Indoor! Grilling


By Steven Raichlen

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ebook (Digital original)


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Indoors—It’s the new outdoors

SPIT-ROASTED PRIME RIBS, crusty on the outside, moist and tender inside. Yes! CHICKEN UNDER A BRICK, heady with smoke and spice. Yes! CURRY-GRILLED LAMB KEBABS, POTATOES ROASTED IN THE ASHES, BAYOU WINGS, VANILLA-GRILLED PINEAPPLE WITH DARK RUM GLAZE—all of it infused with honest-to-goodness real-grilled flavor, and all of it cooked indoors. Yes!Bursting with bold new ideas, 270 righteous recipes, and hundreds of tips and techniques—from how to season a cast-iron grill pan to buying brisket cut from the “flat”—Raichlen’s Indoor! Grilling brings the guru’s mastery of live-fire cooking indoors. New every day’s a good day to grill.



This book began with a simple idea, but it took the hard work of a small army to march it into print. I’d like to salute the troops who helped make it possible:

ON THE HOME FRONT: Barbara Raichlen (chief of staff, pit mistress, best friend, second in command, and second to none) and Jake and Betsy Klein (grill soldiers and super step-kids).

AT WORKMAN PUBLISHING: Peter Workman (commander in chief); Suzanne Rafer (commanding editorial general); Barbara Mateer (sharpshooter and copy editor); Beth Doty (assistant editor); Robyn Schwartz (editorial assistant); Lisa Hollander and Paul Hanson (art directors); Lori Malkin (layout); Barbara Peragine (pre-press); Carolan Workman (international sales); Katie Workman (associate publisher and marketing); and Kate Tyler (publicity).

PHOTOGRAPHY AND ILLUSTRATION: Susan Goldman (photographer extraordinaire); Andrea Carson (technology expert); Linda Romero (photographer’s assistant); Grady Best and Marianne Sauvion (food styling), and Rebecca Adams (assistant food stylist). Ron Tanovitz (illustrator extraordinaire).

For sharing their lovely showroom, Sol Kassorla, Sol Drimmer, and Fran Asaro of the Manhattan Center for Kitchen & Bath.

For sharing her home and lovely fireplace, Julie Killian. For sharing her sister, Sarah Powers; and for providing the fireplace rotisserie, Bruce Frankel.

For recipe testing (done at Barbecue University at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia) Eve Cohen (cooking school director) and Sue Moats and Stacy Adwell (recipe testing).

GRILL MANUFACTURERS: Camerons Smoker Cooker; Jenn-Air; Le Creuset; Ronco (manufacturers of the Showtime Rotisserie); Salton (manufacturers of the George Foreman grill); T-Fal; Thermidor; Viking; and VillaWare.

And thanks, too, to Chuck Adams (logistics), Allan Dresner (information technology), Mark Fischer (legal eagle), Fred Plotkin (Italian food mavin), and Bepi Pucciarella (who introduced me to the fogolar).


Q So why did a guy who’s spent nearly a decade celebrating the glory of smoke and fire that is barbecue decide to write a book on indoor grilling?

A The short answer is easy. Because my editor, Suzanne Rafer, asked me to. Suzanne is an apartment dweller in Manhattan. Like millions of Americans, she lives in a major metropolitan area, where condominium regulations, municipal fire codes, or a simple lack of space make grilling outdoors illegal or impossible.

But apartment living isn’t the only reason a book on grilling indoors makes sense.

Elsewhere in the country, arctic winter temperatures or grill-burying snowfall render wintertime grilling unfeasible, or at least unpleasant—although many diehard ’que heads don’t let a little rain, snow, sleet, hail, or ice deter them from their appointed rounds at the grill.

Yet steaks still need to be grilled, salmon requires smoking, and chickens beg to be spit-roasted—even if you can’t cook outdoors. Almost from the dawn of civilization, human ingenuity has contrived to bring the techniques of outdoor live-fire cooking indoors.

Which brings me to the third reason I wrote this book: because indoor grilling belongs to a barbecue tradition that began with our earliest cave-dwelling ancestors. If it’s likely that the first barbecue was accidental (a forest fire cooked a bison on the hoof and some prehistoric man or woman tasted and liked it), it’s equally likely that the first deliberate act of grilling probably took place indoors. After all, archeologists have discovered Paleolithic cave sites containing the remains of flame-charred animal bones and cooking pits.

The ancient Greeks and Romans certainly grilled indoors. The hearth was literally and spiritually the focal point of the home. Indeed, our word focus comes from the Latin word for hearth. For that matter, so does the word for a popular Italian bread once cooked on the hearth—foccacia.

