The advent of the first stovetop electric grills brought into the kitchen what had been traditionally an outdoor cooking method. These grills feature an electric heating element beneath a metal grate-a sort of inverted broiler. But is this really grilling? A purist would say no. Indeed, conspicuously absent is the first qualification: live fire. But electric grills do offer the dry high-heat searing and charring so prized in outdoor grilling. I’m not sure that a blindfolded eater could tell the difference between outdoor and indoor grilled food that has been marinated well. And it certainly enables Frost Belters to enjoy grill-style food all year long.
This brings me to skillet grills, those frying pans with parallel raised ridges on the bottom that are designed to simulate grill marks. Here again, a purist might be tempted to dismiss these devices. Certainly there’s no live fire. But the ridges create the smoky charring and inviting grill marks so typical of grilling. Skillet grilling is no substitute for outdoor grilling, but it can serve the apartment dweller who wants to approximate a grilled flavor.
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