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Grill cooking gift for my Dude - help!

Hi everyone!

i'm new to this board, but not to CH. It's time to buy a present for the Dude, who has a brand new grill this winter. I'm looking at these:

http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO...

http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO...

http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO...

He grills 2-4 times a week, year round and we'd like to move some of our other cooking outside too, but since I don't grill and Dude doesn't cook, neither of us knows how to combine the two skill and tool sets. I need your help and expertise.

Say, for example, we want to do a veg sauté to go with our grilled chicken. Which works better, a frypan (SS/CS) or a flat griddle, like the baking steel or EH stone? We have no side burners, so all cooking would be done on the main grilling area. I lost that battle, sadly. He'll regret it someday.

How long does the baking steel or the Emile Henry take to heat on a grill? How long does a stainless frypan take to heat? I know that's a loaded question, as it depends on the grill, but we've got a Napoleon Prestige Pro 600, putting out 56K BTU over 600 square inches of main grilling area. It takes about 10 minutes to heat the air in the chamber to 550º, with all 4 burners on high. Anyone's best guess or their own experience will be helpful.

Once it's heated, can a griddle like the steel or EH stone give us a decent stir fry on a grill? What about something like this?

http://www.amazon.com/Little-Griddle-...

The stainless grill grids look like an easy gift, since we often grill veggies/fruits, if they work well. Do things like that work well, or just meh? we tried a wire basket, but clean-up sucked. These look easier.

Thanks!

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  1. Grilled and smoked for decades and have tried dozens of grill-special grids, baskets, etc. finding most a bit too prissy and waste of money, cleaning effort or both. Have come to embrace grill / smoker simplicity using a couple (now well seasoned) Lodge cast iron vessels; skillets, griddle and Dutch oven that we use for most frying, roasting of things we don't want to grill on the cooking grid. Also have a ceramic baking stone and a slab of 3/8" stainless steel we use for very hi temp pizzas. All are dedicated for use on our BGE, easy to maintain and handle a broad repertoire at least a couple times a week

    1 Reply
    1. re: ThanksVille

      <Have come to embrace grill / smoker simplicity using a couple (now well seasoned) Lodge cast iron vessels; skillets, griddle and Dutch oven that we use for most frying, roasting of things we don't want to grill on the cooking grid.>

      Will my current carbon steel and stainless steel frypans work well on the grill? I do have a 12" Lodge skillet, but it's much too heavy to haul out to the lanai when I want to sauté some veggies. It's so heavy (and we're only 3 people) that it's my least-used frypan.

    2. Stainless May discolor

      Electricity and natural gas are inexpensive compared to propane

      2 Replies
      1. re: Alan408

        <Stainless May discolor>

        Are you talking heat discoloration, or soot?

      2. How about a good thermometer, like a thermopen or maverick...much more Dude-like

        4 Replies
        1. re: BiscuitBoy

          < How about a good thermometer, like a thermopen...>

          Long-time owner and fan of Thermapen.

          1. re: DuffyH

            I use this Maverick dual prong, remote thermometer in my smoker. Don't know why you couldn't use it in a regular grill. Monitors the heat in the smoker as well as the internal temp of the food.

            http://www.maverickhousewares.com/et7...

            1. re: c oliver

              But we don't need a thermometer. We've got an oven thermometer and the Thermapen.

              1. re: DuffyH

                Not a problem. I don't have a Thermapen, just regular digital meat thermometers that you don't leave in. I like being able to be inside and knowing both temps outside :)

        2. I have another suggestion.

          A few months ago I bought a piece of scrap steel plate from a metal supplier. It's about 12x16x3/4". Big, thick, like the steel plates they use over trenches in the street.

          Scrubbed with clenser and steel wool to get rid of the mill scale and other icky contaminants from the manufacture process, then gave is a good coating of vegetable oil.

          I set this plate on my gas grill and pre-heat for 30-45 minutes. The surface gets over 700 degrees.

          I use this to sear just about anything, but my favorite dish is a double-thick top sirloin I have cut from the butcher. It's a very large boneless steak- cheaper than a strip or a filet.

          I season it with salt and pepper and give is a massage with oil, then drop it on the HOT steel and sear both sides. This does not take long. The slab of steel holds its heat better than any grill. Yes, no grill marks, just a perfect thin crust.

          Once seared, I place the steak on a grid rack over a jelly-roll pan in a 250 degree oven for about an hour, depending on the size of the steak.

          The technique works similar to a blowtorched prime rib. The outside sets the crust, but the slow roast in the oven allows for a consistancy of doneness on the inside- if you like a med-rare steak, the results are pink from top to bottom, not (like a grilled steak) a thin band of med-rare in the middle.

          I then slice the steak for the table, my favorite is Tuscan-style on lemony-dressed arugula with Parm shavings. But I've also done it on a celery root puree or a potato mash.

          So. I'd get him a great big slab of steel. It does require maintenence- always scrub with a wire brush and oil after every use- it will rust. But it can always be scrubbed and re-oiled.

