There Was a Hamburger Incident

Brian and I were recently awarded $150 in credit for completing a health assessment for our new health insurance company. Nothing like free money! We promptly bought:

The cast iron grill pan arrived yesterday. It is 20 inches long and weighs 16 pounds. It is clearly intended for some serious two-burner cooking action. I have wanted one of these for a couple of years because I thought it would be a good alternative to our detested Foreman grill. (Really I just want to get a house and have a proper outdoor grill, but all things in good time.)

I feel I should note at this point that in the previous 24 hours I had roasted two chickens and six yams, made chicken salad out of one of those chickens, made 17 hamburgers (two flavors), and made eight cups of a new trail mix creation (recipe to be posted soon, I promise). I still had eight burgers to cook so I was super excited about the grill pan because I could fit all eight of the burgers on it (our Foreman grill only fits four). Though I’ve used cast iron previously, I really had no idea what I was doing. I just wanted to use my new pan and save myself the trouble of cooking two batches of burgers. I cranked the stove up to high and when the grill was hot, put the burgers on. They immediately began smoking. A LOT. I thought once they got seared that the smoke would stop. I was wrong. Our entire kitchen, dining room, and living room immediately filled with smoke. Thick smoke. A lot of thick smoke. I couldn’t see six feet in front of me. I thought maybe I had the heat too high since cast iron is such a good heat conductor so I turned it down to medium and then opened all the windows and the door and put a box fan in the doorway to blow the smoke out. I was coughing the whole time, freaking out about whether Dylan was inhaling all the smoke (he wasn’t because he is short!), and shutting the doors to our bedrooms so they wouldn’t get smokey. I flipped the bugers and celebrated briefly because they had grill marks. Grill marks! The lower heat seemed to reduce the amount of smoke spewing off of the stove, but that is like comparing the flow of a river to that of a firehose. Less, but still a lot. The box fan was doing its job, as evidenced by the thick plumes of smoke billowing out our front door. I was certain that one of our neighbors would call the fire department.

It took about 45 minutes before the air in our apartment was see-through again, and I made an incredible mess. There were grease splatters everywhere, and thanks to the fact that I forgot to oil the grill, we were still trying to liberate charred bits of burger from it this morning. Despite the smoke and the mess and the panic, the burgers did turn out really well, much better than on the Foreman grill. And when the maintenance guys showed up later to fix our eternally-running toilet they were all like, “Mmmm, what are you cooking? It smells really good in here!”


  • Ummm, errr…, so what caused all the smoke? Lack of oil?

  • Got to oil those pans baby! That still wouldn’t have helped much with the smoke though but you wouldn’t be scaping bits off the grill. Also, medium-high would have worked better and would have produced less smoke! Take it from someone whose been there and done that. xoxox

  • Got to oil those pans baby!

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