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The Best Way to Clean a Cast-Iron Grill Pan

By Lisa McManus Published

Getting stuck food out of a grill pan can be a pain, but a few tips and an essential tool make it simple.

When it comes to using a cast-iron grill pan, for some people the biggest sticking point—if you’ll pardon the awful pun—is getting the pan clean afterward. Those ridges that create gorgeous grill marks can also trap food residue and grease. 

Cookware manufacturers sometimes include (or sell separately) credit card–size plastic grill-pan scrapers edged with teeth that you slide along the pan’s ridges. We tried two models from Le Creuset and Cuisinel, but we found them fussy to use and far less effective than our favorite scrub brush, the O-Cedar Rinse Fresh Pot & Pan Brush. Its long handle keeps your hands out of hot water, and its long, firm bristles effectively reach between even the narrowest, tallest ridges. A separate row of extra-stiff bristles routed the toughest stuck food without damaging the pan’s seasoning. Because its widely spaced bristles rinsed clean of both food and soap residue between uses, we could use it with soap on enameled grill pans or without soap on uncoated seasoned cast iron with equal effectiveness. 

After scrubbing and rinsing the pan clean, we recommend handling it just like any cast-iron or carbon-steel skillet: Return it to the stovetop on medium-low heat to dry it thoroughly, and then wipe it all over with a few drops of vegetable oil (using paper towels) until the pan is very lightly coated but not shiny or greasy. Heat it for a few more minutes over medium heat to help polymerize the oil and bond it to the surface, and then let the pan cool completely on the stovetop before putting it away—ready for your next grilling session.

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.