Perforated grill pans/grill pans with holes are the hol(e)y grail of grilled food lovers. Not only do they keep messy foods like seafood, meats, and veggies from falling apart or slipping through standard grill grates, but they also prevent flare-ups and allow the fat and grease to drain away. In short, due to a series of holes on the bottom, they allow you to cook food in a way that simulates grilling.
That said, choosing the best value-for-money option isn’t easy; you have to keep multiple factors in mind, such as material, handle, rims, size, heat distribution, nonstick coating, ease of use, ease of cleanup, and, last but not least, price. Furthermore, certain things, if present, are a big no-no.
While I don’t claim that the following products are the absolute best, I have checked and tested them against the criteria mentioned earlier and have truthfully listed any flaws.
So, here we go without further ado.
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As one Amazon reviewer puts it, “This is an overlooked jewel.” It finds the top place on our list because it has none of the drawbacks of the other perforated pans: such as the rubber handle, which will melt if you close the grill lid, non-stick coating, which comes off with temperature and time and contaminates the food, and flimsy material which warps over high temperature.
It’s made of carbon steel, nay (more precisely) black steel, which is stronger and more durable than conventional carbon steel. Unlike carbon steel, which is susceptible to corrosion and stains, black steel has a tenacious, dark-colored oxide coating that offers corrosion resistance. Made of black steel, it can withstand well over 1000 F of temperature.
The BK Frying Pan has a riveted cast iron handle, visibly denser and sturdier than the pan. If you close the grill lid, you must use oven mitts to lift it from the handle. This is because the heat from the grill will cause the handle to become very hot. Other than that, the handle and the pan are virtually indestructible.
It also comes pre-seasoned; it has a thin silicone wax coating that just needs a quick wash with soap.
The bottom and the rim have just the optimum number of adequate holes to let some fire come into direct contact with your food. The rims are neither taller nor shorter, just adequate to hold and let you manage whatever you throw into the pan, veggies, potatoes, shrimp, pineapple; you name it.
While (thankfully) it doesn’t have a non-stick coating, it comes pre-oxidized and has a coating of its own in the form of a black patina, making it stain-resistant and easy to clean.
Can’t recommend it enough.
- Durable: The pan is made of black steel, which is stronger and more durable than conventional carbon steel. It can withstand heat well over 1000 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Versatile: Can be used on a stovetop, in an oven, or on a grill.
- Easy to clean: Stain-resistant. Dishwasher safe.
- Affordable: Offers a high level of quality for its price, even worth more than its price tag suggests.
- Not any that I could find or think of.
Outset 76143 Stainless Steel Skillet with Removable Handle – Best value for money
I like the Outset 76143 because it’s made of stainless steel, has no harmful non-stick coating, and comes with a handle you can easily attach and detach. A non-stick, copper, and non-stick, carbon steel offering is also available.
The clasps at the handle are easy to engage and disengage with the pan holes. They don’t accidentally open while shaking or flipping the pan. No, they don’t shut like a clamshell. But they stay together well enough when you grab the handles. You’ll need grill gloves or potholders to attach/detach the handle when the pan sits on the grill.
While it’s not as sturdy and probably won’t withstand as high temperatures as the BK Frying Pan, it’s a steal of a deal for its price point.
- Made of stainless steel; a durable, corrosion-resistant material.
- No harmful non-stick coating.
- Comes with a removable handle, making it versatile for use on the stovetop, in the oven, or on the grill.
- The handle clamps are easy to engage and disengage.
- The pan is relatively inexpensive.
- Not as sturdy as some other perforated pans on the market.
- May not withstand a very high temperature.
- The handle can get hot when the pan is in use, so it is important to use oven mitts or potholders.
OXO Obsidian Pre-Seasoned Carbon Steel, 12″ Frying Pan Skillet with Holes with Removable Silicone Handle Holder
While this one doesn’t have a removable handle, it comes with a removable silicon handle sleeve, which you can remove before closing the lid. It’s made of carbon steel and comes preseasoned–you simply need to give it a quick wash before use.
It has no non-stick coating, so the original deep blue finish won’t last a few uses. However, it develops a black patina of its own over time, which offers some non-stick benefits.
This pan is sturdy and heavy, so it won’t easily warp. It can easily outlast you if properly cared for–that is, you regularly dry and season it after each use.
As for the design, the OXO Obsidian Pan isn’t much different from the other pans on our list–that is, its perforated surface allows for optimal heat distribution and prevents smaller food items from falling through the grill grates. The 12-inch diameter provides ample cooking space, and the raised edges help keep food contained while cooking.
Going through the reviews for this pan, the only complaint I found was that it doesn’t have a non-stick coating and that carbon steel is a pain to take care of. I agree and digress. (I think the real problem is getting one’s ass off and applying a thin layer of oil to the pan after each use. Don’t buy this if you’re a lazy ass like me.)
It bears reiterating that this pan is very sturdy, and you don’t stand a good chance against it in terms of longevity.
- Strong and durable.
- Develops some non-stick properties over time with use.
- Removable silicone handle sleeve for comfortable handling.
- Requires regular seasoning for long-term use.
- Difficult to clean if not seasoned properly.
- Can be heavy for some people.
- Does not have a non-stick coating (some people prefer this).
- Not budget-friendly.
Cuisinart CNW-200 Non-Stick Grilling Skillet, 12″ Inch – Okay with Some Caveats
While the Cuisinart Grilling Skillet has garnered many positive reviews on Amazon, I’m only including this because it’s pocket friendly, and some people’s use cases would match its features.
First off, it boasts a non-stick coating that doesn’t last very long. But it’s a problem with every other cooking utensil. Honestly, I have nothing to blame Cuisinart for.
The other issue is that while the wood handle retracts for storage, it’s not removable. Foldable but not removable. It’d be okay if you put it on an open grill or campfire, but when you close the lid, the handle gets charred (you can use the handle as charcoal the next time.)
Overall, it’s sturdy enough for its price point and, if properly cared for, will last a long time. However, buy it only if you like non-stick coating and use it with your grill lid open.
- Costs very little.
- Non-stick coating.
- Foldable handle.
- Non-stick coating.
- Can’t be used with the grill lid closed.
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