Grill pan – Which one should I buy?

how to choose pan

Grill pan

The grill pan appeared in our household quite recently. At first these pans were only used in the world of professional cooking, but a couple of years later a grill pan became available to us home cooking enthusiasts as well. Today, you can buy a grill pan in almost any decent shop, in the cookware department, all that’s left to do is to understand why you need it, how to choose it correctly and how to use it. Today we’re going to try to answer all these questions.

To begin with, let’s find out why we need a grill pan at all and if it’s so necessary in our everyday life. Like any other kitchen utensil, grilling pans have their pros and cons. The undoubted pluses of these pans include the ability to cook without oil or fat, which will surely appeal to anyone who cares about their weight. In addition, thanks to its ribbed surface grill pan allows you to precisely fry your chosen products, because all the excess juice and fat during cooking will flow into the grooves between the ribs and there to evaporate, so your steak, cutlet or piece of fish perfectly cooked and not boil in their own juice, as it often happens with conventional pans. Of course, the grill pan’s good points include the appetising appearance of the food prepared on it: those fascinating dark streaks that give the impression that your steak or sausages have been grilled on an actual grill grate.

Grill pan – Which one should I buy?

Speaking of a real grill, a grill pan will never be able to please you with the very aroma of smoke from the glowing embers that we all appreciate and love in dishes cooked on the grill, and it can safely be attributed to the minuses of grill pans. Also, of the disadvantages of these frying pans worth mentioning is that they are very difficult to clean, and in the small kitchens of our city flats pretty much steaming red-hot grill is almost impossible to use if you do not have a good hood. And let’s not forget that a bulky frying pan is not very easy to store. However, all these disadvantages are well compensated by the delight that the dishes cooked on it, especially in winter, when any memories of summer picnics, undoubtedly, please both you and your guests.

When choosing a grill pan, look for the same details we told you about in the stories on selecting non-stick pans. Remember that a good grill pan must have a thick bottom and massive walls so that only this pan heats and releases heat evenly. Cast iron or cast aluminium pans with a non-stick coating are best suited for our purposes. But the thin-walled, cheap grill pans made of thin, printed aluminum should not be bought at all since nothing good can be cooked in such a pan. Also, pay close attention to the height of the grill pan ribs. In fact, some less-than-honest manufacturers often produce frying pans with small strips on the bottom that create a slight pattern on the cooked food, proudly calling their wares a grill pan. But a real grill pan should have a rib height of at least half a centimetre, and preferably higher, so that the grooves between the ribs are deep enough to absorb and then quickly evaporate all the fat and juice of the food you’re cooking on it. It’s also best to choose a griddle that has a spout so that you can easily drain the excess fat off. We all know that it’s virtually impossible to drain fat off the rim of a griddle without it covering the outside surface.

How to choose a grill pan

When deciding on the size of the griddle, it’s important to consider how much food you are going to cook on it at one time. For a large family, large square pans that allow you to cook several types of food at once are ideal. If you are cooking just for yourself, a small round grill pan that can grill just one type of food, such as meat, poultry, fish, sausages, vegetables and so on, is sufficient, but there is no reason not to get two small pans to grill for different foods. Two small pans are easier to use, easier to clean and easier to store.

The depth of the grill pan is also important! Deep pans fry food best whereas low-rimmed pans should only be used for fish and vegetables which cook quickly and don’t require high heat on all sides.

Before buying, always check with your retailer to find out whether the grill pan you have chosen is suitable for your cooker. Good manufacturers will indicate on the documentation for which cookers their product is designed. If you cook on a conventional gas cooker, almost any grill pan you like will work. Induction cooker users should look for a pan with a perfectly flat steel base or a double base with iron inserts. For glass ceramic cookers, don’t buy an overly heavy cast-iron grill pan and opt for a good aluminium pan with a flat bottom. And even if you don’t have a cooker at all, don’t despair, you can get an electric grill pan that will perform all its duties perfectly.

How to cook on a grill pan

An important part of a heavy grill pan is the handle. A good quality grill pan must have a heat-resistant plastic or silicone handle. Heavy cast iron pans should have cast handles that can withstand the weight of the pan without breaking. It is best if such a heavy large frying pan has two handles: a regular long handle on one side and an arc handle with a tack on the opposite side. Grill pans with removable and folding handles are very handy. A frying pan with a folding handle is easy to store, and a removable handle will allow you to not only cook on the burner but also to cook your food in the oven.

Before using it for the first time, the grill pan you choose must be properly prepared according to the manufacturer’s instructions. A non-stick cast iron grill pan should be preheated over high heat with about a centimetre of salt on the bottom to remove any traces of cooking grease and dirt. The frying pan should then be cooled, the salt poured off and the bottom and walls of the frying pan greased with vegetable oil. A non-stick frying pan should be rinsed in warm water with a little mild detergent, dried, and then burned over high heat for a couple of minutes. This will allow you to immediately identify faults, as the grill pan is designed for cooking at very high temperatures and the non-stick coating must meet the stated purpose. A faulty or poor-quality coating can crack under such heat, saving you the trouble of having to go and change the pan immediately for a quality one that meets the requirements for this type of cooking utensil.


Vegetables on a grill pan

Have you chosen and bought a perfect grill pan? Has it been properly prepared and checked? Now’s the time to get down to the excitement and excitement of grilling up delicious food!

So how do you cook on the grill? First of all, forget about the oil and grease. At the most you just have to lightly grease the very top of the grill pan with a cooking oil brush. Nothing else. You’ll only grill healthy foods without any unnecessary fat on the grill pan. Before you put your chosen food on the frying pan, let it heat up to the maximum temperature. If you put your food on an underheated grill pan, it might stick to the surface of the ribs and lose its appetising appearance. Remember that a grill pan is different from a real grill, as it does not give the same flame as a real grill and you should not try to fry a thick steak or a big piece of chicken on a grill pan, as once the outside is charred, the sliced food is too thick and is almost soggy inside. And don’t think that you like your steak rare; believe me, nobody likes it rare.

The ideal thickness of pieces of meat and poultry for grilling is no more than one and a half centimetres. Make sure to lightly baste and marinate the meat or poultry before grilling to give it extra softness and juiciness. Grill meat and poultry for two to three minutes on each side until the brown streaks are clear.

Sausages on the grill pan

Fish and seafood are simpler. The pieces can be made thicker and there’s no need to marinate – just rub a little salt and spice and a splash of lemon juice. Do not fry the fish for more than one and a half or two minutes on each side, otherwise it will be overcooked and fall apart.

Cut the vegetables about one centimeter thick and fry for three minutes on each side. If you are grilling potatoes, remember to boil them halfway through. When cooking vegetables, it is a good idea to put some water or broth in the bottom of the grill pan so that the vegetables can cook quickly and you can be sure that they will not get soggy inside.

After you have finished cooking your food, let your grill pan cool completely before you start to wash it. Never pour cold water into a hot grill pan! This will spoil its non-stick properties. When the pan has cooled down, rinse it off gently with warm water, using detergent only as a last resort in case food sticks or some of the juices released have stuck to the bottom. After rinsing the pan, wipe it with a clean, soft towel and lightly clean it with a cloth soaked in vegetable oil. Remember also that grill pans must not be washed in the dishwasher as too aggressive washing can ruin the non-stick properties of your pan.

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