Pros and Cons of Grill Pans
Let’s be honest, grilled food looks so tempting! We are bombarded with recipes to cook wonderful grilled food…but there’s a problem. Not all of us have outside space, some of us don’t even have a balcony.
Here is where the grill pan comes in…we are promised the same results as an outside grill. We turn to the humble grill pan in anticipation but are rarely satisfied. It may look the same but they don’t deliver that smoky flavor we so desire.
So here are the pros and cons of using grill pans…followed with some tips on how you can improve your experience.
Pros of using a grill pan
- The ridges mean that the fat and juices from meats run into the wells and drain away. The result is healthier cooking and the food is not essentially boiling in its own liquids.
- Most grill pans are made from cast iron which means that they distribute heat very evenly.
- The food looks great, the lines across the food resemble outdoor grilled food.
- Depending on the grill you buy, you can get a large surface area. This is true of the grill pans that are designed to go over two burners.
Cons of using a grill pan
- Its not the same thing and we know it. The taste is nothing like outdoor grilling. No woody flavours, no charcoal…nothing to remind you of the outdoors.
- Not all meats are easy to cook on grill pans. I often find that some meats are cooked on the outside but still have a way to go.
- They create a lot of smoke
- It is can be a hard cleaning them…I always wipe the surface down while the pan is still hot…it’s a lot easier.
- If you are opting for the double burner version, it may be difficult to get them to balance correctly. Depending on the layout, you may end up with cooler spots on the pan.
Tips to improve grill pan results.
Preheat the pan
It is recommended that you heat the pan up slowly for about 5 minutes or so. This avoids getting hot spots in the pan which will cook some parts quickly and other slowly. This can ruin your results.
Be patient…it makes a difference. To test whether your pan is preheated, flick some water on it. If it dances on the pan and evaporates quickly, it is ready.
Keep it oiled
You want the pan to be non-stick to avoid food sticking on the grates. To do this, simply wipe some oil on the preheated pan with a clean paper towel. You do not want to smoke the pan as this burns the seasoning.
Create a lid
Outdoor grills come with lids which means they can cook the food faster. It also raises the temperature within them.
Grill pans don’t come with lids so you need to get creative. A metal bowl will do the job.
Keep it clean
As with cast iron cookware, you need to treat griddle pans the same way. Make sure you clean off any stuck-on food and season them correctly after ensuring they are totally dry. This will keep your griddle pan performing well.
What is the best grill pan?
- Lodge preseasoned Square Grill Pan
- Le Creuset Square Skillet Grill
- Cuisinart Grill Pan
- Staub 12-Inch Grill Pan and Press
- Calphalon Contemporary Grill Pan
What is the griddle used for?
Griddle’s are very versatile when it comes to food. They are usually used to cook meats as the wells within them drain away liquid. This means it stops the liquid boiling the food.
Often, they are used for breakfast type foods such as pancakes, bacon, eggs, French toast, scrambled eggs etc. They are also frequently used to cook burgers and other types of hot sandwiches.
What’s the difference between a griddle and a skillet?
They are shaped differently. Skillets are usually round and have higher sides. They are also known as frying pans. Griddles are usually flat and they do not have sides that rise. Some may have a lip to catch liquids. They effectively serve the same function, it is the design choice that makes the difference.
How do you use a grill pan?
Cast iron grill pans must be preheated slowly to raise the temperature of the cast iron. It prevents heat spots from forming and will cook your food consistently as a result. Griddle pans are difficult to use if they are not seasoned. They tend to get food stuck on the ridges. Ensure your griddle pan is well seasoned before use and wipe oil on it before you put it away.
If you have not seasoned it, do so before you use it. Even if your griddle pan is not cast iron, you can still season it by wiping oil on it to maintain its non-stick abilities.
How do you season a grill pan?
Seasoning a cast iron grill pan is imperative. Watch the following video on how to do it properly.
Hopefully these pros and cons of grill pans is a step towards your decision to buy…and better results.