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Thursday, June 23, 2011

The grill pan challenge: which makes a better burger?

Pictured above are two grill pans made by Lodge.

In recent years, Lodge changed the design of their grill pans.

The one on the left is an older model, which has pointy ridges, that are higher and spaced farther apart.

This was fine for grilling meats, but not so much for grilling sandwiches; When you pressed down on the sandwich, the ridges would poke holes in the bread.

Newer models have short, square and stubby ridges that are flat, and spaced closer together.

This was better for sandwiches, and Lodge claimed that consumers preferred the new design. I was told that it made better grill marks.

But, I was convinced that the older model made a better burger, due to the ridges being higher, and maintained this belief for 2 years.*

*I addressed this issue in my previous article.

So I decided to see for myself, by making a burger in each pan. This was also the first time I used a grill press* for burgers.

*I recently tried a grill press on bacon, and was very happy with the results.

I prepared the burgers my usual way,* except this time, I first cooked down the chopped onions in olive oil before mixing into the meat.

*If you'd rather not click to that article, my "usual way" is chopped onions, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder.

While cooking, I found that using the grill press was easier on the new design; On the old design, the burger would be pushed down into the pointy ridges, which made it harder to flip, and didn't stay together as well.

So, the burger on the new design grill pan, maintained its shape better during cooking, especially when using the grill press. Now for the taste test.

Both burgers were equally good, regardless of the pan it was cooked on.

So I can finally conclude, that the new design grill pan is fine for burgers, with the added benefit of being better for grilled sandwiches.

Does that mean I'm going to ditch the old grill pan? Of course not.

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