Grills & Gridirons

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The Medieval Household: Daily Living c.1150-c.1450

When examining illustrations of gridirons and grills in culinary functions from the Middle Ages and Renaissance, fish seems to be the most frequently seen foodstuff cooked in this manner, as Anna Maria Huffnäglin demonstrates.

Iconography relating to saints tends to be the dominant source of illustrations of grills and gridirons, since they appear in relation to martyrdoms of saints (especially St. Lawrence). Because these images tend to form the bulk of what I’ve found – but do not seem to represent the day-to-day usage of grills and gridirons among most people of the era – nor, in many cases, do they seem to relate to realistic forms for functional equipment for grilling meat instead of implements of torture (as in Douce 332, fol. 178v, for example) – I’ve set off these sorts of images in a section of saint-related iconography.

(I’m considering removing the saints section altogether, since the styles of grills and gridirons found in these images seem to be different from the real-world styles in terms of scale and sometimes construction, and I’d rather focus this page on realistic implements for cookery rather than iconography relating to saints. There are occasional details on these images that may be relevant to the construction of real-world grills, however – such as Schongauer’s St. Lawrence – but overall, these depictions tend to be too large to represent a grill or gridiron that people would have used for preparing food.)

Some grilling recipes also provide further details on how these grills and gridirons were used.

For more on this topic, see The Medieval Braai/Barbecue.


These include grilling recipes and references to grills and gridirons.