Three years ago I left the suburbs for my first city apartment, a one-bedroom near Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh. Since then, I’ve moved to Manhattan, then to Brooklyn then to Manhattan again—and at this point, there’s no going back. One thing I do miss, though, are backyard cookouts. Sure, some apartments have courtyards or shared rooftop access to a patio with a grill, but in the age of airborne viruses lurking about, most of these facilities are either closed for the foreseeable future or probably should be.
Now urbanites are left with no option but to grill INSIDE our tiny apartments. To pull off such an ambitious feat, you’ll need to get creative. You’ll need ... tiny kitchen appliances. Hear me out: no one ever said a barbecue has to take place outdoors. While I’m sure we could all stand to benefit from the fresh air given *gestures to literally everything*, grillin’ requires nothing more than, as our own Chaya Milchtein put it in her BBQ accessories roundup for Sear Series, “smell of charcoal and grilled meat, sweet buttered corn, and of course, and maybe a beer or two, if you choose.”
To attain that heavenly aroma, I’ve scoured the internet for mini grilling appliances you can use in place of the regular-sized ones, and rest assured, you won’t be disappointed by my findings.
Cuisinart Portable Charcoal Grill | $25 | Amazon
How about a baby grill? “COMPACT ENOUGH TO TAKE ANYWHERE,” according to the needlessly aggressive Amazon description, this Cuisinart charcoal grill measures 14.5 x 14.5 x 15" and weighs just 2 lbs. While I wouldn’t recommend firing it up it INSIDE your apartment, readers blessed with balconies can enjoy a pseudo-backyard feast. You bring the charcoal, I’ll bring the fire extinguisher, just in case. Now it’s a party.
Cook With Color Mini Kitchen Utensil Set | $11 | Amazon
No mini cookout is complete without mini utensils. This set includes a slotted spatula, tongs, a regular spatula, a whisk, and yes, a petite SPOONULA to keep the patty flippin’ possible. Never again will the size of your utensils intimidate your mini appliances. And because these things can take the heat up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, they won’t melt droopy plastic all over your stove either. The Cook With Color mini utensil set comes in nine colors, at least two of which are the same.
Nostalgia Hot Dog Toaster | $20 | Amazon
In her review for Gizmodo, Joanna called this hot dog toaster a piece of shit (her words, not mine). But for $20, I say go for it. Burnt wieners? Pssh, a hot dog is a hot dog is a hot dog. As long as I don’t have to preheat the oven or learn how to start an actual grill and I get a somewhat crisp finish, I’ll settle for burnt ends. If nothing else, the Hot Dog Toaster is a fun novelty item you can re-gift to your parents for whatever holiday is coming up. At least SOMEONE will appreciate the nuance of true genius.
Dash Mini Electric Griddle | $10 | Amazon
Cook up some mini burgies with this mini electric griddle from Dash. While I can’t personally vouch for this product in particular, I have used their mini waffle maker to varying degrees of success. The plug-and-play griddle is similar, featuring two non-stick surfaces and an indicator light up top so you know when it’s ready to start grilling. As a fully indoor alternative to the Cuisinart grill, the Dash mini griddle is the perfect addition to your fun-sized kitchen barbecue, and it’s on sale now for $10.
Corona Meat Thermometer | $9 | Amazon
I’m told the key to good meat is a good meat thermometer. By extension, the key to a good barbecue is also a good meat thermometer. A good meat thermometer is the key to life itself. To coincide with our theme, Corona (that’s right, the beer company) has a set of four analog mini meat thermometers for $9—30% off the list price—as we speak. Say goodbye to the days of under- and overcooked meat and hello to simply cooked meat.