The Best Thing I’ve Ever Bought from Lodge Isn’t a Traditional Cast Iron Skillet
Don’t get me wrong, I love my cast iron skillet — the only vessel in which to coax white bread with a thin layer of Duke’s mayonnaise into the perfectly crisp exterior of a grilled cheese sandwich; the only pan for searing a bone-in pork chop; and, though this may surprise you, the ideal tool for achieving the crunchy-bottom, steamed-top texture nexus that defines potstickers.
But this isn’t an ode to the cast iron skillet. It’s a paean to the cast iron skillet’s bigger, more versatile cousin, the Lodge Cast Iron Reversible Grill/Griddle. Though I was skeptical at first (the box was unwieldy, and didn’t I already have an electric skillet and a duo of well-loved outdoor grills?), over the past year this pan and I have seen a lot of each other.
The grill/griddle comes pre-seasoned, which is great for getting started, and after a few uses it picks up a seasoning all its own, like cooking on a layer of fond memories. I also love the way the grill side heats up fast, spread across two burners of my stovetop, creating distinct cooking zones just like an outdoor grill. I start proteins on the hottest spots to develop those coveted grill marks, and then I relocate them to a slightly cooler location to continue cooking while I move on to the vegetables. In the end, everything is ready at the same time, looking convincingly grilled even when I couldn’t be bothered to wait for coals to heat up or to stand outside while enduring less-than-ideal weather.
But even during the height of grill season, when I barely have time to put the covers back on my CharBroil and Kudu grills before firing them up again, I find myself leaning on the griddle side of this pan for everything from smash burgers to pupusas to pancakes. It has entirely displaced my electric skillet because the griddle is bigger, offers more consistently distributed heat, and thanks to this tip, is easier to clean than that countertop hog ever was. When I’m done, the griddle stows neatly in my sheet pan cabinet. Not so unwieldy after all!
Back to the grilled cheese. Have you ever noticed that the second grilled cheese to come out of the pan is never as good as the first and by the time you get around to the fourth one, it’s just a maddeningly burnt disaster and you’re not even hungry anymore? Now that I’m a griddle person, I can cook four grilled cheeses at once, which means each one comes out exactly right and at the same darn time. Mom’s not eating last today, kids! Grilled cheese for everyone!
And that gives me an idea: This summer, I’ll be packing up the grill/griddle for a trip to the beach house, where there are never enough pans to cook all the eggs for vacation breakfast … until now.