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Jul 23, 2009 03:28 PM

Grill pans

Interested in your thoughts on which is the best grill pan to give as a gift to a chef-in-his-own-mind.

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  1. i don't have a recommendation for which one you should get, but rather which one to avoid - the Calphalon nonstick grill pan. mine warped *very* easily.

    1. I recommend a lodge cast iron grill pan, Given enough time and patience a cast iron skillet will be very nonstick .

      1. I absolutely LOVE my Lodge Signature preseasoned cast iron grill pan. It makes great steaks, is easy to clean, and seems pretty much indestructible. It's even attractive enough (with its polished stainless steel handle and helper handle) to give as a gift.

        1. I have a double size Lodge, which is reversible to a griddle, and it is a wonderful item if your "chef" cooks for more than two or three at at time. I never reverse it, BTW, because you can never really get the gunk out from the grill side and I don't want or need it to start smoking up my kitchen. I would highly recommend it as a grill pan, but since I use something else for a griddle, I can't tell you much about that. It is a nuisance to clean, and anyone here in their right mind should agree with me, but it is the Real Deal as far as grill pans go.

          I also have your standard issue squarish Le Creuset with the grill/panini press, and a Tim Love version of same grill which has narrower grill lines and higher sides. I love using both of these pans. They are also a ton easier to clean because the grill side has a coating that makes it easier to clean. If you can swing the LC grill pan I strongly suggest getting the press, as it is very useful for optimizing contact when grilling things like boneless chicken breasts or pork tenderloin, in addition to the obvious -- panini. I even use those presses on the Lodge.

          1. I received a LeCreuset square grill pan as a gift from my sister a few years back.....I HATE IT! It is impossible to season. Trust me, I've tried for years......and it must've cost a small fortune....and then I bought a Lodge square grill pan for under $20 at Walmart. I LOVE IT! So if I were you, I'd go for the Lodge. And one more thing....I recently found one of those cast iron grill presses at TJ Maxx for which I paid $7. The Lodge and the press work beautifully together.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Ambimom

              Nice find on the grill press. I use my two interchangeably on all three of my grills, and would miss not having one.

              I was taken aback by your strong sentiments about the Le Creuset. LeCreuset is coated cast iron on the inside, not uncoated. The finish is a matte black and it resembles plain cast iron, but it has non-stick properties and it is not supposed to be seasoned the same way as a cast iron pan as a result. This interior is why they are easier to clean than the Lodge is. You can actually soak them without harm for short periods of time to remove food residue. I wouldn't do that to cast iron.

              I understand your frustration because you were likely assuming it was indeed the same as a Lodge cast iron grill, probably because the interior is black. If you are frustrated simply because it did not allow you to season it like plain cast iron, that is actually not a valid reason to give the OP for not choosing one, because you are not supposed to season the LC grill pan the way you season Lodge cast iron.

              The Lodge is a great choice, but so are some of the others (warping Calphalon aside). Like I said, I have three and use all three.

              1. re: RGC1982

                My Le Creuset grill pan is not enamel inside. (It's over 10 years ago since I got it). I got so frustrated by the fact that I could not clean it and everything...and I mean everything stuck to it... that I called LC directly and was instructed by them to season it as any other cast iron. I did try that and it is slightly less non-stick, but overall, it's not worth all the aggravation. I've read elsewhere on the net that others who have this particular grill pan have had the same rotten experience. The Lodge comes seasoned; it just gets more and more non-stick and is SOOOO much easier to clean and maintain. I guess LC stopped making this grill pan in favor of the newer black enamel ones.

                1. re: Ambimom

                  My LC grill is not enamel inside either. They don't make one with enamel inside, only outside. They call the inside "matte black" -- and it is, believe me, coated with a material that has some non-stick properties. You can see the difference when you put it next to the Lodge. Mine is about six years old, but this particular model has been manufactured for a very long time. I remember looking at these many years before buying one at an outlet center with a press.

                  I agree, Lodge cast iron is the real deal here. The LC and similar grill pans are smaller, pretter, easier to lift and, if you fill them with soapy water for about 20 minutes after they cool down, easier to clean. They are just cousins of the Lodge cast iron grill, not the true item, because of the matte coating inside and the colorful enamel outside. They are fine pieces of cookware and make nice gifts (for most people), but so would the Lodge. I have had no problems, and would recommend them for most people before the big double Lodge for all of the reasons I have stated. I use the Lodge and these smaller grill pans regularly, and I choose mostly depending upon how much food I am planning to cook, and rarely because of the differences in material. It can work for you if you wipe the inside with a light coating of cooking oil before grilling (just like your outside grill).