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Help Me Love My Le Creuset Grill Pan

I have many pieces of LC that I adore.

As the saying goes: You'll have to pry my 7qt dutch oven out of my cold dead hands.

But the darn grill pan continues to flummox me. I've had it for a number of years and rarely use it. Each time I do I follow the same drill.

I heat it up pretty good... I brush it with oil... I add the protein.

And each time I do this, the food comes out fine, but the pan is a pain in the ass to clean. The ridges hold onto every thing. I end up scrubbing it with a toothbrush for almost an hour to get it clean.

What am I doing wrong? I looked around the net and it doesn't SEEM to need to be seasoned... or does it? Should I just leave the blackend leftovers on and is that the seasoning?

I'm giving this pan one more chance and then it's going to eBay.

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  1. Someone else just posted with the same problem recently. I use kosher salt and a paper towel to clean mine out, and don't have a problem with it.

    Here's that thread -

    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/481257

    1 Reply
    1. re: MMRuth

      I just read through the older thread...

      And the consensus seemed to be, junk it.

      That's so sad. I want to love it. Now I must mourn.

      But okay, so what grill pan do you all like?

    2. Sorry. I can't help. I had the same issue plus I was totally unimpressed with its performance.

      I gave mine away.

      1 Reply
      1. re: C. Hamster

        Mine is hanging on the wall. It LOOKS pretty, at least.

      2. Clean it well, and then coat it with oil, and heat it on the stove top until it stops smoking. Repeat a few times until it's shiny and blackened. I had an uncoated LC grill pan, and that wouldn't season too well either. That should help though! You can also heat water in it till very hot, and then use a stiff brush or some other non scratching tool to sort of deglaze it.

        9 Replies
        1. re: blondelle

          Keeping using it...it took a while for me to break mine in.

          Toss your food in a very small amount before putting on the grill (1 tsp will be enough for a couple of chicken breasts or a sliced zucchini) and then... and this is the most important part.... leave the food to cook until well developed brown crusty stripes have formed. If you move the food too quickly it will stick! Rember only about 20% of the food is touching the pan so it needs time to brown enough to release. Patience is the key ingredient. If anything does stick soak for a bit and use one of those flat srubbies (I buy mine at the 99 cent store)

          I've learned to use mine with ease you can too.

          1. re: Stuffed Monkey

            Hi, I recently bought a grill pan and a frying pan through Amazon.com and i'm not overly pleased with either. A review from another buyer suggested the pan he purchased through one of amazon's sellers may not be authentic. Mine does not have markings on the bottom of the pan, but does have markings on the bottom of the small rounded handle. Both of those pans say "made in france" and the number 26 . So shouldn't the pans have different numbers? If anyone could give some feedback I would appreciate it. Thanks

            1. re: flifish

              Le Creuset usually puts numbers on the bottom of its pans, and inside the lids, not on the handles. Pictures of yours would be helpful.

               
               
              1. re: Jay F

                Here is a photo of the frying pan and the grill pan markings. thanks for your input.

                 
                 
                1. re: flifish

                  That's interesting. I have only one LC skillet, size 30. It says "France 30" on that side, as yours does, but it says Le Creuset on the other side. It also has a 30 in the middle of the bottom.

                  I wonder if someone's making Faux Creuset.

                  1. re: Jay F

                    I have nothing on the bottom of either pan but Le Creuset is written on the top of the little handle as your pan is also. The 10"(?) grill pan the other is a 10 in skillet but both appear to be numbered 26 but its hard to read the grill pan number it may be a 25. That is my question do some of Amazon's resellers sell faux Le Creuset. Thanks for your input

                    1. re: flifish

                      I have never heard of a single instance of faux Le Creuset. I wonder if yours is either somewhat older or newer than mine, and they didn't put numbers on the bottom that year. That's more likely than a counterfeit.

                      1. re: Jay F

                        I recently purchased these two pieces new but who knows how old it really is. The bottom of both pans are unmarked.

                        1. re: flifish

                          If you can put up more pictures, I can tell you how Le Creuset-ish they look to me.

        2. I gave mine away. Same problems you are having.
          Had the same problems with the cast iron ones. And with the Calphalon one sitting in the box to go to charity.

          Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.
          I have bought any number of these over the years, never learning my lesson, each time thinking this was a good idea. The meat, seafood or vegetables would benefit from high heat but, if there was grease, it would drain off, there would be lovely grill marks, yada yada. Every one of these pans was a pain in the ass to clean. The wimpy grill marks were never like an outdoor grill.
          Worse, there was never enough contact between the food and the hot surface of any pan.
          I finally realized that I got the best results with a really hot well-seasoned cast iron skillet. Stove-top "grilling" is a full contact sport best accomplished without ridges.
          I'm never going to buy another "grill" pan.

