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Thread: How do YOU clean your cast iron grill pan?

  1. #1
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    How do YOU clean your cast iron grill pan?

    I absolutely adore my cast iron grill pan. Since I don't have an outdoor grill and have a tiny galley kitchen this thing gets used at least once but sometimes up to three times a week. Now that summer is here I would use it more but am frustrated with cleaning it. It is nearly impossible. Marinades goop up and are practically welded to it. I have scrubbed with sponges, brillo pads, and most recently wadded up tin foil. (The tin foil works best, buy the way.) Still, I feel like it is never clean. I saw on Alton Brown to put coarse salt between the ridges to prevent extended clean up but that seemed to gunk it up worse. (BTW, I am not putting meats with excessive amounts of marinate on the grill either.) What are your best tips for cleaning your non-enamel coated grill pan?

  2. #2
    No steel wool, brillo pads. I use just plain water, the hottest I can stand, and a scotch brite (the green ones) pad and that's it. It takes some elbow grease but I do get it clean.
    "Everyone is kneaded out of the same dough but not baked in the same oven." - Yiddish Proverb

  3. #3
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    Wadded up tinfoil is bad, bad, bad! Right up there with steel wool and brillo pads! A Scotch Bright pad or a stiff brush along with elbow grease is really all you need. As far as thinking it's clean though if you have you doubts then do a salt scrub (using that stiff brush again) or just put it back on the burner (which you should do anyway to completely dry it) for an extended period. that will help to burn off any leftover residue and then just wip with a high smoke point oil (canola or grapeseed...my favorite).
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  4. #4
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    I got so tired of cleaning mine that I gave it away. (Plus, I can't use it on my glass cooktop, so that made it easier to give up on it!)
    Okay...it's time to pull up your big-girl panties and get on with it. (Seen on a bathroom wall.)

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  5. #5
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    Are you "seasoning" your grill pan? Cast iron pans, once well seasoned, require very little cleaning. After using it, clean it -- I use hot water and a scrubby -- then oil it liberally and put it in a 400 degree oven for at least 20 or up to 30 minutes. Take it out, let it cool, put it away. Do that every time you use it and eventually, it almost cleans itself. After a while, a well-seasoned black iron skillet (or grill pan) needs only occasional seasoning. Also, are you putting any oil in it when you use it? That will also help with the cleaning.

    Denise
    "If you're lucky enough to live in the mountains, you're lucky enough."

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcollier
    Are you "seasoning" your grill pan? Cast iron pans, once well seasoned, require very little cleaning. After using it, clean it -- I use hot water and a scrubby -- then oil it liberally and put it in a 400 degree oven for at least 20 or up to 30 minutes. Take it out, let it cool, put it away. Do that every time you use it and eventually, it almost cleans itself. After a while, a well-seasoned black iron skillet (or grill pan) needs only occasional seasoning. Also, are you putting any oil in it when you use it? That will also help with the cleaning.

    Denise
    Agree with Denise, mine is well seasoned and nothing ever sticks to it. I use plain dish soap and water to wash it and the seasoning doesn't come off. I think it might be 20 years old, though.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the tips. While I have seasoned it numerous times and let it dry in the oven its still a chore to clean. I think being under a year old it just needs more use to get the good non-stickness that my cast iron pans have. (The pans were used by both grandmother and great granmother so they are slippery, slippery!)

  8. #8
    I almost always fill it up with water, and heat it to a boil. That usually loosens up any gunk stuck to the bottom.

  9. #9
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    OK - now I'm confused. After you scrub it, do you then put it on the burner to dry or put it in the oven to heat it?

    And when do you oil it? Before or after you put it either on the burner or in the oven?

    Editing to Add: Can someone please tell me what you do to season your pan? I have 2 - a 12-inch and an 8-inch and both could use some re-seasoning. I know I'd use them more if I had them better seasoned.

    Thank you!

    Loren
    The term "working mother" is redundant.

  10. #10
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    After I clean mine, I lightly dry it with a paper towel and put about a tablespoon of oil in it and coat the entire inside (bottom and sides) using a paper towel. Honestly, I've never measured how much oil -- this is a guess. Then I put it in a 400 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes. I've never seasoned mine on top of the stove, but obviously that's done also. After I take it out, I let it cool on top of the stove, then put it away. After lots of use, it will be easy to clean and require only occasional seasoning. I promise!

