Stovetop Grilling: Tips And Recipes

Q. Hi Jordan,

I am moving into an apartment that does not have a balcony or a gas stove - this building is electric only. I am best at cooking meat on a grill outdoors, but I won’t have one at this place. I’m wondering what you did living in your (former!) apartment.

Are stove-top griddles any good? Any ideas?

Thanks for your help. Most importantly, congrats on the new home!!!

Christina

A. Of course there’s nothing like grilling outdoors, but even during the years (most of them) when we didn’t have a BBQ I did plenty of grilling on my stovetop.

First, let’s talk stovetop grill purchasing. Fact: it’s really annoying to cap off a lovely dinner by wrestling your dirty grill into your tiny sink and scrubbing it clean…and said annoyingness is why I have sneakily transformed this duty into Kendrick’s Job over the years (“…but babe, I cooked!”).

But still: don’t go for a nonstick (a.k.a. easy-clean) version: you’ll never get it hot enough. Go for cast-iron (I bought a reversible grill/griddle for about $30 at Macy’s, but Le Creuset’s looks fantastic), and go for a two-burner version if you have the space (we didn’t, and it was tough to get the thing to heat evenly and impossible to cook for any more than two).

Now, what to cook: I never made hamburgers on my stovetop grill, just because…I don’t know, we lived about three feet away from Shake Shack, so it seemed unnecessary. I do, however, have a major Steak Problem, and this problem can get expensive if you eat out all the time, so we definitely made steaks on our stovetop grill constantly. At least once or twice a week. And I discovered that it’s pretty solid for this purpose; I mostly make strip steaks and skirt steaks just because a) they’re affordable and b) that’s what we like, and especially with these kinda tough cuts I think the key is marinating.

(For other stuff - chicken, etc - I tended to use my George Forman, just for the sake of ease.)

Here are a couple of my favorite stovetop grilling recipes:

1. MY VERY VERY VERY FAVORITE SKIRT STEAK (pictured above): Marinate skirt steak in this marinade for a minimum of two hours, and then grill the skirt steak, shifting position once, for just a couple of minutes on each side (turn the meat only once), and finish with a dollop of butter.

Let rest a few minutes, and serve sliced over arugula salad dressed with a little olive oil and balsamic (or olive oil and lemon juice), and maybe a little crumbled cotija cheese. (Bonus: if you have leftovers, they make for great steak-and-egg wraps the next morning.)

2. STRAIGHTFORWARD STOVETOP STRIP STEAK: This basic recipe has never failed me, and is my go-to dinner-on-my-lonesome recipe.

3. GRILLED MANGO KEBABS: These kebabs (marinated filet mignon speared with bell pepper slices and mango chunks) are good if you like kebabs. I don’t really like kebabs. But you might!

Enjoy!

x

J

Blue Monster Burgers

When I lived in LA, I used to make these all the time.

I grilled - or at least had my dad or my friend Daniel grill - pretty much every night during the years I was living in Sherman Oaks, but after awhile I realized that the pre-made blue cheese patties that I kept buying from Whole Foods just because they were so delicious could easily be duplicated at home for a fraction of the price.

If you’re a blue cheese lover, try this immediately. Even if you’re on the fence about the stuff, it’s worth a shot; they’re that good.

(This is what Kendrick got up to while I patty-ed: putting together my very best friend The Hammock.)

BLUE MONSTER BURGERS (makes 4-5 burgers)

What you need:

About a pound of meat. (And speaking of meat, don’t go for the super-lean stuff: a lot of the fat is going to drain off during the grilling process, so if you start with, say, 95% lean, you’re going to get a dry burger. I usually buy 85% lean meat for grilling.)

A little garlic powder or some finely minced garlic cloves

About 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

Sliced tomato

Sliced avocado

Sliced raw onion

Mayonnaise

Ketchup

Mustard

White vinegar (optional)

Buns

What you do: 

1. The trick when making patties is not to handle the meat too much. I just combine the meat, blue cheese (reserve a little off to one side) and minced garlic or garlic powder in a bowl, mush it around a bit to combine, and then form patties quickly - no mucking about, trying to get them the perfect size/shape.

2. Now’s the fun part: when your patties are formed, push a little hole into the center and fill with a couple of extra crumbles of blue cheese (not too much; this stuff goes a long way), then cover the hole back up with meat. When you bite into the center later, it’s sort of like a Boston Creme Donut effect, except with meat and cheese, which is even better (and it’s hard to get better than Boston Creme Donuts).

3. Grill the burgers on a very hot grill to your desired temperature.

4. Meanwhile, mix together the mayo, ketchup and mustard (I go heavier on the mayo and ketchup, lighter on the mustard, but the proportions are really up to you), adding another little shake of garlic powder and maybe a splash of white vinegar, if you want it extra-tangy.

5. Top finished burgers with special sauce, tomato, onion, and a couple of slices of avocado.

Best burger ever.

I’m writing this at 8:05 in the morning, and now I want one.

Grilled Mango, Yes

Thank you so very much to Allie Beau for the genius suggestion to throw a little mango onto my kabobs.

Grilled mango? Is good. (Related: in my former life as a oft-barbecuing Los Angeles resident, I used to love grilling pineapple slices sprinkled with brown sugar. Also good. FYI.)

Next up: Rain’s pork kabobs with soy sauce, brown sugar and ketchup marinade and a side of kimchi.