The SearBQ: A Heavyweight in the Kitchen

The SearBQ: A Heavyweight in the Kitchen - Food & Nutrition Magazine - Stone Soup
Photo by Lauren O'Connor

Product reviewedSearBQ Grill & Press

I am no barbecue buff. In fact, I’ve never cooked on an outdoor grill. But when I realized I could effectively use the SearBQ Griddle & Press in the oven, I was thrilled!

The SearBQ is a griddle and press set designed to withstand high, dry temperatures and seal in the flavor of foods. Made of cast iron, it is certainly a heavyweight in the kitchen, and it delivers on its promise of flavorful food made in less time. The convenience in cook time may help inspire those who often opt for fast food to start cooking more at home.The SearBQ: A Heavyweight in the Kitchen -

There is one caveat: You cannot use it on the stove, even though it is designed to cook over an open flame, such as a barbecue grill (ideally with a temperature gauge) — hence the name SearBQ — or in the oven. I learned this the hard way.

My first trial was a flop. I set both my grill and press onto the open flame as instructed and heated it for about 10 minutes (a good guess on my behalf) before distributing my marinated eggplant in an even layer on the grill. Then, I mitted my hand to place the press on top and kept it on the flames for the recommended five minutes for cooking vegetables. To my disappointment, it took at least another five minutes for the eggplant to fully soften to my liking. But then I left it on too long, effectively burning the griddle in two areas where the marinade and some of the eggplant skin got stuck.

The good news is that the griddle and press clean well when still warm (not hot). Wearing gloves and using a brush and an abrasive paste made of salt and water, I got most of the char off. My husband used some elbow grease to remove the rest. Lesson learned: This product is not designed for stovetop cooking.

The next trial was a success. Because I used my oven, I didn’t have to guess when it would reach the proper temperature (four minutes to reach 500 degrees Fahrenheit for medium-rare steak). My steak came out medium and juicy. For the best steaks, you may want to oil and salt the meat prior to cooking or properly marinate it, as I did for this one. Thank goodness for having taken a culinary class.

The SearBQ does cook in less time — significantly less, in fact — and the hot press helps to seal in flavor. I even used it to cook vegetables (five minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit) while my steak was resting the recommended five to seven minutes. The veggies came out delicious.

I wouldn’t recommend the SearBQ for someone who doesn’t like heavy gadgets, although it can certainly build up those biceps and triceps with repeat use. But barbecue aficionados and any home cook certainly may find the SearBQ Grill & Press to be beneficial for cutting cook time and sealing in flavor.

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Lauren O'Connor, MS, RD
Lauren O’Connor, MS, RDN, is a Los Angeles-based private practice dietitian, recipe developer and owner of Nutri Savvy Health, a program focusing on mindful eating and family nutrition. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.