Cook With Iron—Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Cast Iron on the Grill

Cook With Iron—Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Cast Iron on the Grill

Many wouldn’t think of ever using cast iron cookware on a grill. Isn’t capturing an open flame through the grates what grilling is all about? Yes and no. There are some foods too delicate or small to cook over a strong, open flame. Plus, cleaning the grill can sometimes be worse than a colonoscopy.

Add a cast iron pan to your grilling adventures and create unique ways to cook and sear over the intense heat generated by your barbecue.

Advantages of Grilling with Cast Iron Appliances

  • Can be used for grilling, frying, searing, roasting, sauteing, and slow cooking.
  • More evenly distributed heat leads to even temperature distribution and more controlled cooking. No more burning half of your steak because of uneven flames and flareups.
  • Stays hotter, longer. Sautee some vegetables or onions and let them simmer as you grill the rest of your meal.
  • Allows for low-temperature cooking. Heat up the pan and then remove from the direct heat source before adding your food.
  • Naturally feeds iron into your food. The acidity from the food and how well seasoned the pan determines the amount of iron released. The thicker the seasoning, the less iron is released.
  • Much easier to clean, especially when seasoned.

Disadvantages of Grilling with Cast Iron Appliances

  • Cast iron is the heaviest type of cookware you will ever use.
  • Not great for boiling water or cooking acidic foods. Acid in food or boiling water could strip away the cast iron pan’s seasoning, which could then lead to rust.
  • May warp if subject to extreme temperature changes. Dropping a hot pan into warm or cold water could lead to your pans becoming deformed.
  • It takes a while to heat up because heat is evenly distributed across the entire pan. Wait until the pan is at the right temperature before cooking.
  • The handle gets extremely hot. If you do not have a pair of leather grilling gloves, handling the pan over a grill can become a chore (or lead to severe burns).
  • Continued seasoning is essential, especially if you grill with it often, or use it to saute a lot of acidic dishes.
  • Susceptible to rust if not maintained properly.

Maintain Your Cast Iron Cookware

For years of grilling with your cast iron cookware, follow these important maintenance tips.

  • When cleaning, rinse with a soft rag or sponge and dry thoroughly. If needed, use a soft soap and abrasive sponge (just be careful to re-season often if you do).
  • Never put cast iron cookware in the dishwasher or use scouring brushes or abrasive sponges. (If you must use abrasive material to remove large food items, it’s time to season the pan.)
  • Wait until the pan is room temperature before cleaning. Never place a searing hot pan into warm or cold water! • Season your cast iron cookware often.

Seasoning Your Cast Iron Cookware

We’ve said it a lot, so it must be important. Seasoning your cast iron cookware adds a clean non-stick layer to your pan and protects it from deteriorating with rust.

To perfectly season your cast iron cookware, thoroughly wipe or spray with canola, grapeseed, or coconut oil the same way you would your grill. Wipe away any excess oil and place the entire pan in the oven on high heat.

Best Reasons to Use a Cast Iron Skillet on the Grill

  • Searing and cooking the perfect steak (or hamburger!). Just remember to remove the meat from the pan immediately after cooking. Meat will continue to cook, even after removing the pan from the direct flame.
  • Sauteing vegetables, such as corn, asparagus, or green beans.
  • Frying some tasty bacon right after your main meat dishng.
  • Cooking delicate food prone to sticking, such as fish, shrimp, and scallops.
Feb 09, 2024 DIY BBQ

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