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Soapstone or Cast Iron


YkRick
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Looking to add a new cooking surface to my KJ Classic II - Trying to decide between the cast iron grill / griddle or the half moon soapstone.  Really interested in it for some higher heat searing smash burgers etc, but also for some flaky delicate stuff like fish k-bobs etc.

 

My sense is that soapstone might be a little less maintenance but I'm wondering if it does a better job of spanning the gambit that I am looking for in a solid cooking surface - or will the CI option give me more range.

 

Thoughts from people who use both is very welcome!

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Two things, from someone who has the soapstone on his Christmas list. 

 

Cast iron is a metal, so it has far better heat conduction than any stone, but only half the heat capacity.

When you put meat on a screaming hot CI griddle, it cools off. Energy moves into the meat from the surrounding area, reducing surface temperature. The second side won't sear as well unless you flip it onto an unused area that's still hot. 

 

Mass matters. The more massive cooking surface will remain hotter, longer. 

KJ's CI griddle is 8.8 lb., vs. 10.5 lb. for soapstone. Big Joe griddle is 14.66 lb., soapstone 19.8 lb. Add the heat capacity advantage of stone to this mass advantage and you get 2.4x and 2.7x more energy stored in soapstone than CI. 

 

The soapstone will take a lot longer to get hot, and it will retain that heat far longer. It won't get as screaming hot as CI under direct fire, so it should give a more gentle sear. It will also never rust. 

 

At 3x the price... but I have CI griddles I can use on a wire grate, and these details fascinate the steak-lover in me. 

 

Have fun,

Frank

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I am a huge cast iron cookware fan, own dozens of pieces both new and old. That being said cast iron use on a high temperature grill is indeed very high maintenance. Call it a labor of love I suppose..but with care it will last generations. 

 

Soapstone may be perhaps better suited to this application, although I can say how long of service life it will provide, 

 

 

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I've had the cast iron griddle for a few years. I recently added the KJ soapstone to my collection. 


I tend to use the cast iron it in the low position and the high heat burns the seasoning off the bottom. I'm not one to re-season after every use so the bottom of the cast iron griddle is always rusting.  My hope was that the soapstone would be more durable.

 

I have only used the soapstone once so far.  I was incredibly impressed by the quality of the sear.  It seared  noticeably better than the cast iron.  More golden brown areas and less black/burnt areas than I typically get on cast iron. The steak also made a squeaking noise when it landed on the soapstone unlike anything I have experienced with the cast iron.

 

However I am not so sure about the durability.  It obviously won't rust but the stone is much softer than I expected.  After only once use there is a slight grove where it contacts the divide and conquer rack.   At this point can only be seen with a close inspection.  It does not even rise to the level of being an aesthetic issue.     But if the grove continues to grow with each use, it may end up wearing out much faster than the cast iron.

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I highly recommend the soapstone - as acr noted, I got a sear unlike anything else with the soapstone.

 

I will say that my soapstone is cracked and I am monitoring it closely.  It has not separated, but I am being very careful with it and using it on a grate now for additional support.  KJ took care of me just fine on warranty (less than a year old) and sent a new one my way.  At this point I'm just experimenting to see what happens and waiting for a complete failure.  

 

I still love it.... and even if it were to separate and I wasn't in the warranty period, I could still easily use it on the grate.

 

I will add that it is soft and I do have some nicks and grooves as well . I have paid attention to keep the same surface up for cooking to prevent having that side marred. 

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10 hours ago, KismetKamado said:

I highly recommend the soapstone - as acr noted, I got a sear unlike anything else with the soapstone.

 

I will say that my soapstone is cracked and I am monitoring it closely.  It has not separated, but I am being very careful with it and using it on a grate now for additional support.  KJ took care of me just fine on warranty (less than a year old) and sent a new one my way.  At this point I'm just experimenting to see what happens and waiting for a complete failure.  

 

I still love it.... and even if it were to separate and I wasn't in the warranty period, I could still easily use it on the grate.

 

I will add that it is soft and I do have some nicks and grooves as well . I have paid attention to keep the same surface up for cooking to prevent having that side marred. 

 

I'm thinking of getting a soapstone. Just not sure how much I would use it. I do have the cast iron griddle, which I don't use much.

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I have the soapstone and the griddle & I HIGHLY recommend that you don't buy either of them.

 

Instead, have a look at the grill grates griddle.  It takes no time to heat up, extremely light weight and cleans up with the wipe off a sponge.

 

Costs about $25

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2 hours ago, Freddyj said:

I have the soapstone and the griddle & I HIGHLY recommend that you don't buy either of them.

 

Instead, have a look at the grill grates griddle.  It takes no time to heat up, extremely light weight and cleans up with the wipe off a sponge.

 

Costs about $25

 

 

I had no idea they made these.

 

 

https://www.grillgrate.com/the-griddle/

 

 

Thanks for the tip !!!

 

I've been running a set of GrillGrates on my BigJoe for years now.   Excellent product.

 

Recently discovered that I can use two of them on my 22" Weber kettle.

 

 

w3WyW2m.jpg

 

 

I'll often run them upside down for smash burgers.

 

 

 

 

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