Last week felt like real July. And suddenly, I became the Wicked Witch of the West – “I’m melting! I’m melting! Oh, what a world, what a world” (I got a little spoiled by the temperatures this summer). Last week’s still-slightly-lower-than-average-but-somehow-unbearable July temps made me rather averse to turning on the oven or making anything on the range that would require more than 9 minutes of cook time. My menu for the week called for a few slow-cooked dishes, so we popped them onto the grill to see whether we could maintain a consistent temperature while simmering beans or soup.
Smashing success. I will soon post a recipe for simmered pinto beans that is going to change your life.
Anywho – if you want to move the heat outdoors, you will want a thick cooking vessel – cast iron works perfectly. I’m a little in love with my enameled cast iron dutch oven, especially for cooking on the grill. Turn on the side burners, stick your pan in the middle for some indirect heat, and close the lid. With the burners set on low, our grill maintains a temp of about 350. Keep an eye on the grill temperature the first time you try this – BTUs and ventilation vary, so every grill will be a little different. This is not a technique that lends itself to dishes that need a precise temperature for a specific amount of time. Stews, beans, and other slow-cooking meals are great on the grill.
Give this a try the next time you are considering take-out to avoid heating up your kitchen. Use the money you save for a bike ride to the ice cream stand.