Nice and roomy so food has plenty of space to cook without crowding; even heating and an effective nonstick coating.
Doesn’t make great grill marks; food can end up steaming, not searing.
A decent indoor grill, especially if you need to cook off lots of stuff at one time. Still, the low-rise ridges mean this is more of a glorified griddle than a true grill pan.
We’ll come clean: We’ve been using an older sibling of this All-Clad grill in the CHOW Test Kitchen for years. Grill pans are ideal for simplified meals—all those pork chops, salmon steaks, and asparagus spears you want to cook up fast, even if you don’t have access to an outdoor grill or don’t feel like firing up the one you do have. The main things to look for in the kind of large grill pan that spans a couple of range-top burners are heat distribution (are there annoying hot spots?) and depth of the grill ridges (you want them deep enough to keep foods from steaming in the fats and juices that escape during cooking). Even though we’ve long used another version of the same pan, we took our brand-new All-Clad Hard Anodized Nonstick Grande Grille Pan out of its box, fired up a couple of burners, and prepared to take a look with new eyes.
The Grande Grille Pan is part of All-Clad’s Hard Anodized collection, so it’s anodized aluminum coated with a nonstick surface that All-Clad doesn’t give specifics on. Empty, the pan weighs 7 pounds, and it measures 20 inches long, 12 3/4 inches wide, and 3 inches high (the sides themselves are only an inch tall). The stainless-steel handles are riveted to the pan (All-Clad says they’re designed to stay cool even when the pan is hot), and the grips bend inward for somewhat easier lifting. The grill ridges are rounded like speed bumps and pretty short—only about 1/16 of an inch high. There are two pour spouts at opposite corners for pouring off fats and other liquids. The pan’s designed for both gas and electric cooktops, and it’s oven-safe to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. All-Clad recommends using wood, plastic, or heat-resistant nylon utensils so you don’t scratch the nonstick coating, which is hand-wash only (no abrasive scrubbies or harsh detergents, please). There’s a lifetime warranty.
To see how the Grande Grille Pan heats, sears, and resists sticking, we tested three proteins: burgers (via CHOW’s Perfect Cheeseburger), skin-on salmon, and pork tenderloin.
Burgers: We cooked four patties on high heat (there was plenty of room for more). Those short, rounded grill ridges didn’t yield very distinct grill marks. And though some grease did run into the shallow well around the edge of the pan, the rest simply pooled under the burgers. They ended up cooking in their own grease, like diner-style patties cooked on a flattop griddle. The cheese that oozed off the patties crisped on the grill but didn’t stick—it reminded us a little of cheese crisps.
Salmon: We cooked a pair of skin-on salmon fillets, each about 9 inches long, sprinkled with salt and pepper. We brushed the Grande Grille lightly with oil and heated it. We cooked the skin side of the fish for 5 minutes, flipped, and cooked the naked side another 4. Result: nicely cooked fish with crispy skin and absolutely no sticking to the pan.
Pork tenderloin: We rubbed a 1-pound pork tenderloin with oil, salt, and pepper and dropped it onto the Grande Grille on medium heat. We turned the pork every few minutes; after about 30 minutes it was cooked through. Result: decent sear marks and zero sticking.
General stuff: Overall, this pan offers a nice wide surface that can accommodate a lot of food, a definite plus if you’re feeding a family. It feels solid, but it’s light enough to haul on and off the stove without arm strain, and the corner pour spouts are handy. The sides aren’t super high, but that makes it easy to invert another pan or baking sheet over food that you need to cover while cooking. And though we appreciate that the Grande Grille is oven-safe, the low sides call for caution, since grease can slosh around when transferring from stove to oven and back again.
Photos by Chris Rochelle