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