How To Use an Oven and Grill as a BBQ | Ovenu Blog

How To Use Your Oven and Grill as a BBQ

By on 16th August 2013 (updated: 31st August 2023) in Blog

As oven-cleaning experts, we definitely know our way around an oven – no matter the make or model! When we’re on jobs, we get asked all the time what is the best way to use an oven and grill like a BBQ.

We’re here to give you tips and tricks on how to get that BBQ flavour, without the need for sunshine. We’ll share the differences and similarities between BBQs and an oven and grill, offer cleaning tips to make sure you’re prepared, and cooking ideas to get a BBQ finish!

What are the differences between an oven grill and a BBQ?


There are obviously a few major differences between a BBQ grill and an oven grill, one being that your oven acts as a thermostat with which you can control the cooking temperature.

Whilst gas grills also possess this feature, charcoal grills do not, which means the temperature is much harder to control. Whilst the ability to control the temperature your food cooks at is often a blessing, it can sometimes be a curse.

Typical ovens turn off once they’ve reached their optimal temperature, which is usually past 250oC. This will leave any food inside the oven cooking in its own steam, which is something you really don’t want to happen when you’re grilling. You want your food to be under constant heat, direct from the grill.

In order to keep your oven’s grill burning, keep the oven door slightly open. This promotes good airflow, allowing the heat to escape and keeping the oven from reaching its highest temperature and shutting down. This means that your food will burn on the grill instead of baking in the oven.


Your domestic oven may not deliver that much sought-after charcoal flavour that traditional BBQs do, but it does provide you with a versatile and easy-to-set-up method of enjoying grilled food.

Yes, they may look completely different, but your kitchen’s oven actually shares a lot in common with the outdoor BBQ.

  • Both your BBQ and your oven’s grill use intense heat to grill foods.
  • Both appliances require the same careful attention from a watchful eye to avoid over-cooking and burning the food.
  • Perhaps most importantly though, they are both capable of creating tantalising chargrilled food.

The following are some tips to get you set up.

inside of an oven

Oven and Grill Checklist

Check Your Oven’s Features

Familiarise yourself with your oven’s features before using the grill function. Check the manual to see if you should keep the door open or closed as this can vary between manufacturers. If you need to leave the door open whilst grilling then you’ll only need to leave it open a small amount. You should be able to leave it open by a few inches, which will allow air to circulate and should promote even colouring of your food.

If your oven has a convection or fan setting, then you should be able to use the grill with the door closed. In this circumstance, the fan provides the necessary airflow to ensure that heat is evenly distributed and food is evenly browned.

Use the Right Pan

Modern ovens usually come equipped with a set of racks and a grill pan that should fit perfectly in place. The grill feature can produce an intense heat which only a certain type of pan can withstand, so it’s best to use the one that came with your oven.

These pans are fitted with a grill rack and a deep tray that allows fat to drip away and settle at a distance from the heat source, to reduce the risk of accidental ignition. You may also use a cast-iron grill pan, which comes with its own benefits (more on that below).

Select the Correct Rack Position

The rack position that you choose will depend on the type of food you’re cooking and how you want it to be cooked. Remember that the point of using your oven’s grill is to use direct heat to cook your food. This means your food should be colouring, browning and crisping from being in close proximity to the grill elements, as opposed to cooking indirectly from the heat captured in the oven. The lower you place your racks, the longer the cooking process will take.

Use the Right Temperature

Most ovens with grill features have a temperature setting feature. Choosing to grill at a high temperature will encourage quick cooking. However, this may not be suitable for foods that need to reach a high internal temperature, such as meats.

The temperature you set your grill at should coincide with your cooking time, the height you set your racks and how often you turn your food. Using a temperature probe can help to ensure that your food is cooked to a safe temperature.

Keep Your Eye on the Grill

Unlike your conventional oven, using a grill requires constant supervision. Due to the high level of heat that your grill uses, there’s a much higher chance of food burning, so it’s important to always be on hand. Your oven’s grill can also pose more of a safety risk to children, especially when the door is kept ajar. Don’t be tempted to walk away or leave your grill unattended.

