How to Get Outdoor Grill Taste with an Indoor Grill

A grill.
  • 1-2 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 50-100
What You'll Need
Open-Faced grill or griddle
Marinated Meat
What You'll Need
Open-Faced grill or griddle
Marinated Meat

An indoor grill is often the best solution for those who prefer not to have the weather dictate their grilling schedule. Compared to just a couple of years ago, indoor grilling technology is much improved. Though the true smokey flavor made by an outdoor grill is still mostly unattainable on an indoor grill, there are various steps to follow that can bring you closer to that taste. The main differences between an outdoor grilling flavor and a more stove-like flavor is the type of grill, how the food is prepared, and how you use the grill.

Step 1 - Purchase the Correct Indoor Grill

You are unlikely to get an outdoor grill taste from a "contact" grill. These grills, normally small, electric powered, and with a lid that closes on top of the grilling item, are not at all similar to outdoor grills. These grills work well as sandwich presses, but they don't hold a candle to the true, smokey outdoor grill taste an open-faced grill can produce.

A better choice is the open-faced grill, which doesn't have a lid. It will not cook as quickly as a contact grill but the smell and smoke will circulate enough to allow an experience similar to an outdoor grill.

A griddle, which covers two burners on your stove, is a good alternative to the more expensive, and larger, indoor grill. Griddles will give the same grill marks on the food as an outdoor grill and will also separate fat and meat during the cooking process. Make sure to get one that has adjustable temperature control.

Step 2 - Prepare Your Meat for Indoor Grilling

Another solution to getting an outdoor grill taste is to prepare the food correctly. By marinating a steak to be cooked indoors in the same way you would have a steak cooked outdoors, you will get a similar flavor. Though nothing will match the exact taste of a charcoal grill inside, small steps during preparation can you that excellent flavor, wherever the food is cooked.

Step 3 - Cook with an Open-Faced Grill

A cast-iron grill, or griddle, will have to pre-heat for about 5 minutes before use. One big advantage to a cast-iron grill is its ability to retain heat. Once you heat the griddle it will require little additional heat.

Also make sure that your grilling surface is entirely dry. If it remains damp your food will likely stick to the griddle. Place your pre-marinated food onto the grill and begin cooking the same way you would on an outdoor grill. The grill should produce a sizzling sound, plus some smoke, as soon as food is placed on it. If this does not occur your grill is not yet warm enough to begin properly heating your food.

About five minutes into the process, add some vegetable oil, but only a small amount. This will also help the food remain flexible on the grill so that it can be flipped and removed after cooking. Do not use olive oil on the grill—it works well as a marinade, but smokes unpleasantly when placed directly onto the iron of the grill.