          14 Replies
          1. re: Fake Name

            Funny...I suggested this a while ago in a thread where someone was hustling steel plates, with good marketing spin, at a hi-zoot price. It seems you CAN sell water to a drowning man

              1. re: BiscuitBoy

                Yeah, and they were probably paying a fraction above daily scrap price p/lb at a scrap yard.

                1. re: Tom34

                  You mean like this?

                  http://www.amazon.com/Max-Burton-6010...

                  I'd been considering have one fabricated but then wound up finding the piece of cookware I was looking for that is, in fact, induction capable.

                  1. re: c oliver

                    I think they're talking about a baking steel.

                    1. re: DuffyH

                      Right. But I'm saying that you can have something made of steel for probably a lot less than what you'd pay for a 'specialized' piece of something.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          I looked at rolled steel, for this application it was $3 per pound, plus you have to clean it

                          Baking Steel was less expensive

                        2. re: DuffyH

                          Don't know who "they" are, but I'm not talking about a baking steel.

                          This is a very, very thick, very, very heavy slab 'o steel. Weighs many pounds. 3/4 inch thick.

                          A "Baking Steel" is 1/4 inch thick- very different. I believe I paid $30 for mine out of the scrap metal bin at the local metal supply place- it's sold by the pound.

                          Here's mine- I just sprayed it with oil in advance of a heavy cleaning it so badly needs.

                           
                          1. re: Fake Name

                            What do you think is the advantage to yours over a ¼" one?

                            I understand it will hold heat longer, but at some point we deal with the disadvantages that a thicker sheet brings, such as longer preheat time and sheer mass, which makes handling it problematic, right?

                            1. re: DuffyH

                              Yup. It's not an idea for the meek ; )

                              I got it because I wanted maximum heat mass. Not just to hold heat longer, but to lose heat less when the food is applied to it. A big steak is like dropping a cold (even at room temp) wet rag on a cooking surface, and immediately causes the surface to drop in temperature.

                              I didn't care about preheat time, nor ease of handling, both of which are certainly factors. If I could have found something twice as thick that I could afford, I'd have done it. But this works nicely.

                              1. re: Fake Name

                                That is a serious pc of steel. Temporary road trench cover is probably pretty accurate.

                                A more efficient way to heat that baby would be to lay it over a cheap high pressure/high BTU burner like a turkey fryer burner or a Bayou Classic which would get it hot pretty fast. (glowing orange if you wanted). Certainly no warping worries, maybe just hernia :-)

                  2. re: Fake Name

                    Wow. That sounds really tasty.

                    I tend to do something similar with thick cuts on my charcoal grill. Sear over direct heat and finish indirect.

                    I don't know that there are any surplus steel plates around here- they all seem to be on the roads. ;-)

                    1. re: ted

                      You could probably go to a metal fabricator.

                  3. We have a BGE & a propane grill and do a lot of grilling and smoking. The items I use the most are:

                    High quality 20 inch long metal spatula with a wooden handle. Great for burgers and such.

                    High quality set of 20 inch long tongs with wooden handles. Great for turning steaks during high temp searing. Necessity for BGE.

                    Cheap Brinkmann 11x16 stainless grill topper ($15.97 @ HD). Has small holes on the bottom to keep things like vegs from falling through. Side with no lip goes against the back wall of the grill. Under extreme heat they warp but flatted right out when cool. Mess cleans right off with commercial SS scrubbing pads. They also make non stick ones for "lower" temp cooking.

                    "Cheap" wire rib rack. Holds ribs upright and fits right into dishwasher. I think they were around $7.00 @ HD.

                    "Cheap" metal vertical rack for cooking a chicken upright.

                    SS scrubbing pads. Staple in every commercial kitchen. Cuts through the toughest burnt on grime. 100 times more aggressive than the green pads. About $7.50 a Doz at any restaurant supply or on line. Doz will last a lifetime.

                    A lot of friends are using grill lights for dark conditions but I don't know much about them.

                      1. I have a few Emile Henry pieces that I use on my Big Green Egg and they are all great. They heat up a lot quicker than you would think. Probably as fast as a stainless pan. They don't have a lot of thermal mass, so not the best choice for searing or stir-fry.

                        That said, I often do my veggies in a old 9x13 cake pan. I set the meat on a rack above the veggies and let all that wonderfulness drip down.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: FoodFire

                          "wondefulness drip down" .............that's interesting. Is that with large pcs of meat like roasts or racks of ribs.

                        2. How about a selections of rubs.

                          I like a lot of the Dizzy Pig rubs. Not overly salty

                          1. So, what did you end up getting him?

                            I agree with the poster who suggested Dizzy Pig rubs for a gift.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: 4X4

                              I went with an Emile Henry Plancha, the SLT grill grids + their accessories; rib rack, vertical chicken rack and chile pepper rack.

                              He's a happy camper.

                              1. re: DuffyH

                                Wow, he scored! And you benefit also :)

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  Yes, indeed. He IS the grill dude around here, no girls need apply. This is fine by me. Anything that gets me a day off from KP is a good thing. :)