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Kitchen Gear

Why This Grilling Skillet is Our Favorite Summer Cooking Tool

This lightweight, versatile skillet will give you that smoky, just-off-the-grill flavor whether you're cooking outdoors or indoors.

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There’s nothing quite like those irresistible sear and char marks you get from an afternoon behind a grill. There’s something so satisfying about producing a piece of meat or vegetable with smoky flavor, tantalizing crunch and perfect balance of juices. There are never enough napkins to go around when tearing into the food at a cookout. 

But this technique isn’t only for those with big backyards, high-tech grills, and open space. You can also use grilling skillets in a condo or apartment to extract incredibly deep and complex flavors from humble ingredients.

“There’s evidence that foods our ancestors ate have components of direct flame cooking,” says Biju Thomas, Outside’s resident chef. “Most home cooks tend to avoid this technique for fear of burning food, but it can be a wonderful way to create layered flavors.”

We’re not exactly saying you should burn your food to a crisp, but there is a surprising flavor profile when using a grilling skillet.

“Burnt and charred are great flavor components you can work into any dish and build layers of flavor and texture,” Thomas says.

What is a Grilling Skillet?

You know that outdoorsy, charred, smoky flavor you get from an outdoor grill? Unbeatable, right? A grilling skillet creates that same result without always having to drag out the charcoal. The perforated metal skillet allows for high levels of heat to be absorbed, creating char marks and grilled taste. 

What Can I Cook in a Grilling Skillet?

While the opportunities are endless, the most commonly grilled ingredients are meats and vegetables. Some of the best meats to cook on a grilling skillet are sirloin steak, pork chops, salmon and tuna steaks. Recommended vegetables to cook using this method are zucchini, asparagus, mushrooms, onions, and eggplants.

“Using a grilling skillet in your home is a great way to get added layers of flavor by charring ‘non-drippy’ foods,” Thomas says. “Like grilled peaches, grilled bread, or charred peppers.”

What Kind of Grilling Skillet Should I Use?

Not only are these skillets ideal for the grill, but they work great stove-top at home, or packed with your gear for your next camp out.

Overall Best

Blue Carbon Steel Grill Frying Pan

Lightweight and durable, this skillet has 62 perforations so flames make direct contact with your food. 


Most Lightweight

Steel Round Nonstick 12-Inch Grill Skillet

Weighing in at less than a pound with a foldable handle, this is the portable skillet you’ll want for thru-hiking, camping and more. 


Best for Entertaining

Stainless Steel Grill Grid with Handles

This large stainless steel grid is perfect for cooking for a group.


How Do I Use a Grilling Skillet?

  1. Place grilling skillet on a grill, campfire, or stovetop and heat it until hot. Move to medium-low heat and maintain that temperature. 
  2. Only use a grilling skillet outdoors or in a well-ventilated area. Open windows and turn on the range hood fan to allow airflow. To reduce the potential of smoke, trim excess fat from meat prior to cooking. Do not walk away from food while cooking with a grilling skillet. Keep an eye on it. 
  3. When cooking marinated meats, pat dry before adding to hot skillet.

Put your grilling skillet to work with these recipes and cooking tips:

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