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Searing on gas grill with cast iron skillet?

Kleraudio Nov 2, 2013 05:24 PM

So I'm pretty tired of the smoke that is produced when I sear steaks and pork chops on my cast iron skillet in the apartment. I was wondering if I can sear my steaks in my cast iron skillet but on my grill outside? That would be great as I wouldn't smoke out the house.

If this is a possibility what setting do you use on your gas grill to pre heat the skillet?

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  1. sunshine842 RE: Kleraudio Nov 2, 2013 05:41 PM

    It's absolutely possible -- watch it carefully, as it can get hot enough to carbonize things within seconds.

    4 Replies
    1. re: sunshine842
      rjbh20 RE: sunshine842 Nov 2, 2013 07:06 PM

      Take the grate off and put the skillet directly on the burner/ rocks/whatever. Much more efficient heat-wise. And pay attention.

      1. re: rjbh20
        c oliver RE: rjbh20 Nov 2, 2013 08:34 PM

        I'm curious what that is so. If the 'interior' of my grill is, say, 500 degrees then why would I need to place the skillet down on the 'rocks' or whatever.

        1. re: c oliver
          sunshine842 RE: c oliver Nov 3, 2013 06:27 AM

          Agreed -- I've somehow managed to get my skillet blazing hot while sitting right there on the rack. Much less opportunity to sear myself if I don't have to screw around with hot pans and hot racks.

          1. re: c oliver
            rjbh20 RE: c oliver Nov 15, 2013 02:27 PM

            Because if it sits on hot rocks, the heat transfer is much more efficient than just convection (hot air). Try this -- get your oven up to 400, open the door and put your hand in without touching anything. No too bad, right?

            Now grab the oven rack with your bare hand -- after all, its the same temperature, right? (Note to the literal-minded -- do not try this at home)

      2. TorontoJo RE: Kleraudio Nov 2, 2013 06:09 PM

        Absolutely. I have a large cast iron griddle that I use on my gas grill for all sorts of things, including smash burgers (the best crust!), steaks and bacon. I love that it leaves the mess outside.

        I put the griddle in the grill when I turn it on, so that it heats up slowly with the grill. I turn all my burners on high immediately, and haven't had any issues with warping or cracking. I give it a good 20 mins to half hour to heat up, minimum.

        1. Chemicalkinetics RE: Kleraudio Nov 2, 2013 06:23 PM

          Yes, it is possible.

          1. Veggo RE: Kleraudio Nov 2, 2013 07:28 PM

            When blackened redfish was the 'hot' item in the 80's, I would heat up the skillet on the stove and with a heavy glove run it outside to the hot grill for the blackening, which makes a near explosion that you don't want to happen in your kitchen, more than a sear.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Veggo
              sunshine842 RE: Veggo Nov 2, 2013 07:36 PM

              LOL -- I remember a friend of ours who'd decided to wow us with blackened redfish -- smoke alarms going off, smoke pouring out of the apartment....and the lingering aroma of blackening spice for months -- even on his clothes.

              1. re: sunshine842
                Veggo RE: sunshine842 Nov 2, 2013 07:40 PM

                I hope you enjoyed the fish!

                1. re: Veggo
                  sunshine842 RE: Veggo Nov 3, 2013 06:27 AM

                  far more than we enjoyed his "aura" for the next few months!

                2. re: sunshine842
                  mrsfury RE: sunshine842 Nov 3, 2013 08:06 AM

                  Oh geez. You could be talking about hubby and me. LOL.

                3. re: Veggo
                  rjbh20 RE: Veggo Nov 2, 2013 07:41 PM

                  I made this last week -- still a great dish when done right. And not in an apartment.

                  1. re: rjbh20
                    Veggo RE: rjbh20 Nov 2, 2013 07:46 PM

                    Nice! I'm pleased it has not been forgotten!

                4. k
                  Kleraudio RE: Kleraudio Nov 2, 2013 08:02 PM

                  Sweet thanks for the replies everyone! So is it best to put the pan on the grill when it's hot or put on the grill before even turning on the gas and let it heat while the grill heats?

                  If anyone can direct me to a very good pork chop recipe done on a cast iron skillet I'd really appreciate it. Haven't found a really good one yet. Want to impress the wife tomorrow :)

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Kleraudio
                    rjbh20 RE: Kleraudio Nov 2, 2013 08:17 PM

                    Pork chops Marsala -- just use your basic veal Marsala recipe and substitute a seared pork rib chop

                    1. re: Kleraudio
                      TorontoJo RE: Kleraudio Nov 3, 2013 02:13 AM

                      Let it heat while the grill heats. Cast iron likes to be heated gradually.

                      1. re: TorontoJo
                        c oliver RE: TorontoJo Nov 3, 2013 07:31 AM

                        I never knew that about CI.

