Technique | Desserts from the Grill
When we think about grilling, we typically think of seared meats and roasted vegetables. But did you know that your grill is just as good for baking delicious desserts? You can use your barbecue just like an oven in your kitchen to make cookies and cakes and add smoky grilled flavours. Let’s first look at some essential techniques for baking on the grill, a few helpful accessories, and then we’ll finish off with a few of our favourite baked recipes!
When baking, the most important thing to keep in mind is your heat source; both its intensity and proximity to your food. When grilling steak, you want an intense direct heat below your food to get a quick outer char. That is obviously not the result you want when you’re baking cookies.
Instead, you’re going to use indirect heat to cook your dessert slowly and evenly in the same manner as your convection oven. On your gas grill, this means only turning on one side of the grill while your food sits on the other side. If using a charcoal smoker, you’ll also place your coal opposite the food or use a diffusion plate in your Keg. And for the pellet, it’s the easiest method of all – simply dial in the desired temp on your controller.
Your warming rack on your grill is also an excellent option for baking, as it provides even more distance between your heat source and food. It can hold small cookie sheets or cake pans and is especially useful for cooking a large batch of goodies at once.
Of course, you can use your regular baking pans and dishes on your grill – if they’re oven-safe, they’re safe to go on the barbecue. However, many of our cast iron grill accessories are useful for more than just smash burgers and ribs. Cast iron absorbs heat well (which is why it’s preferred for kitchen pots and pans). The exact fit griddle provides a smooth surface for baking cookies; just be sure to oil it well before placing down your batter to prevent sticking. The griddle will deliver a beautiful and even golden-brown bottom to your cookies.
One of the perks of baking outdoors is that you can introduce some smoke to your food (the good kind and not the burned food kind). If you’re using a charcoal or pellet grill, this comes naturally through the cooking process, but if you’re using a gas grill, there are a few accessories to help add some woodsy aroma to your food. A smoker box can be filled with wood chips or pellets and placed above the burners so that the smoke rises and sticks to your food. Alternatively, you can use a wood plank, which doubles as a cooking and serving platter for your treats.
Another cast iron accessory that is useful for baking is the exact fit wok. This one can be used for baking cakes and dessert loaves like banana bread. Like the griddle, you want to thoroughly coat all sides of the wok with oil to prevent sticking. With the wok, you’re getting three sides of contact for even cooking throughout your cake.
Who doesn’t love a rich and creamy cheesecake? Now add smoky and savoury flavours, and you get this amazingly decadent dessert. Your warming rack is helpful in this scenario and allows you to place a pan of water below to help maintain moisture, so your cake doesn’t crack.
Enjoy the perfect Sunday morning breakfast dessert – a classic cinnamon roll. You can make them from scratch or opt for the pre-made dough available at the grocery store. You can use a wood plank to cook your buns and serve them directly off the plank when finished.
Probably the quintessential dessert – a gooey, grilled chocolate chip cookie. Use a baking sheet, or the cast iron exact fit griddle, to get a perfect, golden crunch. You can also add a hint of smoke using a smoker box or cook them on a pellet grill for an irresistible flavour.