    Denise
    "If you're lucky enough to live in the mountains, you're lucky enough."

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gracie
    OK - now I'm confused. After you scrub it, do you then put it on the burner to dry or put it in the oven to heat it?

    And when do you oil it? Before or after you put it either on the burner or in the oven?

    Editing to Add: Can someone please tell me what you do to season your pan? I have 2 - a 12-inch and an 8-inch and both could use some re-seasoning. I know I'd use them more if I had them better seasoned.

    Thank you!

    Loren
    Hi Loren!

    With all my cast iron I clean with hot water and a plastic srubbie or brush. Then I put on the stove top (with the burner on) to dry. After it has dried (I don't think a paper towel really gets it completely dry) I season with an oil that has a high smoke point; usually it's grapeseed oil or sometimes avocado oil or even regular olive oil.

    The only time I season in the oven is when the pan is brand new and I'm coating the outside as well. For the oven method you should really place a sheet of foil on the rack underneath the rack the pot is on because the pot should be upside down. Though new pots/pans are done at a much lower temp (250 degrees) for a couple of hours. the pot is then left in the oven while it cools down (I do them at night).
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gracie
    OK - now I'm confused. After you scrub it, do you then put it on the burner to dry or put it in the oven to heat it?

    And when do you oil it? Before or after you put it either on the burner or in the oven?

    Editing to Add: Can someone please tell me what you do to season your pan? I have 2 - a 12-inch and an 8-inch and both could use some re-seasoning. I know I'd use them more if I had them better seasoned.

    Thank you!

    Loren
    My cast iron skillet sat in the cupboard for the longest time while I struggled with "properly" seasoning it...I followed all the procedures, but it never seemed right. I finally just started using it, and I now think that after an inital seasoning following the directions others have given, you really just need to start frying stuff up! I really have only been using mine for a year or so, and already it cleans up really easily and requires very little effort to maintain.

  13. #13
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    Thank you all for clarifying!

    The bottoms of both my pans get rust on them, from improper drying that would be eliminated by using the top of the stove to dry them.

    I think they'd both benefit from the in-oven drying, too, or maybe even a complete re-seasoning.

    Meganator - I'm right there with you about not using my pans while struggling to season. You're right - I should just use them!

    Loren
    The term "working mother" is redundant.

  14. #14
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    We are having gas grill problems so we broke out the grill pan and used that instead -- the pork chops tasted even better than on the regular grill, which surprised me!

    I didn't know how to clean it so I looked up this thread but I have a question. Obviously I need to season the pan, which doesn't sound too bad actually but should I clean it with soap first? Middydd was the only poster who mentioned using dish soap. It just seems gross to me not to use soap since we used it to cook raw meat. But I don't want to screw up my pan! Any advice?
    Michelle

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by kcmo727
    We are having gas grill problems so we broke out the grill pan and used that instead -- the pork chops tasted even better than on the regular grill, which surprised me!

    I didn't know how to clean it so I looked up this thread but I have a question. Obviously I need to season the pan, which doesn't sound too bad actually but should I clean it with soap first? Middydd was the only poster who mentioned using dish soap. It just seems gross to me not to use soap since we used it to cook raw meat. But I don't want to screw up my pan! Any advice?
    If you use your cast iron properly then you won't need any soap ever! You need to preheat the pan before using which will eliminate any contaminates and once you're finished you scrub with hot water and a plastic scrubbing implement and then heat again which will once again eliminate any contaminates. Season with a tsp or so of oil and store it till next time. You heat it long enough to see a bit of smoke then let cool a bit before adding the oil(mostly so you dont' burn yourself) and then cool completely before storing.
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  16. #16
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    Aha -- the heat kills the germs! Okay, now I feel much better. Thank you, Sneezles.
    Michelle

  17. #17
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    If your pan is completely cast iron (including the handle), you can use the method my Dad taught me - build a wood fire and place the pan in it, heaping hot coals on top/in the pan. Then just let it burn (several hours). All the crud will end up turning to ash, leaving the cast iron.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by TerriW
    If your pan is completely cast iron (including the handle), you can use the method my Dad taught me - build a wood fire and place the pan in it, heaping hot coals on top/in the pan. Then just let it burn (several hours). All the crud will end up turning to ash, leaving the cast iron.
    Terri,
    That's how we clean our cast iron when we're camping...especially the larger Dutch ovens.
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

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