Toolbox Wednesday: The Cast Iron Grill Pan

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There have been a few things I’ve had to give up in life for varying periods of time. Before I moved down to Miami Beach, being able to grill outside was one of them. As excited as I was to own a house and have unlimited access to my Weber charcoal grill, the snow that came with last year’s Connecticut winter left my round buddy buried for months. Pair that with extremely short days and not being able to leave the house at times because of the weather, and what I had there was a recipe for serious spring and summertime withdrawal.

One thing I found that helped in getting me through those dark winter months was something my husband purchased for me as a gift a few years back. It has been my saving grace on those days when firing up Webs was simply not an option.

My cast iron grill pan is a piece of cookware that has enabled me to impart elements of outdoor grilling without needing to go outdoors. And while there are many great grill pans on the market, this one in particular carries 2 basic attributes that sets it apart from the rest of its kind — attributes I share with you today and recommend you look for when purchasing an item such as this one.

  1. Your grill pan should be heavy FullSizeRender 7

    When shopping for a grill pan, check the weight of the pan itself. If it feels light and flimsy, chances are the bottom of the pan is not going to hold heat as you want a grill pan to do. Heavy grill pans like cast iron and all clad offer stable heat sources for the food you are grilling, which will help prevent your food from burning during the cooking process.

  2. Your grill pan should have pronounced grooves

    FullSizeRender 3I have used quite a few grill pans over the years, and I have found those that have deeper grooves running across the bottom of the pan offer more of a grilled taste. Deeper grooves enable whatever moisture is emitted by what you are grilling to fall away, preventing the food from steaming or frying in its own fat as opposed to being grilled. Because the moisture can fall into the hot grooves, more smoke forms. And just like with outdoor grilling, the smokey flavor we look for in grilled food is amplified, giving the food you make on your indoor grill pan that signature outdoor grilled taste.

Keeping these 2 simple parameters in mind when shopping for a grill pan will get you off to a great start in creating that flavorful indoor grilled meal. And if you pair this cooking process with food that has been seasoned with pre-smoked spices like paprika and chipotle, you’ll be even that much closer to replicating that distinct outdoor grill flavor.

Know what kind of grill pan you need, and the rest falls perfectly into place.

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