Cast iron grill pans reign supreme in the cookware industry. It is frequently referred to as the king of cookware, because despite advances in technology and newer and seemingly better cookware, cast iron vessels have better durability and cook better than coated cookware. They can also sustain high temperatures. This feature makes them great in the kitchen as they can also be used for baking and grilling.
This review not only guides on how to shop for the best-cast iron grill pan but also allows you to learn how to care for cast iron grill pans. Here are the best-cast iron grill pans available in the market today.
Best Cast Iron Grill Pans: Top Picks 2017
1. Essenso Convex Curved Base with 4-Layer Enamel Coating, Induction Compatible, 11.8″
Superior heat retention
During grilling, one of the most important things to do is ensure that food is evenly cooked. This superior heating technology allows food to cook evenly. It also allows heat retention, this great feature that allows energy saving. The pan can tolerate temperatures of as high as 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Four layer durable enamel coating
For this grill pan to look great in your kitchen, four layers of enamel coating were included in its manufacture process. These layers allow the grill pan to escape rusting even when left to air dry. It also makes it resistant to scratches and chips. This coating also promotes the even heating of the pan. The coating allows you to cook any type of acidic food because the pan is already non-stick when you buy it. It is convenient if you don’t use the grill pan regularly and do not have enough time to season your grill pan.
When grilling liquid-based foods, water has a tendency of filling certain corners of the pan. This water causes smoking and burning. Its convex base allows water to mix with oil preventing odours and burning.
Easy to clean
Enamel coating makes the pan easy to clean. A sponge and some soap will do the trick easily. You will also not necessarily have to scrub because food does not stick to the pan.
– Non-stick from the first time you use it
– Easy to clean
– Long lasting enamel coating
– It is not square shaped.
2. Cuisinart CI30-23BG Chef’s Classic Enameled Cast Iron 9-1/4-Inch Square Grill Pan
What is your cooking nightmare? Try using the advanced formation of cast iron by renovating your kitchen with Cuisinart cast iron cookware. The enamelled lines ensure you have a chance to make meals your own style without limitation of space and recipe. You don’t have to admire what others make and eat, be your own kitchen master, and get restaurants like results, right at home. Anything you cook from baking breakfast to searing your meat, it’s the best gadget to equip your skills with.
When cooking the biggest challenge is on the way you will get hold of the handle. With Cuisinart cast iron cookware, the handle is long for a secure grip and comfortable which makes it ideal for any cooking technique.
The construction of the cast iron is in a way that it retains heat and distributes it evenly thus producing quality results. The porcelain enameled interior gives the skillet a general perfect cooking style without chances of sticking your food at the base.
– Easy to use
– Easy to maintain
– Slightly expensive compared to its size
3. Lodge ECSGP43 Enameled Cast Iron Square Grill Pan, 10-inch
This a stain resistant cast iron cookware designed in China, unlike the other lodge cast iron cookware made in the US. It has all the specifications of the US made cast iron with improvements on its stain resistance even when heating with higher temperatures.
Easy to clean
This stain resistant grill pan gives you easy work when it comes to cleaning since you will not have to use a lot of energy on scrubbing sticky food parts on the skillet. In addition, its stainless nature guarantees you long services of the skillet without possible marks of lust.
This grill pan has a superior heat retention, which guarantees that you don’t use a lot of energy during your cooking hence saving you money in form of energy.
The ribs on the grilled pan ensure that your food does not sit on grease, therefore reducing fat consumption.
4. Lodge L8SGP3 Cast Iron Square Grill Pan, Pre-Seasoned, 10.5-inch
Old is gold this is a saying that we are familiar with and maybe it’s a commonly misused saying of the day. However, when it comes to selecting kitchen cookware, the application of the old time say may be of importance in more than just framing of the words and their contest.
There is much more to virtualize and even attest to in relation to the purchase of this pan. Lodge manufacturing company, was founded over centuries ago with the aim of providing an easy way of making delicious meals. As time changed, the innovative system of the company also grew and changed to meet the heights of time, change, and the market competition.
