There is nothing better than a perfectly grilled piece of meat. The browned exterior, charred edges and a smoky, juicy interior can make anyone seem like a pro. But what’s a guy (or gal) to do when the grill is covered in 6 inches of snow or worse yet they live in a place like New York City where the fire escape is the only option for grilling and that could land you 6 months in Sing Sing.

So let’s face, whether it’s too cold, the gas tank ran out, or you never had a grill in the first place, you need to know how to cook meat inside. And while the process is slightly more complicated than lighting a fire, tossing a piece of meat on it and making sure it doesn’t burn; the rewards in flavor and texture are well worth the effort. Getting a great sear on a piece of meat isn’t too tough, but doing it without filling the entire house smoke and leaving the couch smelling like roasted meat for the next two days takes a little work.

Tips for Roasting Indoors:

Remove the meat from the refrigerator 15-30 minutes before cooking to allow the meat to warm slightly. Season with salt and pepper during this time to allow the seasoning to penetrate the meat. The salt will draw some of the moisture out of the meat so be sure to pat dry with paper towels before cooking.

Which side? Always place the presentation side, or the side that you’ll be looking at when it’s on the plate,  down in the pan first.

Don’t mess with it. Let the meat cook undisturbed until each side is well browned. Peeking is ok, but constant moving or turning isn’t.

In the last minutes of cooking, add aromatics like whole garlic cloves and branches herbs for added flavor.

Cast iron or similarly heavy pans hold heat well which allows you to cook at a lower temperature and avoid a smoke filled room. Place the pan over medium heat, give it 2-3 minutes to preheat before adding the oil and meat. If the pan begins to smoke more than a little bit at any point, reduce the heat.

If the meat is well browned on all sides but still under cooked, place it in a hot oven to finish cooking without burning the outside.

Always rest after cooking. Leting the meat cool on a rack before serving help keeps all those delicious juices inside. The rule for resting is to let the meat sit on a rack for one-half of its cooking time. So if your lamb takes 12 minutes to cook, let it rest for 6 minutes before serving. 

Here’s a chart to give you a general idea about cooking times. For things with four sides, like the lamb chops above or a pork tenderloin follow the chart below and reduce all of the times by 1 minute. Allows double check for doneness before serving.

Cooking Times for Steaks (approximately 1 inch thick)

  • Rare 3-4 minutes per side
  • Medium Rare 4 minutes per side
  • Medium 5-6 minutes per side
  • Medium Well 6-7 minutes per side, medium to medium high heat
  • Well Done 8-10 minutes per side, medium to medium high heat
*times do not include “Resting Time”–the time that the meat should sit on
a rack after it has been cooked, which is crucial for proper cooking.