                        1. re: c oliver
                          AaronE RE: c oliver Nov 3, 2013 01:08 PM

                          Thermal shock can crack cast iron... most of us know about gradual cooling (hot pan in cold water = cracked pan), but heating is same principle, I believe.

                          1. re: AaronE
                            Chemicalkinetics RE: AaronE Nov 3, 2013 02:27 PM

                            Yes, but almost always it is easier to cool a cast iron pan instantaneously than instantaneously heat up a cast iron pan. It is much easier to put a red hot cast iron pan in a tube of ice cold water than to put a ice cold cast iron pan in a pool of hot oil.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                              c oliver RE: Chemicalkinetics Nov 3, 2013 05:07 PM

                              Good explanation, CK. After I use anything CI, I do a little mini-reseason by putting it on the burner and turning to high. Once the drops of water dry up, I add a little oil, wipe with a paper towel and then turn off the heat. Never had a problem with that.

                    2. s
                      smilingal RE: Kleraudio Nov 2, 2013 08:15 PM

                      Wondering why you would cook on the CI grate on the grill as opposed to directly on the grill?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: smilingal
                        Kleraudio RE: smilingal Nov 2, 2013 10:15 PM

                        Not a ci grate but my ci skillet.

                      2. i
                        INDIANRIVERFL RE: Kleraudio Nov 3, 2013 07:23 AM

                        Preheat your skillet in the kitchen. Either stove top or oven.
                        Preheat your grill. Transfer your skillet outside when it is time to cook. I recommend channel lock or vise grip pliers as the skillet will burn anything else.

                        If this is a major part of your cooking, be on the look out for a commercial cast iron blackener. I found mine under a pile of junk in a used commercial store. One half inch thick and designed to fit over two burners. That sucker retained heat and we would use it over fires with rebar legs as it was too big for any home appliance.

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: INDIANRIVERFL
                          Veggo RE: INDIANRIVERFL Nov 3, 2013 07:33 AM

                          The pliers are a good idea. I have half a jar of Paul Prudhomme's blackening seasoning, the CI skillet, and the grills, but I haven't seen redfish in the markets for eons. I should blacken red or black grouper soon now that our Florida weather is pleasant.

                          1. re: Veggo
                            sunshine842 RE: Veggo Nov 3, 2013 10:04 AM

                            but then, let's be honest -- a redfish big enough to blacken doesn't have the greatest flavor (hidden by the spices) -- and big reds are usually lousy with big worms.

                            I'll take a fat mangrove snapper or a grouper any day of the week.

                            (blackened isn't my favorite preparation - I like to taste the fish!)

                            1. re: sunshine842
                              c oliver RE: sunshine842 Nov 3, 2013 10:06 AM

                              Yeah, I think that was a fad that no one was particularly sorry to see die. Probably a prep for people who don't really like fish.

                            2. re: Veggo
                              Cheez62 RE: Veggo Nov 3, 2013 05:36 PM

                              I'd guess that you don't see them in the market because commercial harvest of Red Drum (Redfish) is prohibited in Florida. They are limited much more than they were in the past, both due to previous overfishing and to the fact that they grow kind of slowly. I think they reach maturity in only a few years, but can live more than 40 years. Many states, including where I fish in North Carolina, restrict recreational harvest to just one or two per day (one in NC),and to a slot limit of 18-27 inches, saving the big ones for breeding.
                              I was in NC about a month ago, and we caught 15 slot-length ones over the course of a week, not keeping all of them. The ones we kept - delicious!

                              1. re: Cheez62
                                Veggo RE: Cheez62 Nov 4, 2013 05:20 AM

                                Makes me feel guilty for how many we used to catch near the oil platforms in the Texas gulf, but that was before the overfishing I contributed to. We didn't know at the time. Any fish that tasty and that easy to catch is at risk. I am concerned for the destiny of grouper and hogfish, which I eat a lot of in Florida and Mexico.

                                1. re: Veggo
                                  Cheez62 RE: Veggo Nov 6, 2013 01:48 PM

                                  Well hopefully the grouper and hogfish are being managed in a more responsible manner. It certainly has worked for the drum. They are being caught in numbers greater than I recall hearing about in the past, at least in NC. I think many anglers are enjoying catches that they never had, and if they want to keep one for dinner, they may do so.

