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Oct 30, 2006 04:29 AM

Caring for a cast iron grill pan

So I have three regular cast iron pans, and I have the care and cleaning of them down pat. However, I got a cast iron grill pan a few months ago, and am having a difficult time keeping it clean without ruining the seasoning -- food and greese gets down into the grooves, and is really difficult to get out. I've had to resort to soap a few times because everything else I tried didn't work, and it doesn't have the nice well seasoned finish that my other cast iron pans have. Any good tips for caring for the grill pan? I tried the Lodge site, but it wasn't really helpful.

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  1. try a narrow wire brush for the grooves...grill pans are tricky to keep clean and may have to 'scrape and season' more often than with a flat pan...good luck!

    2 Replies
    1. re: jbyoga

      Yes: narrow wire brush.

      I found the perfect one in the Walmart hardware department: it looks exactly like a toothbrush, with brass bristles. It has held up for years as a single-use tool just for cleaning the grill fry pan. The bristles fit snugly within the groove between each raised rib grill section

      The classic flat brass brush (2" x 2") for outdoor grill grate cleaning is available everywhere, but with the frying pan it only gets about 80% of the surface because the square design does not fit the round edges of the hole.

      I use both tools in concert: the 2x2 to clean the bulk; the toothbrush for edgework and deep scrubbing between each groove. Both brushes are thankfully dishwasher safe, because this can be a dirty job, but worth it, because of the unique results that a cast iron grill frypan can give.

      Is this pan as smoothly seasoned as the others? Absolutely not. It has rough sidewalls, and a rusty exterior base from high heat electric element, and some sloping of 10year crud up toward the ridges. My other cast irons shine like glass, but this puppy is in a different league of function: High heat, sizzle splash. For me, a little boiling water in the grooves, with final addition of detergent, is acceptable.

      To overcome the "not perfectly seasoned" nature, each time I use it I swipe an oiled paper towel along the top of the raised ridge right before placing the product.

      1. re: FoodFuser

        Thank you! This was really helpful, I'll go looking for a wire brush like this.

    2. I use Kosher salt and a paper towel.

      4 Replies
      1. re: MMRuth

        Is your pan a circular high-walled skillet (mine), or a rectangular oblong wall-less pan with raised grill ridges?

        Does the salt clean well at the base of the ridges? Does it work with nasty "steak debris and oil"? I use mine mostly for meat, but am moving into veggies (eggplant). Given the difficulty of cleaning, I have previously reserved it for meat uses. Salt sounds neat. Any tips? Also, does salt harm the existing seasoning of regular castiron skillets?

        1. re: FoodFuser

          Circular high walled ... gets rid of everything including nasty steak debris and oil. I've cooked steaks/hamburgers/fish on it, as well as grilling bread and vegetables.

          It's one of those Le Creuset ones. I don't know if the salt harms it, but I've noted no ill-effects.

          1. re: MMRuth

            Thanks, MMRuth. I'll add salt to the arsenal to clean this stubborn but worthwhile pan.

        2. re: MMRuth

          Thanks for the salt tip -- last night when I used it (after making steak), I poured a bunch of kosher salt in the pan right after turning off the heat, let it cool, then rinsed it off and rubbed a little with papper towels. So easy, and the pan looks great.

        3. If you're looking for an awesome seasoning method on any kind of cast iron, put it on the grill. The oven doesn't get hot enough and the combination of grease and dry heat tends to smoke up the kitchen/house. If nothing else, it doesn't leave a nice smell in the kitchen! The grill gets super hot and the last thing you have to worry about is the smell and smoke. Works like a charm.

          1. Before you start cooking, spread a liberal amount of kosher salt on the pan. Make sure the area between all the ridges is about fully covered about halfway up. This will catch all the drips and makes cleanup relatively easy. Since salt is a rock, it won't burn. Just make sure not to use so much that the food touches the salt and you won't wind up with salty food.

            1. This works great for cleaning cast iron pans (both regular and grill).