You can’t go wrong with grilling some perfectly marbled beef steaks, or some juicy chicken steaks, but why would you limit your BBQ to just the basics? There’s no better time than now to get creative with your food and introduce a new twist to your classic BBQ dinner – Grilling a la Plancha. Grilling a la plancha (which also means “on the griddle” in Spanish) is an easy upgrade to your BBQ charcoal or gas grill at home! All you need to do is set up a carbon steel plancha set over a grill grate and it can open up a world of possibilities. Now, your cuts of BBQ meat won’t flare up or dry out, veggies won’t fall through the BBQ grill grate, and hard-to-sear items such as avocados and fish can be easily charred and caramelized. Here are 6 tips to help you along with Grilling a la Plancha!
1. Essential BBQ Tools
You want to ensure you have the proper tools and utensils at reach to help increase your grilling precision over your hotplate. Here are some tools which you should have by your grill.
- Plancha: The foundation of plancha cooking is your cast iron plate. With a wide variety of shapes and sizes available, it is important to find a plate that can accommodate the size of your grill. If you’re looking to sear and grill at the same time, find a plancha that only takes up half your BBQ grill, and leave the other side open to your traditional BBQ cooking.
- Tongs: Having these will help you quickly flip and tend to your BBQ foods with precision and speed. The last thing you want is to stab your fork into the BBQ meats and vegetables, creating ugly holes.
- Wok spatula: Intended for cooking over high heat, a long-handled spatula will be perfect for spreading your red-hot coals evenly.
- (Optional) Grilling gloves: Do ensure that it is made from flame-retardant material. A pair of grilling gloves will make it much more comfortable to work over a hot bed of coals.
- (Optional) Charcoal chimney: The easiest way to get your grill heated with minimal effort!
2. Arranging The Coals
Using a wok spatula, arrange your lighted coals in an even rectangular layer. Thereafter, set the grill grate in place, and lay your plancha on grate over bed of lighted charcoals or gas flames. Let your plancha heat for about 10 minutes before starting to add your BBQ foods onto it.
3. Prepping Your BBQ Foods
No matter what techniques you use to cook your BBQ foods, nothing enhances the flavour of food more than marinating meat ahead of grilling! Let the meat or vegetables marinate in spices for several hours, or even the night before if possible. Alternatively, you can choose to simply toss vegetables and rub meat with neutral oil. However, remember to never add oil directly to the surface of the plancha as it may ignite a fire.
4. Adding Your BBQ Foods Onto The Plancha
After 10 minutes of placing your plancha atop of the lighted BBQ grill, drip a few drops of water on your plancha. It is ready for cooking when the water dropped on plancha beads. At this stage, use a pair of tongs to add your BBQ foods to plancha in a single layer. Open up your meats (and not BBQ them folded) to ensure consistent and even cooking.
Sear ingredients until charred on one side, and then flip and cook to desired degree of doneness.
6. Cleaning Up
A common mistake made when cleaning cast iron accessories is soaking it in water. This will ruin the seasoning, or protective coating, so it’s best to clean it while it is still hot! Simply soak several paper towels with soapy waters, and roll them up together. Using a pair of tongs to hold paper towels, rub surface of plancha to remove any remaining charred residue. Then, then pat your plancha dry. To strengthen its coating, add a small amount of oil, heat the pan, then once cooled, clean off any excess residue before storing.