                                  1. re: Cheez62
                                    Veggo RE: Cheez62 Nov 6, 2013 02:13 PM

                                    Florida monitors the grouper catch. There was a moratorium on grouper long-line fishing before the BP oil spill, but it was because of green sea turtles drowning on the baited hooks, not out of concern for grouper. The moratorium was lifted after the spill because of fishermen's complaints about the woeful condition of the fishing industry. Grouper get little respect.
                                    Hogfish are reef dwellers and there is no commercial method to harvest them in commercial quantities, fortunately.
                                    In the Yucatan, the biggest threat to grouper and hogfish (mero and boquinette there) is the extraordinary growth in the number of hotel rooms and vacationers in the Mexican Riviera in the last 17 years. Both are getting harder to find, even in the old original Mexican fish restaurants, plus there are far fewer fishermen.

                            3. re: INDIANRIVERFL
                              c oliver RE: INDIANRIVERFL Nov 3, 2013 07:41 AM

                              I cook a Zuni chicken in a CI skillet at 475 and take it out of the oven with just a folded dish towel. It doesn't burn or even discolor the towel.

                            4. k
                              Kleraudio RE: Kleraudio Nov 3, 2013 08:06 AM

                              Awesome thanks everyone. I'll try my hand at seared chops tonight. I really hope they turn out!

                              1. t
                                Tom34 RE: Kleraudio Nov 3, 2013 03:09 PM

                                I have done it on the grate on the Weber gas and on the BGE over lump charcoal. Both work great. I agree to throw it in the grill as it heats up.

                                Another alternative is a separate high BTU stand alone burner. Many very reasonable ones that may pay for themselves in time as the heat is concentrated under the pan.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: Tom34
                                  Kleraudio RE: Tom34 Nov 3, 2013 03:47 PM


                                  That's an interesting idea. Can they be kept outside? That's the whole reason of wanting to use the grill.

                                  Also do I need to throw these chops in the oven to finish? I don't see 3 minutes per side cooking these chops. They're about an inch thick.

                                  1. re: Kleraudio
                                    sunshine842 RE: Kleraudio Nov 3, 2013 04:29 PM

                                    no, but you could carry them outside then store them inside when they cool down.

                                    1. re: sunshine842
                                      Kleraudio RE: sunshine842 Nov 3, 2013 04:44 PM

                                      I'm gonna have to look into this.

                                      Oh I forgot it was daylight savings and it's really dark out. Will searing these chops indoors create a ton of smoke? I have the worst hood system in the world here lol.

                                    2. re: Kleraudio
                                      Tom34 RE: Kleraudio Nov 4, 2013 09:25 AM

                                      There are so many different manufactures of such stand alone burners I can't say for sure. They don't seem that expensive & I doubt many would last that long exposed to the direct elements (rain / snow) but properly covered I would think some would be OK.

                                      Bayou Classic offers many models including aluminum & SS. I don't think the heat settings adjust as finely as an indoor stove top, but they should be more controllable than throwing a pan on a grill. It does appear a minimum 10 inch fry pan is required but coming across that in cast iron should not be a problem.

                                  2. k
                                    Kleraudio RE: Kleraudio Nov 3, 2013 05:12 PM

                                    Will chops on the Ci indoors smoke out the apartment?

                                    It's too dark to do this on the grill. Totally forgot about daylight savings!

                                    1. k
                                      Kleraudio RE: Kleraudio Nov 3, 2013 06:26 PM

                                      Well I just cooked up the chops. Heated the pan on the grill. I threw some water in the pan and it immediately disappeared. So I threw in a little cooking oil and put the chops in. 3 minutes on each side then finished in a 400 degree oven for 6 or 7 minutes.

                                      The chops didn't brown at all? My wife's did a little. Then after 6 minutes in a 400 degree oven and 5 or 6 minutes of rest my chop was basically raw in the middle.

                                      What did I do wrong here?

                                      11 Replies
                                      1. re: Kleraudio
                                        c oliver RE: Kleraudio Nov 3, 2013 06:40 PM

                                        How could they not have browned when you had them in the skillet with oil for 3 minutes a side? That I don't get. I've not done that cut so can't advise on the temp or time but if you don't have a meat thermometer, go get one :) $15 maybe. It's my best friend when cooking meat. Sorry about that :(

                                        1. re: c oliver
                                          Kleraudio RE: c oliver Nov 3, 2013 08:41 PM

                                          I have a nice thermometer but am always hesitant to use it because when I poke the meat and take the probe out all of the juices come out of the meat!

                                          But yea it would have been good to use it on my first try at this technique. Why the meat didn't brown and caramelize is beyond me. 3 minutes in a very hot pan on each side. I guess I can let it heat longer but dont want to start a grease fire on my balcony. The water when splashed immediately vanished so I figured it was ready to rock.

                                          I'll get this cast iron on grill thing down in time. I wonder if ambient temp matters at all, it was pretty cold out tonight here in CO.

                                          1. re: Kleraudio
                                            sunshine842 RE: Kleraudio Nov 4, 2013 04:02 AM

                                            get a small instant-read -- the hole is smaller.