          1. I have to admit that I love mine--the flat rectangular grill, not the grill pan. I only use it for steaks though, and cleanup aside, the actual cooking performance (and ability to get it very, very hot) had been exemplary. Cleanup has been difficult but is getting better as the enamaled cast iron is building up a patina. For fish and vegetables, I use the All Clad double burner grill, which is teflon--along with my egg dedicated crepe pan, my only teflon.

            1. I just got the oblong skillet grill and have used it twice. I followed advice from the LC website and other posters that said not to use high heat, put a bit of oil on the pan after it has heated up instead of when cold, and not to move the food once you place it on the grill until it has had a chance to brown/sear. The food came out great and the pan was a little hard to clean but I used a plastic scraper that I had from a George Foreman grill to scrape off the food and that worked fine. So far so good. I like it much better than the GF - mine doesn't have removable plates and is a huge pain to clean.

              1. I don't use my Le Creuset grill pan often, either, because I don't eat grilled meat too often in the winter. But recently I made filets mignons in it and they came out delicious and beautiful, with perfect criss-cross grill marks. I brushed the pan with oil beforehand, and let the meat release. I don't remember clean-up being a major pain. But, then, I didn't want to strip off whatever seasoning the pan has.

                1. I'm rather astonished that people are having so much trouble with these things. I just use a hard bristled plastic/nylon (whatever it is) brush and run it under hot water as I scrub. Problem solved.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: HaagenDazs

                    Thank you for posting some sanity. I do the same. In fact, the square LC grill pan and press are coated, not bare cast iron, and they even do well with a good soak for about fifteen minutes if you have particularly goopy stuff stuck on it. At the worst case, it has to be scrubbed with the stiff brush.

                    I have literally seen people advise others to throw this pan out, or say that they hate it. It seems like you need to be willing to give it a short soak and a good scrub in order to use it and like it. My opinion? Most people really dislike hand washing. If you are one of those sorts, you will not like this pan. I wash all of my pots by hand. No big deal to me. And truth be known, the LC grill pan is actually easier than my double cast iron grill to clean, so if anyone tries to say otherwise, I disagree.

                  2. Well...

                    In the past, I've honestly tried 99% of the suggestions you wonderful have suggested. To no avail.

                    Tonight I'm giving the thing one more go. I'll try everything once again.

                    But keep your eyes peeled on eBay for a very clean, slightly used green square LC grill pan ; )

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Jennalynn

                      I use mine for sandwiches. I weight it down with an iron frying pan. Now that I am writing this I realize I could use the iron frying pan for the sandwiches, and weight them down with the LC!

                    2. I’ve found that no cooking utensil I’ve ever used is hard to get clean if I soak it overnight with some detergent in the water. Whatever was cooked, baked, or burnt on softens and easily brushes away. I don’t know these Le Creuset Grill Pans, but they are enameled, are they not? If so, the water should not hurt them. I would not even bother to try cleaning without first soaking.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: AndyHc

                        I think that the insides are cast iron, not enameled. I've decided that I must be a bit cavalier about how clean my LC grill pan gets ;-).

                      2. Baking soda and water overnight helps - still a little scraping may be needed.

                        1. Grill pans are one of my least favorite pieces of cookware. My experience (with anodized aluminum) was much like yours, except I also didn't find it to be nonstick because of the pressure applied at the 'stripes' and the lack of movement of the meat. Unless you just have to have meat with stripes, I say sell it and use the broiler.

                          1. I also don't understand why so maybe people are having so much trouble with their grill pan. I use mine for almost everything (steak, grilled sandwiches, grilled salmon, etc) with no problems cleaning it. I just let it soak for a little bit and everything comes off with a little nylon scrubber.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: itstangy

                              I agree with you, but wonder if somehow we are talking about different pans - not sure they are making my round one anymore, as I don't see it on the website.

                              1. re: MMRuth

                                I wonder if some are just 'raw' cast iron? My Le Creuset grill pan is a squarish shape and has a glass lining over the cast iron (as I understand it), thus no rust and not too difficult to get clean.

                                1. re: OCEllen

                                  Mine is - to my mind - easy to clean, but does not have a glass lining as far as I can tell - I think it is "raw", and I think it has rusted occasionally due to careless treatment by me!

