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HELP! Burnt or Not cooked through on cast iron grill pan

leeau Mar 20, 2013 01:22 PM

Hi all,

I am a home cook who still feels fairly new to the whole thing after ~5 yrs of intermittent experience. Few months ago I bought a Lodge cast iron grill pan which I love to use on my stove.
But the constant dilemma is that I often get result that is charred outside but not cooked through inside.
Now for steaks, I often butterfly the meat, and I take medium-rare, so this is not much of a problem.
But for chicken thighs (with bone) or pork chops (with bone) I like them cooked well through, and I haven't tried butterflying because of the bones. The result is often the outside is cooked well and nicely charred but the thickest part or near the bone is still bloody. This happens even at 'medium heat' level when the recipe asks for 'high heat.' In the end I end up microwaving the result for awhile - this cooks the meat without burning it but it does dry it out :(

I feel very much stuck.. should I try 'low heat' and cooking it longer? Should I attempt to remove the bone & butterfly? So far baking it after grilling feels like it would give me the best result, but I am hoping there is a better option than always having to bake after grilling.

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  1. j
    jfish RE: leeau Mar 20, 2013 01:26 PM

    I like to sear meats in my cast iron skillet then place in a preheated oven at about 300 degrees until cooked as desired. Sometimes even 275 if I'm not too hungry.

    3 Replies
    1. re: jfish
      leeau RE: jfish Mar 20, 2013 01:40 PM

      Thanks for the reply. Is it better to cook it longer at a lower (275 instead of 300) heat?

      1. re: jfish
        hankstramm RE: jfish Mar 20, 2013 10:37 PM

        Have to agree with jfish. Move them to a low oven.

        1. re: hankstramm
          leeau RE: hankstramm Mar 21, 2013 08:37 AM

          Ok. I should definitely the sear + bake approach.

      2. j
        jaykayen RE: leeau Mar 20, 2013 01:35 PM

        You need to turn your heat down. You can't have it roaring on high the whole time.

        Chicken thighs need 20 minutes with lid. Or the oven.

        Pork chops, you can do it on the burner, but turn the heat down and keep flipping it.

        3 Replies
        1. re: jaykayen
          leeau RE: jaykayen Mar 20, 2013 01:45 PM

          Ok... I shouldn't have blindly followed the recipe calling for 'high heat.' I think I will only use low or at max medium heat for my stove. That will also lower the chance of triggering the fire alarm which I have done few times now with the grease between the grills burning :(
          Next time with the pork chop I will try low heat & flipping often. Thanks!

          1. re: leeau
            C. Hamster RE: leeau Mar 20, 2013 04:07 PM

            No recipe should call for high heat cooking of bone in chicken thighs.

            Find a better recipe source!

            Personally, I don't think a grill pan is a great way to cook those thighs. I'd use the oven if you want a dry technique.

            1. re: C. Hamster
              leeau RE: C. Hamster Mar 21, 2013 08:40 AM

              Maybe I will reserve the grilling pan for my steaks only which turn out great for nicely charred medium-rare..
              Right now my oven is mostly a storage space. I should reorganize my kitchen so it is easier to use for daily dishes

        2. Bacardi1 RE: leeau Mar 20, 2013 03:46 PM

          As others have already offered - you're cooking with way too high a heat. Cast iron is an uber-wonderful heat conductor, so you don't need to use as much heat as you'd think.

          High or even medium-high is great for searing, but for cooking items like chicken all the way through, you need low & slow.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Bacardi1
            leeau RE: Bacardi1 Mar 20, 2013 04:03 PM

            Thanks. You bring up an important point. I didn't know using a cast iron pan meant I needed to use lower temperature than instructed. As a novice with not so much natural talent I tend to reverently follow the recipe word-by-word..

          2. greygarious RE: leeau Mar 21, 2013 03:47 PM

            I really don't get the passion for grill marks. I'd rather have an overall sear (more of those delicious Maillard reaction compounds) so I use a plain naked cast iron frying pan. It took me some failures to learn that the pan NEVER needs to be on hotter than a medium burner. What's important is to let it preheat for a generous amount of time. With my stove, it is at least 10 minutes, on medium low. This maximizes the heat retention, which allows for a steadier cooking temperature.
            I imagine the same principles hold true for a grill pan.

            In comparison, if I use a nonstick Calphalon pan of the same diameter on the same burner, I need medium-high heat. High would do a better job but you're not supposed to use it on nonstick, and even medium-high used regularly shortens the life of the nonstick coating.

            2 Replies
            1. re: greygarious
              C. Hamster RE: greygarious Mar 21, 2013 04:36 PM

              Yep. A grill pan doesn't grill. It just puts lines on food.

              1. re: greygarious
                leeau RE: greygarious Mar 22, 2013 05:33 PM

                Haha yeah maybe it is really just for the grill marks. The chief reason I got a grill pan was the Jamie Oliver cookbook I bought some time ago. And a novice cook like me does get pretty excited by these fancy grill marks.
                I guess I went through the failures stage and now I know that I won't put the heat on high. Will also take note to heat up the pan for sufficient time. Thanks for your reply!

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