The Clever Use For Those Tiny Cast Iron Skillets That Makes Grilling Easier

Mini cast iron pans with ingredients
Mini cast iron pans with ingredients - Aleksei Isachenko/Shutterstock

Ever wondered what to do with those tiny cast iron skillets sold in cookware stores? While you could employ them to make single servings of hot cookie dough or mini cornbread, these little fellas have another clever use that involves the grill. Simply set one on the grates with a pat of butter and seasonings to create a basting station that maximizes the flavor of tender steaks, sticky chicken thighs, and veggie skewers.

Mini cast iron skillets have the same features as regular-sized cast iron cookware. They can withstand high temperatures, retain flavors, and last for decades with the proper care. The manageable size and weight of small cast iron pans in particular means they don't take up space or add undue pressure to surfaces either. This makes these baby-sized skillets perfect for setting on top of a hot grill and employing as a flavor container. All you need to do is add a knob of butter to your pan and place it on the coolest spot on the grates so it can melt while your burgers, skewered kebabs, and shrimp cook through. Once they've developed that smoky, chargrilled aroma on one side, flip them over and baste them with your melted butter to lend them extra flavor, an appetizing sheen and an additional burst of fat to crisp up their exteriors.

Read more: 12 Popular Grocery Store Butter Brands, Ranked

Create Quirky Compound Butters In Your Cute Cast Iron

Small cast iron pan and melted ghee
Small cast iron pan and melted ghee - Aleksei Isachenko/Shutterstock

To elevate your melted butter add aromatic ingredients to your skillet, such as minced garlic, chopped fresh herbs, chili flakes, or even a drizzle of honey. These fragrant add-ins will gently warm through as they sit in the pan, releasing their aroma and natural oils into the butter. Sauteing the ingredients in the rising heat from the coals will also mellow out the harshness of raw garlic and chili. You can use a ready-made compound butter that already incorporates a mix of tasty flavors. But better yet, make a personalized batch of compound butter a day in advance with zingy lemon zest, diced shallots, salty Parmesan, or dried spices. This can also be frozen successfully, and chunks sliced off when you're ready to grill. The fat keeps your chicken wings meltingly tender and succulent while the supplementary ingredients in the basting butter lend depth and richness to any chargrilled protein or vegetable.

For the very best results, use clarified butter (aka ghee) as the base in your mini cast iron pan. Basting barbecued meats with clarified butter is the no-fuss way to crank up their flavor. The high smoke point of clarified butter makes it superb for brushing over foods that are crisping up over the intense heat of burning coals. If you're using a regular salted butter or cultured variety that does begin to smoke heavily, move your skillet to a cooler spot to stop it from burning.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.