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Grill plates or grill pan? Which is better?

Hi,
I have a Lodge round skillet, 6-in in size, in my kitchen already. I am now trying to buy something that would allow me to make panini sandwiches (primarily), but my focus has always been to buy things that are NOT a one trick pony. If I had the space, I'd buy indoor grill but my kitchen is already spilling over with all the stuff that I have, so I want to invest my money wisely in buying something that can play multiple roles.

What I am eyeing is a round grill pan, 10.4" diameter, whereby I can use the smaller pan to create weight on the panini layer and use the grill side to create grill marks. It will be a bit more work but I'm ok with it.

My dilemma is from the fact that there is a flat griddle available from Lodge as well. So either griddle + small skillet or large grill pan + small skillet can be used to press the sandwich. I wanted to check if folks here have suggestions on which way is better? My decision will be influenced by what other purposes each of these options can be used. Currently the only benefit I see for buying a griddle is that it might be easy to clean. But the grill pan will be used to make a whole bunch of things aside from the occasional panini.

I would appreciate suggestions or experiences.

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  1. Well wanted to clarify my post: even though I said that the grill pan can be used for other purposes, this is an assumption. In reality I don't know how easy it will be to cook other things especially due to its grill pattern. Comments welcome!

    1. I too have been eyeing a grill pan lately. I also have so much kitchen stuff that space is at a minimum now so I only want to buy items that can be used for more than one thing/perform multiple tasks. When I consider what I can use the grill pan for (as opposed to just a regular pan and a smaller pan to press with-great idea there) I see hamburgers, grilled chicken, bacon, and searing steaks before finishing in the oven. Can I do those things in my regular cast iron pan or on a griddle? Sure but wouldn't a grill pan be a better choice? Especially for keeping those items from simmering/frying in their own grease. I have a large griddle that I just relegated to the top shelf (Siberia) due to its lack of use so I may just be a bit biased but I think I will go with the grill pan! Good luck with your choice and please post to let us know what you decided :)

      1. You mean a griddle like this, right?

        http://www.castironcookware.com/lodge...

        If you are not sure, then I would go for a large grill pan. A large griddle can cook many more foods at one time, but it is more difficult to season, more difficult to move around (put on or take off) and slower to heat up and cool down.

        I actually do not think a grillde is easier to clean, considering the size.

        Of course, if all you will ne doing is panni bread, then maybe get a panni press? I don't have a panni press, but I believe you can grill a few other stuffs on it too:

        http://www.promo-wholesale.com/Upfile...

        5 Replies
        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          Oops, when I think of griddle I am thinking of my long, flat griddle, not a reversible one! That'll teach me to respond so quickly :)

          1. re: mandymoo

            Actually you may be right, and I may be wrong about the original poster's question because the original poster wrote "there is a flat griddle available from Lodge as well". It is just that most of Lodge giddle I know are reversible.

            http://www.lodgemfg.com/seasoned-cast...

          2. re: Chemicalkinetics

            I meant a similar griddle except, Lodge makes a single burner griddle and that's what I was referring to.

            For me, it's important to have a cast iron surface. I am not open to non-stick and that pretty much leaves out options that need electricity. Also, the real estate in my kitchen is very tight and I do not want something that will sit on the countertop, such as an indoor grill. At the same time, if I store it, I know it will never come out. Relatively, grill pans will be treated like other cookware and will see the light of the day.

            Hope this helps.

            1. re: cookiekakie

              This is the grill pan (and press) I am looking at:

              http://www.staubusa.com/#!assortment/...

              I figure it takes up no more space than my other cast iron pan and I could use it for the paninis, chicken, steaks, etc.

              1. re: cookiekakie

                <I meant a similar griddle except, Lodge makes a single burner griddle and that's what I was referring to.>

                You mean like these?

                http://www.heathceramics.com/cook-din...

                It has a larger surface area than most grill pan, but it will be more difficult to move around. Have you consider Pro Logic square grill? Not recommending it, but something to think about.

                http://www.chefscatalog.com/product/2...

            2. Actually I have a Le Crueset cast grill pan which I love to start a steak on to get the grill marks on both sides and then into the oven to finish. Easy to deglaze and add to the reduction sauce on the stove. If you deglaze the cleaning is actually pretty easy.
              I also have a Cuisinart Griddler which I use all the time for panini with the ridged plates and the smooth for other stuff. It also lays flat to use a griddle. Closed up, the footprint is pretty small. I have had it for years and find it has been useful. I notice they also have waffle inserts for it. I have an waffle press already but if the inserts go on sale I might be tempted and then get rid of the dedicated waffle iron...
              The Cuisinart plates go in the dishwasher which saves time.

              1. I picked up the square Lodge grill pan just before Christmas at TJ Maxx. My other half likes to sear steaks in our 10 1/4 round cast iron flat bottomed skillet at super high heat and was burning off the seasoning on a regular basis.

                So this seemed like a worthwhile addition:

                http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-Logic-Pre...

                Lodge also has the round version of this pan.

                http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-L8GP3-Log...

                The price is higher???

                TJ Mx only had the square but it looks like it may give a little more room for steaks or sandwiches. The grill pan worked well and it didn't spatter nearly as much as the flat skillet due to the fact the meat was out of the grease. Only used once so far, it cleaned up easily with a brush and hot water. Oiled before using, of course.