When Joseph Lodge first opened doors to the company, he did not have in mind the fact it will last for centuries and have the popularity it has today in the market. Lodge manufacturing company since 1896 has always been a family business, which serves as an indication that all they produce is for the interest of the rounded family.
For great results in cooking, you require great manufactured product and there can’t be a better way of getting all this if not by application of help from trusted makes of greatness which is non-other than Lodge L8SGP3 Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Square Grill Pan, 10.5-inch. The cooking space of this cookware makes it ideal for preparing meals for the whole family. Therefore, when you are out camping with family, you don’t have to be worried of how you will feed them with healthy meals, you have the chance of giving them what you want at all cost.
The best thing about this pan is that you can cook on or in anything apart from of course microwave. And if all you have a campfire or glass stove, the pan will fit perfectly to your demands and settle all your hunger pants.
– Even distribution of heat
– Professional grill marks
– Easy to clean and maintain
5. Utopia Kitchen Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Square Grill Pan, 10.5-inch
When you are cooking your meals, there is a need of having all the minerals that the body want for a healthier growth. If you embark all your cooking with Utopia Kitchen Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Square Grill Pan, 10.5-inch then automatically, you will enjoy the seasoning of iron in your food and if you are iron deficient, your deficiency will drastically improve since you will get portions of iron in every meal you prepare from this pan. Don’t limit yourself to the toxic non-stick cookware when you have an option of moving to a healthier cooking style.
For any tasty foods, unwanted grease has to be eliminated. It’s not easy to do this manually, you require cookware that will enable you to drain all the grease from your cooking with a professional style. There is no other gadget that does this better than with Utopia Kitchen Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Square Grill Pan, 10.5-inch.
– Durable: -Most of the non-stick cookware start to show their real nature when you have used them for a short period, some of them will start by the pealing of the non-stick surface. This is not the case with this important kitchen tool. It can last a lifetime as long as you take appropriate measures of washing and store it accordingly, it’s also important to ensure that you use the right cooking temperatures for different recipes.
– Affordable: -Don’t be focused on getting something expensive for you to trust on its services. Expensive price does not always dictate quality, this is something you will find out by investing on getting Utopia Kitchen Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Square Grill Pan, 10.5-inch and you will get money back service.
– Healthier: – Your health is essential and getting minerals like iron is very critical in the entire health growth. With this pan in your kitchen, you will save money since you will not have to get these minerals separately. They will always be there in your kitchen for you, therefore, ensuring that your whole family gets a healthy development. It also forms professional grill lines on your steaks.
– The size is okay for a medium size family. However, if you want to cook for a large family, it will cost you a lot of time to make all the cooking for everyone’s satisfaction.
6. Lodge P12SGR3 Pro-Logic Cast Iron Square Grill Pan, Pre-Seasoned, 12-inch
Have all your steaks grilled in a professional style with the help of a cast iron grill pan, then all you need in your kitchen is the Lodge P12SGR3 Pro-Logic Cast Iron Square Grill Pan, Pre-Seasoned, 12-inch. For a wide cooking space, this pre-seasoned cast iron is the best catch. The 12-inch space ensures that you get enough space to prepare everything. Heat temperatures are distributed evenly on the whole cookware, which guarantees that all your meals are cooked perfectly.
Easy to care
Unlike other non-stick coating surfaces, with this pre-seasoned cast iron, it is easy to maintain the non-stick ability and use the skillet for a lifetime. With just seasoning it with vegetable oil and heating evenly the seasoning will retain its original look for as long as you will use the cookware. It comes ready to use direct from the box. However, for better services, if you buy this, its good to have a bottle of vegetable oil for seasoning.
It heats up to 500 degrees making it ideal for any cooking and from whatever source the heat is. It’s perfect for cooking on an oven, campfire or even on gas, therefore, you don’t have to be worried about how to heat it and have your meals ready.
