Ultimate Crust: Cast Iron Steaks

Ultimate Crust: Cast Iron Steaks

Steak has a special place in my heart.  A very special place.  Often times, after a long day of work, there is nothing more enjoyable than treating myself to a thick slab of beef grilled over hot coals.  While steak on a grate is my preferred method of preparation, I never let my ritual become routine.  Sometimes I use reverse sear, sometimes I plank, and sometimes I use cast iron.

Grilling a steak on either a cast iron skillet or the Gourmet BBQ System griddle, is a fantastic way of creating the ultimate steak crust.  When a steak is cooked over high heat, it experiences what is called the Maillard Reaction, or in more common terms, browning or caramelizing.  No matter the name, it is what makes a steak taste amazing and look delicious

The use of cast iron provides for constant and even contact with the steak versus cooking over grates, only the heated grates help speed the reaction along.  The crust is where the flavor is and the cast iron brings it out.

Here are my two tips for grilling on cast iron:

1.  Make sure the grill is hot and the cast iron pan has plenty of time to pre-heat  It doesn’t need to be hot. It needs to be HOT!

2.  Go simple on the seasonings.  For me, it just takes a little kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, and love.

Change up your routine on one of those special nights and give cast iron a try.  I guarantee you will love the results.


What are your thoughts? (2)


Tom R

Ed P,

My thought is that at very high temperatures a lot, if not most, of the organic flavor compounds are consumed by the heat of combustion.


Ed P

Thanks for this. Let me ask a dumb question: doesn't using a frying pan on the grill defeat the benefit of grilling? I mean, there's no direct smoke or flame, just the surrounding smoke, to the extent it's very smoky at all. I've never understood pan -- cast iron or otherwise -- on the grill, except as a practical matter (for sauces or things that will fall through). Thanks.


Mike Lang

Hi Ed -

Great question! You are correct in that food cooked in a pan does not benefit exactly the same as food grilled directly on hot grates. However, a pan can be used at a higher temperature than a stovetop and also allows for the addition of smoke via wood chips/chunks. As you pointed out, a lot of times I will us a pan for sheer convenience and less clean-up!

I hope this helps!



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