Straight Cast Iron vs. Enameled Grill Pan Searing Effectiveness
i've been reading up on grill pans.
i may be leaning toward the enameled cast iron type as they seem slightly easier to maintain.
1. is there a difference in how well they sear meat vs. cast iron?
2. as an aside, does anyone know if the grill pan in LC's panini sandwich grill pan/press set is
exactly the same as their solo grill pan?
they seem to market them emphasizing different foods, so it's unclear.
Enameled cast iron is easier to maintain? I don't know. I went from enameled cast iron to bare cast iron because I think the bare cast iron is easier to maintain. For the bare cast iron, I don't have to worry about heating it too fast or too hot and I don't have to worry about scratching it or banging it. I know no matter what happens I can always regenerate a bare cast iron cookware.
Yes, I think there is a difference in how they sear meat. The bare cast iron is better.
I agree with CK. It seems that many people complain about how hard it is to clean LC enameled cast iron grill pans. I've never had any trouble cleaning and maintaining my Lodge and Iwachu plain cast iron grill pans - fill with hot water, scrub with a stiff natural fiber brush, dry, and apply a bit of canola oil with a folded-up paper towel. That's it.
Although I have a ton of enameled cast iron (dutch ovens) - for a grill pan I go straight cast iron all the way. I can get it screaming hot to cook - and then pour a cup of water in when done (while still screaming hot) and not worry about damage, etc. It's fast way to get a jump start on cleaning too. I've had my lodge grill pan for 15 years and use it ton and it keeps getting better and better. Love it!
For searing, I'll take a Lodge cast iron pan everytime and I own some nice Le Creuset pots and pans. Have you ever cooked a steak in a Lodge cast iron skillet? Give it a try if you or a friend own a good cast iron skillet. On a cheap motel electric coil cooktop, I can get a cast iron skillet screaming hot and put a good sear on a nice steak, turn the heat down and, finish it off nicely.
As long as you don't soak raw cast iron in a sink of water for long periods of time, clean up and maintenance are easy IMHO.
Really like my plain Lodge square grill pan...they offer a panini press that works pretty well if you let it get good and hot. Oxo Good Grips make a scrubber brush that has nubs that fit right in between the ridges...not necessary, but works pretty good. The high heat can turn oils and fats into something with the consistency of axle grease... I think even a purist would agree you hurt nothing using dish soap to help manage the grease.