– Lifetime warranty
– Easy to use and clean
– Ridge allows fat to drain
– Ready to use
– The seasoning may develop brown spot that looks like lust after using
7. Lodge L8GP3 Cast Iron Grill Pan, 10.25-inch
The factory behind the lodge skillets has done it again with producing important and ancient utensils that will give you the traditional cooking in a professional way. The black patina on the cookware is of vegetable oil, which makes it healthy unlike non-stick coating, which are from possible harmful chemicals.
When grilling your steaks, all you want I s a way that you can make your cooking to be of low fats as possible. With the deep- ridges, you are sure to maintain a low-fat cooking and still have the results of a well-grilled meat. The ridges also help in giving you professional lines on your meat for advanced restaurant results right at the comfort of your home.
10-1/4 inch is a perfect size of cookware to have in your kitchen or even when you are out camping with friends and family. The round shape ensures that all your cooking
Receives equal heat for even cooking. The size also ensures that everyone gets enough share of steak or the hamburgers you make.
When cooking, it’s the desire of everyone to feed their family with healthy nutrients and minerals. Using Lodge L8GP3 Cast Iron Grill Pan, 10.25-inch, guarantees that your meals will get the tasty iron nutrients, therefore, if you are iron deficient, this becomes the ultimate answer to your problem.
– Lifetime service
– Natural seasoning
– Easy to clean and maintain
How to buy a cast iron grill pan
In most cases, grill pans are exposed to high amounts of heat at a time. This makes removing the pan from the source of heat both difficult and sometimes impossible. If your grill pan doesn’t have the right handles, it will be difficult to remove it from the source of heat.
When shopping, opt for longer handles to ensure that you are able to remove the grill from heat when the need arises. The longer the handle the less heat the handle receives. It is therefore, be easy to hold the handle. You can also get a grill pan with helper handles below the long handle to help you lift the pan when its contents are somewhat heavy.
Whether you choose to buy a new or used cast iron grill, it is important to consider the weight of cookware. The heavier cookware has better heat retaining capabilities when compared to cookware that is lighter. Lighter cookware makes cooking uneven and increases the chances of burning food. Although the grill pans made in this age of technology tend to be lighter, ensuring that the cookware you use is a bit heavy allows for better and more authentic cooking.
The price of cast iron cookware varies significantly. Price is a major consideration when looking for cookware for your home. It is important to consider the amount of money you have and are willing to spend of a cast iron grill pan. While sometimes cheap is expensive, cheap doesn’t always mean less expensive. The brand you are buying from will determine whether choosing cheaper cookware was the right choice to make or not. Many companies today make cast iron pans that are affordable and at the same time high quality.
Enamel vs. bare
Bare pans are unaltered while enamel pans are coated with enamel. At first, food will stick on bare iron pan. However with seasoning and cooking regularly, food cooked will stop sticking. Bare pans are also cheaper and can be used for decades. Enamel products, on the other hand, are non-stick right from the box. Although they do not require seasoning, a lot of maintenance is need to ensure that the coating remains intact. With time, however, the enamel coating does wear off which leads to the pan becoming unusable. The nonstick surface comes at an expensive price.
Although most cast iron cookware is round in shape, grill pans are better when they are square shaped. This increases the surface area allowing for more even cooking. A 10-inch square cast iron grill pan, for instance, has a surface area of 100 square inches while a round grill pan of the same diameter has only 78.5 square inches of room. Cast iron makes the grill pan heat conducive allowing all corners of the cooking pan to maintain their heat.
Grill pan care
Under a microscope, grill pans actually have pores, irregularities are cracks. These irregularities on the pan make food stick and tear as you cook it because chemical reactions in the cooking process make the food cooked to bond with the pan. The food sip into the pan and sticks to it. This is the reason your cast iron pan is not a non-stick one when you first use it.
