It’s not always easy for people to grill outdoors these days. Many live in apartments or small homes that do not accommodate a BBQ well. This is where a grill pan comes in handy. You can have the fun of an outdoor grilling experience without all that smoke or setup.
A grill pan is a frying pan that has grill ridges throughout the interior. The grill ridges are raised which allow the oil to drip down and drain away. They are not quite the same as an actual grill, which is dry heat supplied directly to your food using webbed wires over a fire. But the final result can be quite similar.
Grill pans work on the stovetop, and some can also be used in the oven. These pans transfer heat evenly to give your meat, chicken, or seafood a lovely grilled taste.
Below are some of the most popular grill pans available on the market today. All of these are slightly different from each other and will give you an idea of the variety that is out there in terms of grill pans.
The Jean Patrique ‘Whatever Pan’ is a cast aluminum grill pan with a glass lid. It measures 10.6 inches in diameter and is almost two inches deep.
Its cast aluminum construction is a new option for cooking that as impressive as traditional cast iron, but without the heavy weight. At four pounds, this grill pan is easy to transport. The anodized cast aluminum finish is non-stick, rust-free, and non-toxic, and will not react with your foods.
Use this pan to grill or sear your favorite meats and other foods. It can be used on any type of stove, including gas, ceramic, electric, induction, or a camp fire, up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Its bonded steel base heats quickly and evenly. You can also use it safely in the oven up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
It has grill lines and deep ridges to keep flavor locked in. The extra deep sides will keep messes to a minimum and help your counters and ovens stay spotless.
The lid is made of glass and can let out excess pressure with its built in escape valve. The lid can be used at temperatures up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
This grill pan is easy to clean. Simply soak it in soapy water and wash immediately or later.
One drawback is the handles are part of the cast aluminum body and as a result they will get very hot during cooking.
- Cast aluminum construction has the quality of cast iron and yet is lightweight
- Finish is non-stick, non-toxic, and rust-free
- Can be used on any type of stove, up to 450 degrees F
- Heats quickly and evenly
- Grill lines have deep ridges to keep flavor locked in
- Glass lid (use up to 350 degrees F) has escape valve to let out excess pressure
- Handles can get very hot
The Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Grill Pan comes to you fully seasoned right out of the package. It can be used on all cooking surfaces, including grills and campfires, and even in the oven. Use it to grill, sear, fry, braise, sauté, and stir fry whatever you desire. This pan imparts a nice smoky flavor to your food. It measures 10.5 inches in diameter.
This super durable grill pan features grill ridges which elevate your food and allow the drippings to flow down for collection later. The pre-seasoning of the pan provides a natural, easy release finish that gets better every time you cook.
The pan heats well and retains heat beautifully. It is advisable to use this pan in a well ventilated area with a fume hood to avoid having your kitchen smell like a BBQ.
The pan is easy to clean if done correctly. Simply wash it with water only, preferably while the pan is still warm. You may need to use a grill brush. Make sure not to leave the pan in water for any length of time. Dry it immediately with a soft cloth or paper towel after washing. Then rub the pan with a light layer of vegetable oil, and hang it or store it away.
Do not put this pan in the dishwasher. When hand washing, you can use some mild soap if necessary but you may need to re-season the pan afterwards.
Some tips: Try to avoid using olive oil in this pan because this type of oil has a lower smoke point, and will fill your room with smoke. Use corn oil or another oil that has a higher smoke point. Also, be careful when handling the pan because it does get hot, including the handles. Try to avoid using metal utensils in this pan because it could scratch off the seasoning. Acidic foods such as tomatoes may also damage the seasoning. By following these simple tips, your Lodge grill pan should last for decades.
This model is quite affordable but it does come in a more expensive enamel coated version, which allows you to cook liquids without worrying about stripping off the seasoning.
Some users have mentioned that this pan rusts easily but this can be avoided by not soaking it in water, and making sure to dry it right away after cleaning. Another drawback for some is the heavy weight of the pan, which is common with cast iron cookware.
- Fully seasoned cast iron pan
- Can be used on all cooking surfaces
- Imparts a nice smoky flavor to food
- Heats well and retains heat beautifully
- Easy to clean if done correctly; above all, do not let it sit in water
- May rust, which can be avoided by not soaking in water, and drying immediately
- Heavy, which is customary for cast iron cookware
- Gets very hot, can lead to burns
The TECHEF Korean BBQ Grill Pan allows you the option of cooking on your table top, using a portable burner that is purchased separately. It can be used indoors or outdoors, or even over a campfire. It is also oven safe up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. The pan measures 12 x 12 x 2 inches.
