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Fat Guy

Strategy for an indoor "cookout"

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Back on Memorial Day weekend, our neighbors hosted a "cookout." I use quotes because they live in the apartment across the hall (in our Manhattan apartment building) and have no outdoor space. Their strategy: fire up a grill pan, grill all the stuff you'd normally grill outside, produce a lot of smoke and vaporized grease, and clean it all up afterward. That's probably the best way to do it, but my family is not temperamentally suited to making that sort of mess.

So, any thoughts on a way to reciprocate with an outdoorsy meal prepared in an apartment with minimal ventilation? I was thinking a clambake-type menu would be do-able. Any other ideas?

(Let me interrupt now to say that suggestions that I find outdoor space are not going to be usable.)


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Broiler?

Interesting. I do have a beast of a broiler, which I haven't really put to much use yet.

I wonder, though. My experience with broilers has been that they definitely contain spatter but are pretty neutral versus stovetop cooking when it comes to smoke and smoke-like vaporized grease.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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You could try hot-dogs and cold salads...

Right, sort of a picnic menu. That could work. Maybe a good sausage item rather than hot dogs. Maybe some deviled eggs, etc.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Pork ribs, wrapped in foil with a small amount of liquid. Cook slow til tender then finish with a coating of sauce under the broiler. It's not barbecue but it is delicious.


 

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Broiler?

I wonder, though. My experience with broilers has been that they definitely contain spatter but are pretty neutral versus stovetop cooking when it comes to smoke and smoke-like vaporized grease.

Really? When I lived in an apartment the first thing to do if I wanted the smoke alarm to go would be to fire up the broiler. Gar-n-teed.

Why not do a "cook out" theme -- grilled or broiled meats, deviled eggs, corn on the cob, cole slaw. Or do an Argentinian grill with a plethora of different grilled meats, chimichurra sauce, grilled potatoes. Yum. I love chimichurra. I might cheat and serve it with arepas, which are not Argentine but sure would taste good with the meat and sauce.

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Pork ribs, wrapped in foil with a small amount of liquid. Cook slow til tender then finish with a coating of sauce under the broiler. It's not barbecue but it is delicious.

Right, There is a pretty damn tasty, and I shudder to say this, Alton Brown "method"/recipe that I've doctored a bit and used with great success.

Potato salad, cole slaw, baked beans, corn on the cob - or off the cob and browned in butter, chips, salsa, guac, etc. Beer. Sangria.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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When I lived in an apartment the first thing to do if I wanted the smoke alarm to go would be to fire up the broiler. Gar-n-teed.

If the oven, racks and broiler pan are clean of grease and grime, broilers generally don't produce too much smoke.

Pork ribs, wrapped in foil with a small amount of liquid. Cook slow til tender then finish with a coating of sauce under the broiler. It's not barbecue but it is delicious.

Right, There is a pretty damn tasty, and I shudder to say this, Alton Brown "method"/recipe that I've doctored a bit and used with great success.

Yep, I started with that AB recipe way back when. It's super versatile, of course, and did we mention that most everything can be done well in advance?


 

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Yep, I started with that AB recipe way back when. It's super versatile, of course, and did we mention that most everything can be done well in advance?

I have friends with propane grills who, after I showed them the method, use it all the time. Everyone loves it.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Do you have a slow cooker? If so, you might want to check out this recipe for "pulled pork" from the Splendid Table. I've never tried it but know several people who rave about it.

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More non-authentic pork cookery: Bittman's take on pernil. Finish thick slices of that under the broiler to brown slightly. Serve with whatever Latin-inspired sides you fancy.

And why not burgers? Cast-iron's as legitimate a cooking surface as the grill.


 

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When we lived in Wisconsin, a cookout often included Bratwurst boiled with onions in beer then seared lightly on the grill.

Larry


Larry Lofthouse

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Sounds like the broiler's the way. If you want grill lines with a broiler, you can preheat a cast iron grill pan under the broiler and use it as your broiler pan. I do that pretty frequently. Pour off the grease, if it gets to be too much, to minimize smoke and flareups. Open windows and have the fans running.

Another option is things that don't require much grill/broiler time, like seared scallops or tuna, seafood kebabs and such.

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About a year ago we started to develop a cooking class for just this dilemma because in Atlanta, it's illegal to use a grill on an apartment patio or balcony. To my surprise, the class didn't sell so we never finished the recipes. However, we came up with two that you might find helpful. (Sorry that I've mixed metric and English, not to mention volume and weight; we never finalized these.)

Besides the mess of indoor grilling, I don't use grill pans much because they don't add grilled flavor. However, they do contribute evocative grill marks. What's more, if you avoid animal proteins (and therefore, animal fats), the mess is greatly reduced.

