Manning an outdoor grill is part of what makes summer cooking so fun, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention our equal love for the cast-iron grill pan, which gives us that charred flavor without all the work of an open flame when we’re short on the propane, avoiding the weather, or just don’t have the space for an charcoal or gas grill. To show you just how much we adore cast-iron grill pans, we partnered with Finex to host a virtual grilling party with some of our favorite bloggers, who offered recipes and their favorite grilling tips in Finex’s new Cast-Iron Double-Handle Grill Pan. Check out some of their pointers and dishes below, then share yours with us on Instagram using the hashtag #castironcreations.
Amanda Shaver of The Happy Little Apron went into why it’s so important to let your food, like these Peanut Sauce Pork Chops, stay still on the grill. “Set your food on the grill and leave it—probably longer than you think,” she advised. “Don’t be tempted to turn it too often. And don’t be afraid to bring the heat! Those blackened charred crispy bits are what turn normal food into summer magic.”
Photographer Carly Diaz emphasized the need to marinate meat and poultry overnight. “Time marries the flavors, enriching the meat with complexity and a deep seasoning,” she writes. See the recipe for her cumin, mustard and fennel-studded ancho chile marinade.
Fat means flavor for Nik Sharma of A Brown Table. Never one to waste anything, he adds: “For a tasty and more robust flavor cook the veggies in a little bit of the leftover chicken fat.” We couldn’t agree more, and love his South Asian-inspired take on grilled chicken! (Re-create it by slathering his Indian-Inspired Hot and Sweet Cherry Barbecue Sauce onto your own poultry).
Paige Adams of Last Ingredient reminded us that one shouldn’t overlook dessert on the grill. “Why not put all that heat to use for something sweet like grilled almond pound cake with peaches?!” she wrote.
For a more complex flavor, Brooke Bass of Chocolate and Marrow recommends adding layers of flavor as you marinate, season and baste. “For example, I marinated steak using a combo of fresh lemongrass and soy sauce, seasoned it with a pinch of dried ground lemongrass and salt and pink peppercorns, then tossed the grilled steak with more fresh lemongrass, bright green herbs and a tangy fish sauce dressing,” she explained. Get her recipe for Thai steak salad with lemongrass and herbs.
Jessica Fiorillo of Feed Me Dearly had a hot dog pointer to share with the rest of us: “Serve your dogs straight from the pan. The bottom gets crusty, leaving the top nice and soft (unlike grilling the buns butterflied beforehand, which makes them too crunchy).” We can’t wait to try our franks this way!
For even more flavor, Deborah Balint, aka Rainy Day Bites, recommends an herb basting brush: “Take a twig or a wooden spoon and gather up your favorite herbs (I used rosemary, oregano and thyme), tie them to the stick with kitchen twine, dip in olive oil, and then baste your food while it grills. So easy and it infuses your food with so much extra flavor!” She used this technique on an herb-infused steak with horseradish cream sauce.
Lena Gladstone of Lena’s Kitchen suggests looking to different cuisines for sausage topping inspiration: “Grab different flavors and experiment with different toppings. I have Italian-style sausages stuffed with bacon, topped with mustard, sautéed onions and peppers,” she explains. “The second is a pork potsticker sausage topped with cilantro, quick-pickled red onions, red cabbage, cilantro slaw and sesame seeds.”
Dale Gray of The Daley Plate reminded us that we’re not grilling with eggplant nearly enough. She offered some advice for best grilling results: “Since eggplant is best enjoyed when fully tender, slice it at an angle without cutting into the stem and fan it out before grilling. The increased surface area exposed to heat will cook your eggplant evenly,” she wrote. “Eggplant loves gutsy flavors, so I’ve brushed it with a mixture of clarified butter and Ethiopian berbere spice before placing it on the grill.”
“When people think of grilling, they usually gravitate towards 🍗🍖🍗,” Michelle Lopez of Hummingbird High wrote. “But did you know you can grill fruits too?” She added: “Stone fruits in particular work the best—one of my favorite summer desserts is grilled peaches with a sprinkling of honey, hazelnuts, and thyme.”