Use it to make Korean style meat and seafood, veggies and mushrooms, and no oil is required. You can also make non-Korean favorites like pork chops, steak, and bacon. Even use it to make sausages and burgers. You can fit a good amount of meat at one time.
This pan is made from heavy aluminum and has a five-layered, chemical-free, and PFOA-free Dupont Teflon Select non-stick surface.
It has a unique swirl-shaped channel design that leads fat drippings towards the bottom of the dome-shaped base of the pan. A hole at the bottom of the pan drains the drippings away into a small bowl or cup. Because the drippings drop through this hole, you should not use this pan on a normal cooktop.
This pan is completely dishwasher safe for easy clean up.
One drawback is the side walls are quite shallow, with very short side handles. Also, the bowl to catch the drippings is sold separately.
- Cook on your table top using portable burner (purchased separately)
- Use indoors or outdoors, on a campfire, or in the oven up to 450 degrees F
- No oil required
- Unique swirl-shaped channels draw drippings to dome-shaped base
- Hole in base drains drippings into separate bowl or cup
- Completely dishwasher safe
- Side walls are shallow
- Short side handles
- Bowl to catch drippings sold separately
The Cuisinart CGT-600 Cookware Non-Stick Grilling Pan Set is a bit different from the others we have described so far. It is a sauté pan and perforated pan set, designed for use on an outdoor grill. Each pan can be used as a lid for the other pan if you want to trap in heat or moisture while cooking. The pans measure 9 (L) x 9 (W) x 2 (H) inches.
This set is an affordable upgrade to your outdoor kitchen. They will enable you to sauté your meats on the grill, or bake or steam your veggies, rice, or beans instead. Your veggies and meats will be super healthy because oil is not needed (for steaming) or it will drain easily away (for grilling).
Simply fry in your sauté pan and then cover with the perforated pan. Or, use the perforated pan on your grill like a wok; this enhances your grill’s natural flavoring, and ensures your food won’t fall through the grill grate. Then cover your perforated pan with the sauté pan when it comes time to simmer.
Be sure to spray the pans with canola oil before cooking, to avoid having your food stick to them. Otherwise the coating may come off easily.
To steam veggies or meats, put about 0.5 inches of water in the sauté pan on the grill, add your food, and place the perforated pan over it.
These versatile pans are super easy to clean. Wash by hand or simply pop them into the dishwasher!
One drawback is some users have found the pans tend to rust over time and may warp when used on the grill. The pans may also discolor after a lot of use.
- Sauté pan and perforated pan set made for use on outdoor grill
- Versatile – set can be used in a variety of ways to grill, bake, or steam
- Perforated pan can be used as a lid for sauté pan, and vice versa
- Dishwasher safe and easy to clean
- Coating may come off easily
- Some users have found the pans rust after time and may warp
- May discolor after a lot of use
Choosing a grill pan
Now that you have seen a few different varieties of grill pans, and the most popular options on the market, here are a few things to consider when looking to purchase one.
There are a few different options for the material that makes up the body of your grill pan. Cast iron is the ideal choice because it retains heat at high temperatures. However, cast iron is heavy. Other choices include stainless steel or anodized aluminum, which are light and heat quickly, but do not retain heat as well as with cast iron.
The body of your pan can also come in different shapes. Square and round are the two most popular. There are also rectangular grill pans that are heated over two burners, but they are less common.
The handle is important for safety. The longer the handle, the less hot it will get, and thus the safer it will be. Another choice for the handle is one in the shape of a loop – this is handy for lifting.
If you purchase a cast iron pan, the cooking surface will either be enamel or pre-seasoned. If it is pre-seasoned, it will last longer because you can re-season it. If it is coated with enamel, it may be easier to clean. Some downsides to cast iron are these pans take longer to heat up and they may scratch a glass-topped stove.
If you buy a stainless steel pan, it might be hard to clean and the oil might burn your pan between the grill ridges. If you choose aluminum or stainless steel, make sure it is non-stick, to help with cleaning.
Grills have ridges to give the grill lines on your food, but some grills are also griddles (have a flat surface). They may have reversible plates with a grill on one side and a griddle on the other.
By examining the body material, shape, size, cooking surface, and handles of various brands, and comparing reviews of the different models on the market today, you will be sure to find the grill pan that fits your needs.