Pros: fairly non-stick; durable; distributes heat well
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
First posted 7/31/2000
I had a housemate once who had a real grill. It took up a huge chunk of space on the back porch. The nasty smoke always blew inside. We could only use it in good weather and it was a royal pain to clean. And we needed to have fuel for it.
The grill pan wins all over that real grill. It takes up a spot about 1′ square or so on a shelf. There’s no smoke unless you feel like burning your food. You can use it in any kind of weather unless you keep your kitchen outside, in which case you have larger problems anyway. It’s incredibly easy to clean. And the only fuel you need is the occasional small amount of cooking oil.
This is a surprisingly beautiful piece of cookware. It’s dark and elegant, with All-Clad’s signature large, shiny, stay-cool handle. It’s heavy, but that’s because the bottom is thick and the heat gets distributed very well. You won’t be able to fit an entire football team’s worth of hamburgers on this thing at once, but if you have that many people to feed maybe you should think about getting two of these things anyway.
This grill pan is non-stick! We’ve never had anything that we cooked stick to it, not even the bacon-wrapped steak (you can see why we have such a hard time eating low-fat). We cooked steak coated in spiced sugar on ours, which is one of the hardest things to clean off of a broiler pan. (It leaves caramelized sugar behind.) With hot water the sugar comes off fairly easily; certainly much easier than with the broiler pan, and we attribute that to the non-stickness of it. And even better, we find we can put the pan in the dishwasher with little ill effect (although sometimes it still needs a little extra wiping down afterward if it had a lot of cruft on it).
Of course the advantage to any grill pan or grill is that the ridges help to pull fat away from whatever it is you’re grilling, so that the fat ends up in the bottom of the ridges rather than in your food. In this the grill pan works moderately well. The fat does seem to get pulled out of the food, but sometimes it sort of sticks to the sides of the food and you have to scrape it off when you pull the food out of the pan. All in all, this is only a minor problem with a quick fix.
The only potentially irritating thing is the way the handle sticks out so far. You don’t want it pointing out where people can accidentally knock into it and knock it off of the stove. So point it in a direction where people won’t be walking past. If you aren’t using the entire stove, just leave it overhanging the stove.
The grill pan is a little expensive, but a good investment.