For centuries, cast iron has been the material of choice for making indestructible, heat-conducting pans for serious cooks. Cast iron pans were passed down from grandmothers to mothers and daughters. They lasted indefinitely. Then along came stainless steel, all-clad, and various non-stick pans and cooks seemed, for a while at least, to have forgotten good quality cast iron pans. Not Finex Cast Iron Company, a group of crazy, perfection-driven forge pros based in Portland, Oregon, who make heirloom quality cast iron cookware. They’ve created a line of high-quality cast iron cookware inspired by vintage cast iron skillets that belong in every cook’s kitchen.
Finex cast iron pans are big and made with heavy duty iron. The grilling surfaces are machined and polished. They’re also pre-seasoned with natural flax seed oil for quick release. The grill pans feature extra wide ridges for perfect grill marks and they’re safe for all cook tops, ovens and grills. All the pans feature Finex’s unique geometric shapes (no round pans here).
The Finex line includes a number of cast pans: a 1-quart sauce pot, 8” and 10”skillets, a 10” grill, a 10” sear pan, a 10” and 12” lid, and a 12” twin spring grill pan. The pans range in price from $125-270.
Heavy Gauge, Fast, Even Heating
Our editors field tested the Finex 12” twin spring grill pan ($225) and we were impressed. Let me say that we’re big cast iron fans. The RFT test kitchen is filled with old-style cast iron pans and griddles from companies like Lodge, Wagner, and Griswold. Our Finex grill pan stood up with the best of them.
The 12” grill pan is the largest Finex makes (17” across). It’s designed for indoor grilling and holds a lot of food. The heavy (12.5 lb.) pan heats quickly and evenly and, on our high-powered Wolf gas range, got searingly hot. We grilled some cap steaks (the top, super-tender portion of prime rib) and the surface of the meat seared beautifully, keeping the steaks juicy inside. The BBQ-width grill ribs made perfect grill marks and captured smoky BBQ flavors just like an outdoor grill, but without the flare-ups. The extra-deep, machined grill ribs provided quick-release and allowed the meat drippings to gather on the bottom while keeping the steaks juicy and moist without soaking them in fat.
We also grilled some Johnsonville brats on the Finex cast iron grill pan. Like with the steak, the grill pan produced nice grill marks and quickly and efficiently cooked the brats. The directions on the brats package suggested adding some water partway through cooking to keep in the moisture. We added water, which quickly turned to steam in the hot pan, but, without a lid also quickly dissipated. So we improvised, using a large round lid on our not-so-round grill pan. It worked and the brats came out deliciously moist and smoky. However, we’d love it if Finex made a lid to fit this excellent grill pan.
The unusual, geometric shape of the Finex pans is an issue—both good and bad. The good is the pans are sophisticated and cool looking. The stylish, geo designs look great on any stove. The shape of the iron sauce pan makes pouring easy. However, the unusual shapes also make finding a lid problematic. I can’t just grab one of the lids from my other cast iron sets. With Finex, it has to be one of their proprietary-shaped lids to get a good fit. I inquired with Finex, but they currently only make lids for the 10” and 12” skillet pans. And that’s the bad.
Cleanup on the Finex grill pan proved easy. Initially, the grill pan’s ridges were shiny silver. This quickly disappeared as we used the pan and it darkened. For cleanup, sometimes all that’s needed is a quick wipe with paper towels. Other times, a bit of warm, soapy water does the trick. Each time, the pan came easily clean.
The twin coiled polished metal handles are advertised as quick cool. However, we found the pan and the handles stay hot for some time. The handles certainly cool faster than the thick pan surface. However, we advise using hot pads.
The Finex 12” grill pan, which like all Finex pans are made in the USA, comes with the Good Forever guarantee. That means the folks at Finex will replace any Finex cast iron product that fails due to “honest use”. And that works for us. We’ll be adding the Finex 12” Grill Pan to our growing collection of fine cast iron pans. This one is good or better than any cast iron pan we’ve ever used and we know you’ll find the same results with Finex pans. – Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor
Finex cast iron pans are sold in better kitchen stores like William-Sonoma and on the company’s website.