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Grill pan...what's best?

I've always done my grilling outdoors on a gas grill, but would now like to buy a grill pan so that I can grill indoors on my gas stove. Most of my cooking is for only two persons, but occasionally I cook for four. Highest priorities are good grill marks on the cooked foods (steak, chicken, veggies, etc.) and easy cleanup. What grill pan do you really like and
recommend?

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  1. Get one that is THICK for lots of thermal mass that will span two burners on your stove. I used the Lodge model with good success.

    A normal grill pan will give you the grill marks but, will it give you the space you need to cook everything? On the cheap, a Lodge skillet with the ribs works pretty well and doesn't take up a lot of room.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Sid Post

      Agree. Lodge cast iron. I love my Lodge Signature grill pan.

      1. re: Sid Post

        I don't use a grill pan, but I second the two-burner idea. I use a flat-surfaced one when I make a lot of French toast. It's really the only thing I use it for, so I call it my French toast pan. I wonder if you can get a double-burner pan that's grill on one side and flat on the other. That would be useful.

      2. Well, I can tell you what's not the best ..... Nathan's Reversible Grill Griddle. I have one that I got for a good price at Target, but I am far from thrilled by it.
        It's basically the same as this:
        http://www.amazon.com/Nordic-Ware-Non...

        I do use the griddle side for pancakes and tortilla's, but it can't take the heat required for searing/"grill marking" because it's not cast iron.

        1. Cook's Illustrated review of Grill Pans.
          Published January 1, 2006. From Cook's Illustrated.

          ***** Paraphrased review *****

          Cook's Illustrated determined that aluminum grill pans were the pans of choice for indoor grilling because, aluminum grill pans were lighter, more heat conductive and produced
          more distinct grill marks than did cast iron grill pans. They also found that stamped, hollow bottomed ridges, produced more distinct grill marks than did solid cast ridges. The reason for this is because the interior of the hollow ridges were directly exposed to the heat source which allowed for better heat transfer.

          Graded on grilling performance and cleanup in descending order.
          All in the Recommended category scored the same
          for performance and cleanup, except for the All Clad which left uneven
          grill marks on zucchini. The Simply Calaphon
          ranked at the top due to its large cooking area and best price
          in the category.

          All of the Recommended with Reservations category had faint or
          uneven grill marks. In addition, the Scanpan had tall, tight ridges
          that made for more difficult cleaning than the others.

          Recommended

          Simply Calphalon Nonstick 13-Inch Round Grill Pan, Model Number SH1113P
          Pampered Chef Professional Cookware 11-Inch Square Grill Pan, Model Number 2868
          Anolon Advanced 12-Inch Covered Deep Round Grill Pan, Model Number 81302
          Swiss Diamond 11-Inch Square Grill Pan, Model Number 66281
          All-Clad LTD. 11-Inch Square Grille Pan, Model Number 3011

          Recommended with Reservations

          Berndes 12-Inch Square Grill Pan, Model Number 696167
          Look Nonstick Square Grill Pan, 10 1/2 Inches, Model Number C-G27
          Scanpan Classic 10 1/2-Inch Nonstick Square Grill Pan, Model Number 27301200

          2 Replies
          1. re: Antilope

            I love my Simply Calphalon Grill Pan. I've dones steaks, burgers, fish, chicken & veggies with good results. Even heating & cleans up easily.

            1. re: jenni49

              I almost bought a Calphalon Grill Pan this afternoon, but then I was intrigued by the new Cuisinart Green Gourmet non-stick grill pan which uses a non-stick "ceramica" coating rather than the usual HFC coatings. Has anyone tried this new technology?

          2. I have a vintage Belgique, flat, round, cast iron grill pan that I resort to when the weather's too nasty for real grilling, or I want a panini-style sandwich (with a foil-wrapped brick). Enameled on the bottom and uncoated cook surface. $5 garage sale find. Actually works really well, and not too bad to clean.

            FYI, Lodge makes a rectangular bare cast-iron grill SHEET (as opposed to a pan) that I like to use both indoors and out for kebabs and vegetables, especially asparagus, eggplant and zucchini. But you have to make sure your hob and surrounding area are drip- and flame-safe!

            1. I love my heavy Lodge reversible two-burner grill pan/griddle. It has enough mass to take the heat, but also works well at lower temps for panini, etc.

              http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000...

              1. I agree with the cast iron chorus. I have the square single burner Lodge and love it. If you want to go the double burner route they offer two and one is a little larger than the other but the smaller one may fit better on a smaller stove. The dimensions are on their site and to be safe measure your stove. Both of the Lodge double burner models are reversible, one grill, one smooth.

                3 Replies
                1. re: SanityRemoved

                  I'm looking for the same thing. I see that Lodge has two types of stove-top grill pans. One has high sides, about 2 inches, like a regular skillet. The other has low sides, about 3/4 inch. What's the functional difference and what do you recommend?

