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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cast iron grill pans

First, I have to say that this bread, baked in cast iron, is so wonderful. That one extra step, from bread machine to cast iron loaf, made all the difference in the world. I don't know what it is, but it's true-- food cooked in cast iron just tastes better!

Now on to the subject of grill pans. You know, the skillets with the ridges. I thought they would only be useful for burgers. And yes, they DO make great burgers. If that's all you ever used it for, then it would be well worth it. But, it does more!

A grill pan is for just that-- grilling. Anything that can be cooked on a barbecue grill, can be cooked on a grill pan. Steak, fish, chicken, brats, ribs.

I prefer to start on the stovetop and then finish in the oven, so the food can be cooked all the way through without charring. Burgers and steak are an exception, since I like them medium rare.

But it's also a broiler pan. I've personally never broiled, but it can be done in this pan.

I've used the grill pan to roast meats, since the fat drips below the ridges for a healthier meal. I've even used it for meatloaf!

They sell "double sided" grill pans, that feature a griddle on the other side. I do not recommend those, and here's why:

You cook on one side, and get it nice and seasoned. Then when you flip to use the other side, the burner destroys the seasoning that you worked so hard to build up. AND, the food cooked on the other side tastes like stove burner, since that's where it's been all this time! So you have to pick which side you're going to use and stick with it, which defeats the purpose.

So while double sided grill pans may seem like an economical space saver, you are better off getting a separate griddle and grill pan*.

*Or if you have a gas stove and want a double burner pan, then get two: one for the griddle side, and one for the grill side!

I recently learned a tip for easier cleaning: Put some salt between the ridges before you grill. It won't touch the meat, since it's below the ridges.

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