Header image: Jeffrey Gill / Flickr
Heating up the indoor oven in summertime is something reptilegrrl dreads—even though she loves to braise and roast meats and vegetables. Can the outdoor gas grill—the kind with a lid that closes—be used as an outdoor oven that won't heat up the house on hot summer days?
Absolutely, JWVideo says; once you figure out temperature control, you can make anything from roasted meats to quiches, casseroles, and even bread. Chowhounds mcf and Njchicaa have each successfully made lasagna in outdoor gas grills, and kseiverd even baked a cake (that, by the way, didn't come out at all smoky-tasting).
One essential tool for outdoor baking and roasting is a cast-iron Dutch oven, as these are pretty indestructible and it's hard to burn things in them, tonifi says. Sid Post recommends getting a cheap one for grill experiments; otherwise, cover the bottoms of pans you don't want to get sooty with foil, mcf advises.
The hardest part of using a gas grill as an oven is temperature control. A built-in accessory thermometer can be useful, mcf says, but these can easily be off by more than 50°F, mikie says, which can really interfere with baking a great meatloaf. Chowhound fledflew recommends installing a reliable thermometer inside your gas grill. It's a cinch, fledflew says, having installed thermometers in smokers and kettle grills—just drill a hole and bolt one in. A probe thermometer is another option, JWVideo says.
In addition, much like a pizza stone, a layer of unglazed quarry tile beneath the grilling grates (on top of the drip bars above the burners) can help keep the temperature in the grill high and consistent, JWVideo says; make sure to leave space around the edges of the tiles.