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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?


    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.

                1. Looks like no one is willing to tell you the hard truth. You are going to have to learn to love other kinds of food.

                  A cast iron grill pan/griddle is a wonderful thing. With practice a George Foreman Grill (or other more expensive brand) can do lots of amazing things. The use of Liquid Smoke will not cause the demise of western civiilization (but do use it sparingly).

                  But it is not the same as actually grilling something. Trying to fake a recipie you love by doing it on a grill pan or electric grille is not going to get you the results you want. Go find a cheap hibachi/mini bbq and find a park nearby that you can use from time to time - at least while the weather holds. In the meantime there are gazillions of great recipies for "conventional" cooking.

                  1. I was in your situation a couple of years ago regarding , but my family never had a smoker so I can't help on the aspect.

                    I'll second the recommendation to learn how to cook on the stove. You can do a lot of things between a cast iron griddle and the broiler in your electric oven. I hate electric ovens, but after a couple of tries with the broiler and aluminum foil I was able to get the roasted/smoky flavor I was looking for.

                    Also, if you have a balcony or a side yard, definitely invest in a small grill--I think I've only seen charcoal.

                    Edit: For what it's worth I think George Foreman Grill is worthless...

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: nk.

                      before you start grilling on the balcony (or fire escape) make sure your building allows it. Many places do not as the smoke is prone to wander uninvited into your nearby neighbors units. In some communities it is illegal, regardless of building rules. You don't want to start out the first semester in college getting thrown out of your apartment.

                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                        I am willing to bet that no university allows you to grill on on-campus housing.

                        1. re: Megiac

                          You would lose. Indiana University has many established outdoor grills for the use of students. Also, one can also set up a hibachi in an open area without fear of being shut down.

                    2. Find a couple of chickadee's that would groove on having a man cook good food for them. Split the rent on a little bungalow and learn to make what makes you happy. Life's too short to eat crappy food.

                      Just make sure you get your own bathroom.

                      1. HAve you thought about getting a weber smokey joe - cheap, easily portable and is the way I satisfied my BBQ'ing need during my college years

                        1. Wow this is all awesome advice, please all keep giving! Yes we have a fan above the stove but it's kinda crappy. Do the grill pan things work on electric stoves though? Also, I'd prefer to try and cook indoors, while we're on the first floor, we've gotten yelled at a lot for climbing through the windows and i don't really want to be carrying hot food down the halls of this building.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: hungry_fox

                            maybe you can just pass the food thru the window without actually following in it's wake.

                            1. re: hungry_fox

                              Grill pans work on electric ranges. I'm betting the fan above the rnge is one that does not exhaust out side so it just recirculates the air through some filters. You may want to take a look at them and see if they are curdded up with grease etc. and clean them. It will help some. If you have a window in the kitchen you might want to see if you can get one of those fans made to fit into a window and use it reversed as a secondary exhaust system.

                              1. re: hungry_fox

                                Use the fan above the stove regardless of how crappy it is, and you can still open some windows if you have to. Yes, I use my grill pans on my electric stove all the time. Yes, I also agree that this is no suitable substitute for real BBQ (and I am from Texas, so I know real BBQ), it is an acceptable substitute for grilled foods. Marinades and BBQ sauce and rubs will certainly help. There is little difference in the outcome versus a gas grill that didn't get too smoky while cooking. Seriously though, beware of how hard it is to clean cast iron and go for the nonstick like I told you in the above post. BTW, years ago I tried electric grills on the balcony of an apartment that didn't allow charcoal or gas. We had to use wood chips and it wasn't terrible, but it was certainly an improvement over Hot Pockets for dinner. Only problem -- you can't use it in the rain, assuming you can use it on-campus at all.