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Cast-iron grilling is the best of indoor and outdoor cooking.

Lisa Cericola

We all know cast-iron is great for cooking on the stovetop and in the oven, but your hardest working pan is just as useful outside of the kitchen. The next time you fire up the grill, grab your trusty cast-iron skillet—here are four ways to put it to good use.    

Sear burgers and steaks like a pro

Yes, you can make great burgers the traditional way—by cooking the patties on a hot grill. But you can make even better burgers by cooking them in a cast iron skillet on top of a hot grill. A well-seasoned skillet is the best way to get an even, crusty sear on a burger—which is way more important than grill marks. (Or just use a cast-iron grill pan if you’re a stickler for grill marks.) And the skillet will also keep those delicious juices from dripping down into the fire, which means less flareups and more flavor. Same goes for steaks—who hasn’t set off a smoke alarm trying to get a good sear on a T-bone? Get a great sear and plenty of smoky flavor without having to air out your kitchen.

Roast vegetables without turning on your oven

Yes, you can get beautifully tender, charred vegetables without turning on your oven—or using a grill basket. Simply cook them in a cast iron pan on your grill. This method works especially well with smaller or skinnier produce like cherry tomatoes, baby bell peppers, asparagus, and cubes of squash.

Watch: How to Season a Cast-Iron Skillet

Cook delicate proteins without sticking

Sticking happens. Even if your grill is brand-spanking-new and those chicken drumsticks are completely covered in oil, there’s still a chance they could stick to the grill—unless you’re using a cast-iron skillet. This method is especially helpful when you are cooking delicate proteins like fish filets or scallops. 

Add smokiness to sauces

If you’re still not convinced that a cast-iron pan is great on the grill, try grilling a sauce. You can’t! But one you’ve tasted scallops in coconut-basil sauce or grilled clams in herbed butter, you’ll never go back.