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The 5 Best Cast Iron Grill Pans
Camping can be lots of fun, and it’s even better with the best cast iron grill pan for camping. Camping is also a lot of work. It’s great fun to go rock climbing, caving, or take casual day hikes before returning to the campsite, or it can be relaxing to read a book while camping next to a lake. One thing that doesn’t go away while camping is the need to eat, and a great vacation can be ruined without planning meals ahead of time, which means cooking when you’re at a campsite. Read our cast iron grill pan reviews to find the best pan on the market today.
In This Article
Best Choice: Cuisinart CIPS30-23 9.25 Inch Cast Iron Grilling Pan in Black
The Cuisinart CIPS30-23 9.25 Inch Cast Iron Black Grill Pan is the best cast iron grill pan for camping because it can be used daily. This griddle evenly cooks food and is perfect for serving small and large groups.
Big enough to use and small enough to carry, my top pick is the Cuisinart CIPS30-23 9.25 Inch Cast Iron Grilling Pan. The cast iron structure has great heat retention and heat distribution that works well for even cooking. The ridges provide grill marks while also allowing excess grease to drain away, leaving only well-cooked, lean meat ready to be served.
The pan is rugged enough to use on an actual campfire or works well with an established base camp using a propane tank to fuel a portable stove top. Whether grilling hot dogs, hamburgers, steaks, or sautéing vegetables, the best cast iron grill pan for camping is going to suit the needs of your cooking style.
Other camping skillets perform the same task, but not quite like a grill pan would. As with other Cuisinart offerings, the item is functional for industrial use and affordable for personal use. You can’t go wrong with this pan whether cooking for a family of four or a group of twenty.
- Strong and reliable reliable enough for daily use
- Cast iron ridges cook meat and vegetables evenly
- A bit on the heavier side to carry
Premium Pick: Lodge Square Ribbed 12-Inch Cast Iron Grilling Pan with Dual Handles
The Lodge Square Ribbed 12-Inch Cast Iron Grilling Pan with Dual Handles is the best cast iron grill pan for camping because it includes a second handle for better control. It drains away grease and is a great option to bring along on your next camping trip.
As a premium pick of the best cast iron grill pans for camping, the Lodge Square Ribbed 12-Inch Cast Iron Grilling Pan with Dual Handles is an undisputed winner. The pan is well-built and trustworthy to use as opposed to thinner cast iron pans, which might break at an inopportune time. The pan is large enough at twelve inches to cook for a group, similar to a traditional smooth bottom circular cast iron pan, but with ridges to drain unnecessary grease and provide a healthier lean meal.
A really nice aspect of the Lodge Grill Pan is the second handle on the far side from the primary handle, which allows for better control of the pan. It provides better leverage and an easier way to lift the pan to and from the stove, or position it on the stove, by grabbing it from either side – with appropriate hand protection against the heat, of course. Although this cast iron grilling pan is designed for the purpose of camping, you’ll find yourself using it at home, whether you have a gas or electric grill, for regular meals.
To research more cast iron products from Lodge, read our Lodge cast iron product reviews here.
- Includes a second handle, which provides better control over the pan
- Grease and oil are drained away from food
- The uncovered handles can burn hands
Best Value: Lodge 10.5 Inch Pre-Seasoned Square Cast Iron Grilling Pan
The Lodge 10.5 Inch Pre-Seasoned Square Cast Iron Grilling Pan is the best cast iron grill pan for camping because it cooks just as well as the larger version. It is easy to pack and carry for a camping trip and is great for a single person or a couple.
Again, Lodge is a great company providing quality products for fair prices, and although the Lodge 10.5 Inch Pre-Seasoned Square Cast Iron Grilling Pan isn’t as capable of cooking for a family or group as the 12″ version, it’s a great economical choice. The pan is essentially the same, but a bit smaller, lighter, and easier to carry than the full-sized version. It will cook just as well as the 12″ Premium Pick; it just won’t cook as much food in one batch as the larger grill pan might allow for, much like smaller cast iron teapots compared to larger camping dutch ovens.
The pan works by distributing heat through the ridges to place sear marks on the meat or vegetable being cooked while distributing heat to cook the food properly. Unhealthy oils remain below the food, providing equal cooking temperatures without being soaked through the food.
The 10.5″ Lodge stove is perfect for the single person or couple who needs only to cook a smaller amount of food than a group requires. The pan, being smaller, heats faster while maintaining the same cooking standards a larger pan is expected to fulfill.
- Smaller pan is easy to pack and carry
- Affordable option that cooks as well as a larger pan
- Doesn’t offer as much room for cooking
Runner Up: Vremi Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Square Grilling Pan with Silicone Handle Cover
The Vremi Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Square Grill Pan with Silicone Handle Cover is the best cast iron grill pan for camping because it features heat protection for safe cooking. It has grease pour-off grooves and an additional handle for extra control.
As a runner-up award, the Vremi Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Square Grill Pan with Silicone Handle Cover deserves recognition. The griddle pan includes a rubber heat grip for the handle, similar to what professional restaurants use, so you can actually grab and maneuver the pan without using an extra glove or mitten. Anyone who cooks on a regular basis understands the importance of such a feature. It allows you to use the pan and be able to touch it while working on other kitchen projects, which require the dexterity unavailable with an oven mitt.
The Vremi Cast Iron Grill is a good, quality piece of iron you can trust on your next camping trip. It has grease pour-off grooves on both sides for ease of use, and a small handle on the opposite side from the main handle so you can control how the pan works in real time when it is hot and weighted with the food you are cooking.
