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Jan 8, 2012 05:49 PM

Grill Pan for College Kid?

I have several grill pans, one of which is cast iron, and two others that are enameled cast iron with a coated interior, None of these are easy to clean, and require a stiff brush to get residue off between the grill bars. I have been able to lightly soak the two enameled cast iron pans to help the clean up process, but the double cast iron model can't be subjected to that treatment. All of these pans may rust if left wet for extended periods of time.


does anyone have any recommendations for a grill pan that might survive a household of college kids? My daughter loves to grill veggies, but none of my pans would make it worth the trouble of clean up, assuming, of course, that none of her roommates would leave it in a wet sink for a day or two and ruin it.

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  1. I always think of grilling as cooking with open flame.
    I would think a saute pan could sear vegetables better than one with ridges and be easier to clean, too, plus you get a sear over the entire surface, not just the ridged area.

    1 Reply
    1. re: malabargold

      "I would think a saute pan could sear vegetables better"

      Me too. I've never understood the need for grill pans except to get cosmetic grill marks and for that I use the grill where you get both grill marks and smoke flavor.

    2. "the double cast iron model is can't be subjected to that treatment"

      What is a double cast iron?

      I love to use cast iron to sear/grill, and I am able to soak it in water for an hour or so without the risk of rust. Think about this, when I use my cast iron Dutch Oven, I often cook liquid in it for hours. I am not saying rust is not a problem. I am just not sure if it is that big of a problem. Enameled cast iron shouldn't rust at all.

      That being said, if you really don't want cast iron or enameled cast iron, then you may want to consider hard anodized aluminum grill pan.

      It won't rust and it can be very useful for grill. If high temperature is not required, then the nonstick version is just as good:

      4 Replies
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        Hi Chem,

        I was just looking at the round version of the Calphalon, and I like the square shape better.

        By double cast iron, I mean a double size grill that fits over two burners. Too big to soak. I really do think I need to avoid cast iron here. Kids leave stuff in wet sinks and dishwashers for days.

        Do you think that the Calphalon is easy to clean? I have read reviews from people who say it is great, and they put it in their dishwasher after wiping it out, as well as from people who claim it is difficult to clean. I wonder what the deal is with cleaning.

        1. re: RGC1982

          "they put it in their dishwasher after wiping it out,"

          Yes, if you put an anodized aluminum pan in a dishwasher, you will very likely destroy the anodized surface. So dishwasher is a no-no. That being said, most cookware should not go into dishwashers.

          "people who claim it is difficult to clean"

          It is not as easy as nonstick cookware for sure. I have used a Calphalon Infused One cookware, which has the nonstick material infused with the hard anodized surface. It is not difficult to clean, but it is not easy. I will always have to soak to clean off all food residue (or pour water and boil). Again, I don't think it is too difficult, but it is definitely more difficult than nonstick cookware and most of us do know how easy it is to easy nonstick surface cookware.

          Do you think your daughter would like the pure hard anodized aluminum cookware or the one with Teflon coating on it?

          Don't spend way too much on either. College cookware do not last forever. As long as it can last through the 5-6 years of college and professional college years, then it is pretty good. I bet you those kids have the ability to destory All-Clad cookware if you know what I mean, like dropping them or cutting them with knives...

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            My 2 Qt All-Clad pot did a great job pounding in tent stakes during Spring Break 1976.

            Still using it. Usually for cooking.

          2. re: RGC1982

            By the way, if you really like something goes in dishwasher, then you can get a stainless steel triply (aluminum core) grill pan.


        2. My 2 cents. I'd give them 1-2 lodge logic grill pans, and give it additional preseasoning treatments, prior to gifting them. They are cheap at $20, easy to clean, and ultimately are close to bullet-proof. Once really seasoned, they are very hard to hurt, even if left soaking overnight - I can tell you this from my own experience. Worst case, they can be scrubbed with salt and steel wool and re-seasoned. And this way, there is no concern over whether the kids use really high heat that would hurt a non-stick surface.

          I use the 10" lodge logic skillet pretty much every day. It is my true "go to" pan. And .... sometimes I just leave it in the sink soaking. I seasoned the inside about 6-7 times though ... so that surface is very solid. I can get a tiny bit of rusting on the bottom as I only re-seasoned that twice.

          7 Replies
          1. re: jkling17

            I have one of these and I give it very little care. I don't soak it, but I do put water in it and use a dishbrush on it. Unless one of these is too heavy for the girls to heft, or you are afraid they will drop it on a glass cooktop, I'd opt for a relatively inexpensive Lodge. I agree with CK; college kids won't take good care of anything, and especially if it is someone else's pan.

            1. re: sueatmo

              College kid here. I own some copper pieces from Falk and they're all in good condition. I also have a few Le Creuset as well as the occasional All-Clad. Honestly, none of what I own is cheap but they're all in good care. I may not be of drinking age but that doesn't mean im not responsible enough to handle pricey cookware.

              1. re: Eric_Cartman

                I based my comments on the experiences I had providing cooking gear to 3 adult children. It is obvious you are much more interested in cooking than my 3 were during that time in their lives. I apologize if I caused offense.

                1. re: sueatmo

                  none taken and no need to apologize. Your comment was just the second on the topic and I just wanted to put an end to this generalization.

                2. re: Eric_Cartman

                  I think you need to admit to being an uncommon (but very good and welcome) college kid!

                  1. re: Bada Bing

                    okay....fine. I admit it lol. Though you would be surprised how many of my generation are interested in cooking now. I suspect the show Top Chef is to blame. And many of us dont admit it, but when the blinds are closed and the doors are locked, we're watching Foodnetwork. XD Found this out in high school.

                    1. re: Eric_Cartman

                      I think it is great that you and your friends are mastering this skill. It will serve you well in your life, even if it doesn't remain a consuming interest. I've heard something like what you report--that young kids get hooked on cooking shows.

            2. From the way you describe these kids, it sounds like they'll find a way to damage anything they get! Maybe I'm overreading.

              If they can have enough discipline to use a burner to fully evaporate water off of bare cast iron before storage, that would be both the cheapest and best pan. If they insist on cleaning pans in a dishwasher, the cast iron and anodized options are out, and you're left with enameled cast iron, which itself would eventually etch from the detergents and the rim would rust.

              Another idea: get them an appropriately sized broiler pan, like the ones that come in ovens, and have them broil their veggies instead. Those enameled thin metals are tough and can be soaked and tossed in the dishwasher as needed.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Bada Bing

                What about a stainless steel surface grill pan? Anyway, it may not be cost effective. The stainless steel cladded grill pan I saw is about $100.


                Maybe it is better just to give them 5 cast iron skillets instead.