In medieval Europe, the fireplace served as the cooking center for the household. Capons and pullets were roasted on rotisseries in front of the fire. Some of these rotisseries were hand-cranked by scullions; others were powered by clockworks; and one particularly ingenious model—illustrated in an illuminated manuscript—used a small dog on a treadmill to turn the spit.

You may think of indoor grilling as being the province of newfangled gadgets, like the George Foreman contact grill, VillaWare panini machine, Showtime rotisserie, or Camerons stove-top smoker. These are, in fact, the latest manifestations of a spirit of indoor grill ingenuity that began the moment the first hominid roasted a haunch of meat in a fire pit in a cave.

Which brings me to the final reason I wrote this book—because it affords indoor and outdoor grillers alike an opportunity to expand our grilling horizons. There are some dishes you can make on an indoor grill that are difficult, if not impossible, outdoors. The short list would include panini and Cuban sandwiches, spit-roasted onions and artichokes, saganaki (Greek grilled cheese made in a grill pan), shad roe, and sugar- and cinnamon-crusted banana “tostones” for dessert.

Surveys have shown that most people tend to grill the same three or four dishes over and over. If you’re strictly an indoor griller, I hope this book will help you expand your repertory and give you some bold new ideas for using your contact grill, grill pan, built-in grill, freestanding grill, fireplace, countertop rotisserie, and stove-top smoker. If you grill both indoors and outdoors—or even solely outdoors, I hope the book will still give you some fresh ideas.

As with all my books, I learned a lot, had fun, and ate well while writing it. I hope it will make you a better griller—whether you cook indoors, outdoors, or both.


bringing the grill indoors

There are lots of places I could start this book.

At the rugged stone hearth at Randall’s Ordinary in Stonington, Connecticut, a country inn where dinner is cooked nightly in an antique fireplace—almost exactly as it has been since Colonial times.

In the “green room” of a television station, where I met boxer turned indoor grill champ—and the personality behind one of the most widely sold cooking devices in human history—George Foreman. (It was a great and validating moment—the champ gave me the perfunctory smile, walked halfway down the hall, then turned and shouted: “Hey, you’re the guy that wrote How to Grill!”)

On the set of the QVC, where, a few years back, an inventor and marketing genius named Ron Popiel made retailing history by selling $1 million worth of his Showtime rotisseries in a single hour.

But the most appropriate place to begin might be at the restaurant Da Toso in the hamlet of Leonacco in the province of Friuli, northeastern Italy. Da Toso is a ’que hound’s dream come true—a third-generation family-run restaurant in an out-of-the-way village with a strictly local clientele, and absolutely terrific, authentic live-fire-cooked food. I’d been brought here by Friuli gastronomy expert Bepi Pucciarella to experience a highly distinctive style of Italian barbecue—grilling on a fogolar—a freestanding hearth located not outdoors or even in a fireplace, but in the center of a dining or living room.

indoor grills

There are five basic types of indoor grills: the contact grill, the grill pan, the built-in grill, the freestanding grill, and the fireplace grill. Add to those two other ingenious devices, the countertop rotisserie and the stove-top smoker. Some function like outdoor charcoal or gas grills; others use technologies that produce results comparable to various grilling methods. All can be useful tools in the indoor griller’s arsenal, although each also has limitations. Here’s a scorecard to help you understand the players, beginning with the popular contact grill. My favorite indoor method—and the one that’s most comparable to outdoor live-fire cooking—is the fireplace. If you want to check that out first, turn to page 10.

contact grills

The contact grill, which most people are familiar with in the form of the very popular George Foreman, works something like a waffle iron or sandwich press. Its ridged grilling plates heat up to cook food from the top and the bottom simultaneously. The weight of the lid presses down on the food, creating an inviting crust, and the raised ridges on the best models leave well-defined grill marks. Panini machines are also contact grills.

If you’re a hardcore barbecue traditionalist, you may have doubts about contact grills and how their results compare with outdoor grills. It’s not the same, of course, but when it comes to what contact grills do well, they can be handy. They preheat quickly and, since you don’t have to turn most food cooked in them, cooking generally takes less than half the time as on an outdoor grill. And contact grills are terrific for making hot sandwiches, such as Italian panini (see pages 300 through 307), Cuban sandwiches like the medianoche (page 308), a French croque monsieur (page 292), and the classic Reuben (page 319).


