When it comes to accessories, pans are one item we’ve played with a bunch. Here are some things we’ve learned about pans, probably more than you want to know!
Round pans are a great match for the round ceramic grills. Drip pans come in varying sizes, thicknesses, materials and can be used to (1) catch drippings and/or (2) act as the indirect piece.
On thickness, pans typically range from 24-gauge to 14-gauge. The lower gauge number means thicker the material. For example with aluminum, 18-gauge material is 1-millimeter thick. 14-gauge is 50% thicker at 1.5-millimeters.
On materials, there is variety. Cast iron is heavy but it requires seasoning and added care. Stainless (18-8 or 304 grades) is good, but it can be expensive and difficult to find. Aluminum is readily available, light weight and won't rust, making it a practical choice.
One note on aluminum, it melts around 1000 degrees Fahrenheit and lump burns slightly hotter than 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, so care must be taken not to melt the pan. Simply do not use aluminum pans directly over the lump (on the Spider) while doing a high temperature cook. You can melt the pan.
There are several coatings, mostly nonstick, available today. Some have questionable uses in high heat situations. So, our philosophy is simple: Except porcelain products, we don’t use coated pans in our ceramic grills. It’s the easiest way to avoid confusion and uncertainty. We stay clear of Pyrex brand products too. We read the Do’s and Do not’s on Pyrex’s site and concluded it’s not for us. Some pans use tin or tin-on-steel. We don’t use tin as it requires seasoning and added care. There is aluminized steel, steel with a very thin coating of aluminum for protection. We have no experience with aluminized steel cookware, so we can’t comment. As a side bar to non stick surfaces, here are links to Dupont (Teflon) and Pyrex’s products pages:
The depth of a pan is a bit trickier. You can find pans in numerous depths, ranging from a thin rolled edge to 3" deep. So how do you pick the proper depth? Well, that’s a personal decision but here are a couple indicators that may help you decide.
- Short pans have the least amount of impact on air circulation. So pick the shortest pan you feel comfortable using.
- Realize even though your ceramic grill is built level, you may not have it sitting level. The slightest incline in your table or nest can impact the pan’s ability to hold liquids. Remember, liquids sit level to the Earth and not your grill.
- When using liquids, you need extra depth to prevent spills. The most difficult movement is removing a liquid filled pan after the cook. If you don’t use liquids, shorter rimmed pans are better since the drippings burn off during the cook.
- If you foil the pan then a large deep pan can be too big for a roll of foil. It’s not a big hassle, as double foiling in an “x” pattern or folding the side edge on two sheets together can provide the needed coverage. If you fold the edges, remember to keep the fold up so liquid can't leak through the fold.
We recently tried tapered pans and like them. Heck, we finally figured out the pan’s diameter is only critical at the rim. Plus, a tapered pans increases foil coverage. The smaller bottom requires less foil. This is handy when matching 16" pans with 18" wide aluminum foil.
When using any pan, we recommend lining the inside of the pan with foil. Not only does it make clean up easier, a little excess foil along the edges can help extend the pan’s coverage. Just spread the foil up and out to increase coverage.
Lastly, a finished rolled edge is better than a straight edge. A rolled edge is easier to grab, less likely to tear foil and gives the pan rigidity.
With round pans, we used aluminum pans for several years but now found a cost effective supplier for stainless pans. The stainless is Series 200 grade which contains lower chromium percentages than Grade 304 or 18-8. The pans are non magnetic. The stainless can withstand higher temperatures than aluminum so chances of melting the pan is greatly reduced. The top edge on the pans is rolled. The pan sides are tapered. The only real drawback to the stainless pan is the pan's shiny finish will heat tarnish. Not a big deal given they are dedicated drip pans. We still foil with aluminum foil as it makes clean up easier.
Comment on pan size vs. cook size: We are somewhat a purest when it comes to pans. Simply said, we try to match the pan to the size and shape of whatever we’re cooking. We figure this gives the best chance to maintain consistent and uniform temperatures across the grid and food. So, big cook = big pan, little cook = little pan, rectangular cook = Oval Stone.
Round Pans for the “Large”:
When it comes to grabbing a round pan for the Large Woo3 or Large Adjustable Rig, we typically grab a 13.5", 14" or 16" diameter pan. For cooks above the fire ring, the 13.5" or 14"- is good for single meat cooks and the 16" is good for multiple or big meat cooks. A 16" round pan is about the biggest pan that will fit inside the Large Rig and Large Woo3. For low & slow cooks with the Large Spider, we recommend the 13.5" pan, as it provides roughly one inch of open space between the pan and fire ring. Please note, aluminum pans should not sit directly on the Spider during high temp cooks, as the pan can melt. Also, we do not recommend pans larger than 13.5" for use with the Large Spider.
Rectangular Pan for the “Large”
Why rectangular you may ask? Well, the grill is round, but not everything we cook is round. Ribs, briskets, and some pork butts can match up better with a rectangular shape.. In the past, we recommended jelly roll pans but found from our experience, they have one significant drawback. The pan can warp or twist from the heat. We stopped carrying rectangular pans for this very reason and took the next step. We developed and now offer a 13"x17" (12.75"x17.5"x5/8" actual) Oval Ceramic Stone. The Oval Stone is custom fit to the Large Woo3 and Large Adjustable Rig. It's wide enough for side-by-side baby back ribs and long enough for most briskets and rib racks. The basic comment from Oval Stone users are: I don't have to foil the rib or brisket ends anymore. The stone protects very well. It's the best kept secret in ceramic cooking!
Round Pan(s) for the "XL":
The pans for the “Large” do fit the “XL”. We recommend them for specialty or small volume cooks, matching the pan size to the cook size. The pan we really like for typical “XL” cooks is the 18" round pan. It matches well with the XL Adjustable Rig, XL Woo2, XL Flip3 Ring, XL Spider and our 16" & 17.5" Ceramic Stones. It provides great coverage with minimal interference on air circulation.
Round Pans for the “Medium” and “Small” Woo2:
These are just like the “Large” and “XL” pans, just not as big. The recommended pan for the Medium Woo2 is 12-inch diameter. The recommended pan for the Small Woo2 is 10-inch diameter.
Here are general recommendations for the drip pans we carry.
|10" Stainless Round Drip Pan||Fits Small Woo Ring, Small Big Green Egg®|
|12" Stainless Round Drip Pan||Fits Medium Woo Ring, Medium Big Green Egg®|
|13" Stainless Round Drip Pan||Fits Large Spider, Woo3 & Adjustable Rig, Large Big Green Egg®|
|14" Stainless Round Drip Pan||Fits Large Woo3 & Adjustable Rig, Large Big Green Egg®|
16" Stainless Round Drip Pan Large
16" Stainless Round Drip Pan XL
Fits Large Woo3, Adjustable Rig, Large Big Green Egg®
Fits same as 18" Drip Pan just smaller coverage
|18" Aluminum & Stainless Drip Pan||Fits XL Adjustable Rig, XL Woo2, XL Spider, XL Big Green Egg®|
Please note: With the round pans, the pan’s overall OD (outside diameter) can be slightly wider because of the rolled top edge.
We realize that special cooks require special pans, but for the majority of cooks, the pan sizes recommended will serve you well. These are solid pans. Pricing on our pans can be found here.