I don't know about your house, but at our house my husband believes that grilling is not a specifically seasonal cooking method. So while we will fire up the grill sometimes four or even five nights a week in the summer months, he is quick to light those coals on a moderately temperate early winter's day, or when we get a bit of unexpected sunshine in March.
He'll battle cold, but not wet or wind, so rainy days and snowy days and blustery days are a no-grill zone. But as Chicago tends to have plenty of those, invariably he has a craving for something grilled on a night the weather is just non-cooperative. And while we do have a great cast iron grill pan for those essential char marks, some foods just generate more indoor smoke than they are worth.
Enter the Ninja Foodi Smart XL Grill. This small countertop unit is an indoor grill, but so much more. It is also an air fryer, with an integrated smart-cooking system, so you can pick your cooking style — bake, broil, roast, air fry, or even dehydrate. The 500 degree F grilling technology gives you all the char marks you are craving, while the smoke control system means your kitchen stays blissfully free of smoke.
The smart cooking system also has settings for four different proteins with up to nine customizable doneness markers. The built-in Foodi Smart Thermometer means that everything you cook is at the perfect temperature — no more chicken that is raw at the bone or steaks that go past your desired pinkness. And while it has a reasonably small footprint, the XL cooking surface is plenty large enough for the whole family. It is enough space for six generous steaks, eight juicy pub burgers, or up to 24 hot dogs, so you can have that cookout feel any night of the year, no matter the weather.
The air frying function and included four-quart crisper basket mean that while those steaks are resting, you can whip up fries to accompany, with 75 percent less fat but 100 percent of the crispiness. The spatter shield keeps countertops mess-free, and the removable parts are dishwasher safe for easier cleanup.
"This is going to make cooking in the winter much more enjoyable and will probably save me a bunch on propane come the summer," one reviewer wrote, adding, "I have cooked French Fries, Hot Dogs, Chicken Wings, Chicken Breasts and Ribeye Steaks. Every one of these items have turned out perfect."
Buy it: $279.99; target.com
This story originally appeared on Allrecipes.