                            2. Jennalynn, I feel your pain. I have a standard cast iron grill pan, and an enameled grill pan. I found some good solutions for cleaning the latter, but I have to say, I find these pans unfortunately more trouble than they're worth. On the chance my discoveries re: cleaning methods are useful to you, see this thread:
                              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/367010

                              1. I've got the same grill pa, and truthfully for years I was as frustrated as you, but I did like the way it cooked proteins. Finally one day I took the pan while it was still incredibly hot and but it in the sink, turned on the water and scrubbed with a nylon brush (no soap) until it was clean (about 1 minute). I no longer have a clean up issue.

                                1. Give up trying to love a pan... it will never love you back: no birthday hugs, forget it helping you through a difficult time in your life, it's just a tool, and use it as such.

                                  Go with the kosher salt method, and remember, just because it say's it's preseasoned, doesn't mean you're off the hook, go ahead and season it again, and again, and again.

                                  1. I have a simple solution, actually 2 that I use on my pain in the ass pan. One is is serious stiff brush, I get the water really hot and scrub with my new brush and I am in and out in no time. The other thing is this simple plastic tool they sell for a buck at BBand Beyond, just a plastic scraper that gets the goo off with one or to passes. I was thinking of getting this pan as it is way heavier that what I have now, but am rethinking now fom your post. Good luck!
                                    Carol

                                    1. Just saw this post. I just bought a used one for 3 bucks at a yard sale and am having a great time with it. I just warmed it up to 350 F on the stovetop and put my steak in. Browned it great and made nice lines. I soaked it in hot water for a bit and then scrubbed it out easily with a scrubby pad. No problem. Mine is well seasoned obviously because she said she used it all the time she was raising her kids. I guess the point is that it needs to be seasoned. Cook fatty meat for a while.

                                      1. This is surprising to me...
                                        I have (or have had) a number of grill pans over the years, mostly cast iron. The LC pan is the easiest of all to clean. After using, and after it cools, I soak it in the sink with some soapy dishwater for a while (maybe an hour?) and just wipe it clean with a scrubby sponge (the soft side, not the abrasive side).... Slick as a whistle in no time...
                                        Is it perfectly clean? Probably not, but no scraping or elbow grease required, and very ready for the next cooking session...
                                        Good luck!

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: mw333

                                          I love my cast iron grill pan (as I do my Staub dutch ovens) BUT my grill pan is a lodge, it's not enameled. After I'm done cooking I let it get screaming hot and then add a cup of HOT water to it. I then take it off the heat. It boils and steams and all the gunk comes right off. I let it cool down on the stove and then just rinse it off an hour later - so scrubbing involved. However the reason I can do this may be that my grill isn't enameled - if it were I may worry about cracking it with this method.

                                          1. re: beauxgoris

                                            I've had a LC grille pan for 20 years and treat it pretty much the way you do, just not as organized. I just squirt a bit of detergent in while it's still hot, add hot tap water and let it sit. Never had a problem. Odd that others do.

                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              Yeah, sometimes it gets a little dirty -- I like to put garlic and salt and pepper on my meats -- but I only ever heat it on medium (plenty hot! NEVER heat it on high!) and at the end if it's a mess I just leave it with hot water in it for a couple of hours or overnight and then go to it with a metal pot scrubber.

                                              Don't worry about scrubbing away the "seasoning" -- it never helped in the first place.

                                              I also sometimes put it in the dishwasher. No problem. I've had it for 15 years and use it regularly . . . send ME your barely-used one for a replacement!

                                        2. Maybe you're heating it too high, that's my guess. And the oil, what kind are you using?

                                          When I bought mine a few months ago, I asked the manager outright about all the problems I had heard about cleaning the pan. He said that he often has customers complain about the pan cleaning and it is attributable to 3 very important points that he says people overlook when reading the care and use:
                                          1- Don't use it at high heat, Medium is as high as the Grill Pan needs to be used. Do the water droplet test, if it sizzles up right away, it's too hot. (there's info about this on the website)
                                          2-Don't use it with Olive Oil! Olive Oil's smoke point is too low and it will be a mess. I use grapeseed oil instead, and don't over oil it or it will be sticky when it cools.
                                          3-Don't wash it with a grease cutting soap like Dawn. The manager said they are instructed to tell customers to specifically use Ivory dish soap. Apparently, even though it is enameled, a little bit of residual oil is necessary for keeping foods from sticking, so it does kind of have to be seasoned.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: gragegrl

                                            Thanks Gragegrl... But two years ago after I posted my problems with the pan, I gave it a good try once again and then gave it to a friend. I moved on to a Lodge grill pan with much better results.

