For some, summer is grilling season. That’s great in theory, but in practice, not everyone has a grill. Apartment dwellers shouldn’t be left out of the fun just because they don’t have easy access to a yard. Blue Apron Chef Andrew Mumma set out to find the best way to enjoy the flavor of the grill without starting a fire in your home.

grilling inside
Cook in > cook out

Chef Andrew tested out three different methods, but the simplest technique prevailed. An indoor smoker filled his home with smoke, and left foods with a bitter taste that bore little resemblance to the grill. The electric griddle was easier to control, but couldn’t deliver the grill’s signature char or grill marks. After testing, the humble grill pan emerged as the best way to grill indoors, it getting outside just isn’t an option. 

How to use a grill pan

A grill pan is a heavy pan with raised lines that mimic the grates of a grill. It’s used on the stovetop like a traditional skillet. When it comes to grill pans, the heavier the better. With a material like cast iron, not only will you be able to get the pan hotter, it will retain heat better once food is added. 

how to use a grill pan
A staub grill pan

Although it isn’t an exact replica of a grill, a grill pan will help develop a nice char on meat and vegetables. To achieve this, the pan needs to get very hot. Preheat the pan on the stove before adding anything, and don’t be afraid if you start to see some smoke. It’s normal for a grill pan to get very smoky. Just make sure the hood fan is turned up to the highest setting, and an exterior window is open to air things out a bit. 

Use the grill pan for chicken breasts, then slice and serve over rice with barbecue sauce, or alongside a panzanella.

For a vegetarian option brush sliced eggplant with olive oil, and incorporate into a grilled eggplant sandwich or salad

Find even more grilling tips in the Blue Apron guide to grilling