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How To Grill When You Live In An Apartment

Friday, March 12th, 2021

When people sign a lease to a new apartment, it could incite excitement for a variety of reasons. Perhaps it’s your first time living on your own, or you are finally living in the city of your dreams. What some people don’t realize is that they miss out on some of the luxuries of having a house.

Without a porch, patio or balcony, it might be difficult to partake in certain activities — such as grilling — while living in an apartment. Due to the rules and regulations against gas, charcoal and open flames, apartment dwellers sometimes aren’t allowed to grill at all. Here are some tips to still have a great grilling experience when you live in an apartment.

Workarounds to Grilling Outdoors

If you’re craving some flame-roasted meals but don’t have access to a grill, try these kitchen alternatives that can be used year-round — even if you have to endure the Chicago winters from your downtown apartment rental:

  • Use the broiler: Some people might think that an oven only has one baking setting and a light switch. However, there are a variety of ways you can use an oven. To successfully substitute broiling for grilling, set the oven to broil and move the rack so that it’s between four and eight inches from the heat source. Doing so should create the perfect caramelization and charring for your food. It may take a bit longer than cooking over an open pit, but it’s worth the wait.
  • Turn on the electric grill: For the modern and eco-friendly cook, an electric grill can still achieve a thorough roast. Since you’re using electricity instead of fire, it’s important to make sure the meat is cooked on the inside too. Adding drops of liquid smoke and the right seasoning and sauce pairings can ensure the success of your indoor barbecue.
  • Invest in a grill pan: A grill pan can be used on the stovetop or in the broiler. A ridged, cast-iron pan can even imitate the grill marks. A pan also grants you the ability to baste your meat while it’s cooking and provides more smokey flavor than an electric grill. A few drops of liquid smoke, extra seasonings and sauces may be necessary. Just beware of a potentially smokey kitchen and messy cleanup.
  • Seasoning is your friend: If you still don’t have a way to cook up some flamed goodness, add some herbs and spices to imitate a fire-roasted meat dish. Once it’s on the pan or in the oven, the seasoning and sauce can bring out the flavors from the meat and give a tasty alternative to charcoal and fire.

Alternatives to the Kitchen

Grilling is often a messy process. If you don’t have the space or building clearance to cook indoors, try getting creative with your surroundings.

  • Use common areas: Many apartment complexes and buildings offer a space to grill outside. Whether it’s in the yard or on the rooftop, utilizing a public space offered by your building could save the hassle of kitchen grilling.
  • Head outdoors: If you don’t have access to a cooking space in or near the apartment, try a park, campsite, pier or public pool. Many cities and municipalities have community spaces specifically for outdoor grilling. Simply take your cooking, cleaning, prep and serving supplies — and don’t forget the meat.

When you’re really craving some fresh, smokey barbecue, it can kill the mood to have to settle for takeout. Being crafty and patient with your utensils and cooking space may take some time and effort, but you’ll be rewarded with a satisfying meal. Mastering the art of the grilling lifestyle from a tiny apartment is doable — without setting off a smoke alarm. If hosting a killer barbecue party is a priority for your next apartment, contact us to find your next grill-safe rental.