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Jul 9, 2011 05:19 PM

Too Hot to Grill

Here in Tx we are in a severe drought & have burn bans everywhere. It is too dangerous to be outside & light up the grill for anything...might catch dry grass on fire & spread to neighboring ranches. Anyway, I am missing all things grilled. What are some recipes that I can do inside that will help me get past my hunger pangs? What I am really saying is I need a grill fix....can anyone help me out??

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  1. if you have a cast iron pan, that's probably your best bet...or you can pick up a grill pan. what do you usually grill?

    oh, and if you happen to have a gas-burner stove you can also char vegetables directly over the flame to get that grill-like smokiness.

    5 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      Gosh, I sure wish I had a gas burner...would love to char some veggies. Charing hot peppers & tomatoes are great to do for making some really good hot sauce. Was thinking about buying one of those portable gas burners that use a little propane tank. I could use it inside. Does anyone have one of those? If so, what brand? Yes, I rely on the 'ol cast iron skillet. I do like to grill burgers.

      1. re: cstout

        discussion about portable gas burners:

        and have you looked at the threads about indoor grills/grilling?

        oh, and i don't typically season my burgers beyond salt, but you might try adding a little smoked paprika to the meat to add that smoky flavor element - i personally find it to be less artificial than liquid smoke.

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          My dear goodhealthgourmet...thank you for all the links...I just don't know how to navigate around these posts to find things. Will check these out right now.

          1. re: cstout

            my pleasure! the CH search function takes time & practice to master, so i'm always happy to jump in and help out a newbie...but you should play around with it one of these days to get a sense of how you can pull up these threads yourself because sometimes queries fall through the cracks and you never get an answer from anyone ;)

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              Yes, I need to just go & do a search to get a feel for things...just so busy reading all this great stuff...don't want to do anything else. Thanks for your help.

    2. Get one of these.

      They work great, don't knock them until you've tried them.

      10 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        Thanks for the link ipsedixit...will go check out the georgeforeman grill right now.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          We have the Cuisinart version of this and use it all the time, for everything. Works well for burgers, hotdogs, fish, veggies, the occasional grilled cheese - you get the char, but not the smoke flavor. Still good though.

          1. re: darklyglimmer

            i have the Cuisinart one as well - with the interchangeable plates. i think it does a better job than my old Foreman, and i like the versatility and the fact that you can also leave it open and double the cooking surface area.

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              Yeah, like others have said, these indoor grills are great. Not perfect, and certainly not anything like an outdoor charcoal grill, but certainly great for grilling indoors when it's either too hot outside or too cold, or too inclement.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                Goodhealthgourmet, if you don't mind my asking, have you ever used yours for waffles? I love the thing, but for some reason I'm dubious about the waffle plates. It seems like the edges wouldn't seal enough to keep the batter from running all over everywhere.

                ETA: a bit OT, sorry. I promise that I'm not planning a thread hijack.

                1. re: darklyglimmer

                  actually, only once when i first bought it several years ago...and i under-filled the plate because i suspected i might have a mess on my hands otherwise! leave yourself a border and you'll be fine :)

            2. re: ipsedixit

              I've been rocking the original foreman grill purchased in 1996 and it still works great today. I pretty much cooked everything on it in college - it was probably also the device that started my love for cooking!

              1. re: ipsedixit

                I have a friend who doesn't cook anymore (she is crazy) & is going to give me her George Foreman grill...well maybe...once she gets it out & starts looking at it, she might get the urge to cook a burger...that will be the extent of her cooking though.

              2. I just use my oven but I'm not that big on the grill marks. If you are that cast iron grill pan is the way to go.

                I like Pork tenderloins and Elgin sausage in the oven. Throw in a little liquid smoke into the bbq sauce. It's not quite the same but you didn't have to do it in 95 degree heat with 60% humidity.

                9 Replies
                1. re: Hank Hanover

                  Hank, you sound like you are from TX....that Elgin sausage is from around here. Elgin puts out some bar b q sauce now - "original & spicy". The spicy was quite good. I kinda start with a bottled sauce & then start adding to doctor it up. Yep, I can definately do without the 95 degree heat. Thanks for posting.

                  1. re: cstout

                    Yeah... I'm in Austin. That's only 15 miles from Elgin but I usually just buy the sausage at HEB.

                    I have been considering making a digitally controlled electric smoker by using a smoke pistol ( and a digital thermo controller I have in the garage.

                    I could just set it at 215 degrees and turn on the smoke generator and change the smoke cartridge and add water to the water tray every 4 hours. Then go back into the air conditioned house. Yep... I'm lazy.

                    1. re: Hank Hanover

                      I don't think you are lazy at all...inventing a smoker like certainly takes some work...will definately go check that out right now. Have not been to Austin in years...can't seem to make it out of Fredericksburg...too citified up there in your city...just stay down here on the fringes of society. All you people on this forum constantly amaze with the ideas you come up with, whether it is cooking, organizing, or whatever. Thanks everybody for sharing.