Make Sure Your Oven and Grill Are Clean

If you’re looking to get the most out of your oven grill, you’ll need to ensure it’s spotless. A dirty oven can be dangerous, so it’s important to ensure there is no burned-on food or grease lurking around before turning your grill up!

As the UK’s largest oven-cleaning franchise, we have over 25 years of experience cleaning ovens of all sizes and types. Contact us today to find out how we can get your oven back to its best, or read our ultimate guide on how to clean your oven.

Using an oven instead of a BBQ grill

Raw Steak on a GrillThe weather during British summertime can be somewhat unpredictable, so it’s handy to know that even when it starts to pour down, you can take the party indoors and use your oven as a BBQ.

Whilst cooking indoors might not be quite as attractive as barbecuing your food out in the sun, it’s often a necessity due to weather constraints. It’s also great to have that extra grill available if you’ve got no space left on the BBQ. The oven essentially acts as an indoor gas grill.

How to use an oven and grill as a BBQ

Using your grill as a BBQ is as easy as turning your grill to high and placing your grill pan close to the top. To emulate the direct heat of a traditional BBQ you’ll want to make sure that food is kept close enough to the heat source, this will ensure that you get the trademark browning and colouring on your food.

Just like when you’re grilling outside, you’ll want all the grease and fat from the food to be able to drip away, but you don’t want to get your oven too dirty. This is why you should always use a grilling pan. Also, ensure that you don’t leave the grill unattended. Although it might be safe to do this outside (when no children are present), doing so inside could risk burnt food and a lot of smoke being produced.

Using a grill pan in the oven

Using a cast-iron grill pan (as opposed to your oven’s normal grill pan) can help emulate the outdoor BBQ or ‘grilling’ experience inside the oven. These pans can withstand high temperatures and feature raised ridges to impart signature grill marks on your food. A cast iron grill pan will also ensure the heat spreads evenly and can last a lifetime if cared for properly.

How to use a cast-iron pan with your grill

  1. Place your oven rack on the lowest setting, at the bottom of the oven. Although cast-iron pans are usually deep, they do not allow for fat to be safely drained away easily, so it’s best to keep the pan as low as possible.
  2. Preheat the grill pan before you put any food on it so you get a nice searing on the meat’s surface. Set the grill to high and place the pan on the rack to let it heat up for at least 10 minutes before you put any food on.
  3. Cook your food as you would do on an outdoor barbecue, making sure to turn halfway through. Keep the door open or closed, depending on your oven’s features – you may need to open a window or turn on an extractor fan to get rid of any smoke.
  4. Allow the cast-iron pan to cool once you’ve finished cooking. Then clean it with hot water and dry it with a tea towel to prevent rust from setting in.

Top Tip: Wipe the pan lightly with vegetable oil and bake in a hot oven for an hour to season it. This will improve its effectiveness and increase its lifespan.

Food Safety When Using Your Oven and Grill

  • You should always keep a watchful eye on your food whenever you cook, and this applies tenfold when grilling. Foods can easily burn and even catch fire if not monitored properly, so be sure to stay close to your oven grill and make sure you don’t overcook anything.
  • Don’t assume that because your oven is open it will take longer to cook; you can still grill food very quickly, but before you eat anything you should always check that it’s cooked through thoroughly. As long as you pay attention to your food you shouldn’t run into any problems.
  • If you find your oven smoking a lot whenever you turn the grill on then it’s probably due to a build-up of grease and grime, and it’s about time you had your appliance cleaned. Don’t attempt to take anything apart and clean it yourself – there are professionals who can do this safely and efficiently.

Ovenu is the largest oven-cleaning franchise in the UK. We have friendly, fully trained technicians on-hand that can clean your oven’s grill, as well as any grill pans or racks as well. Contact us today to discover how we can leave your grill looking like new.

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owner of ovenu

Rik Hellewell is the Founder & Managing Director of Ovenu and a member of the Approved Franchise Association. He established Ovenu in 1993, cleaning 4,000 ovens and proving his concept over five years before starting the franchise business. Since then he has helped over 200 franchisees achieve their dreams of running successful businesses of their own. Established for over 25 years, the Ovenu concept has proven successful across the UK, New Zealand, Australia and the USA.