Using your grill as an outdoor oven
This is the time of year where we tend to get outside more often during the warmer months. This is prime grilling and BBQ season, not that you can’t grill year ‘round. Myself, I don’t let weather or season get in my way of outdoor cooking but some of us live in regions that make it a little more difficult in inclement weather.
Most types of grills can double as an outdoor oven…to cook things other than meat, too! (Provided it can get to the appropriate temperature) There are plenty of reasons that this works for several applications. We have talked about grilled pizzas before, but think inside the box. There is no reason why you can’t bake cakes, cookies, pizza, quiches, frittatas, casseroles, mac n cheese, etc…
When you think about it, the best reason to explore this is alternative energy. It makes sense to use gas or charcoal instead of the electricity it takes to fire up your oven. Also, it may be warm outside and you’re trying to keep your house cool with air conditioning, inside.
If you have an electric grill, smoker or pellet grill that uses electricity…that’s ok, too. Mostly because you’re house’s interior won’t raise in temperature from your oven’s output. This will also this provide more room in your kitchen for guests!
All you need are some cookie sheets, casserole dishes, pizza pans, cast iron skillet or other inexpensive items that might already be in your kitchen. Just make sure that you’re ok with getting those dirty. 🙂 Oh yeah, invest in a good pair of heat resistant gloves if you don’t have oven mitts. http://www.amazon.com/health-personal-care/dp/B001EPR98Q
Now that we have mentioned the environmental reasons for using your grill as an outdoor oven…
How about the best reasons? Taste and togetherness.
You’d be surprised at the flavors that can be subtly and quite deliciously added to your macaroni and cheese when you cook over charcoal. (I would recommend indirect heat at 350 F degrees) If you don’t want that kind of smoky flavor, use your gas grill when baking things like cookies or cakes.
However, the very best reason is the gathering of friends and family. Getting others involved and getting everybody in your crew outdoors. Cooking outdoors is not just for the adults and the guys. This is the chance for you to hone your skills for then next time you go camping, your next birthday, graduation, retirement or summer party that could be transformed by making that killer dish that you baked in you “outdoor oven.”
I have just started getting into doing this and it makes sense. As soon as I bake some outdoor brownies, or smoke some green bean casserole, I’ll be sure to feature those in their own blog. For now, I just wanted to get the idea out there.
Happy outdoor cooking!