Grill Pan Style
There are multiple styles of grill pans available. Grill pans range from simple 10 inch round pans to 24 inch two burner reversible grill/griddle. Let’s explore some of the more relevant options.
Height and slope of sides: This is actually a pretty important item to consider. Grill pans with no or low sloped sides make it easy to reach in and slide a spatula under your food. If the sides of the pan are high then the pan can hold more volume. This would be important if you planned on adding veggies and stock to your seared chicken and wanted to let it finish in the oven. Personally I like the low and sloped sides of the Lodge Pro-Logic square 12 inch grill pan as it gives a little of the best of both worlds.
Grill pan or reversible griddle pan: Many people are tempted by the reversible grill/griddle. They have echoes of Alton Brown telling them to “never buy a uni-tasker”. They have fantasies about grilling steaks for dinner then making pancakes for breakfast. In reality most people either have a need for a grill pan or they have a need for a griddle but rarely do they have a need for both.
Single or double burner: This will depend upon the size of your cooking aspirations. For most people the single burner is all they will need. Keep in mind that for double burner grill pans that the area between the burners will not be as hot as the areas directly above the burners. This isn’t necessarily a flaw, just something to be aware of.
If you are seriously considering a double burner grill pan you might also want to consider getting two single burner pans instead. Having two grill pans offers greater flexibility while sacrificing little in terms of cooking capacity. The double burner grill pans are rather large and heavy making them awkward to handle. Double burner grill pans are also too large to fit into a kitchen sink if you ever needed to soak them.
I own a 24” cast iron double burner reversible grill/griddle. I bought it because it was big (“I can grill a lot of stuff!”) and reversible (“I’ll fix pancakes for my kids!”). It used it twice and stuck it in a closet.
Construction: You can get grill pans that are seasoned cast iron, enameled cast iron and clad aluminum. I have written about those options here.