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COLLEGE STUDENT NEEDING EMERGENCY HELP!

I've always loved eating good food, different types of cooking, different techniques and recipes have always made me so very happy. I certainly enjoy food off the stove or from the oven but after coming from a home with 2 grills and a smoker most of the food (chicken,meat, red meat, fish veggies) I enjoy and the recipes I know either involve a grill or bbq of some sort and I really only have very limited experience cooking on the oven or stove.

As of earlier this week I am now living on campus with three friends in an apartment with an oven, electric stove, toaster oven, and microwave. My roommates are more than happy with hot pockets and chicken nuggets but I really can't live like that. How can I cook all the amazing gilled/bbq-ed food I've come to enjoy in the kitchen I have?

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  1. There are small tabletop electric grills that you can buy (I'd put a little water in the bottom, and spray the grill and the liner pan with a non-stick cooking spray for cleanup.) I got one in school and used it all the time. Here's what I mean?

    http://www.shop.com/12_x_18_Tabletop_...

    And what about a George Foreman? You should be able to pick either of these up at Target or a hardware store.

    Believe me, you can convert your roomies. Once they smell what you're cooking, you're going to have to beat them off with a stick. It's great to know you're a budding griller.

    6 Replies
    1. re: brendastarlet

      Are George Forman grills actually good? I always heard they were like the easy bake oven of grilling.

      1. re: hungry_fox

        George Forman grills are nothing like BBQ. The only similarity would be if you blacken something enough to get grill marks on the meat, but the flavor isn't the same at all. No flame, no charcoal, no wood chops, smoke, etc. It's basically a double sided pan that cooks quickly and easily. Not bad at all, the fat drips off and things do cook faster, but if you're expecting it to taste like it was really grilled, you'll be let down.

        1. re: hungry_fox

          My mother had one and it worked great. They even make large ones for larger familes.

          Easy bake oven it may be for the limited functionality but still wonderful :)

        2. re: brendastarlet

          I equipped my college-going, apartment-dwelling son with a mini Weber kettle (about $25). He cooked on it with great success for three years. A hibachi is also a cheap possibility. After the thing cools off, you can bring it inside if theft is an issue -- they don't take up much room.

          1. re: pikawicca

            Just a word of caution, and I don't mean you are not bright. When Pikawicca says when it cools off, she is not talking about the weather but the grill itself. Trying to use a charcoal grill or hibatchi indoors is a direct route to carbon monoxide poisoning and accidental suicide

            1. re: Candy

              Glad you caught the possible misunderstanding -- charcoal inside is definitely not the way to go!

        3. get a cast iron grill pan or reversable cast iron skillet that covers both stove burners with the grill on the other side. it's not the same in the sense of smoky flavor and such, but it's great for grilling up steaks,veggies, etc. i just picked one up on sale at Sears Essentials for about 15 bucks and works great.

          1 Reply
          1. re: DoctorQuality

            Since you are going to be cooking AND cleaning yourself, try looking into a grill with a non-stick surface that will be easier to clean. I love my cast iron grill, but it requires a wire brush and good, messy scrub after each use. Burned on marinades don't always come off and scrubbing the black goo requires about fifteen minutes after every (yummy) meal. I don't mind, but I am old enough to be your mother. Some of the major cookware manufacturers offer non-stick surfaces on their grills. Calphalon has a round one that should be about $32 or $33 dollars. It will clean up with a sponge and still get you grilled chicken breasts, burgers, steaks, kabobs -- whatever, without the horrible mess that I know a busy student just doesn't want to deal with. It can also go under the broiler or in the oven if you want to try searing first and then finishing a thicker cut of meat (pork loin, london broil, thick steak) in the oven. Save the cast iron grill for your first real apartment. I know that the George Foreman won't get hot enough to really grill, although I have friends who love to make paninis and boneless chicken breasts in it. BTW -- do you have an exhaust fan over the cooktop? You are going to need it.

            You should also invest in a cast iron frying pan. Learn to make boneless pork chops, cutlets, tenderized round steak and onions for substantial sandwiches. Good for omelettes too.

          2. I'm a smoker boy myself, but you can do some things in the oven... get a pork butt or picnic (from the front shoulder, not a ham) and put it in a deep pan or roaster in the over, with a rub of your choice. Here's mine for pulled pork:
            2 tbs paprika
            1 tbs each brown sugar, chili powder, cumin, granulated sugar
            2 tsp kosher salt
            1.5 tsp black pepper
            pinch cayenne

            Assuming a chunk of meat around 5-6 lbs, you can cook it at about 275-300 for somewhere in the area of 8-10 hrs, til it reaches 200 internal and the bone pulls out easily, then pull apart and hit with a little vinegary sauce. Nice sammiches. Or, do a nice leg of lamb. Or, do a nice rack of lamb on that grill pan mentioned earlier. Or you can do ribs in the oven too.......

            1. You can make this pulled pork recipe in your oven (it makes a ton, so share with friends): http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip...

              1. You can make some pretty darned good pork shoulder in a crock pot and many other good things like beef shortribs, brisket etc. You can devise a stove top smoker in a wok, line it with foil, put in some smoky tea (unsteeped) like a Lapsang Souchong then devise a rack, you can probaby find a small round one in Target etc. The wok will need a lid and you may need to use a damp towel to help keep the smoke in the wok. But put what you want to smoke on the rack and turn up the heat. There are also small stove top smokers available out there. Maybe ask for one for Christmas? Most better kitchen stores sell them. Get smokin! I would not waste my money on the George Foreman, the grill pan is more economical whether it fits 1 burner or 2. I have found mine invaluable on the nights we are out of gas or it is just too windy to grill.