                  1. re: SanityRemoved

                    ok...here's a silly question. i want to buy a double reversable lodge grill. we're getting a bluestar - and will have lots of burner power. so when my parents come to visit, i think my dad will be thrilled to have the burner to make all of us pancakes, etc. ...ok...here are actually 2 silly questions.
                    the front burner is 22k and the back 15k (and i presume i have to lay the grill pan front to back, yes?) ...does that matter in terms of heating the pan evenly?
                    and...
                    can i just turn on the front burner and use that section? for when it's just 2 of us? or do i always need to heat up the whole thing.

                    thanks.

                    1. re: redgirl

                      Not a silly question at all. I use my Lodge on two 15,000 burner so I can't speak from experience, but I'm sure you could just put your stronger burner on a lower flame if you want even heat throughout. I haven't used my grill pan for pancakes, though, so maybe someone else can chime in about sticking, etc. I use my large non-stick electric fry pan. I use my grill pan for paninis, meats, veggies and even sliced potatoes tossed with olive oil and salt.

                      You can definitely just use one burner when you're just cooking for two.

                  2. Whatever you get, make sure your range hood can handle the smoke and airborne grease. If not, your smoke alarm might be going off and, after a while, the rest of your kitchen might have a nice layer of grease on it.

                    1. I was just speaking with a chef who teaches at Williams-Sonoma, and he highly recommended the All-Clad non-stick grill pan which he said he uses both professionally and at home. Any CH's use this grill pan?

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: josephnl

                        Yes, I have the All-Clad non-stick grill pan, and it works very well. Vegetables, fish, and meat all cook evenly with good to great grill marks, depending on time and temperature.

                        My only concern is that medium-high temperature is the highest it should be subjected to, and there are some times when a particularly high temperature is what I am seeking (with correspondingly shorter cooking time). For those few occasions, the Lodge cast iron grill pan works.

                        1. re: Dan D

                          The chef I spoke to at W/S said that he uses it over high heat all the time without problems. In fact, he said to get the best grill marks you should get it extremely hot, and oil the food never the pan. I just bought the pan and used it over medium-high to grill eggplant and other veggies, and it worked great.

                          1. re: josephnl

                            I have 2 grill pans one is the Calphalon non-stick and the other is a Le Creuset. I strongly prefer my Le Creuset because it heats up quickly and evenly. I get a perfect sear every time. I find clean-up to be a breeze. I have a spray bottle of water and give the pan a quick few spritzes of water as soon as my messier foods come out of the pan and I find that once the pan cools down, I can just run it under the hot tap water to finish the clean up.

                            My biggest issue w my Calphalon non-stick pans (not just the grill pan) is that I don't find they heat up quickly and, I don't get consistently even results in terms of grill marks from the grill pan.

                            I do have a non-stick All-Clad skillet (not a grill pan though) and I love it. It heats up quickly and evenly and I always get a nice crust on the food that I sear in it. Clean up is a breeze....but then again, I find this with all All Clad, not just the non-stick.

                      2. My $.02:

                        For stovetop grilling, the ideal unit is a square or round grill pan. Lodge makes nice ones, and Calphalon has a cast iron model that they sell at target. There are other brands that will work just fine. The square and round have identical grilling area.

                        The double-sided units are OK but make a mess (no rim to contain the splatter) and since no rim, no way to fill it with warm water afterwards to soak. The grill pans also have higher ridges, which will allow you to lay down a layer of coarse salt (for clean up -- the food shouldn't touch the salt). Grill pans can be real grief to clean.

                        Finally, a grill pan is easy to move from stove top to oven -- superior results come by laying down a good sear on the range and finishing in the oven. Need more room? Buy two (or borrow).

                        A two-sided, double burner grill is still worth getting, but just for the flat griddle.

                        1. i just got tthe calphalon unison grill pan (sear non stick) to use at home. i think it works really well. so far steak, fish and pork loins have been cooked on it and i really like the consistancy of the cooking, the searing (grill marks look great) and non stick. so far meats have been juicy on the inside.
                          i dont have an area of an outdoor grill so this grill pan is my only source of cookware.
                          anyone else try this Calphalon Unison? any thoughts compared to the other recs on this post?

                          1. I don't understand why a grill pan would need to be non-stick. Once whatever you are cooking is cooked enough to give you the grill marks, it should not be sticking at that point anyway.

                            3 Replies
                              1. re: scubadoo97

                                i have decided to buy a nonstick...griddle - not grill. i make cottage cheese pancakes that need a nonstick - and now we'll have a big griddle for pancakes. ...which one would you think is the better choice?

                                Calphalon Contemporary Nonstick Double Griddle or All-Clad Nonstick Double Grill & Griddle

                                the all clad is a drop bigger but has high handles...can't decide if that's better or worse??

                                thoughts?

                                1. re: redgirl

                                  Just love the All-Clad grill pan that I bought last week. I would bet that their non-stick griddle is equally terrific.