Hold your hand 2 to 3 inches above the grate and start counting: “One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi,” and so on. When the grill is heated to high, you’ll be able to get to two to three Mississippi before the heat forces you to pull your hand away. When the grill is heated to medium, you’ll be able to get to five to six Mississippi. When the grill is heated to low, you’ll be able to get to ten to twelve Mississippi.


• Check the heat output. Steaks should be grilled over a 600° to 800°F “fire.” Turn the heat to high and wait about five minutes, then use the Mississippi test to check the heat of the grill.

• Check the evenness of the heat: Does the grill burn as hot in the back as in the front? To some extent all grills have hot spots and cool spots, but the overall heat distribution should be consistent.

• Does the heat respond to and correspond to the temperature control? Set the grill heat to high and let it run for a few minutes. Then lower the heat to medium. Does the temperature drop noticeably? Turn the heat down to low and test it again. Each time you lower the temperature control you should feel a drop in the heat coming off of the grill.

• Does the size of the grill meet your needs? Because built-in grills share the stove-top with the range burners and sometimes a griddle, many have a relatively small cooking surface. If you’re grilling for yourself and your spouse or companion, the average-size built-in grill will be ample. If, on the other hand, you like to entertain, you’ll want to look for a built-in with a large cooking area or choose another type of grill.


The ultimate fireplace for indoor grilling is the fogolar of Friuli in northeastern Italy. This traditional freestanding hearth is often located in the middle of a home living room or restaurant dining room, so it truly serves as the focal point of the meal (not to mention the local social life). The raised hearth allows you to grill standing upright—much easier on the back than cooking in a floor-level fireplace. Suspended from the ceiling above a traditional fogolar is a distinctive onion-shaped chimney hood, which carries away the smoke and food fumes. Elaborate models may even have built-in rotisseries. The fogolar is the most perfect indoor grilling setup I’ve encountered.

fireplace grill

The fireplace is the oldest indoor grill. The Romans called it a focus (hearth), and its central role in cooking, domestic well-being, and promoting general human happiness made it the literal and spiritual focal point of the home. In Colonial America, most cooking was done in the fireplace, and grilling on a gridiron (a sort of square metal grate on legs) was a popular way to cook meat. While this practice has all but disappeared in the United States, it is still common in Italy, France, Argentina, and India.


Grilling from start to finish—that’s how I plan my menus, and when you dine at our home, the appetizer always comes hot off some sort of grill. It could be artichoke “sunflowers,” grilled asparagus with prosciutto and Provolone, radicchio-grilled goat cheese, or Japanese-inspired sesame and ginger grilled stuffed mushrooms. Chicken wings are a North American classic, and I’ll show you how to sizzle them in a rotisserie, on a contact grill, and in a smoker. Chile-rubbed grilled shrimp makes for the ultimate shrimp cocktail. And even the Swedish meatball gets a makeover when seared on an indoor grill.

artichoke “sunflowers” with lemon dipping sauce

I’ve long been intrigued by grilled artichokes, so it was only a matter of time before I found a way to take advantage of the simultaneous top and bottom heat sources of a contact grill to produce artichokes similar to Rome’s famous carciofi alla guidia (artichokes in the Jewish style). In this venerable dish, artichokes are pan-fried in oil while being pressed to flatten them as they cook. The result looks something like a sunflower, with crackling crisp “petals” you can just about eat whole. You can certainly use other indoor grills, but you’ll need to weight down the artichokes (see “If you have a . . .”). MAKES 4


For the best results, use artichokes with leaves that are beginning to open, not fist-tight globe artichokes. They’re easier to spread apart.

If you like, you can also cook the artichoke stems. Brush them with the garlic-olive oil mixture along with the artichokes (see Step 6). Cooked on a contact grill, they’ll take about 3 minutes. Cooked in a grill pan, on a built-in grill, or in the fireplace, they’ll take about 3 minutes per side.



1 medium-size lemon

½ cup mayonnaise

¼ cup sour cream

Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground white pepper


4 large artichokes with stems attached

cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground white pepper


½ pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into ½-inch pieces

1 clove garlic, minced

1 scallion, both white and green parts, trimmed and minced (reserve 1 tablespoon minced scallion greens for garnish)

1 teaspoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger

3 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds (see Note)

¼ teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea), or more to taste

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon soy sauce, or more to taste

2 teaspoons Asian (dark) sesame oil

12 large white mushroom caps (about 12 ounces total)

1. Place the chicken, garlic, scallion, ginger, 1 teaspoon of the sesame seeds, and the salt and pepper in a food processor. Process to finely chop, running the machine in short bursts; do not purée the stuffing mixture. Add the soy sauce and the sesame oil. Taste the chicken mixture for seasoning by grilling or cooking a tiny patty in a nonstick skillet. Add more salt and/or soy sauce as necessary; the mixture should be highly seasoned.

