When summer comes around, camping is one of the biggest activities we look forward to. While grilling outdoors may sound like great fun, there are some common mistakes many of us commit and end up scarring or burning our pots and pans.
Today, I would like to answer a frequently asked question: ‘Can you use pots on the grill?’ The answer is yes, you can. Trust me, using pots on a grill is no different from using them on a gas stove if you do it correctly. You just need to ensure that you use the right pots made of suitable materials to sustain high heat and cook food evenly without burning it.
What’s more, pots enable you to blanch vegetables or prepare garnishes along with the main dish on the grill. For example, while the meat or steak cooks, you could steam mussels, carrots, or potatoes, and even prepare a quick teriyaki glaze with soy sauce, brown sugar, and ginger.
Why Use Pots On a Grill?
When you use a pot made of solid material like cast iron steel, it ensures that the heat is distributed evenly and the food is cooked thoroughly. Unlike placing the meat or vegetable directly on a gas or charcoal grill, you can have your food cooked without charring it in a pot. No wood chips, no charcoal smell or outdoor flavor.
Furthermore, pots give you the option to steam your food (something you can’t do directly on a grill), and you can blanch or steam cook a lot of vegetables together at one time. This saves you from going to the kitchen to boil or steam food while the steak is being grilled outside. Instead, you can spend your time cooking the entire meal outdoors without missing out on conversations.
The only issue with using pots is that it they can be a pain to clean afterwards. As the bottom part comes in direct contact with high heat, it tends to get burned. To get rid of the tougher stains, mix two tablespoons of salt with one teaspoon of hot water and rub this on the stains using a potato cut into half. Scrub gently using a bristled brush, then rinse with clean water and dry.
Choosing The Right Type Of Pots To Use On Grill
While you can use any type of pot made of materials that can sustain high temperatures, I prefer cookware made from cast iron. This is a sturdy and durable material that can be safely used on a gas or charcoal grill. You must, however, ensure that there are no plastic parts and that it’s not made of Teflon. The pot should also not have an enameled coating or else the pot may get ruined on the grill. Non-stick pans are a no-no because exposing them to high heat may destroy the non-stick coating.
If you mistakenly use a pot that cannot sustain high levels of heat, the exterior could get charred, become brittle, or be hard to clean. It can also be dangerous to use pots or pan made of brittle materials on a gas grill, as this may cause unpleasant accidents. I prefer using an inexpensive cast iron pot in case it ends up burned or with too much grease build-up at the bottom.
If you bought a new grill and wish to use it for camping outdoors, I would recommend that you test it in the backyard with the best available pots and pans so that you don’t get any unpleasant surprises out in the woods. I would recommend buying a couple of cast iron pots, pans, and grill grates if you are planning to go camping with a group of friends.
Steps To Use Pots Correctly
Step 1. Start by setting up the area where you will be cooking. Choose the place where you will place the pot over the grill and clean it thoroughly to remove any grease or residue. Don’t forget to clean this up, or else grease and gunk may build up and burn the bottom side. It may also cause oily smoke or fire, so beware of such mishaps. Scrape off any residue or drippings with a grill scraper like this one.
Step 2. After you are done cleaning, turn on the grill and be prepared to start cooking. Heat the grill for about five minutes before you place any pots over it. Make sure you only heat it slightly; don’t make it too hot. Keep the grill on low to medium heat. Although a lower heat will mean that the food takes longer to cook, this will add more tenderness to the meat and vegetables.
Step 3: Place the pots on the side of the grill to cook. Before adding any vegetables for sautéing or blanching, make sure the pot or pan is well greased with olive oil. You may also sprinkle some seasoning such as salt and pepper for better results. Stir the food constantly with a wooden spoon while cooking to ensure that it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
Step 4: Make sure the lid of the grill is always open, throughout the cooking process. If you have to cover the pot while cooking, ensure that the lid has no plastic material in it. Keep checking on the food constantly to ensure that the steam is released and the food does not become overcooked.
Step 5: When you are done cooking, turn off the grill and let the pot or pan cool down completely. When cooled, clean it thoroughly to remove any grease, soot, or food burns.
Tips For Correctly Using Pots On The Grill
Now that you know that you can use pots on a grill, it’s time to look at some tips for using them correctly. Here is some advice that will help you use pots and pans safely while cooking outdoors.
