As a chef who lives in a condo and is not only stuck without natural gas service to the kitchen and a fire marshal's city-wide ban on barbecue grills on the terraces, I ended up with a ceramic-topped cooker that really doesn't get along well with cast iron cookware.
For many years I had to dream of the day when I could just use my two-sided cast iron grill-n-griddle in my own kitchen.
I spent a long time hunting around for an indoor electric "barbecue" grill, and after reading all the dissatisfied reviews, I moved on to try locating a one-sided cast iron grill that would treat my cook-top well and deal with the difficult heat transfer from an electric stove element without making my life miserable.
I don't know why I hadn't found Lodge Signature cookware before this, but those days are now over.
Anyone who has used cast iron (correctly) doesn't need a review of what it can do for food. There are many people who have tried it, and developed a hatred for it; it can be fussy. If you are new to cast iron, many of the other reviews have very good suggestions and care tips, as do the instructions that come with the pan. But, treated well and used properly, there is no comparison.
Enter this grill pan, and the gap between pressed aluminium and cast iron just gets wider.
Now, this is cast iron, so the list is identical to any other pan of its kind, EXCEPT: The bottom of this grill pan is FLAT.
It's COMPLETELY *flat*. And, SMOOTH.
Not to sound "dirty", but it's as flat and smooth as a Le Creuset's bottom.
Unlike most other cast iron pans that not only have a bottom-side ridge around the perimeter of the pan, but also have raised or depressed manufacturer logos making the bottom surface very irregular, this one has nothing but smoothness.
What does that mean, and why am I doting over it? Well, that means:
1. I can use it on my ceramic-top cooker (as long as I don't slide it or drop it), and
2. It will heat evenly on any electric cook-top without the need for heat spreaders.
It does have those shiny stainless handles that stay cooler than the all-cast-iron pans to be had for a lot less money, but so do my pressed aluminium Calphalon and All-Clad pans. So, that doesn't budge me one way or the other.
The big deal for me is that beautifully smooth bottom it's got.
Well, it's cast iron, so it's friggin' heavy, and it requires the same tiny bit of extra care that all cast iron cookware requires.
But, given that extra care and attention (found in the use and care manual that usually comes with all cast iron cookware), and this particular grill pan will produce wonderfully "near-as-outdoor-barbecue" food as you can possibly get in a condo, on a ceramic-top cooker--and that's pretty darned close.