Grill-less Grillin’

It’s the summer season and you’re feeling a little left out. Everyone you know is having a backyard feast or barbecuing the night away on the patio. You live in the city on the 15th floor, grill-less, and with no greenery to call your own. Don’t worry! There’s still so much you can do to join in on the fun and get a taste of that nostalgic Canadian BBQ experience. We’ll show you some unique ways you can develop the flavours of the “Q” even if you don’t have a giant grill at your disposal.  

Seasoning is GOLD.

Part of the grilling experience is about developing the roast-y, smoky, and caramelized tastes that are typical of a classic barbequed meal. How can we recreate this without the key piece of hardware that makes this possible? One answer to this is: SEASONING. Cooking is all about taking risks, experimenting, and learning to recreate the flavours we love in unconventional ways. At least that’s what we tell ourselves. Check out some of the tricks below on the ways that you can make great BBQ indoors using seasonings found within your own pantry or at a local Farm Boy. 

The Six Essential Tastes.


Fresh herbs.

Herbs help to add seasonal aromas and hints of freshness to your dishes. It’s amazing what a few leaves of this and some sprigs of that can do to a meal.  


  • Dried herbs can help create a roasted aromatic element in meats and veggies. 
  • Fresh herbs can develop deeper flavour over time and infuse nicely into dishes. 
  • Thyme, Rosemary, Bay Leaves, and Oregano are strong herbs that hit your palate upon tasting.
  • Basil, Dill, and Chives can help to create a well-rounded flavor and can be used during the last stages of cooking or as a fresh element. 

Spice and Seasoning

Spices and Seasoning.

Spices add depth to your dishes and can build flavour over time. They can make an immediate impact on your palate, but also toast up nicely at high heat to simulate smoky flavours. A dry spice rub is essential when looking to create strong and smoky BBQ tastes!


  • Whole spices like fennel, celery, and mustard seeds can create sweeter caramelized flavours when cooking at high heat. 
    • They create more of a rounded taste when they hit the palate. 
  • Powdered spices can develop a quick roast and char upon searing.  
    • Creates more of an immediate taste when eating.
  • Consider these seasonings: 
    • Paprika: for smokiness with a hint of sweet aromatics.
    • Cumin: use sparingly for an herbal and roasted quality.
    • Garlic powder: use to add sweetness and aroma.
    • Coriander powder: clean citrusy aroma.
    • Chilli powder: adds spice and a smoky element.
    • Chipotle (roasted dried): smoky and spicy.

Liquid Marinades

Meat in liquid marinade.

A good cooking/grilling sauce for basting and marinading can go a long way in recreating the traditional BBQ taste. Depending on what kind of flavour you are trying to achieve, a sauce can elevate your dishes. 


  • For vegetables, try an herb-based sauce like our Chimichurri Grilling Sauce or a fresh zing. 
  • Teppanyaki is great when trying to create an Asian inspired main dish, BUT use it for ANY meat or protein to give it a sweet and savoury profile. 
    • This accentuates the natural flavours very well. 
  • The longer the marinade and ingredients sit together, the more infused the flavours become.
  • Brining liquids:
    • Using stock as a base accentuates the natural flavours of proteins.
    • Citrus fruits can add an element of freshness and a floral quality.
    • Use apple juice & orange juice for cuts of pork to bring out the meat’s natural sweetness.
    • Use coffee for game meats like lamb to mellow out their strong flavour.

BBQ Sauces

BBQ Sauce ina bowl rural.

Barbecue sauces are a great immediate punch of flavour from first bite to last. They are for the most part, an all-encompassing condiment and marinade due to their sweet, sour, and savoury elements!  


  • Use them during the cooking process and for basting to build layers of sweet, tangy, salty, and caramelized flavours. 
  • Brush proteins with a final layer to keep cooked meats moist! 
  • Suggested: 
    • Kobe = savoury and slightly sweet with sesame oil for a slight nuttiness. 
    • Smoky BBQ Sauces = usually applewood, maple, or hickory-based smokiness.
    • Herb-based sauces can add a fresh aromatic quality to proteins that are reminiscent of the summer flavours growing around us. 


Honey in a jar.

