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!!!
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!