                                            I also don't think your skillet was hot enough -- it only has to be above 212F to vaporize water....but that doesn't mean it's hot enough to sear a hunk of meat.

                                            If you didn't have a good crust in 3 minutes, the pan wasn't hot enough.

                                            1. re: sunshine842
                                              cleobeach RE: sunshine842 Nov 4, 2013 06:40 AM

                                              I second sunshine's comment, the pan wasn't hot enough.

                                              I use our cast iron skillet and griddle on our gas grill once in a while. The outside temps will make getting the pan hot enough a challenge. Were you able to shut the lid on the grill? If so, maybe you just need to heat it longer.

                                              If you can't shut the lid, it can be a challenge to get the pan hot enough if it is cold outside. I had a miserable experience with fried potatoes recently.

                                              1. re: cleobeach
                                                Kleraudio RE: cleobeach Nov 4, 2013 08:18 AM

                                                Ok makes sense about the 212 degrees :)

                                                Soooooo how the heck do I know if my pan is hot enough? If I leave it to heat up for 10 minutes I'm afraid of starting a big fire the moment the oil goes in the pan.....

                                                Looking forward to trying this again soon :)

                                                1. re: Kleraudio
                                                  TorontoJo RE: Kleraudio Nov 4, 2013 08:23 AM

                                                  I heat up my cast iron for at least 30 minutes, often longer. And if your cast iron has a decent seasoning on it, I wouldn't add any oil. The pork chop will release on it's own, once it has developed a nice crust.

                                                  1. re: TorontoJo
                                                    Kleraudio RE: TorontoJo Nov 4, 2013 08:33 AM

                                                    Ok then I'll let it heat up much longer next time!

                                                    I only let it heat up about 10 minutes. And yes I can close the grill when the skillet is on there so hopefully ambient temp won't affect it too much.

                                                    1. re: Kleraudio
                                                      TorontoJo RE: Kleraudio Nov 4, 2013 08:37 AM

                                                      And make sure you gas grill is turned all the way up. Mine can get up to 550+, which is what you want. And just a note: when I say 30 minutes, that's *after* the grill has warmed up, so you're looking at maybe 45 minutes or so.

                                                      1. re: TorontoJo
                                                        Kleraudio RE: TorontoJo Nov 4, 2013 08:47 AM

                                                        Wow I had no idea it takes that long to heat up. All the videos I watched said to preheat it on the stove top for 5-6 minutes and all their meat was searing beautifully. I figured a hot grill couldn't take much longer.

                                                        Yea my grill gets up to ~600 degrees as well..

                                                        Wow, I'll plan better next time! Seems like an awful waste of propane, then again, better than smoking out the house. Maybe it's best to preheat in the oven for a bit at 500 degrees, then when ready to cook fire up the grill and transfer the pan outside..

                                                        Jo, how many burners are on your grill?

                                                        1. re: Kleraudio
                                                          TorontoJo RE: Kleraudio Nov 4, 2013 09:34 AM

                                                          On the stove, the skillet is directly on the flames, in a grill, it's indirect heat, so it's more akin to heating up your skillet in a cold oven.

                                                          My grill has 3 burners, and I turn them all to high to heat up my CI. Go ahead and try for less than the 45 minutes -- maybe 30 minutes, including warm up time will work for you since you are using a smaller skillet (I have a HUGE CI griddle).

                                                          1. re: TorontoJo
                                                            Kleraudio RE: TorontoJo Nov 4, 2013 09:38 AM

                                                            OK will do. I'll buy some more chops for this weekend and give it a go. Makes sense on the indirect heat, never thought of that. 212 was easy to obtain though lol. What kind of surface temp am I hoping to achieve in this pan? I think my neighbor has one of those laser thermometers, I'll borrow that and see how long it takes to get to certain temps.

                                                            My stove is a glass top electric, no gas stoves out here, would that make a big difference in heat up time?

                                      2. i
                                        INDIANRIVERFL RE: Kleraudio Nov 4, 2013 08:16 AM

                                        Wow, your first attempt was less than stellar. Welcome to my world.

                                        Stick your skillet in a 500 degree F oven for 2 hours, and then try the blackening. And the original method was to dip the fish in melted butter and then dredge in the seasonings, You might want to try this with your pork chops instead of cooling the skillet off with the addition of oil.

                                        If you can handle the cost and storage, an 80K BTU or greater propane wok burner is perfect for this cooking technique.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: INDIANRIVERFL
                                          Veggo RE: INDIANRIVERFL Nov 4, 2013 08:20 AM

                                          Exactly. Buttered fish filet, seasoning, into an empty dry hot CI skillet. Bam!

                                        2. j
                                          jaykayen RE: Kleraudio Nov 15, 2013 02:46 PM

                                          Just grill them directly on the grate.

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