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Grill pans. Do you like them?

w
Wapptor Jan 21, 2013 10:18 AM

Hey guys,
I have a Le Creuset square grill pan that I never use. It was a gift and I haven't used it once in like 3+ years. I was thinking of selling it (seems I could get 70-80 bucks for it easy) and saving the money or spending it on something that I want more.

Do you guys have/use grill pans? I feel like a bad person getting rid of such a nice item but the truth is I never use it. If I'm cooking fish I'm using my non stick. If I'm cooking steak I'm generally searing it in my regular cast iron and if I'm cooking chicken it's usually braised or roasted. I love grilling but prefer to do it when I have access to a real grill.

What do you think?

  1. j
    Jeff C Mar 1, 2013 10:45 PM

    I have found the best use for them (aside from a doorstop) is grilling small foods such as vegetables or potatoes. I have never been impressed with it for meat.

    1. j
      John Francis Jan 24, 2013 05:09 AM

      A grill pan has two advantages that I can see: keeping meat out of its own melted fat, and making those nice grill marks on whatever you're cooking. I've never owned one but I've thought about it.

      1. k
        kaleokahu Jan 23, 2013 09:33 PM

        Hi, Wapptor:

        The answer to your question, IMO, is hidden in the last line of your post: "...when I have access to a real grill."

        These pans are OK if you *don't* have such access (or you don't want to take the time to shovel snow, build a fire, etc.). In the very best case, you have an over-capacity exhaust hood and a jug of commercial Easy-Off at hand. Otherwise, they're a PITA to use and clean. And you better like the smell of charred meat in everything in the vicinity.

        I *do* use mine, but only when the weather and/or time conspire against me.

        Aloha,
        Kaleo

        2 Replies
        1. re: kaleokahu
          w
          Wapptor Jan 24, 2013 08:46 AM

          Yeah I'm a pretty opportunistic sort of cook. I have a friend who has a little charcoal grill and when the weather's good I tend to offer to cook for him and friends if he hosts the party. It's a good deal. I provide the food and the know how and he provides friends, beer and location.

          I don't really want to "fake" anything in my kitchen. That is, if I don't have a charcoal grill I'd rather not pretend to. My reasoning being I can use what I have to make something the way it's intended far better anyway. Can't grill chicken? Ok let's roast it or pan sear it or braise it or ANYTHING.

          I basically just wanted to know if there was some amazing reason I didn't know about for using the grill pan. So far no one has convinced me and considering the lousy quality of some of my cookware there's probably something I could spend the money on that would make me a lot happier. Thanks guys!

          1. re: kaleokahu
            c
            Cam14 Jan 24, 2013 09:41 AM

            Agree on the exhaust fan. The other half made the best strip steaks I've ever eaten and some grilled French bread toast. Better than any steak house. Did find our exhaust fan is woefully inadequate. At 12 degrees there won't be any windows opened to let in "fresh" air.

            As to the cleaning issue, it hasn't been a big problem on the bare cast iron. Just a short soak, after the pan cools a bit (it's blazing hot), hot water and a scrub brush and a quick pass through the furrows with GH1618's chopstick.

          2. f
            foodieX2 Jan 22, 2013 07:04 AM

            I have the same one. I use mine in the winter when there is too much snow to actually grill but honestly? for me its just about appearance. I like to see those grill marks on certain foods. The pan does not duplicate the taste of grilled foods.

            I also never use it with my broiler usually on the stove top but occasionally in the oven.

            To answer your question-if you haven't used it in three years chances are you won't suddenly develop the habit. Sell and buy something else you will use or have been wanting.

            1. law_doc89 Jan 22, 2013 07:02 AM

              I have two of different sizes that I use on the stove top for grilling. Use a pierced French lid for splatter. Works great! I live in a condo, so no outside BBQ, just have to open all the windows due to smoke. Mine are old cast iron (no brand) and from time to time go into the oven on self clean to burn off stuff in the furrows,

              There is nothing better for boneless chicken breasts.

              1. c
                catface1 Jan 22, 2013 06:40 AM

                Bought a All Clad large size grill pan for eight bucks at a thrift store. It was in perfect condition, only have used it twice glad I did not pay $200.00. Prefer to use my other pans for grilling.

                1. emglow101 Jan 21, 2013 07:45 PM

                  I used it yesterday. After not using it for some time I realized why it will not be used for some time again.A pan that's hard to clean with mediocre results.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: emglow101
                    g
                    GH1618 Jan 21, 2013 09:07 PM

                    I find that a standard bamboo chopstick is ideal for scraping between the ridges on my grill pan.

                    1. re: GH1618
                      c
                      Cam14 Jan 23, 2013 09:02 PM

                      Thanks for that tip, it works great.

                  2. c
                    cleobeach Jan 21, 2013 04:28 PM

                    I gave away two grill pans over the last 15 years. I have no use for them.

                    1. r
                      rasputina Jan 21, 2013 11:28 AM

                      I have a Lodge and I only use it for panini with my press. I tried "grilling" in it and frankly I find it a waste of good meat for that.

                      1. p
                        palomalou Jan 21, 2013 11:02 AM

                        We don't grill, so take it from what it's worth: I recently bought a Lodge cast iron grill pan and adore it. Hamburgers, steaks, lamb chops, all under the broiler.

                        1. i
                          INDIANRIVERFL Jan 21, 2013 11:00 AM

                          Of no use to me. I either use a cast iron pan or grill outside. Of course it is in the mid seventies today.

                          1. k
                            kseiverd Jan 21, 2013 10:35 AM

                            Have a blue enamel Le Creuset grill pan that I found at a THRIFT STORE for $5 a few years ago. Enamel exterior was in PERFECT condition... not a single crack/chip. Interior non-enamel cast iron... do they even MAKE enamel interiors on grill pans? Had the smallest amount of unknown schmutz in the crevices that scrubbed off easily. I really don't use it very often, but KNEW it was a steal, so went for it.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: kseiverd
                              Joe Blowe Jan 21, 2013 10:44 AM

                              Look at your pan again -- the interior *is* enameled, just not in a smooth finish. Le Creuset grill pans do not have bare cast iron.

                            2. g
                              GH1618 Jan 21, 2013 10:30 AM

                              I have a ten-inch de Buyer Mineral grill pan. It's the only pan I use to cook a hamburger, and also use it for other meats. Even if I sear meat in a cast iron pan, I will put it in the oven in the grill pan to finish it.

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