To prevent food from sticking to the pan, you need to create a protective layer on the pan. Polymerization is the reaction between metal and oxygen in the presence of heat and fat. This causes a solid layer of coat on the top of the pan. The more times oil is heated on the pan, the thicker this coating becomes. Your pan, therefore acquires better non-stick properties with time.
Avoid acidic foods
Before your pan has a solid layer of seasoning, you need to avoid cooking highly acidic foods such as wine based sauces and some tomato sauces. You also need to avoid using allot of soap or using soap on the pan frequently. Acidic foods and soap will make the seasoning process take longer.
This is probably the worst thing that can happen to your Grilling pan. However, this problem is easy to solve. Always remember to oil the pan after every use. If you do not intend on oiling the pan, avoid overheating it.
When you leave a pan that has not been well seasoned to air-dry, rust will result. When the pan is not well seasoned, water will come in contact with the cast iron resulting in rust. While it may not be something to worry about, it is not a great image in any kitchen. In the rare case that your entire pan has rusted, you will have to start seasoning it from scratch.
How to build seasoning layer
1. Scrub your pan
Because the pan looks clean when you buy it doesn’t mean that it is clean. Considering there are microscopic pores, dust and dirt could have easily slip into those cracks. To clean your pan, pour some kosher salt and scrub the grill pan with a paper towel. This is also a great way of removing all impurities from the grill pan. After scrubbing it with salt, wash it thoroughly with soap and hot water. Ensure that you dry it carefully to make the next step easier and effective in seasoning the grill pan.
The second step is to oil your pan. Use a paper towel soaked in unsaturated fat. You can use canola or corn oil. The benefit of using unsaturated fat is because it is more reactive that saturated fat. It, therefore, polymerises better and faster. Back in the day when cast iron pans were gaining fame, bacon fat and lard were used for seasoning too.
For polymerization to occur, heat must be present. Place the pan in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat will cause the pan to smoke. When you remove it, it will be darker than when you initially started using it. You can use a stove top to heat the pan; however, the oven heats the pan more evenly because there are not hot spots. Even heating allows for better seasoning.
Keep re-oiling the pan and heating it at the same temperature until the pan is pitch black. The change in colour shows you that you have an original cast iron grill pan and that the seasoning is working. When the pan is pitch black, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool. After cooling, the pan is ready for use.
Although people tend to have an irrational fear of using cast iron, once you have seasoned it properly, cast iron may be your longest serving grill pan. It is impossible to scratch it out with metal utensils and soap will not destroy it. However, there are a few points to note to keep your cast iron effective for longer.
1. Use regularly
The secret with cast iron is to ensure that you use it regularly. The best polymerization is that which happens slowly, over time and in thin layers. These will only build up if you use your pan regularly particularly with fat based cooking. Do not grill liquid based foods on your cast iron grill pan until reasonable seasoning was done.
2. Keep it clean
When food has stuck on to the bottom of the pan, it is easier to remove it while it is hot than it is when the pan cools. Cleaning your grilling pan immediate after use reduces the chance of using an excessive amount of soap. You will also only need to use a soft sponge for cleaning. Cleaning your pan ensures that the food you cook doesn’t carry flavours from previously grilled food. When flavours are carried forward, the authenticity of food is lost and food does not taste as good as it should.
3. Avoid tough abrasives
Your seasoning can be removed by strong metal scrubbers. Although they will not have effects on the pan itself, years of seasoning can be washed out by the metal scrubbers in just five minutes or less. If you have to use a metal scrubber, be gentle. Otherwise, a soft sponge will be more than enough to clean the grilling pan.
4. Dry thoroughly
Before your pan has enough seasoning layers, avoid air drying it to prevent rusting. After cleaning your grill pan, dry it thoroughly, oil it and heat it to add a layer of seasoning. You can heat the pan until it starts to smoke then add a layer of oil using a paper towel on the pan. Let the pan cool in room temperature. This way, if the pan comes into contact with moisture from the air, it will not get damaged. Your pan will be safe until next use.