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Help - Think I ruined a grill pan

I borrowed a double burner grill pan because my tabletop grill was a little too small for the number of things I was cooking.

I made chicken w/ a marinade and the marinate and chicken fat burned down together and is now stuck on the pan like it would be on an outdoor grill.

I thought the grill pan was nonstick, but it's obviously not. It must have some hard enamel coating on it or something.

I'm pretty sure it's this one: http://www.amazon.com/Chefs-Design-Re...

I tried regular scubbing first, nothing. Then I went and bought some brillo steal wool w/ oxyclean. It's taken me forever just to scrub out most of two ribs, and those were only lightly coated

Is there anything I can do to clean this faster?

Could it be put int he oven on self-clean mode?

Could I put it on a gas outdoor grill and heat it up and scrub it like you would grill grates?

Any suggestions are much appreciated. I would rather not have to spend $50 to replace it.

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  1. I've had very stubborn burns on surfaces like this. What I found to work best was to soak the surface overnight in water – this will help soften the burnt stuff. Once well soaked, scrub off as much as you can, noting that not all the stuff may come off in one go. Re-soak, and keep repeating until all the goop is gone. It may take a few days this way, but it's not very hard work.

    1 Reply
    1. re: deansa

      Thanks I am going to try this method first.

    2. Even nonstick surface is not nonsurface when burned fat get onto it. My stovetop cooker has a nonstick dip pan. It does not matter. The burned fat formed black charcoal on it and nearly impossible to remove:


      The cheapest and safest method is to soak it in baking soda solution for hours and try to remove as much as possible. It will take more than a few trial.

      The most efficient way is to use oven cleaner like Easy-Off:


      Make sure you remove the Easy Off residue afterward.

      Yes, you can also try to scurb the heck out of it, if you are sure it does not have a special surface like nonstick or tin or... whatever.

      1. Take that sucker out and throw it on a hot grill. Let it go until all of the bad stuff is carbonized. Had this happen just last week. If your pan is cast iron, be sure to re-season.

        4 Replies
        1. re: pikawicca

          Would putting it in an oven on self-clean do the same thing? I don't have a grill so I'd have to find a friend with one.

          1. re: eatingoutdc

            It would work at a high enough temp. but you'd better have a good exhaust fan!

            1. re: pikawicca

              I probably don't. I know a few people with grills (only gas grills). If the soaking method doesn't work, I can try that. Probably a stupid question, but would I want to put it face down or face up?

        2. Soak it in some WD-40. Then scrub and it'll come right off.

          2 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            Just spray it all over the thing? Some parts it's on pretty thick and nasty.

            1. re: eatingoutdc

              Yep, spray it on and leave it for about an hour or so.

          2. eatingoutdc. the self-cleaning oven method suggested by some people will work. If you are loath to use that method, and do not mind a few chemicals, here is another method. Get a large plastic trash bag, pour full-strength ammonia on the grill pan, put the pan inside the bag (with the ammonia still pooled on top), and seal the trash bag (ammonia smells!). Leave it overnight. Ammonia is a base, and will not harm aluminum. The next morning, open the trash bag (preferably outdoors -- ammonia smells!), and rinse off the grill. Try scrubbing it then; that may be all you need. This procedure is essentially a less toxic variant of the Easy-Off oven cleaner method.

            If the ammonia method does not work, use CLR (a commercial product that is food-safe once rinsed), following the instructions for cleaning pots and pans. Note that CLR is a mild acid, and you do not want to have the anodized aluminum surface exposed to it for too long, so be sure to follow the CLR time limitations on the label. Anodization increases aluminum's resistance to acids, but if left long enough on the surface, acid can pit even anodized aluminum.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Politeness

              Ok self clean lasted all of 15 minutes before my smoke alarms started going off... it was starting to smell really bad but I didn't see any smoke. So that's out.

            2. If you've used steel wool and various hard implements to scrub this pan, I would consider it yours. Do not give it back. Anodized aluminum and steel wool do not mix. I would be surprised if you didn't scour away some of the anodized surface. Put it this way, unless it looks exactly the same as when you got it, buy them a new one. I would certainly be able to tell if someone took my hard anodized pan and scrubbed it with steel (not steal) wool.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Fuller

                The steel wool didn't do anything to it. I don't think I got close enough to touch the metal in most places. When I put it in the oven on self clean for the short period of time, it helped remove some of the gunk, but now the pieces that flake off are taking off the finish. So unless they never use the grill side I'm guessing they'll be wanting a new one. Still a perfectly good griddle, so if they want a new one, at least I can use the griddle part of this one.

                Is there any type of coat that can be applied to repair the flaked off parts?

                1. re: eatingoutdc

                  No coating can replace the anodized surface. Some people will tell you you can send it off to get it re-anodized but that's not exactly what you want to do as I'm positive it would cost more than the pan itself. Cast iron is the best material for grilling surfaces be it stove top or outdoor.

                  Etiquette would say you buy them a new one. You don't say "I ruined this one, do you want another one?" Asking the question in that way puts them in a hard position - of course they want a new one but most people would feel awkward asking you to replace it. In other words you just bite the bullet and replace it.

                  In the future, soaking is the best option. Also in the event something like this happens again, a quick call to the owner of the pan is probably helpful too. They own it, no doubt they have used it, they probably can tell you how to clean it or they will simply take it back dirty and clean it themselves so something like this doesn't happen.

                  1. re: Fuller

                    Soaking didn't do anything to it.... at all. I soaked it overnight, took and and tried to scrub some of it off.... and it was just as hard as the day before.

                  2. re: eatingoutdc

                    As Fuller said, if this is an anodized pan, there is not much you can do but to replace it. Tecnically, you can repair the surface, but you might as well buy a new pan.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      You can put demolished buildings back together piece by broken & shattered piece but it's not really worth the trouble or expense. ;-)

                2. Heat it and use oven cleaner on it. Let the oven cleaner sit on it for 30 minutes. Don't use brillo you could remove the anodize coating. Scrub it with a sponge. It may require multiple applications.