot of countertop space.
An open grill has one flat surface—and typically has a bit more cooking space than the contact style. Open-surface grills usually come with an adjustable temperature control. The more advanced versions feature a light, indicating when the rack is at the right temperature.
A downside is that you will have to flip the food to cook evenly on both sides. This might be a negative for some, while others may prefer it as it offers more control. This one will also take up a fair amount of kitchen space.
When buying an open or contact grill, remember to look for one with removable, non-stick grill plates. These are a lot easier to clean.
Lastly, we have the stovetop grill or pan. The stovetop grill can be placed on one to two burners—depending on the model’s size.
This type is usually made of cast iron and comes with round or square-shaped pans. These are not a favorite as the larger ones are heavy and prone to heating unevenly.
The best option for small kitchens is a grill pan. They are placed directly on the stove and used as any other pan, making them lightweight and easier to handle.
If you decide to buy a grill pan, I suggest looking for one where the indentations are visible from underneath the grill. Some are smooth at the bottom, but these don't get as hot as those with grill indentations—and that's where all the sizzling is.
Not to mention those lovely grill marks. Of course, always look for pans that are non-stick, for ease of removal and cleanup.
Tips for Choosing the Right Meat
Any meat can be cooked on an indoor grill. However, not every cut is good for this type of cooking. Grilling outside does have its advantages when it comes to which cuts of meat you should use.
Extra fat and connective tissues can be cooked down by heat and smoke from the charcoal. The smoke also plays a huge role in the cooking process—as it helps to tenderize the meat. You don't have that option indoors, sadly.
When grilling indoors, it's best to look for a meat that is lean and tender. Thin cuts are best as these will cook quickly, and provide an even cook throughout the meat.
Preparing the Meat
Because we will be missing out on the smoke, I recommend making a spice rub for the meat before cooking. Salt and pepper alone won't cut it. Making a dry rub with simple flavors will give the meat a little kick.
Marinating the meat is also a good way to add flavor, if that is your preference. I recommend letting the meat sit in the marinade for an hour in the fridge—but 20 minutes can do the job if you’re short on time.
Just make sure to let the meat sit and rest for 15 to 20 minutes before cooking. The meat should be slightly cool, but don't take it straight from the fridge to the pan.
The grill or pan being used has to be thoroughly heated before putting the meat on. And remember to brush the surface with oil or use cooking spray before placing the meat on the grill. If you are using a contact grill make sure to brush both sides with oil.
Never apply pressure to the rack while the meat is cooking. Doing this won't make it cook any faster, it will only squeeze the juices out and make it dry.
Contact grills cook much faster—it should only take about half the time since it's cooking both sides at once.
Regardless of the grill you use, always check the meat with a thermometer to make sure it's cooked thoroughly.
Best Indoor Grilling Recipes
One of the great things about grilling is the versatility it offers. Most recipes can be executed indoors if the weather happens to change suddenly.
You can certainly cook meats like brisket in an oven but it will be missing one important thing though—that smoky flavor. That's the biggest downside. Instead, you’ll just have to compensate with other unique, flavor combinations.
I hope you brought a pen and paper because the recipes I am about to give out will need to be saved—and then used time and time again.
Mediterranean-Style Pork Chops with Tzatziki
One can never go wrong with pork chops and this recipe highlights flavors from the Mediterranean—such as dill, cucumber, and garlic.
Topped with a fresh tzatziki sauce, this dish makes for the perfect, rainy-day mood enhancer. It's also easy to cook on an indoor grill or pan. Here is what you need:
Start by making the marinade: combine half of the red wine vinegar with the oregano, minced garlic, and one teaspoon of olive oil. It’s possible to do this in a zip-top bag or a bowl. Add the pork and give it a good mix. Let it marinate for an hour in the fridge.
While the meat is marinating, get started on the salad. Combine the tomatoes, onion, and one cup of cucumber. Then mix the last of the vinegar and oil with a little salt and oregano. Toss until mixed well.
To make the tzatziki, combine the remaining cucumber—grated and drained—with the yogurt, garlic, dill, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to suit your taste.
For the pork chops, heat the grill to medium-high heat. Spray with cooking spray, or brush with oil.
Remove the pork from the marinade and sprinkle both sides with a little salt. Cook for four minutes on each side or until ready. Remove from the grill and let rest for two to five minutes. Serve with salad, tzatziki and a slice of pita.
The Ultimate Burger Sliders
Sliders are the new, trendy take on traditional burgers and sandwiches. When feeding a large crowd, sliders are the best option. But be sure to make enough, because this recipe will have everyone asking for more. The ingredients are:
Start by caramelizing the onions in a pan, then set aside. To prepare the patties, gently shape the meat into six, evenly-sized patties—about a quarter-inch thick. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
Bring the grill to a medium-high heat. Brush or spray with oil and place the patties directly on the rack. Let cook for one to two minutes on each side.
A good idea is to place the bun, face down, on the grill to heat it up a little, and to give it some crisp on the inside.
Place mustard, ketchup, and pickles on the bun—then top the patty with onions and cheese, followed by the top of the bun. These burger sliders go well with potato wedges and a cold beer.
Grilled Lamb Chops – Middle Eastern Style
Lamb is often a forgotten-about meat. We're always busy with beef, chicken and pork, and that's a shame. When cooked correctly, lamb chops can be incredibly tender and flavorful. This recipe will quickly become a hit with guests. Gather the following:
Combine all spices with oil and lemon juice in a big bowl, add lamb chops and mix well. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for an hour.
Heat the grill to a medium heat and coat with cooking spray. Place lamb chops on the rack and cook five to seven minutes on each side. When finished, let the lamb rest for a few minutes before serving.
This dish goes well with rice and salad. To make it even more authentic, consider adding a tahini dipping sauce—it goes nicely with lamb. Or add a minty-yogurt dipping sauce if that suits your taste.
Grilled Salmon Fillet with Red Pepper Salsa
Salmon is one of the best options for fish. It's rich in omega-3 fatty acids and did I mention delicious? Grilling the salmon only makes it better. Pair the fish with a fresh, red pepper salsa, and you’ll be ready for a quick, healthy meal. Here it is:
Combine the spices in a small bowl. Add each fillet, one at a time and rub all sides. Heat the grill to a medium-high and cook the salmon for four minutes on each side.
Prepare the salsa by chopping the bell pepper, onion, and tomato—try to cut them the same size. Combine with the remaining ingredients, drizzle with lime juice—serve with the salmon. Perfect for a rainy day.
We should never let a rainy day keep us from eating great food. Indoor grills can easily do the job, and they can make some incredibly tasty meals in no time.
I recommend finding the indoor grill that fits you, your needs and your kitchen. Don't go all out and buy the biggest, most expensive grill.
One of my favorites is the Cuisinart contact grill. It's a powerful appliance that can cook burgers to perfection. It has a nice, sturdy handle and removable, non-stick cooking plates. The grill is easy to clean and the plates can be washed in a dishwasher.
These recipes are some of my favorite for indoor cooking—I'm sure everyone will like them, too. Try adding a variety of side dishes to satisfy everyone around.