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Melted/burnt external bottom of Creuset grill pan :(

Aargghh ... a friend left my Le Creuset grill pan on a hot electric stove without switching off the burner, resulting in melted orange enamel (it's in the Flame color) all over the burner, and deep round burn marks on the outside bottom of the grill pan :(

I've searched the board and Web for suggestions on what (if anything) i can do (short of re-enamelling it). More specifically, whether I can/should still keep using it. The inside is undamaged so my instincts and the one Internet posting I found suggest that I can ... but assurances from fellow Chowhounders would help!

(and I thought I wasn't as attached to this particular pan as I am to my Creuset dutch ovens ... but it was a gift and I'm heartbroken nonetheless!)

Thanks!

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  1. Have you tried Barkeeper's Friend?

    2 Replies
    1. re: cara_mia

      I like how Bar Keepers Friend has become the Robitussin of the cookware world...

      1. re: Joe Blowe

        Joe,

        Yes. It is more powerful than I thought. Have you brushed your teeth with Bar Keeper's Friend today?

    2. Well, cast iron is tough, but it can be/get brittle and the pan must have gotten *ferociously* hot for a decent period of time to actually melt the enamel down into the burner. Although I have no idea it it's a real risk, I'd be concerned about the possibility of it cracking at some point in the future even with "normal" use. Since they have an 800 number (http://www.lecreuset.co.uk/en-us/Abou...), I think I'd call them directly and see what they have to say.

      1 Reply
      1. i was shocked to hear that the enamel melted, so looked up some info on enamel (namely melting temp -- which is extremely high). this article on industrial vitreous enamel was interesting to this le creuset lover: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitreous...

        11 Replies
        1. re: alkapal

          (Foreword: None of this is directed at alkapal -- it's just a general rant ;-)

          I didn't bother addressing the "bullet-proofness" (bullet-proofocity?) of enamel in this thread, because I recently posted a near-diatribe in another thread:

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/679467

          Basically, anybody who posts "I just ruined my Le Creuset pot" is to be ignored. Seriously (sorta). I don't have enough time in this life to continue posting the *nearly indestructible* qualities of porcelain enamel:  You, the consumer/homeowner, cannot melt enamel with your residential-grade burners. You can't overheat it, and you can't really ruin despite what manufacturer instructions tell you.

          And if you feel you've somehow "ruined" your pan, go ahead and clean it with Ajax, Comet, bleach, lye, Brillo pads, green scrubbers, etc. You might *possibly* take *some* of the gloss off, but you WILL NOT change its attributes. It will continue to *perform* the same way.

          People that suggest you should be cleaning your LC pots and pans with baking soda, kosher salt, or vinegar are misguided. Or, they're having a laugh. Hit those pots with whatever you got! You're not going to hurt it -- porcelain enamel is basically GLASS. Do you wash your drinking glasses with baby's breath and baking soda so they don't scratch? I didn't think so.

          So, in the end, I don't believe the OP of this thread either -- post pics so we can all see what melted enamel looks like.

          I promise this is my last enamel rant for the week!

          1. re: Joe Blowe

            Is this what you had happen ?

             
             
            1. re: mrlego

              I'm with Joe and alkapal, I'm shocked that a kitchen stove can melt enamel. I would say a kitched stove can't melt enamel, which leads me to my question, is this really enamel? I've been to that wiki page before and 750°C to melt enamel is very hot, however a little research indicates a red hot stove element can get to about 790°C, so I guess this is possible. Dang that's HOT!

              1. re: mikie

                I think this photo counter the argument that "enameled cast iron is as durable as raw cast iron"

                The upside of the thing is that we know mrlego has a very good electric coil stove.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  All those warnings about getting your enameled cast iron too hot, well I always thought that was due to differentials in coefficient of thermal expansion between the cast iron and the enamel, that would cause seperatiion and cracking. I never thought you could actually melt the enamel. No enameled grill pan for me.

                  1. re: mikie

                    True, I never thought the bottom of a pan could get hot enough to do any damage to a Le Crueuset . I was shocked to see the bottom material stick to the burner. But I threw some cold water in it, used the Dutch oven again and it seemed to work fine so I guess lesson learned. I don't imagine having trouble with function.

                    Also, I was only using one burner on the stove. I hear when using multiple burners on electric stoves, there is not enough voltage (amperage, whatever) to run all burners on full. This might mean that running one burner on full will give high than expected temperatures. My stove is probably 15-20 years old.

                     
                    1. re: mrlego

                      I believe you. I have a vintage Tappan stove from the early 1950's and I messed up the bottom of my Le Creuset skillet. Mine doesn't have the ring like that but the edges of the bottom are pretty messed up. I'll take a photo tomorrow. I did the damage before I learned how to treat the pans, i.e. don't use them at high heat anymore, only medium.

                    2. re: mikie

                      Mikie,

                      The difference of thermal expansion has/had always been my reasoning too and I think I have made a few old posts about it, but apparently there you can melt it too.

                  2. re: mikie

                    i once left a Le Creuset dutch oven to boil water on an electric coil stovetop for several hours unintentionally. Needless to say, all the water boiled off long before I realized what I had done. The bottom of the pot (unenameled) and the burner were undamaged, but the interior bottom of the pan's enamel was bubbled. After it cooled, the bubbles were brittle and susceptible to breaking and leaving bits of enamel to be ingested. As it was my bad, I didn't even try to get a warranty replacement. I turned the pot into a planter.

                  3. re: mrlego

                    wow, mrlego, that is a very disturbing photo set. i simply cannot imagine an electric burner on a stove getting hot enough to melt enamel.

                    have you written le creuset? i'm sure they would be quite horrified.

                    1. re: alkapal

                      I'm the OP for this thread, jumping back in late because I kept forgetting to take a photo of my poor burnt pan. Here it is - looks a lot like what happened to Mr Lego's. The inside doesn't seem affected so I've used it since, but I'm still sad about the once-beautiful Flame enamel ... :(

                      As for alkapal's question about getting the enamel off the burner, yeah that wasn't easy. Lots of scrubbing over a period of time just about did it (with some faint traces of orange flecks still visible if you really looked). We've since moved to another house with a gas stovetop, yay!

                       
              2. Did you ever find a way to get the enamel off of the burner?

                I put my Le Creuset kettle on to boil, but my DH had dumped the water out of it. I kept going to the kitchen looking for steam, but not seeing any. Finally I noticed the handle had tipped to the side, which I thought was really odd. I looked closer and noticed the plastic supports that lock the handle upright were melting. I grabbed a potholder and grabbed the pot with the intention of placing it in my sink to cool down. The enamel had melted and fused the pot to the burner. I managed to unseat/unplug the burner unit from its socket and place the whole thing in the sink. After it cooled they came apart from each other, but now I am afraid to use my "blue" burner.

                BTW, to address concerns below, I believe my stove is a run-of-the-mill Kenmore. The attached oven doesn't even self clean to give you an idea of the price range.

                p.s. Yes I felt incredibly stupid, and Yes I am super blessed not to have burned the house down. I swear I heard water slosh when I picked up the kettle before placing it on the burner. :-(

                1 Reply
                1. re: MommaBear136

                  I once melted the enamel off of a teakettle onto a burner. It was easier to just buy a replacement burner element.