Having a hint of sweet in your dishes can evolve the umami factor in meats and veggies whether you’re roasting or grilling. Think about what taste you are trying to achieve and select the right sweetener for you.  


  • Adding a sugary element to marinades and dry rubs can help to create nice amounts of caramelization and quick carbonization. 
    • When cooked at high temperatures or when searing, these sugars infuse with the salt of your proteins and veggies to boost umami and create pockets of char! 
  • Types to use:
  • Cane sugar = sweetness
  • Brown/Yellow sugar = caramel sweetness
  • Honey = sweet caramel & honey aroma
  • Maple Syrup = caramel sweetness, maple aroma, and maple flavour

Liquid Smoke

Liquid Smoke

Liquid smoke is a super handy item to have in your pantry when trying simulate the smoky flavours of the grill. It has an intense aroma and immediate impact when it hits the palate. We call it BBQ in a bottle!


  • This liquid gold is made from real wood smoke that has been diluted, filtered, and refined. 
  • A few drops to any dish or marinade is all you need to get that BBQ taste! 
  • Available online and in some grocery stores.
  • Other ways to infuse smoke:
    • use a smoke infusion machine.
    • create blackened or “burnt” powder with sweet yellow onions.

Spices & blends by us:

Getting the Grill Vibes Inside.


  • Knowing how to use heat to your advantage is KEY when trying to create BBQ indoors! 
  • High heat is used to create crispy textures, char, and caramelization. 
  • Low heat can be used to tenderize over time and create the most succulent and soft meats and vegetables. 

Techniques to use:

Steak searing
  • This is done quickly at high heat in a pan or oven.
  • Sear meats first to form a “crust” or caramelized coating on the outside of your ingredients.
  • Finish cooking at a lower temperature to get the right doneness or finish at a lower heat in the oven. 
Pot roast
  • Done in an oven.
    • After searing ingredients at high heat, add a little stock into a roasting pan with aromatics, place proteins inside, and cover with aluminum foil.
  • Cook on low heat in the oven until meats are tender and succulent. 
  • Great for beef ribs, pork tenderloin, and other meats! 
Brussel sprouts roasted
Oven Roasting
  • Roasting is another key way to bring out natural sweetness and elements of browning.
  • Maintains the juiciness of your ingredients.
  • Generally, you start high (400F-425F) until browning occurs and then lower the cooking temperature to finish cooking (325F-350F). 

Tools for the job.

Oven broiler
Oven Broiler
  • Heat element usually found at the top of your oven. 
  • Can reach high heat and directly sear anything beneath it. 
  • Use the broil feature create quick char after your dishes are nearly done or just before you begin the main cooking process 
Grill pan
Grill Pan
  • Awesome for searing and creating those wonderful barbecue lines! 
  • Why invest in a cast iron pan?
    • They’re great at conducting and retaining heat.
    • Can be thrown right into the oven to finish cooking.
    • Develop seasoning over their lifespan.
kitchen torch
Kitchen Torch
  • These little guys are essentially high-powered lighters that are used to caramelize, quickly blacken, and sear the top layers of your ingredients.
  • Can create really nice smokiness and texture to any dish. 
  • If you’ve ever had crème brûlée or a torched salmon roll, this was how they did it! 
Air fryer.
Air Fryer
  • Can be used to sear things quickly while maintaining moisture using the power of convection (air circulation).
  • Great for creating texture and caramelization.
  • Try using a grill plate to get barbecuing in your air fryer!

Cast iron pans to consider:

  • Square Cast Iron Grill Pan 
  • Round Cast Iron Sauce Pan 
  • Smaller Round Version 

Recipes to try.

Barbecue Glazed Pork Back Ribs
Barbecue Glazed Pork Back Ribs

Flavour-packed barbecue doesn’t have to be exclusive to outdoor grilling. You can create the wonderfully smoky, rich, and succulent tastes of the season indoors with a few minor adjustments. Want southern style, fall-off-bone BBQ ribs for your next meal? Simply season, sear, braise, and glaze for an authentic barbecue taste. The listed recipes below can all be modified to achieve the ultimate “grill-less grillin” experience. Get creative and #slowdownsummer!!!

View these tasty recipes:

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