Cast Iron Skillet Vs Grill Pan For Steak



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Roasting a perfect piece of steak is an art that many people wish to accomplish and boast about to their guests. So, when you are in the market looking for that perfect grilling pan to do justice to your quality butcher cut of Omaha steak, you will have two choices – Cast Iron Skillet and Grill Pan.

Do you want your steak to have those attractive grill marks? Or, are you seeking a perfectly seared crusty exterior? The steak lovers are divided between these two equally alluring and classic choices of making steak.

If you have decided to improve your steak preparing skills then knowing the difference between these two is important. The grills pans help you get those nice brown marks that look good on the steak, but a cast iron pan provides more contact between steak and heated surface, resulting in better browning and flavor.

In this post, we will discuss the difference between the two most popular techniques of preparing a steak – cast iron skillet vs grill pan. In both these methods, you can cook steak by simply tossing them on the grill on high heat or place them on a cast iron pan to get a crispy sear. Below we have brought for you the pros and cons of both the methods to help you choose among the two.

It does not take a rocket scientist to guess that with the right choice of pan you can step up your steak game. However, you need to select one that perfectly suits your taste. Let’s read on to take a closer look at both the sides’ pros and cons.

Pros and Cons of Cast Iron Skillet


Cast iron skillet like this turns out to be a great choice if you want to cook heavier foods such as thick cuts of meat that are rich in fat. Here are some of the main benefits and downsides worth considering when it comes to making steak.

On a cast-iron skillet, you get a consistent heat transfer and distribution over the pan to give your fried and baked foods a nice crust.

The pan can retain heat for a long time to ensure that the food does not become cold quickly and stays warm until you are ready to eat.

You can move the cast iron pan from the stovetop to the oven easily and this is an important attribute for different types of dishes.

This type of pan can be used on coal and also in various other types of outdoor cooking mediums. Some foods taste really good when you prepare them in cast iron pans.

When you season a cast iron pan well, it becomes as good as a non-stick pan and does not allow food to stick on the surface.

If you take good care of the cast iron skillet, the pan will last for a hundred years. The weight also guarantees that you will build up strength when used regularly.


The biggest disadvantage of using a cast iron pan is that it’s too heavy for regular or light use. Furthermore, it requires a lot of attention in terms of proper seasoning and so on.

There are many people who are of the opinion that the cast iron pans are not good-looking.

Pros And Cons Of Grill Pans


The grill pans (see Amazon) are typically heavy and distribute heat evenly like a nice cast-iron pan.

 The grill pans give nice burnt marks to the meat with little black dents and a crusty exterior to match.

If you have a grilling pan that easily sits covering the two burners then you get a lot of surface area to cook items like kababs, chicken breasts, and vegetables.

If you have a reversible grill pan that can flip over a griddle then it comes in handy to make pancakes or several slices of bacon.

There are ridges that allow fat to flow out of meat and drip between the grill grates, so the burgers don’t sit and get soggy in their own juice


If you are using a grilling pan on charcoal or gas, use high heat to get that perfect char and crust. Set your charcoal or gas grill to a high temperature

If you plan to cook a lot of items on high heat then this will results in a lot of smoke in a small area.

Similar to a regular sauté pan, it’s pretty difficult to cook meat thoroughly before the outside gets burned or dry. If the grill pan is small enough, transferring to the oven can be one option.

The double-burner style pan sometimes awkwardly fits over the gas stove grates, so the middle area tends to become a cooler zone.

The mother of all disadvantages is that people find it hard to clean and difficult to store after use.

Tips To Help You Cook Perfectly In Cast Iron and Grill Pan

While achieving that right flavor and taste of steak is hard, spoiling it is relatively easier if you are not careful. In both these methods, you will need to pat dry the steak to get rid of outside moisture. You may season with salt, but do not use any pepper.


Remember to let the steak sit at room temperature for some time before searing. Adding a cold steak to the pan will result in a raw center, so leave it out to get it perfectly cooked with a crusty exterior.

When using a cast-iron skillet, make sure it is 12″ big so that there is enough room to accommodate a lot of food items. We suggest that you put the skillet in an oven so that it preheats to 525 F to give you a consistent temperature and prevent any smoky flavor.

If you are grilling on a charcoal or gas stove, you must ensure that there is high heat (as high as possible). Also, keep the grill lid closed because opening it frequently will reduce the inner temperature. Allow the inside temperature to achieve a minimum of 600 F to get a nice and dark sear line.


In the case of a cast-iron skillet, remove the pan from the oven and adjust the burner to medium-high heat. Now, add a few drops of oil to the pan. Try to mix oils that have different smoking points, for example, avocado oil, grape seed oil, and olive oil. Sear one side, then flip to the other side and repeat the process.

The rendered fat portion in the steak gives the right amount of flavor to the meat. You must also use tongs to cook the sides and edges. Let the steak cook until it reaches the desired level of doneness.

For grilling purposes, you need to oil the steak lightly and put it over the heat directly. If you would like to have that classic diamond pattern cross-hatch on the steak then place it on a 45-degree angle on the grates. Grill one side, flip to another side and repeat grilling.

Resting phase

The point at which you must remove the steak from the cast iron skillet or grill pan is also important. Giving the right resting time is also important to allow the fat inside the meat to redistribute and this is the key to keeping your steak juicier.

You must also remember that the center temperature will increase after removing it from heat. Keep this in mind when deciding at what temperature you remove the steak from the heat.

Can you place a cast iron skillet on grill

Yes, it works perfectly just like you keep a pan on your kitchen gas stove. Put it over the grill grates and let it become really hot before you add a few drops of oil and the steak to it.

What are the other substitutes for a grill pan

You may use alternatives based on what you are cooking. For example, a skillet may be good for frying or grilling food on high heat. Other substitutes include broiler, griddle pan, outdoor grill, electric countertop pan.

See Also:
Pan Fry Vs Grill Steak: Which Is Better
Can You Use A Grill Pan On An Electric Stove
Ribbed vs. Flat Cast Iron Skillet: Which Is Better?

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