Grilled Romaine, Portobello and Tomato Salad

Serves four to six

Dressing

1 egg

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 large clove garlic

3 whole anchovies or 1 teaspoon anchovy paste

2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons grated Parmagiano-Reggiano cheese

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Salad

One head romaine lettuce

2-3 portobello mushrooms

2 large tomatoes

Parmagiano-Reggiano cheese for shaving

Vegetable oil for grilling

In a medium bowl or 2-cup measuring cup, beat the egg until the yolk and white are mostly combined. Mince or press the garlic and add it. Whisk in the oil and anchovy until smooth. Drizzle in the vinegar, allowing the dressing to emulsify. Stir in the cheese and pepper. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.

Leaving the core intact, cut the romaine in half lengthwise.

Trim the mushroom stems and scrape out the gills (a grapefruit spoon is a good tool for this).

Cut the tomatoes in half across their equators. Clean out the seeds.

Place the vegetables on a sheet pan, cut sides up. Brush a generous amount of dressing on them. Set aside for 30 minutes.

Heat a cast-iron grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush the grate with vegetable oil. Place the vegetables diagonally across the pan, uncut sides down. Cook without moving them for two minutes, then rotate 90 degrees. Cook for two more minutes.

Flip the vegetables, brush the tops with dressing, and cook one more minute.

Move the vegetables to a cutting board and let them cool just until you can handle them. Chop roughly (or leave in larger pieces if you want to show off the quadrillage) and put in a salad bowl (or arrange on a platter).

Toss with more dressing if desired, then plate and top with cheese shavings.

+ + +

The second recipe was designed to evoke the smoky flavors of the grill.

Rub

2T sweet paprika

2T smoked paprika

2t smoked salt

2t ground chipotle

1t ground cumin

1t Worcestershire powder

This is enough for two racks of baby back ribs, which we brine and cook in a 250°F oven for three to four hours, until the meat starts to shrink up the bone and the racks are very flexible. Meanwhile, make a glaze:

84 ounces (12 7–ounce bottles) malta

250 ml strong brewed coffee (or 1T instant espresso dissolved in 1C water)

8 grams ground ancho

6 to 8 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

250 ml reduced–sodium tamari or “lite” soy sauce

zest from one tangerine or one medium orange (about 8 grams)

Combine malta, coffee, ancho and garlic in a large saucepan or Dutch or French oven. Bring to a lively simmer, stirring occasionally. Reduce to about one liter. Depending on the size of your pot, this will take 60 to 90 minutes.

Strain the liquid through a fine sieve into a smaller pot. Add the tamari. Bring the mixture to a simmer again, and reduce to about 300 ml. It will be very syrupy. Add the orange zest and keep warm. (If it gets too cool, it will thicken alarmingly. This isn’t a big deal, but you’ll have to reheat it to apply it as a glaze—or even to pour it into a storage container.)

When the ribs are almost done, brush the glaze on concave side of the ribs and cook another ten minutes. Flip and brush the convex side, and cook another ten minutes. Repeat glazing on both sides and remove ribs from oven.

Cool for ten minutes, then cut ribs into serving portions.

Leftover glaze keeps in the fridge at least two weeks, and probably longer.


Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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If you're in the mood for splurging, you can up your clambake theme a notch and serve lobster rolls. The lobster salad can be made in advance, just butter and toast the rolls at the last minute. Sides such as corn, slaw, etc. are easy and won't make a mess.

I like the broiler better than stove top cooking for faux grilling. Anything on a skewer cooks quickly with little mess--shrimp, lamb, etc. Just remember to soak the skewers so they don't incinerate before the food's cooked.



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Further to the hot dogs and traditional picnic sides, our current blogger reminded me of a hamburger riff I did once when there was no grilling area and little room. I made a meatloaf ahead of time, reheated the slices in the microwave, and served them up with standard hamburger buns and condiments. It was well received. I think we did corn (I always break the cobs in two for parties) with its own condiment bar, green salad, pasta and/or potato salad, and heaps of watermelon sliced up. A "do it yourself" ice cream sundae table was a fun and tasty finish. Paper plates, plastic cutlery, and paper towel rolls as serve yourself napkin dispensers made for easy cleanup.

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You can steam a whole salmon in your dishwasher. (The spectacular outdoors version, of course, uses a bathtub with hot rocks.)

Serve your dishwasher salmon with smoke-free sides like rolls, potato salad, cole slaw, and buttery corn-on-the-cob.

For dessert, S'mores cooked under the broiler.

http://whatscookingamerica.net/Cookie/Smores/Smores.htm

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