                                            Still love all my other LC!

                                          2. Yesterday I used my brand new Le Creset grill pan for the first time. I was horrified at the cemented charred stuff that would not release from the grill. I soaked it overnight...didn't help a bit. I scrubbed with hard bristle brush...helped a little. I used a George Foreman plastic scraper...helped a bit. I used the rock salt with the brush....helped a bit. I then resorted to using oven cleaner....helped but still didn't release all the stuff. UNBELIEVABLE. Frustrated, I set the thing aside and decide it will have to do. My husband comes home from work and suggests I boil water in it for awhile. IT WORKED LIKE A CHARM. Now I feel pretty stupid...I read this blog this morning in desparation....someone did suggest deglazing it with water....should have followed this advice first. My grill pan looks worked over....tomorrow I will try seasoning it correctly so that this never happens again!!

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Suzie S

                                              What did you cook in it? The only time I have ever had this kind of trouble, I was using honey in a marinade.

                                              1. re: RGC1982

                                                Chicken drumettes...marinade was BBQ sauce so perhaps this was the problem...

                                            2. I don't have a LC grill pan, but I do have a plain CI one -- my recommendations: 1) always use high heat! It's not going to taste like "grilled" food unless something is burning a little bit; 2) get a bamboo wok brush; 3) always douse the pan with water as soon as the food comes out.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: mateo21

                                                Can someone tell me the best way to get rust off the interior (black) surface of a square LC grill pan? I was gifted one by a friend. Should I use a rust remover spray?

                                              2. This is the only thing that makes grill pan cleanup a breeze. Just fill the grill pan with hot soapy water, let sit for 15-30 mins, dump out water and brush.. Comes off like a dream. Here's the link to the little brush that saved my grill pans also from going to ebay. Lol. Get it!

                                                http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

                                                On another note, has anyone ever seen a le creuset like this before? It's a 5 quart oval dutch oven with grill pan ridges on the bottom!

                                                 
                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: Signgrl

                                                  I love that DO!
                                                  You can get great grill marks and flavor, AND make a sauce.
                                                  Very cool.

                                                  1. re: monavano

                                                    I just got it, barely used, and thought it was the neatest 'grill pot', I had never seen one of these before I spotted this one. Was wondering if anyone else has ever seen/used one?

                                                    1. re: Signgrl

                                                      I might have to keep an eye out on Ebay for this!

                                                  2. re: Signgrl

                                                    I've got that palm brush and love it. The brush heads last me for 6 months or so. I've finally been able to stop buying and tossing scrubby-backed sponges. I buy regular sponges, they last for weeks and weeks with regular trips through the DW.

                                                    I really like that Oxo offers different brush heads, too. Along with a sponge and my Ringer (for iron and steel pans) I'm all set.

                                                  3. Probably too late for the original pan, but mine has become a panini pan. Preheat on medium while gathering and assembling sandwiches, then place on the pan, weighted down by a serving plate (we use correlle so heat safe) and something heavy on top to press. Flip after a few minutes and there you go.

                                                    As a meat cooking device, I was like wise disappointed.

                                                    1. I hate my LC grill pan - have had it for 10+ years and just dug it out of the back of the cabinet thinking about sending it to the Salvation Army. Decided I should clean it before sending it off to a new owner.

                                                      Read several blogs on cleaning LC, and I am going to try vinegar. The outside is pristine but there is stuck on gunk on the bottom between the fins. The fins are clean.

                                                      If it cleans up, I will keep it and use it as a panini pan - not a protein pan. Meat always STUCK to the fins - even with high temp oil and medium heat.

                                                      Here's the laugh, I was going to turn it into a panini pan maybe 5 yrs ago... I use a non-stick fry pan, a smaller lid and 2 cans of black beans for weight. Paninis taste great but no grill marks.

                                                      My panini pan idea came when I found a SQUARE cast iron pan at IKEA... to provide the weight and serve as the press top... plenty of room for air to escape around the edges - the 2 pans are a match made in heaven. The BOTTOM of the IKEA rests on the top of the sandwich and the pans nest when not in use.

                                                      So... I am going to give the LC grill pan one more chance. If it cleans up and stays clean with vinegar, it can stay. I do NOT want to boil oxyclean or baking soda (unless outdoors on the gas grill). I do not want all the boiled off chemicals eating my silk drapes.