Is there an American pastime quite as old as grilling? Well, the activity is still alive and well. In fact, over 79 million Americans have lit up their grills in the past year, and with the pandemic easing up, cookouts will be bigger than ever!
However, there’s one piece of equipment that every griller needs and it’s highly underrated. Let’s talk about the king of cookware: the cast iron grill.
10 Reasons to Choose a Cast Iron Rill
Cast iron pans offer a very rustic feel to your cookware. What draws our primitive instincts as well as cooking with old-school cookware over an actual flame?
Well, that’s far from the only reason to opt for cast iron grill grates, pans, or anything else you want! Here are some of the best reasons to make the switch!
1. Heat Retention
When it comes to retaining heat, there’s nothing better than cast iron. Cast iron grills are known for their ability to hold heat, which is perfect for leaving professional grill marks on your meat.
Heat retention is also important for preventing major heat fluctuations during temperature changes, which will allow for more consistent cooking and a better result. For meals that cook low and slow, this will come in handy.
A cast-iron grill is something you can pass down between generations. Few materials in the world last quite as long as cast iron.
Although iron is prone to rust, this is easily removed and the surface can be reseasoned at any time. With proper care, it will work as if it were new, 50 years from now. Even if your cast iron grill pan rusts, you can easily scrape off the rust and season the equipment again.
3. Less Sticking
Cast iron is less prone to sticking than stainless steel or other materials, and this ability lasts for longer. Properly seasoned cast iron will offer crisp grill marks on your meat, but won’t get stuck. If your grill has a porcelain enamel on it, then it will be just as effective as a high-quality non-stick pan.
4. Heat Distribution
Another added benefit to heat retention is heat distribution. Cast-iron grills tend to get hot more evenly throughout the surface instead of just where the flames are hitting, which helps for a more even cook.
5. Easier Working Surface
Stainless steel is known for getting food stuck between or falling through large cracks, especially when cooking fish. Cast iron grills have less open space for food to enter.
6. Compatible With Any Grill
Cast iron grills are made to fit just about any grill. If you choose the right size or order a custom fit, you should have no problem.
Also, a cast iron grill is compatible with a stovetop. For city people who don’t have yards, you can still use a cast iron bbq grill or pan to provide the perfect grill marks on your food. This is sure to impress your guests in your apartment!
7. Faster Cook Times
With the excess heat retention and distribution, your backyard cookouts will be a lot easier if you’re grilling a lot of burgers or hotdogs. The even distribution also means that you can cook more at one time!
8. Helps With Iron Intake
While it is a small amount, trace amounts of iron do make it into your food, which actually helps with iron intake. If you have low iron levels or eat a plant-based diet, making the switch on cookware is an easy way to consume extra iron!
9. Handling High Temperatures
Most cookware comes with maximum heat warnings, but not cast iron. Cast iron can handle any heat that you would ever use for food, well over 500°F.
10. Easy to Clean
Contrary to popular belief, cast iron is very easy to clean. You shouldn’t submerge them in water as you would with other dishes. However, the oil used to season the grill makes it difficult for food to stick, which means that with a little scrubbing, food and residue should come off with ease.
Cast iron does require some special maintenance, but don’t worry.
If this sounds like a lot of upkeep, it isn’t bad. Put forth the effort just a couple of times a year after near-daily use, and your grill will last for a lifetime or more. Here’s how to get started.
Clean Your Grill
A common misunderstanding is that cast iron is more difficult to clean than stainless steel or other metals. While it is a different process, it is no more difficult than any other material.
Remember to never use abrasive soap when cleaning cast iron. The reason for this is that soap disintegrates oil, and oil is what keeps your cast iron grill from sticking and rusting. If you use soap on it (even once), it is time to season your grill once again.
Instead, use water, a small amount of dish soap, and an abrasive surface like steel wool or a grill scraper. Use a pan scraper as needed for food that is stuck on your grill.
If you find that food is truly stuck to your grill, try boiling the grill in some water and scraping it off. This should loosen it up very quickly.
If you are scraping your cast iron grill with steel wool or another abrasive tool, then you must season your grill from time to time. If you grill a lot in the summer, try to season it once during midsummer and once at the end.
First, remove any food or anything else from your grill using a pan scraper. Make sure there is nothing caked onto the grill.
Next, choose a high smoke point cooking oil like cold-pressed vegetable or canola oil. Use a basting brush or other tool to cover the entire surface of the grill and double-check the entire area.
Lastly, place your cast iron into the grill or the oven at about 400°F for about 30 minutes. Once it’s cooled down, it’s ready for use! Seasoning regularly will keep your grill in good shape for the long haul.
If you don’t plan on using your grill during the winter months, or if you don’t use it every day, then proper storage is crucial for preventing rust.
Always store your cast iron cookware in a dry, warm location, and ensure that the surface is completely dry before doing so. Don’t allow small amounts of water to bead up and start rusting your equipment. Always dry thoroughly with a towel before putting it away.
You can hang it up on the wall, put it in a cabinet, or store it in the pantry, as long as it is dry enough to prevent rust! If you don’t use it for a long period, just check on it. The sooner you scrape off any accumulated rust, the easier it will be.
How to Choose a Cast Iron Grill
Finding the right grill will make sure that your investment lasts a lifetime. However, it’s important to remember that you can have more than one piece of cast-iron cookware. Here’s how to get started on your search.
You need your griddle to match your equipment. A 12-inch cast-iron pan will fit in any heating element, including your oven, stove, and outdoor grill.
However, if you’re looking to replace the griddle inside your outdoor grill, then you will need to measure it out and meet those specifications. The last thing you want is to buy a grill that doesn’t fit.
Type of Cooking
You should also consider the type of cooking you’ll be doing. If it’s all outdoors and you want solid grill marks on your meat, then you will want a true charcoal grill.
If you’re doing indoor cooking and you want to just increase your iron intake and never have to buy pans again, then a simple cast-iron pan should do the trick!
The best cast iron grill is the one that does it all. Some cast-iron charcoal grills act as a smoker, wok, grill, and anything else you can name. You’d be surprised what the right equipment can do for you.
Start ‘Er Up!
Now that you know the benefits of a cast iron grill, you’re probably interested in making the switch for yourself. Well, if you’ve ever heard the phrase “buy once, cry once”, this is the perfect example. Cast iron grills last forever with proper care and cleanup is easier than ever.
Get one for yourself, and stay up to date with our latest lifestyle news!