Do you ever find yourself daydreaming about All The Stuff You Would Make if only you had an [insert-kitchen-appliance-or-gadget-of-your-choice-here]?
Or are you the type who stares at all the fancy equipment in friends’ kitchens just wondering what it’s all for (practically, not existentially)?
Either way—this column’s for you.
Each week we’ll focus on one type of kitchen appliance or gadget—from juicers to mandolins, food processors to coffee-bean grinders, mixers to bread-makers—with an eye toward explaining and exploring both what it’s for, where to find it and what your options are across a spectrum of price ranges. I’m starting off with the stove top griller, because I just got and used one for the first time this week, and I’m quite taken with it…
Appliance/Gadget: Stove Top Grill
What It Is/Does: This one is pretty self-explanatory, but: A stove top grill is a tiny grill that fits over a burner on your stove and uses the stove’s heat to cook (unlike stand-alone indoor grills, most of which plug in and rely on electricity). Grilling is a really healthy way to cook meats, fish, veggies and even fruit because it doesn’t require oil or fats. If you’ve got grill envy this summer (I certainly do) but no yard or patio or easy grill access to speak of, then this is your solution. A stove top grill lets you get that outdoor grill flavor, that nice bit of charring, right from your kitchen. Grill fish, chicken, vegetables—basically, anything you’d put on a regular grill; you’ve just got less room to work with.
Options: There are actually surprisingly few stove-top grill options out there (most indoor grills are of the electric variety), so instead of a budget, mid-range and gourmet option, we’ve got a budget stove top grill and then two in the $100 range.
Chefmaster 13-Inch Smokeless Stovetop Barbeque Grill ($7.71 + shipping // Amazon.com)
This is the stove top grill I purchased, and I love it so far (though my sentiment might not be common: it’s only got a 2 out of 5 stars average customer rating on Amazon). The whole ‘smokeless’ bit is a lie—we definitely had to open all the kitchen windows while we cooked—but otherwise, the Chefmaster stovetop grill did exactly what its supposed to. We made trout, and it cooked evenly, with crispy blackened skin and firm but not too dry meat (and it was also really easy to clean afterwards, though it must be hand-washed). It’s made of cast-iron with a nonstick surface, and can allegedly be used with electric, gas or propane stoves. (Pictured at top of post.)
All-Clad Gourmet Double-Burner Stovetop Grill ($99.95 // Williams Sonoma)
This anodized aluminum grill sits over two burners, providing you with a much bigger grilling surface. Nonstick surface, stainless steel handles. Average W&S customer rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars.
Minden Master Range Top Grill ($100.88 + shipping // Sears.com)
This round grill sits over the burner of any standard electric, gas or propane stove. It’s got porcelain-coated grates, a steel base and cover and removable silicon handles; is dishwasher-safe; measures approximately 17 by 15 by 8 inches; and boy is it heavy—56.72 lbs. See a review here.
If you’d like to nominate certain kitchen gear be covered, rave about how much you love X brand of juicer or share how such-and-such mixer was total crap, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.