- Features heat protection on the main handle
- Preseasoned pan is ready to use
- The second handle is small
Honorable Mention: All-Clad Hard Anodized Nonstick Square Grill Cookware
The All-Clad Hard Anodized Nonstick Square Grill Cookware is the best cast iron grill pan for camping because it is a versatile option that can be used on a stovetop or oven. It is easy to clean and provides restaurant quality.
The All-Clad Hard Anodized Nonstick Square Grill Cookware deserves an Honorable Mention simply because it’s a great restaurant-quality cooking dish. You can use it to cook on a camp stove, heat the iron over an open fire, and clean the cast iron up a bit and use it during the week on the stove in your house. It’s a rugged and durable frying pan that can stand up to high heat, which can be used on the propane or charcoal grill on your porch or backyard in the evening, indoors on a stove in your kitchen for breakfast, and remain ready for your backpack and camping trip.
The All-Clad is actually made of aluminum, using the ridges as the “Roman Arch” of structural integrity to perform as a traditional cast iron pan. It has a non-stick coating, which is safe up to 500 degrees. In addition to being used at home on a stovetop or in an oven, the All-Clad is dishwasher safe for ease of cleaning.
- The bolted-on, stainless steel handle is reminiscent of restaurant quality and doesn’t get as hot as an integral iron handle
- Nonstick pans are easy to cook on and help with scrubbing clean
- The pan has only one handle and offers less control when weighted with food
Features to Consider for the Best Cast Iron Grill Pan
The best cast iron grill pan for camping offers advantages and disadvantages, according to how you intend to use it. There are a few aspects worthy of consideration before deciding on which pan to purchase. How you think you’ll use the pan is the first consideration. Ask yourself, are you only going to use it when camping, or will you also use it at home when you aren’t camping?
Then consider realistically what camping style you might use the pan for. If you set up a base camp, you’ll likely find the best cast iron grill pan for camping to be a different one than if you go backpacking, canoeing, or engage in another activity, which requires the weight of the pan to be carried.
Once the weight pan you can carry has been established, how you intend to cook on it comes into play. If you intend to cook directly on a campfire, a cast iron Grilling pan is a great choice. The best cast iron grill pan for camping is durable and rugged enough to be placed on top of the actual fire, or on a small grill positioned above the fire, or balanced on rocks placed in the firepit.
Alternately, if the pan is to be used on a camp stove, it’s important to match the best cast iron grill pan for camping to the stove you’ll be using. A small backpacker’s stove isn’t going to be able to evenly distribute the heat through a grill pan. A smaller but efficient grill pan might not work well on a large camp stove using a full-sized, 20-gallon propane tank. Likewise, a smaller double burner stove, which uses a 16-ounce disposable propane tank, is great to cook on, but requires a grill pan appropriately suited for the size of the grill.
Further considerations are how your cast iron pan is going to be used in terms of actual cooking and serving of the food. One pan might be a better choice if everyone in the camp uses it to cook their own food, while another might be better if one person is in charge of cooking for everyone in the camp. A single cook can accommodate a minor shortcoming in an individual pan, or understand how the nuances of the pan affect cooking in it.
In a camp where everybody uses the same pan without personalized instruction or a cast iron cookbook, a more generic style will work better as a pan everyone is at least somewhat familiar with.
Benefits of Using Cast Iron Grill Pans
The benefits of the best cast iron grill pan for camping are indisputable. Cast iron is a great material for cooking on as it evenly disperses the heat source, allowing food to cook evenly, whether placing sliced vegetables on the grill or searing steaks. The grill style of the cooking pan allows excess grease and oil to drain away from the food to be served, making it crispy and delicious instead of saturated in excess grease.
Your cookers should also be easy to clean. If it is left out overnight, it might rust, and leftover food can form a disgusting crusty layer on the pan. These issues can be cleaned and the pan returned to its original cooking condition. The best cast iron grill pan for camping will last a lifetime, comparative to light aluminum pans, which might only be useful for one or two camping trips before being permanently damaged and in need of replacement.
Precautions of Using Cast Iron Grill Pans
As a precaution, even with the best cast iron grill pan for camping, cooking in a campsite can be dirty and leave your dishes even dirtier. A user-friendly note when cleaning your cast iron pan is to cover the outside of the pan with dish soap, as it will make the pan clean up like new when washing the fire’s soot off. Even if you’re using a stove to cook on, camp stoves are notorious for leaving the outside of a dish fouled with soot. You can tell it’s happening when the flame turns yellow or orange – instead of blue as it should be – when properly heated with a steady flow of fuel.
Another major precaution is the weight of the best cast iron grill pan for camping. The pan itself might not seem to weigh much, but will feel exponentially heavier with every step if you have to carry it down a trail along with the rest of your camping gear. Yet another consideration is how the pan will be stored on the drive to and from the campsite. A square grill pan will generally fit with your other gear on the way to the camp, but think about how you’re going to take it home, especially if it isn’t properly cleaned before going back in your car.
To learn more about different cast iron grill pans on the market, check out our Lodge cast iron reviews, Tramontina cast iron reviews, and Finex cast iron reviews to see what these great cast iron brands have to offer.
The fact is, there are as many ways to cook as there are ways to camp. It’s one camping trip to take children to an established campground for a weekend of sleeping in a tent or in the car if the tent fails. It’s another camping expedition to go into a National Forest and park, then walk a short trail to camp deep in the woods. It’s yet another style of camping to hike the Appalachian Trail and carry everything you need to use over the next few months.
Our top pick for the best cast iron grill pan for camping is the Cuisinart CIPS30-23 9.25 Inch Grill Pan in Black. This heavy-duty grill pan will suit your needs for any camping trip because of its small but functional design and high surface area for its weight. Whether you’re cooking chicken breasts, korean bbq, or veggies, this is a great grill pan for any camper.