Enamel Griddle Update
I saw a few replies and wanted to add more info.
The stains are unaffected by soap and scrubbing and plastic scrappers and soaking.
The stuff that is on there isn't chunky at all, but some kind of dark film from the chicken and veggies I cooked. And on the flat side there are stains from french toast!
The idea of sandblasting just sounds fun. If it would remove all of the enamel and leave me with a plain cast iron griddle I'd be happy to spend the time with the help of my dad.
When I asked him if he thought it would do the job, he replied "well we can always torch it till the porcelain cracks and then chip away the procelain." :)
Do y'all think I should just ignore the stains?
I've got some grease stains on my Le Creuset skillet (inner area is plain cast iron, and the outside is enamel). I haven't tried to clean it yet, but did buy some Le Creuset cleaner that is supposed to remove stains from the enamel without damaging it.
I think the stains are almost certainly some carbonized sugars & proteins. An SOS pad would almost certainly remove them with some elbow grease, though it stands a good chance of dulling the enamel. I think your idea of using a sandblaster is a terrible idea -- cast iron that is destined for enamel coating is deliberated roughed up before the process while cast iron intended to be used uncoated is typically machined to a smooth finish.
You could try a solvent type cleaner:
It's usually not necessary to start an entirely new thread to add an update to
an existing one. Adding to the existing thread brings it back to the top.
I'm guessing that the iron substrate beneath the enamel has been designed to
hold enamel, rather than to be a smooth cooking surface. If you're bent on
destroying your pan, then go right ahead; you're probably not going to find
a shiny new cast iron griddle under there.
And just to keep things in perspective: enamel is one of the easiest cooking
surfaces to deal with. With care, nothing sticks that a short soak can't loosen
and stains can be easily bleached. On the other hand, the rituals around
proper cast iron care -- seasoning, cleaning, dealing with rust, dealing with
re-seasoning because your method of dealing cleaning removed the seasoning --
make it one of the most difficult surfaces. Or at least daunting at first. Search this
board for "cast iron" and "help!".
Pour some Clorox on the stain. Let it sit for a while. Rinse off.
Cookware that's used begins to look used. That's a good thing.
I stained my first Le Crueset enamel pot. I didn't really have the patience for letting it heat up and the electric burner I was using at the time didn't make full contact with the pan. It developed a brown ring shaped stain that matched some beans I was cooking in it. I tried to ruin the pan further by scrubbing it with abrasive pads. Despite all the abuse, scratches, and discoloration it still cooks phenomenally well. It's been long enough now that I wouldn't mind replacing it to get the new look back. However, I can't justify the expense because it still performs phenomenally well.
So I say if it still works don't fix it.