2. Cut the mushroom stems off flush with the caps. Using a grapefruit spoon or a melon baller, hollow out the mushroom caps (set aside the mushroom scraps for making broth or another use). Spoon the stuffing into the mushroom caps, mounding it in the center of each.

3. Cook the mushrooms, following the instructions for any of the grills in the box, until the mushrooms are browned and tender and the stuffing is sizzling. Use the “Charmin test” to check for doneness; the sides of the mushrooms should yield gently when squeezed with your fingers.

4. Sprinkle the reserved tablespoon of scallion greens and the remaining 2 teaspoons of sesame seeds over the mushrooms and serve at once.

NOTE: To toast sesame seeds, place them in a dry cast-iron or other heavy skillet (don’t use a nonstick skillet for this). Cook the sesame seeds over medium heat until lightly browned, about 3 minutes, shaking the skillet to ensure that they toast evenly. Transfer the toasted sesame seeds to a heatproof bowl to cool.

if you have a . . .

CONTACT GRILL: Preheat the grill; if your contact grill has a temperature control, preheat the grill to high. Place the drip pan under the front of the grill. When ready to cook, lightly oil the grill surface. Place the stuffed mushrooms on the hot grill, then close the lid. The mushrooms will be done after cooking 3 to 5 minutes.

BUILT-IN GRILL: Preheat the grill to high, then, if it does not have a nonstick surface, brush and oil the grill grate. Place the mushrooms on the hot grate, stuffing side down. The mushrooms will be done after cooking 3 to 5 minutes per side.

FREESTANDING GRILL: Preheat the grill to high; there’s no need to oil the grate. Place the mushrooms on the hot grill, stuffing side down. The mushrooms will be done after cooking 4 to 6 minutes per side.

FIREPLACE GRILL: Rake red-hot embers under the gridiron and preheat it for 3 to 5 minutes; you want a hot, 2 to 3 Mississippi fire. When ready to cook, brush and oil the gridiron. Place the mushrooms on the hot grate, stuffing side down. The mushrooms will be done after cooking 3 to 5 minutes per side.

contact grill
poppers on the grill

Poppers (in culinary circles, at least) are cheese-stuffed, deep-fried jalapeño peppers. There are at least two reasons to make them on a contact grill: There’s a lot less fat and they taste a lot less oily. Not surprisingly, this dish was inspired by one made by a Texan, Jerry Lawson, president of the largest supplier of grilling woods in the United States, W W Wood. Serve these bad boys to a crowd that can handle the heat. MAKES 24


6 ounces (¾ cup) soft goat cheese or herbed cream cheese, at room temperature

12 jalapeño peppers, stemmed, cut in half lengthwise, and seeded

Ground cumin

24 sprigs fresh cilantro

8 slices bacon, each cut crosswise into thirds

Cooking oil spray


24 wooden toothpicks

1. Place a spoonful of cheese in a jalapeño half. Lightly sprinkle some cumin over it and place a cilantro sprig on top. Wrap a piece of bacon around the jalapeño, securing it through the side with a toothpick. Repeat with the remaining jalapeño halves. The recipe can be prepared several hours ahead to this stage and refrigerated, covered.

2. Preheat the grill (for instructions for using a contact grill, see page 3); if your contact grill has a temperature control, preheat the grill to high. Place the drip pan under the front of the grill.

3. When ready to cook, lightly coat the grill surface with cooking oil spray. Arrange the poppers on the grill, cut side up. Gently close the lid and grill the jalapeños until the bacon is browned and the cheese is sizzling, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer the jalapeños to a platter and serve at once.

wrapped asparagus with provolone and prosciutto

Asparagus and ham hors d’oeuvres are surprisingly universal. In the past year, I’ve had variations on the theme at a Japanese robatayaki (grill) parlor in Oakland, California, and at a Relais & Château temple of haute cuisine in Edgartown, on Martha’s Vineyard. You can grill single asparagus stalks in prosciutto to pass around or gang four of the prosciutto-wrapped spears together with a couple of bamboo skewers inserted crosswise to form a sort of raft. MAKES 16


Buy the fattest asparagus stalks you can find—ideally ones as thick as your little finger. As for the cheese, choose an aged Provolone, pepper Provolone, or truffled Provolone.


