How to Use a Cast Iron Grill Pan

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If you need to make an impressive yet manageable dish for your neighbors who are coming over for dinner in 10 minutes, you can use a cast iron grill pan to quickly prepare meat and other items for a home-cooked meal with lots of flavor.

Choosing a Pan

Depending on what kind of cooking surface you have, you might want to take some care in choosing the right pan. While this is an article specifically about cast iron pans, if you have a ceramic stove, it is not recommended that you use a cast iron pan, as ceramic stoves can heat up unevenly and warp or crack the pan. Unless you want a bent pan, then absolutely don’t use a cast iron pan on your ceramic stove.

Square pans offer more surface area for you to shove as many grill-able foods onto it at one time as you possibly can, but round pans look prettier and have better Feng Shui energy. Never touch the handle of your pan with your bare hands while on the stove. It will be so, so very hot, and you will be in so much pain. They sell handle covers made of cloth or silicone that slip right over the handle and make your life much easier and less stressful.

Cooking with Your Pan

First, preheat your pan for at least five minutes on the cooking surface. If you need to, add some oil or butter, depending on the recipe you are following or the type of food you are cooking. If you have not already, cut or shape your food into a shape that will allow for those grill lines to get nice and charred onto the surface of your food. Some suggested foods to grill on a cast iron skillet include zucchini, squash, shrimp, steak, burgers and chicken. Tofu is not recommended to be grilled on any type of pan, cast iron or not, because tofu is gross, and you should not be eating it in the first place. If you are a vegetarian, choose a better protein substitute.(Editor’s note: Please disregard last two sentences. Grasshopper writer did not mean to offend honorable Asian readers.)

Place your grill items on the pan once it has preheated. Leave them there and try not to shift them around too much. Shifting the grill items around will cause the grill marks to be weaker, and weaker grill marks show that your grilling is not confident, and then your dinner guests will not be as impressed by your skills. Your dinner guests are already bored, since you did not start grilling because you were reading this article until they showed up at 8 p.m., so they have been drinking chardonnay and making small talk with your sister for half an hour while trying not to seem angry about dinner being delayed when they are most definitely angry about dinner being delayed. No pressure, but they are waiting.

Once your items have cooked thoroughly on one side (the length of time varies on the type of item being grilled), flip them over in one smooth motion. Continue to let the items sit until fully cooked on both sides. Some camps argue that using a cover or lid for your pan is the best practice, because it captures the cooking aromas in the pan with the items and enhances the “grilled” flavor of the food. However, clearly, the best choice for an authentic grilled flavor is to put the cast iron grill on top of a real grill, and to use both simultaneously to capture an intense “grilled” aroma. Your dinner guests will thank you, if they have not already left, since it has now been 45 minutes since they arrived, and dinner has yet to be served. Time is ticking.

Caring for Your Pan

You should care for your cast iron grill pan the same way you would care for any other type of cast iron cookware. Either wash the pan with a bit of Castile soap and steel wool, or just bake and scrape the pan. No matter which method you choose, do not forget to make sure all moisture has been removed from the pan, as rust will overtake the pan, and then you will have to pay taxes to the rust every time you use the pan.

One of the most important parts of taking proper care of a cast iron skillet is making sure the skillet is well-seasoned. This does not mean making sure there is a container of cumin nearby at all times. This means that each time the skillet is used, a bit of oil is rubbed into the pan and baked on for about an hour. This practice makes the skillet non-stick.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to how to use cast iron grill pan options, you will find that it is surprisingly easy and that your food will be better than ever before. Happy cooking!

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