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How to Get That Outdoor Grilled Flavor (Without Having to Go Outdoors)

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The weather outside may be frightful, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy a smoky, charred dinner indoors. In our soon-to-launch book, Any Night Grilling, author Paula Disbrowe offers year-round alternatives so you can get your grill on from the comfort of your own kitchen—no charcoal required. All you’ll need is a good grill pan, a can-do attitude, and some all-weather recipes to get you going. You won't even wish for warm summer evenings out on the deck, hoppy beer in hand and steak sizzling away (though Paula's got that covered, too).

Our Next Cookbook Will Have You Heading Outside
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Our Next Cookbook Will Have You Heading Outside

For Paula, a grill pan has a rightful place in the pantheon of fire-powered options.

When the weather isn’t cooperating or you’re in a pinch, you can use a grill pan on your stove top to create similar results, with everything from breakfast sausage to vegetables. Your best bet is a heavy, enamel-coated cast-iron model, which cooks evenly and maintains an even heat. The ridges on the bottom create sear marks and elevate food above drippings. Grill pans are particularly well suited for quick-cooking items like chicken breasts, lamb chops, firm cheeses, and vegetables. What you don’t get, of course, is the ambient heat and deeper flavors created by a live fire.

But don't let that stop you from going after that signature char. Just prep your pan right, and you're good to go.

If you’re using a grill pan, preheat it over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes, until very hot (a drop of water will sizzle and quickly evaporate). Oil the pan just before cooking; otherwise it will smoke and burn.

As for what you can make on your grill pan, the possibilities are endless. Below are a few ideas to get you started. And if a recipe calls for an outdoor grill, stick to the same cooking time on its cozier indoor cousin.

Make it meaty

Grilled Flank Steak with Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette

Grilled Flank Steak with Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette by meganvt01

Pistachio Lamb Burger with Tzatziki

Pistachio Lamb Burger with Tzatziki by Laurie

Jerk Chicken Kebabs

Jerk Chicken Kebabs by sdebrango

Lamb Biftekia with Anchovy, Sun-Dried Tomato, and Mint

Lamb Biftekia with Anchovy, Sun-Dried Tomato, and Mint by Alexandra V. Jones

Carne Asada con Rajas

Carne Asada con Rajas by Waverly

Chicken Cutlets Grilled in Charmoula with Quick-Cured Lemon Confit

Chicken Cutlets Grilled in Charmoula with Quick-Cured Lem... by creamtea

Simple Summer Pork Chops with Balsamic-Pepper Plum Reduction and Fresh Thyme

Simple Summer Pork Chops with Balsamic-Pepper Plum Reduct... by kerrylow

Aromatic Grilled Chicken Thighs

Aromatic Grilled Chicken Thighs by Primal Palate

How about some veg?

Cauliflower Steaks with Green Harissa

Cauliflower Steaks with Green Harissa by Paula Disbrowe

Grilled Eggplant Agrodolce With Mint & Fresno Pepper

Grilled Eggplant Agrodolce With Mint & Fresno Pepper by Sarah Fioritto

Portobello Sliders with Pepita Pesto

Portobello Sliders with Pepita Pesto by Love and Lemons

Anna Klinger's Grilled Swiss Chard Stems with Anchovy Vinaigrette

Anna Klinger's Grilled Swiss Chard Stems with Anchovy Vin... by Genius Recipes

Grilled Avocado "Guacamole" with Parmesan and Basil

Grilled Avocado "Guacamole" with Parmesan and Basil by Merrill Stubbs

Grilled Corn with Basil Butter

Grilled Corn with Basil Butter by lisina

Fully Grilled Caesar Salad

Fully Grilled Caesar Salad by Loves Food Loves to Eat

Grilled Baby Bok Choy with Miso Butter

Grilled Baby Bok Choy with Miso Butter by lbrussell

Don't forget about dessert

Grilled Doughnut Strawberry Shortcakes

Grilled Doughnut Strawberry Shortcakes by Sarah Coates

Grilled Figs with Homemade Lavender Crème Fraîche

Grilled Figs with Homemade Lavender Crème Fraîche by Beth Kirby | {local milk}

Grilled Chocolate Sandwiches

Grilled Chocolate Sandwiches by Alice Medrich

Grilled Stone Fruit with Coconut Snow

Grilled Stone Fruit with Coconut Snow by savorthis

Tell us what you like to throw down on your grill pan! And for more ideas on what to fire up before shorts season officially hits, pre-order your signed copy of Any Night Grilling!


Tags: Steak, Winter, Grill/Barbecue, Books