A cast iron grill pan is among the tools every homeowner should have in their kitchen. Whether it’s a recent acquisition or something the family has passed down for generations, you will need to know how to clean a cast-iron grill pan once its service is over.
If properly cared for, the cast iron grill pan is capable of outliving even the most durable stainless or non-stick steel pans you may own. When done cooking with the cast iron grill pan, make sure to care for it using the tips recommended below to guarantee its longevity.
Below is a look at the recommended ways you can use when cleaning cast iron. Once the cast iron pan is clean, read on to learn how you can preserve its integrity by re-seasoning and getting rid of excess water.
Though simple, boiling water is recommended for occasions when there are big food particles in your pan. It also works when you are short on cleaning supplies. Only use this method with grill pans having tall sides to ensure the pans will get to keep the water in.
Use this method:
- Place the grill pan on top of the stove and add 2-3 inches of water
- Allow the water to boil for a few minutes. This is meant to allow the food particles to start floating toward the surface.
- Get a spatula and use it to scrape off any food still stuck on the pan’s ridges
- Leave the pan to cool down for a few minutes before dumping the residue and the water down the drain
- Using hot water, carefully rinse out your pan
- Take a dry paper towel and use it to wipe away any food particles remaining in the pan.
Salt & Water
Did you know chefs prefer using salt as opposed to detergent when cleaning cast iron grill pans? Kosher salt has a coarseness which makes it an abrasive cleaning solution you can use when trying to eliminate food particles stuck on the grill.
Salt and water are the recommended methods for cleaning cast iron and for maintaining its seasoned surface.
You need to:
- Allow the pan a few minutes to cool down, but don’t let it cool down completely
- Grab some kosher salt and pour a generous amount to cover its surface
- Take a small amount of hot water and slowly pour it onto the surface. The salt should start forming a paste.
- Using a sponge, slowly use this salt paste to clean around your pan. Make sure to also clean around its sides and between the ridges.
- Take some hot water and use it to rinse the pan.
- If necessary, repeat this procedure.
Best Way to Clean Cast Iron Skillet
A well-seasoned cast-iron skillet offers the best surface for preparing your meals as it’s able to heat food more evenly, regardless of whether using an oven or a stove. This aside, a cast iron skillet isn’t easy to maintain as it’s advised against trying to wash it clean.
So, how do you go about the process of removing leftover food, grease, and gunk from the cast iron skillet without damaging it?
Using Soap and Water
Yes, you read that right!
As the cast iron skillet has been passed down for many generations, chances are that you have also been cautioned against using soap.
But what you may not know is that using soap and water is an effective method to clean brand-new cast iron and remove rust.
Using soap and water when cleaning the cast iron skillet is a method that can easily get rid of the seasoning built up over many uses. As such, this method should only be used when it’s necessary.
- Measure a small amount of detergent or non-abrasive soap and place it in the middle of your skillet.
- Using a sponge, scrubber, or steel wool, gently scrub down the skillet’s surface using a small amount of hot water and soap.
- Use hot water to rinse the skillet
- Take a non-abrasive pad or sponge and use it to scrub one more time around the skillet using some soap.
- Place some hot water in the skillet to get rid of any remaining soap residue
How to Season a Cast Iron Pan
How long the cast iron grill pan or skillet will last in any kitchen is determined by what its owner does after the cleaning exercise.
When proper care is accorded to the grill pan in between its uses, it can last for generations to come.
Having used any of the cleaning methods described above, you will need to eliminate any water remaining on it in readiness for the re-seasoning process.
Before seasoning cast iron, remember it is highly susceptible to rust.
This calls for you to dry it completely before storing it. When done cleaning, place it in an oven or on top of your stove and dry it at a temperature of between 450°F to 500°F.
confirm all the water has evaporated and then use a paper towel to rub a neutral oil around the pan.
Ensure the paper towel gets its handle, bottom, sides, and surface. When done with the rubbing, use another paper towel to get rid of any excess oil. Leave it on the stovetop until it has started smoking.
For homeowners using an oven, you should leave it inside the oven for at least one hour. Give it ample time to cool down before removing it.
Tips for Taking Care of Your Cast Iron Grill Pan
As a proud grill pan owner, the method you choose to use when cleaning the grill will probably be determined by your preferred cleaning techniques. But no matter which method you settle for, you still want to ensure the pan gets to last for a few more years.
You can extend its lifespan by implementing the following tips:
- When using an oven to re-season the grill pan, make sure to place it in an upside-down manner. Also, ensure to spread a foil beneath the skillet. This will allow any remaining excess oil to slowly drip off.
- During the process of re-seasoning, you will need to leave the oven to become as hot as possible. By doing this, you are making sure the oil will get to surpass its smoking point. It will then start to break down allowing it to begin bonding with your cast iron leaving.
- Don’t allow the pan to come into contact with any cold water. You can prevent warping by using hot water to clean it, or by first allowing it to cool down to your touch.
If the cast iron has a lid, take care not to store it with its lid. Doing so is likely to trap moisture in the space between the pan and the lid which will result in rusting.
Each person will have a preferred technique for use in cleaning the cast iron pan. The method chosen may be based on efficiency, access to supplies, or ease of cleaning.
Regardless of the method you choose, it’s important to remain diligent and consistent with the after-cooking care processes. Grill pans get better with time, more so when care is taken to properly preserve them.