#1. Get some sturdy and inexpensive cast-iron pots or black-steel pans to use on the grill. Keep these utensils separate to be used only for grilling.
#2. I suggest parboiling beets, potatoes, and other veggies on the kitchen stovetop before putting them on the grill to get that lovely char. After that, you can then move them to a pot with olive oil to finish cooking them.
#3. Place your charcoal in such a way as to create two heat zones in your grill. You can use the higher heat area to sear steaks and the lower heat zone to wilt the spinach.
#4. If you always have a large group when cooking outdoors, it’s always a good idea to have two grills so that you can keep one on high heat and another on low heat.
#5. Those who grill often may want to consider investing in grill baskets and specialty pots and pans to use on the grill. You should also have the right tools easily accessible so that you don’t have to run indoors every time you need them. Here are some of the tools that you may need:
• A cutting Board for chopping vegetables, cutting meat, and letting the meat rest for a while after being seasoned.
• Paper towels to pat dry the steak to absorb excess moisture and remove excess oil. You may also want to keep a kitchen towel handy to keep your hands dry.
• A sharp knife to help you get thin slices of meat and to finely chop the vegetables to your desired size.
• A seasoning kit comprising of kosher salt, black pepper, and chili flakes so that you have them all accessible in one place.
• Tongs to help you keep your hands away from direct heat.
• A spatula comes in handy when you are cooking fish or seafood.
• A bottle of olive oil to drizzle on the meat and veggies before or after putting them on the grill.
• A trash bag to throw away vegetable skins, used paper towels, discarded portions of meat, and so on to keep your workspace clean and tidy.
Best Pots And Pans To Use On The Grill
1. Cast Iron Skillet and Double Dutch Oven Set
If you love cooking outdoors regularly, here’s a product to meet your grilling needs. It comprises of a Dutch Oven Set that works as a 2-in-1 cooker, and the wide lid can be converted to serve as a frying pan. The cast iron material distributes heat evenly and keeps food warm for longer. The pot comes pre-seasoned from the factory and is backed by a one-year manufacturer warranty.
2. Utopia Kitchen Cast Iron Dutch Oven with Dual Handle
If you have been looking for a reasonably priced Dutch Oven that you can use to bake a cake or roast chicken while camping outdoors, check out this product from Utopia Kitchen. Made of cast iron, this is one of the sturdiest pots you can safely use on a grill, and the lid provides steam protection to keep the moisture locked inside. The dual side handles make it easier to transport the pot from one place to another.
3. Cast Iron Quart Dutch Oven
This is a heavy-duty and thick cast iron pot from Commercial Chef. As the pot is made of sturdy cast iron material, it has good heat insulation and transfers the heat evenly so that the food is well cooked. The pot comes pre-seasoned so that you can use it without the need for any extra seasoning. It comes with a lid that secures the moisture and maintains the temperature to make it the perfect searing tool.
4. Zelancio Cookware 2.5-Quart Pre-Seasoned Pot with Lid
If you are enthusiastic about cooking outdoors, you will need the right pots and pans to cook different types of foods. While most of the cookware you’ll find online is meant for cooking meat and vegetables, here’s a pot that you can use to make hearty sauces to baste on steaks and roasted meat. This is a small but sturdy cast iron pot with handles to use on a stove, oven, and grill.
5. AmazonBasics Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Dutch Oven Pot
This is a pre-seasoned Dutch oven that is ready to use for baking, boiling, roasting, braising, or more. Made of cast-iron, this pot is capable of retaining and distributing heat evenly when cooking outdoors. There are two side handles for secure and safe handling when lifting or transporting the pot from one place to another.
Which is better – gas grill or charcoal grill?
Gas grills are convenient and much easier to use, however charcoal grills have the benefit of retaining more heat due to the smoldering coals. Therefore, you will be able to keep food warm for longer on a charcoal grill, provided that the weather conditions are on your side. Wind can be your worst foe when cooking outdoors.
Why are cast iron pots so useful while grilling?
You don’t have to think twice before placing cast iron pots directly on a charcoal or gas grill. Whether you want to cook a bunch of cherry tomatoes, make a pizza or roast a chicken, cast iron pots and pans can withstand a lot of heat.
Can I use enameled pots on the grill?
Not all of them, but there are certain special types of enameled cast iron cookware that you can safely use on a grill. There are also some non-stick pans that are designed to be used on grills, but you should always check with the manufacturer first.