A few years back, an in-the-know cook gave me grill pan. I was admittedly underwhelmed–until I put it to work. That grill pan has become of the most indispensable pieces of cookware in my kitchen. With their characteristic raised ridges lining the bottom, these heavyweights do more than add aesthetically appealing grill marks–thanks to charring, they impart real grilled flavor to meats and vegetables. Here’s a roundup of our favorites.
(Note: Because grill pans are best used at high temperatures, we avoid pans with nonstick coatings and instead use well-seasoned natural nonstick options, such as cast iron.)
Above: My Le Creuset Signature Square Cast-Iron Grill Pan only gets better with age. Its loop handle makes it easy to maneuver, and the side spouts are great for pouring off excess fat. The 10-inch square pan has a black enamel interior (that requires no additional seasoning), and is available in six colors; $160 at Williams Sonoma.
Above: Designed with small storage spaces in mind, the circular Le Creuset Bistro Grill is another pan worth considering. Measuring 12.5 inches in diameter, it fits well on a stovetop and tucks into a cupboard with ease. Cast iron coated with porcelain enamel, it can be taken straight from stovetop to table for serving; $120 at Williams Sonoma.
Above: An American-made, cast-iron classic, the Lodge Logic Cast-Iron 10-Inch Square Grill Pan has high sides that contain splatters and work well for moving straight from stovetop to oven (this is how I cook sausages). It comes pre-seasoned and ready to use: $19.97 at Amazon. For those who prefer low sides, consider the Lodge Pro-Logic 12-Inch Cast-Iron Grill Pan; $33.18 at Amazon.
Learn more about the care (and occasional feeding) of cast-iron pans, by reading Megan Wilson’s Object Lesson: Lodge Cast Iron.
Above: Generously sized for a single-burner pan, the Staub Cast-Iron Double-Handled Grill Pan measures 15.75 by 13 inches. The matte black enamel cooking surface requires no additional seasoning and is also resistant to rust, chips, and cracks; $179.95 at Williams-Sonoma.
Above: For stainless steel devotees, the All-Clad Three-Ply Stainless Steel Grill Pan is dishwasher safe and measures 11 square inches; $149 through Amazon.
Above: Pair your grill pan with a Lodge Logic Cast-Iron Grill Press that keeps bacon curl at bay and can turn your grill pan into a panini maker; $24.95 at Sur La Table.
Short on serveware? See 10 Easy Pieces: Oven-to-Table Cookware and The World’s Most Beautiful Dutch Oven (by way of San Francisco).