Our Top 8 Tips for Grilling with Ooni Ovens
Summer may be known as the season of the barbie, but here at Ooni, we firmly believe it’s a year-round affair. That’s because our pizza ovens are not just for crafting mouth-watering Neapolitan-style pizzas, among many other styles; they also excel at roasting an array of delectable dishes. Whether you're craving a succulent steak, crispy and tender salmon, or roasted vegetables, our ovens are the ultimate tool for soon-to-be (and current) grill masters.
Ready to turn up the heat? Here are our top eight tips for grilling like a pro with an Ooni:
1. Invest in the good stuff
To master the art of grilling, having quality tools is essential. Equip yourself with an infrared thermometer to gauge the oven’s temperature and ensure it’s high enough to kill bacteria and reach the desired heat. For carnivores, it’s also a good idea to have a meat thermometer for even more precise temperature control.
Our cast-iron collection is another worthy investment: When well taken care of, a good pan will last years, and it’s one of the only materials that can go from the stovetop to a 500 °C oven. They also become more non-stick with use and need less scrubbing than other pots and pans.
Of course, when grilling, safety should always come first. Remember to get a pair of oven gloves and consider having a folding table nearby to keep all your equipment and ingredients within easy reach.
2. Sizzle with seasoning
No matter what you’re grilling at home, every ingredient can benefit from some extra flavour. Simple yet effective options like salt, pepper, and olive oil can elevate the natural tastes of meat, sure, but also fish and veg. And if you’re using a cast-iron pan, they become more seasoned with every use, livening up savoury and sweet dishes alike. The fuel you use can also make a difference; wood and charcoal will add a subtle smoky flavour to the ingredients.
You can also explore various condiments, rubs and marinades that complement your chosen ingredients. And when the food comes out of the oven, there’s still time to play with taste buds: adding a bit of extra fat, such as in our seared steak with garlic butter, can take a dish from merely tasty to legendary in seconds. We also love a good salsa verde, which elevates oven-roasted carrots to a deliciously sweet and lightly-charred treat.
3. Preheat like a pro
Before you start grilling, it’s important that your oven has reached the desired temperature, but don’t forget to preheat your pan! This ensures even cooking, and if you’re using the grizzler pan or dual-sided grizzler plate, you’ll also get those coveted char marks. Cast iron may be slow to get hot but retains its heat for a long time and provides much more even temperatures than other types of cookware. This high heat sears your food to perfection, creating a delectable caramelised crust on steaks and char marks on sides like blistered padrón peppers and BBQ potato salad.
4. Direct or indirect
Understanding the difference between direct and indirect heat is fundamental to grilling success. Direct heat, like that when the fire is positioned directly below the food, is ideal for smaller, tender pieces that cook quickly. Think “over-the-pit” Buffalo wings or a delicate honey garlic salmon.
Indirect heat, on the other hand, like when the fire is placed on either side of the food, is excellent for larger or tougher cuts of meat like strip loin for fajitas or pork steaks that require longer cooking times. Wondering how this works with an Ooni? Simply rotate and reposition the cast-iron cookware to ensure an even distribution of heat for the best results (using your gloves, of course!).
5. Stay on (heat) target
Maintaining the right temperature can be a delicate dance with heat when it comes to grilling. You’ll want to keep a close eye on your infrared thermometer to ensure your oven stays at the desired temperature, depending on what you’re cooking. This will help you achieve consistent results and allow dishes to cook to perfection, from elotes and okra to skillet smashburgers.
Depending on your fuel, you’ll have to either add wood or charcoal as needed or increase or decrease the gas input. Before cooking, be sure to have plenty of fuel on hand, whether that’s in the form of hardwood logs, pellets, charcoal, or gas.
6. Baste, baste baby
While cooking, don't be shy about adding extra flavour with basting. A common culinary technique, basting is used to moisten poultry, meat, or any food, really, that you don't want to dry out. This can be done with butter, as we do with our lobster tails and rosemary chicken, as well as stock, pan drippings, or other liquids. This simple move will take your dishes to the next level, making them stand out with every bite.
7. Flip it and rotate it
To ensure uniform cooking and avoid any hot spots, remember to flip and rotate your food during grilling. This technique ensures each side receives equal attention from the heat, resulting in a well-cooked and delicious dish. When to flip and rotate depends on the ingredients, so be sure to follow the instructions closely!
8. Serving grill master vibes
When the food is ready and it’s time to eat, we love a good serving moment. Luckily, each pan in our cast-iron cookware line comes with a sustainably sourced beech wood serving board, making it both utilitarian and stylish. Grilled meals that look as good as they taste? Yes, please!