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Le Creuset grill pan - anyone use theirs?

I've had one for a few years that just sits there. It works really well, but i've found the black satin finish inside almost impossible to clean. Does anyone have one that they use on a regular basis? Is there a trick to this I don't know? I don't have any problem with the older, regular Le Creuset enamel, but this black satin finish is the bane of my kitchen existence.

I'm right on the edge of getting one of those inexpensive nonstick Calphalon grill pans that America's Test Kitchen seems to love so much.

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  1. I find all grill pans hard to clean. I regularly use my Le Creuset, as well as my Tim Love Collection model. This is in addition to my double-size cast iron model that flips to a griddle. I only use the grill side on the cast iron, and never the griddle side because I have another griddle I prefer to use.

    The LC is a bit hard to clean, but I found if you soak it for a short time in hot, soapy water (not too long, as the pan itself is cast iron), and then use a stiff plastic brush, it gets decently clean. I also have a press with this pan, so as of late, I am using it mostly for paninis, and they are never hard to clean. The Tim Love pan and press is something I purchase from HSN in a moment of weakness, and it has a similar finish. I tend to use this one for grilling thicker items because the sides are a little higher, and when you use the press, meats tend to cook through a bit better. I clean this with a short soak to start too. The cast iron one gets no soaking and a wire grill brush treatment. I even flipped it over on top of my outdoor grill to burn some of the crud off one day (I wouldn't do this with the LC or TLC), and then scrubbed it to remove a lot of baked-on gunk. I had to re-season, but it did the trick.

    I think you just need to get used to the fact that it just will never be perfect, and just enjoy your pan. Try to avoid things with sugar, such as marinades with honey or sauces -- they are the the worst to remove.

    2 Replies
    1. re: RGC1982

      The problem is my favorite marinade recipe includes honey. BBQ sauce would have the same problem if you wanted to do burgers (haven't tried this before).

      1. re: RGC1982

        Just got the LC reversible double grill/griddle (satin finish), haven't cooked on it yet, trying to figure it all out....

        I've read elsewhere not to wash with soap & water but many here say that's what they do - ???

        If you're not supposed to use soap & water, how to I avoid pancakes that taste like hamburger grease?

        The surface is sort of rough/bumpy. Wiping with paper towel or dish towel leaves behind lint or fuzz. Dry in the oven only?

        I started to season it according to what I've read on other chowhound boards & elsewhere ....it now has a cloudy, slightly sticky film (I used lard). Is this normal? Is it ready to cook on?

      2. I quit using mine. It's the only pan in my kitchen that's difficult to clean. I bought it thinking it would be nice to be able to grill some fruit after dinner without lighting the big gas grill outside but it's not worth it...a 2 minute cooking job shouldn't be a difficult clean up effort.

        Haven't used any other grill pans to recommend one as an alternative.

        1. i rarely use it -- and never (Never!) with ground meat (burgers). only steaks, chicken or grilled sandwiches. i use oil rubbed on it with a paper towel -- or misted with my trusty "misto" sprayer (love it!). http://www.misto.com/store/merchant.m...

          to clean, i let it soak in the dry sink with warm soapy water -- added while pan is still warm. non-stick scrubby, lightly applied, cleans it fine and works around the ridges easily.

          1. I love my LC grill pan! I use it for steaks, pork chops, fish AND burgers. After cooking I sprinkle in some baking soda followed by hot water, let it soak overnight, turn the heat on for a bit then scrub with just a green scrubby pad and really haven't had too much difficulty getting it clean. I don't worry much about how the outside of it looks.
            When using it I let it preheat gradually to blazing hot, quickly oil with a paper towel and in goes the food!

            6 Replies
            1. re: OCEllen

              I love mine too - though I'm not sure that mine has this "satin finish". I use it for fish, meat (steaks just tonight), grilled vegetables, and then just clean with paper towels and kosher salt.

              1. re: MMRuth

                Mine has sort of a semi-gloss finish. I vaguely remember reading somewhere that, in fact, the cast iron was coated with a thin layer of temperature resistant glass which explains why it doesn't show signs of rust or wear.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  After you clean it, does it have any residue or staining at all? Does your pan look like the ones pictured below? If not, could you post a picture? When/where did you get yours?

                  I'm really bummed by this pan because it's the only piece of Le Creuset I have that I don't use - and hate.

                  1. re: sobriquet

                    I got my ages ago - it doesn't look like either photo - it's round, I think the handle is different, and doesn't have those things on the sides to pour out liquid. I think mine is just plan, unenameled, uncoated cast iron. I don't notice any staining, and treat it like a regular cast iron pan. In terms of residue, I like to refer to it as seasoning! I'll take a photo later and post.

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      Actually - mine does have those "spouts" on either side.

                      1. re: MMRuth

                        I'd still be interested to see your pan if you wouldn't mind taking a picture, please, Ruth. Especially to see what the seasoning looks like.

                1. re: alkapal

                  Mine looks like this, too, but I have an older round model. It still has the handle and sides - it's not one of the flat skinny ones.

                  The finish is the same on mine as in that pic. The finish feels slightly rough to the touch rather than the smooth enamel of my other LC pieces.

                  [EDIT FOLLOWS]

                  Like this, only with ridges. http://www.amazon.com/Creuset-9-Inch-...

                  1. re: sobriquet

                    i thought it was a version of non-stick, because the satin texture finish on the inside of the pan (in contrast to the very smooth bottom) is so different from other cast iron -- and my le creuset enamel over cast iron skillet and dutch ovens.

                    the amazon descriptions say this satin-texture doesn't need seasoning -- yet also states the patina will build over time (season further).

                    many years ago i bought the deep chicken fryer skillet with the non-stick coating they used back then. it has however eroded in quality -- despite using wooden utensils. i don't even know if lc makes the chicken fryer skillet with lid anymore, otherwise i'd think about "returning it" for a new one (with whatever surface is on it). i did like the depth -- i'd say about 3 1/2-4 inches sides....it resides quietly in the back of the cabinet. lonely. back with the seldom-used condiments.