Why Use a Drip Pan In Your Grill
We’ve heard it before: you thought you had everything you needed to grill up the most flavorful, mouth-watering steaks, ribs, chicken and veggies on the block. But soon enough, you find out there’s a key piece of equipment you’ve been missing this whole time - a drip pan.
The secret weapon of the greatest grill chefs in the world, the drip pan is more than a way to make cleanup easier after a day of grilling. A high-quality drip pan is your ticket to the culinary WOW factor.
What does a drip pan do?
A drip pan sits between your coals and your meat on the grill, catching all the juicy, melty, fatty goodness that drips out of your meat.
A drip pan has many uses, like:
- It prevents flare-ups from fat falling on hot coals.
- It captures all the juices, fat and delicious bits that fall from your meat, creating the perfect base for a delectable pan sauce.
- It makes cleanup easier because food particles and grease fall into the pan instead of into your grill. After grilling, just wash your grill pan in the sink or dishwasher and you’re good to go, rather than trying to scrape burnt bits out of the bottom of your grill.
- You can add water, beer, wine, or fruit juice to your drip pan for smoking meat right in your charcoal grill.
You’re already asking yourself why you don’t have one, right?
Whether you are a culinary school graduate, a Food Network devotee, or just have a knack for cooking, you already know that the best sauces in the world are made from pan drippings. When you see Gordon Ramsey cursing up a storm while deglazing a pan after cooking a steak, chicken breast, or rack of lamb - that’s what’s happening. He is using all the bits and pieces and juices left over in the pan to make a sauce - and there is no better way to inject full-bodied flavor into a sauce than that.
When you use a drip pan while grilling, you capture the concentrated, caramelized flavor of whatever you’re grilling. After you pull your meat off the grill, carefully take off the hot cooking grate and pull out the drip pan. Pour every bit of the juices, fat, and delicious bits you’ve captured into a saucepan, and you’ve got the base for a delicious sauce that is perfectly calibrated to go with the meat you’ve cooked - because it’s made right from it!
With the addition of some flour, salt and pepper, maybe a few herbs, and broth, you can create the perfect pan sauce to accompany your dish in just minutes. While your meat is resting, head to the kitchen and whip up a pan sauce that would make even Gordon Ramsey shut up and eat.
Don't want to make a pan sauce right away? Let the goodness in your drip pan cool, then put it into a container and throw it in the freezer. Voila - you’ve got a homemade burst of flavor to anchor your next soup, chili, or sauce at a later date.
Smoking the good stuff
Think you need a smoker to smoke meat at home? You don’t! You can smoke meat on your charcoal grill, and the key to that is a drip pan.
Smoking meat requires a lot of moisture in the grill itself, otherwise, the meat would end up dry. Plus, the humidity inside your grill makes the meat stickier, so more of that delicious smoke flavor can adhere to the outside. A drip pan filled with water, beer, wine, or fruit juice provides the necessary humidity for perfectly smoked meats right on the grill you already own. A drip pan full of liquid also regulates the temperature inside the grill for consistent and even cooking that leads to fall-off-the-bone tender meat.
Hate cleaning? A drip pan is your friend.
After a day of grilling, you want to chill and drink a beer with your friends, not spend all your time cleaning up a messy grill. A drip pan helps catch all the grease and bits that would otherwise stick to your grill that you’d have to scrub out by hand.
Combine a drip pan with a charcoal basket, and you can get your grill clean in just a few minutes. Want to make cleanup even easier? Line your grill pan with foil so you can just toss it when you’re done.
Now that you know the secret …
Master grillers never reveal their secrets, but now you know. Check out our selection of drip pans here and get yourself one for the most impressive pan sauce and easiest grill cleanup you’ve ever experienced.