Seeking grill pan advice
I've got a $100 Macy's gift cert burning a hole in my pocket and am wondering if a grill pan might be in my future. I do have an old over-the-gas-burner grill (the kind where you put water into the sides of the holder, then place the grill into it), but it's a real pain to wash and I wouldn't mind investing in something newer and easier to clean (but doesn't have to be dishwasher-safe). I'm willing to supplement beyond the $100.
Le Creusest? Calphalon? Something else? Non-stick or not? Round? Rectangular? All advice gratefully appreciated!
I use a cast iron grill pan often. I have a couple of Lodge 10" Round Cast Iron Grill Pans that are my workhorses, they are very cheap and do a perfect job with steaks, burgers and chicken breasts. I also have the large Le Creusest Rectangular Grill that was expensive compared to the Lodge pans but works great with longer pieces of fish and also for grilling a lot of veggies.
I have not used a nonstick grill pan, if the pan is preheated properly, hot enough to sear your food, you don't need one. The shape depends on what and how much you are going to cook so that's your call.
I have a rectangular cast iron grill that fits nicely over the front and back burners (guess you wouldn't call it a 'pan' as it has no sides). I use this very often and really like it for 'grilling' burgers, fish, etc., when it's 20 degress outside. To me, cast iron is essentially not stick if you get it hot enough and use some oil. I wouldn't see the benefit of a 'non stick' grill pan. The 'two burner' size is nice if you are doing bigger quantity of food. (just make sure you have a really good vent over your cooktop)
If you are lookig for a pan that will give you the effect of actually grilling on the stovetop, then a cast iron like Lodge is the only way to go. the ridges are nearly square and will hold he meat off the bottom of the pan, out of any juices. If you only are worried about grill marks, then the calphalon would be fine, and easier to clean. I prefer a square one, but that's just because it fits better on the burner. One thing is important with any grill pan and that is to make sure the pan is very hot before putting the food in it.