When you are cooking on the go or even in your backyard, you may find yourself wanting to have a more versatile cooking experience. When you are only using a BBQ for your food, you want to find ways to make your main food and different sides. It is not realistic to only eat burgers or hotdogs while camping or even on your backyard BBQ. Having the ability to have a bigger choice in your food is beneficial.
Some pots and pans that are used in a kitchen are not to be used on a BBQ. Cast iron pans are the best choice to use on a BBQ, whereas glass could shatter if it were to be used. Pots and pans need to be able to handle very high heat as BBQ temperatures can range anywhere from 325 to 600 degrees.
It is always best to double-check what your current pan’s recommended maximum temperatures are. If they are not oven-safe, they are not BBQ-safe. Read on to learn what pots and pans you can safely use and some unconventional foods you can cook on your BBQ.
How to Use Different Pots and Pans on a BBQ
Certain pots and pans can be used like normal on a BBQ, while others may require that you be a little more careful. Different materials can withstand higher temperatures than others. So it can be a little tricky when using certain pots and pans. Let’s look at the most commonly used pots and pans for a BBQ.
Can I BBQ with a Cast Iron Pan?
The best choice for any BBQ is a cast iron pan. You can never go wrong with a nicely seasoned cast iron pan, and they are also easily found in any store that sells basic pots.
Cast iron pans are also relatively inexpensive but keep in mind they are very heavy. They are not the best choice for those who are hiking to their campsites.
Cast iron pans can be in temperatures up to over 1000 degrees which is much higher than most BBQs would have as your food would start to burn before too long at those temperatures.
Enameled Cast Iron Pans
Enameled cast iron pans are a little different because the enamel makes the highest temperature it can handle, only 450 degrees which are lower than your standard cast iron pan can manage. A charcoal grill is a little harder to maintain than a gas or propane grill.
What About Carbon Steel Pots and Pans?
Carbon steel pots and pans can withstand temperatures of around 600 to 800 degrees. Some brands can even handle temperatures of up to 1200 degrees which means you could set it right on fire if you wanted.
The higher heat it can handle, the more expensive it becomes, though. The ones that can handle 1200 degrees are around $100 apiece for the brand Made In, whereas some others are around $40.
Using Disposable Aluminum Trays for A BBQ
One very inexpensive but not reusable pan is a simple disposable pan. They come in all shapes and sizes at only a few dollars apiece. They can even be found in gas stations, which, if you are camping, may be easier to come by than a store in the middle of nowhere.
Baking on a Cookie Sheet or in Cupcake Pans
You can easily use other metal pans on your BBQ if you control the temperature with a thermometer to stay under 400 degrees F, depending on the material the pan is made of. You can easily create an oven-type environment when using any type of grill that has a cover.
Does it Matter if Your BBQ Is Charcoal or Propane/Gas?
There is a big difference when using different types of heat. Typically, propane or gas has a knob where you can control the heat. This makes a big difference because charcoal can reach a higher heat quickly and burn a pan that is rated for a lower temperature.
It is best to always have a thermometer on hand. They are small and can fit easily in your camping gear. This helps you to maintain your cooking temperatures better to get the most out of your pans. You will be less likely to ruin pans which will save you time and money.
You will also be able to make better meals as you will have more control over the temperature and learn how to place the coals to get the most efficient heat for certain meals. If you are using propane or gas, you will also be able to tell what temperatures your dial stands for as compared to just low and high.
What Pots and Pans Should You Not Use on a BBQ?
Some pans should not be used on a BBQ for safety reasons. Many materials can not handle higher temperatures without a few things happening, such as:
- Releasing Chemicals
Not a single one of these will be good as you could ruin your dinner. Depending on where you are cooking, you may not be able to run to a store to replace the items. Let’s take a look at some of the pots and pans you should not use in your BBQ.
Glass Pots And Pans Could Shatter
Glass can not handle higher temperatures and is prone to cracking and shattering quite easily. When you put a glass pan that has cold food sitting in it onto a fire, the temperature will change quickly, which results in the glass cracking.
Even if the cracking doesn’t happen right away, the glass will most likely be damaged and may shatter when you use it next. It is also not as practical when cooking outdoors as it’s heavy and fragile.
Using Ceramic Pots On a BBQ
Ceramic pots and pans can be used on a BBQ, but they are not ideal for outdoor cooking as they are heavier and fragile. They would be harder to transport to and from your campsite or even to your outdoor kitchen. This is why they did not make the list of what to use on a BBQ.
If you are cooking on your backyard BBQ, they will technically work for temps below 500, but if you are camping, it will be much easier to pack a different type of material.
Don’t People Use Stainless Steel Pots and Pans on Their BBQs?
While some people do use their stainless steel pots and pans on their BBQ, it is not recommended. The pans are typically thinner and cannot handle the higher heat of a fire without becoming warped.
