Barbecue skillet cookie

How better to end your barbecue than with a warm freshly baked cookie made on the BBQ? I wouldn’t know how. Especially when you’re out camping or don’t have an oven, a barbecue is a great way to make your warm sweet dessert after all those savoury bites!

I’d read quite a lot of skillet cookie recipes, but never made them. I didn’t really see the point in making one huge cookie (except for the fact it’s less work). In an oven it isn’t too much trouble to just make a lot of smaller cookies. Nevertheless, a skillet cookie did make sense to make when barbecueing. It’s more or less the only way to bake a decent cookie!

So, I took my skillet (I used iron cast, you do need one that can handle barbecue heat) and our barbecue and set out making barbecue skillet chocolate cookies! Since it’s a little harder to control temperature it’s a little more adventurous (but also more fun) to bake a cookie on a barbecue!

How to bake cookies on a barbecue

The big difference between baking cookies on a barbecue versus an oven is the source of heat. When baking cookies in an oven the air around the cookie will have warmed up and heat will come into the cookie from both the top as well as the bottom.

However, when baking cookies on a barbecue, the air around the cookie will not be as warm as in the oven. Especially at the top the air might well be only slightly warmer than the surrounding air. The heat from the bottom on the other hand is quite intense. That makes baking a cookie on a barbecue and balance between burning the bottom before having fully baked the top!

Managing heat

If the cookie would be baked on a very hot barbecue the bottom of the cookie will cook fast. What’s more, browning and burning reactions such as the Maillard reaction and caramelization will proceed quite fast at the bottom! However, since the heat has to travel through the cookie to reach the top, the top will take a lot longer to heat and bake through. Since there is no top heating nor hot air around the cookie, it simply takes a while. Thus, a high heat will most likely burn the bottom before the top has had the time to heat fully.

If the cookie is heated more slowly on the other hand, browning and caramelization don’t go as fast on the bottom. That will give the heat time to travel through the cookie and cook the top as well!

Perfect for the end of a barbecue

So we want a moderate heat for a slightly longer period of time to fully bake the cookie well. I noticed this works best towards the end of your barbecue session. After all the other foods have been cooked your barbecue will be cooling down slightly already (that is, if you’re using goals, for a gas barbecue, you simply have to turn down the strength a bit). You probably won’t be adding any new coals anymore and this is a great moment to start baking your cookie.

The higher heat at the start will give the skillet enough opportunity to heat up and the lower heat over time will give the top to cook slowly, without the bottom being so hot anymore and burning!

Covering up the cookie?

My cookie probably stood on the barbecue for 45-60 minutes (didn’t keep track that well I’m afraid). In the beginning I covered the top with aluminium foil, reasoning that the foil would keep in the heat better. However, an unintended side consequence seemed to be that moisture couldn’t escape from the cookie either!

The cookie was very crunchy and cripsy at the bottom, however, the top had become more cake like. It was quite soft (but well cooked). Next time I would do it without the aluminium foil to assure a more even crispness.

skillet with cookie on the barbecue

Barbecue skillet chocolate cookie recipe

You don’t need a special cookie for a barbecue skillet cookie. A conventional cookie recipe will work just fine. I used a recipe from Sally’s baking addiction as a start and modified it. Feel free to simplify the recipe (you can leave out the extracts for instance).

Barbecue skillet cookie
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 8 - 12 portions
  • 130g butter
  • 50g granulated sugar
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest extract
  • 1 tbsp orange zest extract
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • 140g flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  1. Mix the butter and sugars. Add the egg and extracts.
  2. Fold in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. Take a barbecue proof skillet (approx. 20cm diameter), we use a skillet from Lodge. Coat with a very thin layer of oil.
  4. Fill the skillet with the mixture.
  5. Place the skillet on top of the barbecue. The barbecue shouldn't be super hot anymore, it should be cooling down slowly. That way the skillet can still heat up reasonably fast without it burning before the top is cooked.
  6. I covered the cookie with aluminium foil at the start. However, that resulted in a very soft (cake-like) top and a very crispy (cookie) bottom. It was nice, but next time I'll try it without the aluminium foil.
  7. The cookie should release from the bottom pretty easily. It's tricky to see when it's ready, as soon as the top is cooked you know the center isn't raw anymore. Keep on smelling so you don't burn the cookie!

Don’t like the chocolate flavour of your cookie? That might well be due to the cocoa powder you’re using. I for one thing have used a cocoa powder for a while that just didn’t make nice cookies. Once I changed to a cocoa powder closer to my own tastes my chocolate cookies tasted good again :-). Read more about the differences between cocoa powders here.

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