When Grilling Indoors, Don't Forget The Preheating Stage

chef grilling hamburgers indoors
chef grilling hamburgers indoors - Pekic/Getty Images

Grilling and the outdoors are strongly intertwined, and rightfully so. There's nothing quite like firing up the range -- or starting the coals -- and enjoying cooking in the open air. Unfortunately, the circumstances don't always cooperate. When grilling outside is off the table, some nice gear, the right technique, and a decent stove make it possible to replicate some of the grilling magic indoors.

When grilling indoors, cast-iron cookware is your best friend because the premise of indoor grilling is all in heat — you want to establish high enough temperatures to initiate the work of Maillard reactions, browning the exterior of foods just like on a hot grill. It can be difficult to achieve, with indoor grills radiating off much less heat than an outdoor apparatus.

As a result, you'll need all the extra thermal help, so focus on the preheating stage. A few extra minutes of foresight pays off dividends in flavor. It ensures that mouthwatering sizzle when cooking starts, with a quick formation of the outer crust and grilling aroma. Plus, the food subsequently gets cooked evenly, with no cold spots to worry about.

Read more: 13 Underrated Cuts Of Meat You Should Be Grilling

Replicate The Magic Of Grilling

close up of grilled fruit in pan
close up of grilled fruit in pan - Rudisill/Getty Images

Cranking up the heat and waiting certainly aids in mimicking the grill, but it won't quite replicate the outdoor method's smokey, charred flavor -- grilling's quintessential character. This occurs when fat drips from the meat onto the flame. Indoors, flare-ups are out of the question, due to being a fire hazard, and cooking with such high heat indoors is bound to produce abundant smoke, which can lead to fire alarms.

As a result, many turn to specialized smokeless indoor grills, or even the broiler. Whether you're using a pan or one of these methods preheating is crucial. You'll want to turn on an electric grill 15 minutes before throwing food on. For the broiler, place a pan in the oven for a few minutes to warm under the flame or heating element. If you're going with a cast iron, you'll need about 10 minutes of preheating.Despite the limitations of indoor grilling, that's not to say the technique isn't delicious. In fact, preheating a cast iron skillet is a great way to mimic restaurant-caliber steaks. Just make sure to manage expectations when cooking indoors, and add other techniques to give your food a grill-like flair. Add a bit more fire-like essence into your sauce with liquid smoke, which you should always have in your pantry, and consider placing your vegetable sides directly on a gas flame to char. With such considerations, you'll be able to imbue some of that grill-like magic.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.