Cast Iron Grilling

My gas grill is not new nor is it fancy. In fact, like a lot of things at my home — including both my house and my car — it's highly practical, reliable, and downright comfortable for me. But what makes my grill particularly special is how I help it create meal magic by giving it a secret boost. And today, I'm sharing that secret with you as well so if you have a grill not unlike mine, you can be singing its praises in no time!

My "secret" is simple: I place a large cast iron griddle on my grill as I fire it up. Then, when it's time to grill my favorite meat — especially all forms of beef, which really love a good sear — I grill on the hot cast iron instead of on the less beefy (pun kinda intended) ceramic-coated grates my grill has. The result is a very pronounced sizzle, a short cooking time with one flip, and results that make my mouth water even when I look at the photos after being full to the point of stuffed!

By the way, those rib steaks there are topped with some quick-grilled ramps. I just tossed those on the griddle after the steaks came off and the gas was no longer running and tossed them with a pair of tongs every few seconds. They were tender and a little browned after a couple of minutes. They made a very nice crowning touch to some fantastic steaks off the grill.

And burgers are also a snap. I recently mixed one pound of lean ground beef with a bit of salt and pepper and about a quarter cup of crumbled bleu cheese. Then I formed six slider patties and, again, tossed them onto that cast iron griddle that had been heated along with the grill. Sizzle sizzle sigh. A few minutes on each side and they were done.

A good metal spatula with a clean edge and reliable metal tongs are my tools of choice when using cast iron on the grill. Cast iron holds up well to it and the metal tools are good for scraping the crust that forms on a good burger or pulling a properly seared steak from the surface without danger of burning you or the steak. When your food is ready, do yourself a favor and go enjoy it. You'll want to give that griddle a good bit of time to cool off before washing and drying it. Remember to use an old towel to wash and dry the griddle, as it is likely to leave stains on your cleaning implements.

For me, using cast iron on my grill helps even out the heat of an older gas grill and gives me a solid, reliable sear without any flare-ups. It also gives me lots of ooohs and aaahs when everyone digs in! Enjoy your summer and keep it hot.

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