1 bunch chives or scallions, green part only (see Note)

16 thick asparagus stalks (about 1 pound)

2 slices (¼ inch thick, about 4 ounces total) Provolone cheese

8 thin slices prosciutto (about 4 ounces), cut crosswise in half

1. Snap the fibrous ends off the asparagus; the easiest way to do this is to grab a stalk by its base with one hand and bend the stalk with your other hand. The asparagus will snap where the woody part ends. Discard the fibrous ends.

2. Cut each slice of Provolone into ¼-inch strips. Place a piece of prosciutto on a work surface with the cut end toward you. Place an asparagus stalk on top of the prosciutto at the edge of and parallel to the cut end. Place a strip of Provolone alongside the asparagus stalk on top of the prosciutto. Roll up the asparagus and Provolone in the prosciutto, then tie the bundle together with 1 or 2 pieces of chive. Repeat until all the remaining pieces of prosciutto and asparagus stalks have been used. The asparagus bundles can be prepared to this stage several hours ahead and refrigerated, covered.

3. Cook the asparagus, following the instructions for any of the grills in the box at right, until the prosciutto is browned, the Provolone is melted, and the asparagus is tender. You may need to cook the asparagus in more than one batch.

4. Transfer the asparagus bundles to a platter and serve at once.

NOTE: If you use scallion greens, you’ll need to blanch them so that they are pliable enough to tie without breaking (you probably won’t need to do this with chives). Cut the scallion greens into pieces about 3 inches long. Bring 2 quarts well-salted water to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the scallion greens and let them boil for 10 seconds. Drain the blanched scallion greens in a colander, rinse them under cold running water until cool, then transfer them to paper towels and blot dry.

if you have a . . .

CONTACT GRILL: Preheat the grill; if your contact grill has a temperature control, preheat the grill to high. Place the drip pan under the front of the grill. When ready to cook, lightly oil the grill surface. Place the asparagus on the hot grill, then gently close the lid. The asparagus will be done after cooking 2 to 4 minutes.

GRILL PAN: Place the grill pan on the stove and preheat it to medium-high over medium heat. When the grill pan is hot a drop of water will skitter in the pan. When ready to cook, lightly oil the ridges of the grill pan. Arrange the asparagus in the hot grill pan so that the stalks are perpendicular to the ridges. The asparagus will be done after cooking 2 to 3 minutes per side.

BUILT-IN GRILL: Preheat the grill to high, then, if it does not have a nonstick surface, brush and oil the grill grate. Arrange the asparagus on the hot grate so that the stalks are perpendicular to the ridges. The asparagus will be done after cooking 2 to 3 minutes per side.

FREESTANDING GRILL: Preheat the grill to high; there’s no need to oil the grate. Arrange the asparagus on the hot grill so that the stalks are perpendicular to the ridges. The asparagus will be done after cooking 3 to 4 minutes per side.

FIREPLACE GRILL: Rake red hot embers under the gridiron and preheat it for 3 to 5 minutes; you want a hot, 2 to 3 Mississippi fire. When ready to cook, brush and oil the gridiron. Arrange the asparagus on the hot grate so that the stalks are perpendicular to the ridges. The asparagus will be done after cooking 2 to 3 minutes per side.

radicchio-grilled goat cheese

Grilling in leaves is one of the world’s oldest live-fire cooking techniques, practiced by pit masters in lands as diverse as Thailand, Sri Lanka, and the Yucatán. The advantages are many—the leaves (banana, pumpkin, or grape, to name a few) protect delicate foods from the searing heat of the fire while imparting a distinctive smoky, herbaceous flavor all their own. It looks cool as all get out, and there’s the primal pleasure of opening an edible package. This offbeat version, inspired by Portland, Oregon, chefs and PBS TV hosts Caprial and John Pense, features a distinctive interplay of flavors: salty pancetta, bitter radicchio, and earthy goat cheese. The bruschetta on page 280 or another grilled bread would make a good accompaniment.


On Sale
Nov 1, 2004
Page Count
416 pages


Steven Raichlen

About the Author

Steven Raichlen is the author of the New York Times bestselling Barbecue! Bible® cookbook series, which includes the new Brisket Chronicles; Project Fire; Barbecue Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades; Project Smoke; The Barbecue Bible; and How to Grill. Winners of 5 James Beard awards and 3 IACP awards, his books have been translated into 17 languages. His TV shows include the public television series Steven Raichlen’s Project Fire, Project Smoke; Primal Grill; and Barbecue University; the French language series Le Maitre du Grill, and the Italian series Steven Raichlen Grills Italy. Raichlen has written for the New York Times, Esquire, and all the food magazines; and is the founder and dean of Barbecue University. In 2015, he was inducted into the Barbecue Hall of Fame. His website is

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