                      1. re: cstout

                        You can buy an electric smoker for $70 at Home Depot andd other places:


                        1. re: bobcam90

                          Bobcam90, I just read an article about the bar b q smoke being bad for you, sorta like cigarettes...surely that can't be true...I love smokey tasting I going to die or what? Somebody please advise.

                          1. re: cstout

                            yes, smoke causes cancer. fda cite will explain. sun also causes cancer, as do many other things. on a scale from "utah milk" to chernobyl, it's probably closer to "utah milk" (and yes, that scale indexes radioactivity)

                            1. re: Chowrin

                              I think it's the propane rather than the smoke that's the issue.

                              1. re: bobcam90

                                Darn it, I just bought a little propane grill.. Querencia had so many wonderful ideas for non grilled food...maybe I should just wean myself away from the whole grill scene....that will be pretty hard to do since I have been eating that sort of food all my life. Is anyone else out there thinking of breaking away from that type of cooking, or am I just blowing smoke, pardon the pun?

                              2. re: Chowrin

                                Chowrin, well, with that said, who knows what is next? What if I just don't inhale while grilling?? Things are getting pretty scary out there. I guess we must all use our own judgement as to what is going to end up killing us. Don't know anything about "Utah milk"..will have to google that.

                  2. Try Cold Food: We were never grillers, always preferring to have cold things from the refrigerator when it is really hot and, for this, nothing is better than Middle Eastern. If you make tabbouleh, hummos, baba ganooj, sliced cucumbers in yogurt with mint, and have some good Kalamata olives on hand, and some tomatoes to slice, you are set for the week. Other additions to an ongoing refrigerator smorgasbord: tuna salad, chicken salad (try adding pineapple or cranberries), plain sliced cold chicken, a baked ham, any jello with fruit in it, orange jello with crushed pineapple and grated carrots in it, pickled beets, coleslaw, kidney bean salad, potato salad, cheeses, celery stuffed with soft cheese spread, marinated mushrooms, hearts of palm, artichoke hearts, deviled eggs, cranberry-orange relish, tomatoes and mozzarella with basil and olive oil and vinegar. Or, make gazpacho quickly in the Cuisinart (4 large tomatoes, 1 green pepper, 1 cucumber, 1 medium onion---process then add to a 46 oz can of tomato juice and season with salt, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, and cumin---makes about half a gallon and keeps for ten days in the refrigerator, getting better all the time). Have interesting bread on hand, maybe some wine, iced tea.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Querencia

                      Dear Querencia, you are fabulous...may I come over to your place until this awful heat wave breaks?? I have never done any Middle Eastern cooking before...can you suggest a book or web site that would get me started in some simple recipes? I am having a hard time just finding all the ingredients to cook from the Grace Young book....hope I can do better in the Eastern cooking. I have jotted down all your great if I could get enough energy to drive 24 miles to the store & get everything, I will be happy. Thanks again.

                    2. I am in the same situation, but have been allowed to use my propane gas grill and my electric smoker. No charcoal. Are you able to use a propane grill? If so, they sell these little camping stoves, which run on 5 lb. propane cannisters, and you could buy one pretty inexpensively and use wood chips to get a better flavor. They are usually table top things, so you need to set it on something that is not going to burn.

                      If you are just complaining that it is too hot to be outside, now that I understand completely. It is one of the reasons that when you come to my house during a summer party, you will never see me flipping burgers and brats out back. You'd have to be crazy to cook outdoors in the heat for 40 people!

                      Personally, I like indoor grill pans for quick fixes. You can marinate chicken or flank steak, and still get the texture. Not really the flavor, but believe it or not, the juices do make some smoke indoors and you can do boneless chicken, pork chops, flank steak, pork tenderloin (butterfly it) etc., even steak that is not more than 1 1/2 inches thick. You can even make your house get smoky! I usually grill some veggies too, like mushrooms, squash, zucchini, peppers, sweet onion, etc. to go with it. Make some good potato salad (Texas style with eggs and mustard) and you may scratch your itch.

                      If not, check into the little table top camping propane grills, as I mentioned. They may be allowed, and for $25, you can grill with the burn bans in place. I spoke to some friends this weekend who have been frustrated that they can't use their big custom charcoal smoker, and they said they are able to use propane just fine.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: RGC1982

                        I took your advice & ordered a grill on Amazon, but I don't think there is a place to put wood chips, it is called an O'Grill...a clam shaped odd looking thing that uses a small propane bottle. I make a big batch of German potato salad (the kind that uses a sauce of sugar, vinegar, flour & water) & some other things. I also make a Sauerkraut salad that keeps for several days. And bake a brisket in the oven for Sammys. I will grill some veggies when I get my Clam grill...& will try your meat ideas. Thank you so much for the help. In the mean time I think I will go stick my head in the fridge for a while to get cool.

                        1. re: cstout

                          Can propane grills be safely used indoors?

                          1. re: bobcam90

                            Bobcam90, my grill will go outside right near the water hose...I don't think it would be wise to cook inside with it.