As the pan gets heated to higher temperatures, it will most likely:
- Turn black
- Food will stick
- The bottom may start to bow out
Pots and Pans With Silicone Handles or Coatings
Some pans have silicone handles or painted coatings on them that can be used in your kitchen. Silicone handles can even sometimes go in the oven but are typically not rated to be used at temperatures higher than 450 degrees.
It is also important to note that they will become very hot when left in the heat. Any pan you put on fire will get much hotter than one sitting on a normal stove. The stovetop is usually the size of your pan, so the heat stays concentrated on the bottom which won’t be the case on the BBQ. The heat will surround it.
Can I Check The Temperature of a BBQ Without a Thermometer?
Checking the temperature of your BBQ can be done without a thermometer in a pinch. The only tool you need is a hand to feel the heat. You simply hold your hand a few inches above the BBQ and count how long you can keep your hand there before you need to pull it away.
While this is not accurate to the degree, it does give you a general range. Your simple count slowly and the temperature will range between 1-9 seconds as follows:
- 7 to 9 seconds = 250 – 300 degrees
- 6 to 7 seconds = 300 – 350 degrees
- 4 to 5 seconds = 350 – 400 degrees
- 2 to 3 seconds = 400 – 450 degrees
- 1 second = 450 to 500 degrees
Some people can handle heat more than others, but typically, this is the time frame to judge the degrees. This can at least give you a general idea of what the temperature is.
Six Foods You Wouldn’t Think to Cook On A BBQ
Now that you know what types of pots and pans you should use let’s look at some different foods to cook. BBQs are not just for grilling your favorite meat or skewers. There is a whole world of grilled foods that can be made in a simple BBQ. This is great for those that love to outdoor cook but also like a little variety.
Let’s look at six awesome foods that you should try the next time you grill.
Pizza Grilled Over an Open Fire Is The Best
If you have not tried a fire-baked pizza yet, you are truly missing out. It gives the pizza a crispness that can’t be matched by a traditional oven. It is especially good when you use flatbread which can be picked up at any store, some sauce, and your toppings.
This is also a good meal for outdoor cooking because all of the food items are very easy to store, and most are shelf-stable. It is also a quick meal for those days you have been hiking or adventuring all day and want a very simple hot meal while you relax.
Grilling Vegetables Enhances Their Flavors
The list of vegetables you can grill is endless. Simply searing a sliced vegetable with a little salt and oil makes all the difference. You do not need to get fancy with the seasoning, but you can. Vegetables also do not need to be in a cooler, which gives you more freedom to carry them.
You can grill any vegetable, but some of the best to grill on a BBQ are:
- Brussel Sprouts
- Corn on the cob
The nice char that the vegetables will get as they slightly soften makes a very nice side dish or a filling snack. It is easy. There is no set time or temperature for them, which makes it easier. Anyone can simply grill the vegetables until they are done to their liking.
Breakfast Outdoors Will Be Much Better
One great use for pots and pans is making breakfast. Think past simply making bacon or sausage. You can make just about any breakfast food quite easily when using pots or pans on your BBQ. With your pans, you can make:
- French Toast
- Sausage Gravy
You can make a much more filling breakfast with something that everyone would like when you include pots and pans in your outdoor cooking.
Fruits Grill Well On a BBQ
While it is common to grill vegetables on a BBQ, it is also a great treat to grill fruits. You can grill just about any fruit, and the bonus is if you add sugar, it will caramelize and make a nice dessert. The best fruits to try are watermelon, pineapple, and peaches.
Each of these will cook up nicely and turn into a sweet dessert.
Now, if you can find a portable ice cream maker ball like the YayLabs!, you can grill your dessert all while tossing around the ball to make ice cream for it to go on.
Grilled Cheese, It’s In The Name
A pan makes all the difference when outdoor cooking and comes in handy for asking for hot sandwiches. Sometimes when you are camping, you just want a hot meal even if the meal is simple. It doesn’t get much easier than a grilled cheese. You can also use one of your pots to heat tomato soup.
You can also make quesadillas filled with just about anything. Grill your meat and veggies fresh, then add them into a tortilla shell and grill it for a nice lunch.
BBQs Are Not Just for Cooking But Also for Baking
It may seem like a surprise to some that you can bake. This is where your pans come into play. Disposable aluminum pans are perfect for baking loaves of bread. You can also lay biscuits or rolls in the pans. You can even bake a cake. You only need a lower heat, so your thermometer will come in handy for baking.
Safely Using Pots and Pans on a BBQ
Everyone has different needs when it comes to cooking outside. Some people can carry more weight than others, while some hike to the areas they will be cooking. Thankfully there are quite a few options for everyone’s needs and budgets when it comes to cooking on a BBQ.