Tired of food that is overcooked on one side and under cooked on the other? A melting or grilling dome can be the solution for you. This seemingly simple contraption that trap steam, smoke and heat to smother the food. As heat rises, instead of going into the air, it is not covering the top portion of the food. This means, you get a semi baked food. The Best Grilling Dome will melt cheese, smoke meat and cook food with even precision.
How Does a Melting or Grilling Dome Work
When you cook on a griddle or a stove top, heat is applied via conduction. Since the heat source is only on the bottom, only that portion will be cooked. While you can and should flip food for a more even cooking, a lot of time, you cannot control the overall heat of the stove. The end result is that the exterior is overcooked while the center is under cooked. With a Melting Dome, radiant heat is now trapped underneath the dome. Now both the bottom and top will be cooked. This is why these domes are so effective at melting cheese on burgers.
How to Use
To use these dome effectively, you need to judge the size of the food and how you will cook it. For example, a chicken breast. If you are grilling or just pan frying, I recommend that you cover it as soon as it hits the pan. When its ready to be flipped, the top should be partially cooked. All you need to do now is to brown the top part. However, do not cover it after the flip. If you do so, the crispy exterior will become soggy.
For a Sunny Side up egg, crank the heat up and add oil. Once the pan is hot, toss a egg in there and cover. If done properly, the sides of the egg will be perfectly bubbly and crispy, while the top should be cooked. You dont have to flip it or do anything fancy. If you find the bottom to be done but the top only partially cooked. Sprinkle some water in there and cover. The resulting steam should cook it through.
For melting cheese, all you need to do is place the cheese on top and cover. Obviously, you should only do this at the end of cooking. You cant really grill cheese side down.
Best Melting and Grilling Dome List
There are a few different Melting and Grilling Dome on the market. They all work relatively well and you wont be dissapointed with any of them. However, they do have slightly different configuration. Choose one that best suit your need.
Nordic Ware 365 Indoor/Outdoor Cheese Melting Dome (Best Overall)
Nordic Ware is a manufacture of Scandinavian Cookware. A lot of the products are made right here in the USA. This dome is no different. Their handle is heavy and so is the construction. You wont be dissapointed by the quality when compared to the other manufacturer. Since the handle is metal, be sure to get a glove when handling it. It will get screaming hot. I would also caution that there is only one size at 9 inch diameter, make sure that it fits your need.
Cuisinart CMD-112 Melting Dome, 12″ (Best Large Size Model)
If you need something a bit bigger, then Cuisinart is a good alternative. It uses an all stainless steel construction for durability and ease of use. It wont rust like other type of metal. The height clearance is around 2.5 inch. Make sure that it will fit. Handles also get hot so be careful.
Heavy-duty Cheese Melting Dome (Best Model with Heat Resistant Handle)
If the handle is getting too hot, then a model with a Silicone handle might be better. It wont get hot like the metal model and its just a covering so it wont break. This model is 2.5 mm thick to ensure durability. Like the Nordicware version, its on the smaller size. Make sure that it fits.
This simple tool can change the way you cook. By trapping heat, you cook food faster and cook more evenly. You can melt cheese and even contain any grease splatter. There are quite a few models on the market, they all work relatively well. Check to see if the size and handle will match what you are cooking. You will be surprised at how often you use it.
Want to add a little Sizzle? Check out our article on the Best Sizzling Plate.