How-to Indoor Grill
June 29, 2017
Last summer I ambitiously attempted to “grill” for 20 people and a dog inside my 400 square foot apartment. As you may have guessed, it did not go well. I had false faith in my stove-based cookware which consisted of a 8×8 cast-iron grill, a skillet, a hot enough oven, and a few sauce pans. Several undercooked chicken wings and scorched burger patties later, I resorted to plan B. That’s “B” for brought food in aka take-out.
Though there were few complaints, the type-A person that I am knew I could do better. But I needed help. Who better to ask then the master butcher himself, Jake Dickson, founder of Dickson’s Farmstand Meats, a locals’ favorite inside Chelsea Market, that specializes in artisanal meats and house-made charcuterie.
I explained to Jake my hope to throw a kick-ass summer meat-heavy BBQ inside a small NYC apartment. He didn’t seem deterred so we got down to business and he ran me through the basics. Here are some pro-tips on how to make the fan-favorites: chicken wings, sausages and bacon.
#1 Get to know your wings
Good meat starts with good feed. Jake’s birds come into the city from as far as Lancaster, Pennsylvania and as close as upstate NY. All birds are raised cage free without hormones and fed a vegetarian diet.
#2 Prep and cook the day before
No need to be aggressive in seasoning, just take care of it the night before the get-together. When ready to grill, toss the marinated wings with a glaze in a big mixing bowl. Cook over medium heat. On the day of, reheat the wings at 400 in the oven. They’ll be as good as if just off the grill and this method will save a lot time, freeing up prime real estate – the stovetop.
#3 Wait until it’s no longer pink
That’s obvious, right? No one wants undercooked chicken. Give it the extra minutes over medium heat and let chemistry work its magic. If the wings don’t easily come off the grill when flipping them, it’s likely that they just need more time.
#1 Do what feels right
Cook the sausages whole over medium heat and flip every couple of minutes. Another option is to cook partially through, butterfly them in half, then turn the heat up to high with the sliced side facing down.
#2 Pick a good condiment
Sausages are good on their own or in a bun and can be easily spiced up with a good condiment. Jake recommends the Zatarian’s spicy mustard as a solid go-to.
#3 Be educated
“Not all trim is bad,” says Jake. It’s all about whole animal utilization. Find out how the sausage gets made. Look for sausages that have no supplements, are made of whole animals, and from local farms.
Discover your inner butcher at one of Dickson’s four classes each taught by a meat guru: Whole Hog Butchery, Breaking Beef: An In Depth Tour of the Steer, Sausage Making 101, and Jerkin’ Around: How to Make Beef Jerky.
#1 Just cook it
Thick-sliced bacon is always a crowd pleaser.
#2 Crisp and crumble
If serving up slabs of bacon is not your thing, incorporate the grilled bacon into another dish like Brussel sprouts, baked beans, or mac n cheese. Crisp up the strips, cool them down, and crumble to make a topping over anything and everything.
When life gives you rendered bacon fat, make brownies! Use it like oil, but the key is to strain it first to get “clean” bacon fat. Tip #2 above applies here as well. Mix crumbled bacon with brown sugar and sprinkle it on top before popping it in the oven.
Side note to dog-parents: don’t forget about them! Jake believes that “everyone should eat well-raised meats, even your pooch.” Check out their Farm-to-Bowl Dog Food and learn more about canine nutrition.