Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Cast Iron Grilling

Here's my new grill toy: it's a cast iron grill grate made by Lodge. I've been wanting this for quite a while now but I finally gathered up the $30 needed to buy it. In other words, it's fairly cheap to purchase but I've just been lazy and haven't clicked the few buttons on so they could send me one. You might ask, What's so good about cast iron? My grill works fine just as it is. You're right. This item isn't a necessity and that's partly why it took me so long to order it to begin with. Your grill probably works fine, as did mine, but what if you could help it work a little better?

Some higher end grills already come with cast iron grates. Some of them even come with enameled cast iron grates but sadly, my Weber charcoal grill does not - one of the very few pet peeves I have about Weber charcoal grills.

Whether it is a cast iron pan on the stove top or a grill grate like this one, cast iron heats up relatively slowly and evenly but it also holds on to that heat once food has been placed onto it. The advantage is that compared to a thin, wiry grill grate, (like the kind that comes with Weber charcoal grills) food placed on one of these thick cast iron grates will not cool off the metal as quickly. A deeper, darker sear is attained much more easily because the grate says hotter longer.

For our Super Bowl Sunday dinner I grilled a steak. As is evident from these pictures, our super-thick ribeye has dark, smokey, crispy grill marks. Yum! I can easily say that it was the best steak I've cooked on this grill.

The picture above is taken after just one turn so you can clearly see the grill marks made by the cast iron. The steak turned out great; a crisp salty-peppery crust.

Because this ribeye was so thick I only cooked one and sliced it. Served with it is an endive, mushroom, and sweet pea melange that I saw on Jacques Pepin: Fast Food My Way, and a simple baked sweet potato with butter.

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