Why the Grilling Skillet Is Our Favorite Outdoor Cooking Tool
Lightweight and versatile, a grilling skillet will give you that smoky, just-off-the-grill flavor—both outdoors and indoors
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There’s nothing quite like the irresistible sear, smoky flavor, and tantalizing crunch food gets on a grill. But this technique isn’t only for those with outdoor space and high-tech grills. You can also use grilling skillets in a condo or apartment to extract incredibly deep and complex flavors from humble ingredients. The perforated metal skillet allows for high levels of heat to be absorbed, creating char marks and a grilled taste.
“There’s evidence that foods our ancestors ate have components of direct flame cooking,” says Biju Thomas, Outside’s resident chef. “Most home cooks tend to avoid this technique for fear of burning food, but it can be a wonderful way to create layered flavors.” Here’s how to do it, along with some of our favorite models.
What to Cook
The most commonly grilled ingredients are meats and vegetables. Some of the best proteins to cook on a grilling skillet are sirloin steak, pork chops, salmon, and tuna steaks. Recommended vegetables are zucchini, asparagus, mushrooms, onions, and eggplants. “Using a grilling skillet in your home is a great way to get added flavor by charring ‘non-drippy’ foods like grilled peaches, grilled bread, or charred peppers,” Thomas says.
Our Favorite Grilling Skillets
Best Overall: Made In Blue Carbon Steel Grill Frying Pan ($89)
Lightweight and durable, this skillet has 62 perforations, allowing for flames to make direct contact with your food. The carbon steel construction gets searing hot for deliciously crisp-tender vegetables with a hint of smoke and char.
Most Lightweight: Just Grillin’ Steel Round Nonstick 12-Inch Grill Skillet ($8)
Weighing in at less than a pound with a foldable handle, this is the portable skillet you’ll want for camping.
Best for Entertaining: Outset Stainless Steel Grill Grid with Handles ($19.25)
This large, 17-by-11-inch stainless steel grid is perfect for cooking for a group.
Tips for Using a Grilling Skillet
- Place the grilling skillet on a grill, campfire, or stovetop and heat it until hot. Move to medium-low heat and maintain that temperature while cooking.
- Only use a grilling skillet outdoors or in a well-ventilated area. Open windows and turn on the range hood fan to allow airflow.
- To reduce the potential of smoke, trim excess fat from meat prior to cooking. Do not walk away from food while cooking with a grilling skillet. Keep an eye on it.
- When cooking marinated meats, pat dry before adding them to the hot skillet.
Ready to start grilling? Put your skillet to work with these recipes from Clean Eating.
From our partners at Clean Eating.