Three Reasons to Consider a Ridged Grill Pan

No grill? Don’t let that stop you from grilling.

grill pan
A ridged pan can get you beautiful grill marks, even if you don’t have a grill.Unsplash

Grill pans are a curious kitchen item. They don’t really “grill,” in that grilling means exposing food to a tremendous amount of heat. Grill pans don’t deliver any more heat than any other pa—but these ridged cooking instruments can drain fat, provide nice-looking grill marks and make some fantastic burgers.

Lodge Pro-Grid Cast Iron Reversible Grill/Griddle Pan with Easy-Grip Handles
Flip this oven-safe plank over from the ridged side to a bonus smooth side.Lodge

One major advantage of a grill pan is in draining fat away. When you use a ridged grill pan, food sits on top of the ridges, so any fat that renders out of a burger or steak, for example, flows into the valleys of the ridges. In a normal pan, that fat would stay in contact with the burger or steak, which can be delicious, but sometimes you don’t want your food to be quite so fatty.

Calphalon Contemporary Hard-Anodized Aluminum Nonstick Cookware, Square Grill Pan, 11-inch, Black
Unlike other similar products, this one is coated for simpler cleanup.Calphalon

Another key thing that a grill pan provides that other cooking methods don’t is grill marks. On a sausage, piece of chicken or eggplant, those beautiful parallel lines of char indicate that this product has come in touch with flame. Grill pans don’t heat up any hotter than any other pan, but by concentrating the heat on just the ridges that touch your food, they can create those same visual marks, with the textural variation a grill gives.

Lodge LDP3 Grill/Griddle
Cast iron is a great material for grill pans: it cooks evenly and can get very, very hot.Lodge

Many grill pans are simply slabs of metal, which is extremely versatile. These pans can go in the oven or the stovetop. Once you have a grill pan, you’ll realize how many things it’s great for. Paninis and other sandwiches, for example, really improve on a grill pan. You can even, finally, grill a grilled cheese.