To Avoid Burning Skillet Brownies, Cook Them Over Indirect Heat

Chocolate brownie baked in cast-iron pan
Chocolate brownie baked in cast-iron pan - Delovely Pics/Shutterstock

When it comes to the good things in life, there's nothing better than biting into an ooey, gooey, fudgy brownie. But there's nothing worse, perhaps, than finishing it off with the taste of a charred crust. While there are quite a few mistakes to avoid when making brownies, not burning their bottoms and edges should be priority number one. Obvious as it may be, however, following that advice can be difficult when you're grilling up a molten batch of brownies in your cast-iron skillet.

Unlike typical sheet pan brownies, which you can set up for success by lining the pan with parchment paper, skillet brownies require you to pour the batter straight into the iron in order to achieve that sizzling, decadent result. But here's where things get tricky. Compared to other types of metal used for cookware, such as aluminum or copper, cast iron is a denser material, meaning that it takes longer for it to heat up and distribute that heat evenly throughout its surface area. Once a cast-iron pan does get hot, though, it stays hot, maybe for longer than you anticipate.

Unfortunately, that can all too often lead to accidental overcooking, which is one of the reasons why it's recommended to use moderate heat with cast-iron pans, rather than high heat. In that same vein, you should also avoid placing the pan over direct heat on a grill, especially if you're baking in it.

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The Best Way To Grill Skillet Brownies

Skillet brownie with slice cut out of center
Skillet brownie with slice cut out of center - Delovely Pics/Shutterstock

The slow heat distribution of cast iron isn't necessarily a bad thing; after all, it's the reason why skillet brownies can achieve a crisp, crinkly crust with a lava-like gooey center. And though you may typically bake them in an oven, making skillet brownies over a grill provides the extra benefit of a rich, smoky flavor that seriously amps up the complexity of the chocolate. Even so, you probably aren't hoping for a charred batch of brownies.

As Dave Arnold of Cooking Issues explains, due to its material, "a cast-iron skillet placed on a ... burner will develop distinct hot spots where the flame touches the pan." To avoid totally burning one area of your brownies, it's best to create a dual-zone flame on your grill and place your skillet next to the flame rather than directly on top of it. Whether you use charcoal or gas, you'll first want to preheat the grill using an even flame distribution, then, when your brownies are ready to bake, keep the fire on one side and place your pan on the other. Cover your grill while the brownies bake.

Not only will this method of cooking over indirect heat help reduce the risk of uneven browning, but it will also help mimic the environment of baking in an oven. In the end, you'll still get all that delicious smoky flavor in your brownies, sans the blackened bottoms.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.