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Summertime = grill time. Which means it’s prime time for protein: turkey burgers, T-bones, fall-off-the-bone ribs, and pulled chicken smothered in tangy BBQ sauce.
But what if you find yourself, like so many urban dwellers, with neither the space nor the funds for a big ol’ gas-powered machine, trash bin-size smoker, or charcoal-burner?
Here are nine ingenious gadgets that’ll help you achieve grilling greatness this season without even stepping outside.
1. Lodge Cast Iron 10.5-Inch Square Cast Iron Grill Pan
This is the granddaddy of at-home grilling, the OG of indoor cookware, the inexpensive go-to for everything from cornbread to burgers and back again.
This particular model is equipped with ridges that collect drippings and keep them away from the meat while it cooks, making it a great option for steaks and other fatty grillables.
It also comes preseasoned (i.e., ready to burn), and if you treat it right, it can literally last a century. If you pick only one item off this list, this is it.
2. Lodge Cast Iron Double Play Reversible Grill/Griddle
A step up from its more modest 10.5-inch sibling, this double-sided gem measures a little more than 16 inches long and is built to stretch over two propane or gas burners for a broad, even heating surface that converts your measly range into a real-deal plancha.
One side is ribbed and thus ideal for proteins like chicken, fish, burgers, and steaks, while the smooth side is a grilled cheese sandwich’s or fried egg’s best friend. And, of course, it’s cast iron, so you know it’s high quality.
3. Lavatools Javelin Digital Meat Thermometer
No matter where you’re making the magic happen, a trusty thermometer is every grill master’s best friend. It’s especially useful for indoor adventurers, though, as searing a steak over a less powerful heat source might take a bit longer and require more supervision.
Keep your dinner out of the danger zone with this easy-to-read digital thermometer.
It’s compact, waterproof, and super simple to use (you just flip it open and stick it in — no dials or switches involved), and it reliably gets the job done without putting too much of a dent in your wallet.
4. Nordic Ware Stovetop Kettle Smoker
If you’re looking for a set-it-and-forget-it way to obtain that signature BBQ smokiness, here’s one for you. This gadget sits right on your range and can be used with gas, electric, ceramic, or induction burners as well as outdoor grills.
Just cook your brisket, ribs, or tender whole chicken to the desired doneness, and then add it to the kettle atop a sprinkling of wood chips and a cup of liquid (water, beer, apple cider — whatever your heart desires). Turn on the heat, and voila!
The best part: It’s got a built-in thermometer, so you can make sure everything’s under control without letting any of that delicious smoke escape.
5. Gramercy Kitchen Co. Portable Handheld Cold Smoke Infuser
This is a bit more involved than its kettle counterpart, but it gains major points in the versatility department.
Because the smoke comes out cold and doesn’t change the temperature of the food it’s infusing, you can use it to flavor both hearty BBQ staples and more delicate sous vide meats by throwing them in a sealable bag, covered pot, or domed plate and snaking in the device’s flexible tube.
This technique is also aces for fancying up cocktails, cheeses, or anything else that might benefit from a touch of toasty goodness without risking a total meltdown.
6. TeChef Stovetop Korean BBQ Grill
When it comes to perfecting the art of tabletop grilling, Korean BBQ is king. And this five-layer nonstick grill top, with its plum-colored sheen and eye-catching kaleidoscope swirl, certainly takes care of business in style.
But it’s not all aesthetics — the tiny, evenly distributed punch-outs allow fats to drain slowly, so your food retains just enough juice to come out tender and flavorful but never greasy.
It’s built to snap onto a portable gas stove, such as a camping stove, so it’s technically not grill-less, but you can’t deny that a Bunsen burner-style setup is a lot more fire escape-friendly than a hulking full-size BBQ.
7. Nordic Ware 365 Indoor/Outdoor Melting Dome
No lid? No problem. Slap a thick slab of cheddar on your almost-done griddled burger, pop this spun aluminum puppy over top, and it’ll be perfectly melted in less than a minute without pushing your precious meat into dreaded well-done territory.
It’s also handy for reducing flare-ups when grilling over a gas range or burner.
8. Zojirushi Indoor Electric Grill
This 1,500-watt bad boy sports an impressively spacious surface and sizable firepower for such a compact and economical indoor option.
The ceramic grill top’s titanium-enhanced nonstick surface is suitable for cooking fattier meats, and it’s a snap to clean.
Temperatures top out around 410°F (210°C), so it’s not great for more ambitious endeavors, but if you’re in the market for a simple, cost-effective way to char some dogs in a small space, this tool offers a pretty good bang for your buck.
9. Kenyon City Grill
If you’ve got the cash and you don’t mind spending it, this smokeless electric monster is the Big Kahuna.
It’s got 155 square inches of cooking space and a powerful heating element that can fire things up to more than 500°F (260°C) in 5 minutes and more than 600°F (315°C) in less than 10 minutes, resulting in a nice, crispy sear.
The electric burner is also securely concealed inside the unit, so flare-ups won’t be a problem. And the sleek, rust-proof marine-grade stainless steel design is plenty easy on the eyes.
What’s more, the disposable drip tray hidden below the surface doubles as a steamer to give your grillables a little added oomph.
Fill the pan with a rich, roasty German lager; toss some brats on to sizzle, and you’re all set for Oktoberfest.